Posted On 2020-02-17 In Covenant Life

Meeting Day 2020 of the Schoenstatt Family in the Diocese of Fulda – with Bishop Dr. Gerber

GERMANY, Sr. M. Louise Schulz via

In January 1967, the founder, Fr. Joseph Kentenich (1885-1968), visited the Schoenstatt Family from Fulda and gave them important impulses. Today, the Schoenstatt diocese of Fulda also meets each January for mutual exchange and common orientation, this time with Bishop Dr. Michael Gerber. The communities of the Schoenstatt Movement presented their current projects – which was not only informative for Bishop Gerber, but also for the many Schoenstatters in the hall itself. —

 “Dietershausen – a Schoenstatt Center with vitality!”

“Dietershausen – a Schoenstatt Center with vitality,” the Bishop summarized his impressions. He directed the attention to the Holy Spirit Symbol from the Schoenstatt Shrine, which is now on pilgrimage. It had already visited him this week in the Bishop’s House when he was working on an important statement for the Synodal Way.

“YOU have an effect” – Bishop Gerber is convinced – as at Pentecost, when Mary was with the helpless apostles in the Upper Room, the “Cenacle”. Not only does the Holy Spirit symbol in the Schoenstatt Chapel remind us of this, but it is also valid today and here. “Do we believe that the Holy Spirit gives us a Pentecostal breakthrough, that HE can transform our hearts, our spiritual mentality?” the Bishop challenged his listeners.

He took the Schoenstatt Family with him in his observations and reflections on a pastoral work with its finger on the pulse of the times. What will pastoral care and church life be like in 2060? Who am I in upheaval? It is necessary to rediscover one’s own “vocation in vocation” – the personal ideal.

At home with a mission

Bishop Gerber interpreted the farewell to the Church of God the Father (editor’s note: the profanation in canon law was in December 2019; the church belonged to the abandoned provincial house of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary in Dietershausen, which has been owned by a community of Mennonites since 2019) as a prophetic process in this context. We had to let go of the place that was richly filled with religious experiences. In the diocese of Fulda, people will be faced with this process in the future with many church buildings.

The Church of God the Father was an expression of a mission. This mission to proclaim God as the good Father of all people is now deepened in our task. That means breaking faith down into one’s own life. In a mission I can be at home always and everywhere, also in external change. When the song “I know that you are my father” was sung at the profanation service of the Church of God the Father, it was aptly expressed.

The Spirit of God calls…

The festive service was celebrated in the parish church of St. Bartholomew in Dietershausen and was rousingly performed by the band “Himmelwaerts” from the Jossgrund. In his sermon, Bishop Gerber dealt with the gospel of the calling of the disciples: Christ called his disciples in twos, that is, into a concrete community. Thus also today the call to a consecrated life, like the call to marriage and family, is always a call to dedication and responsibility for concrete people. In Mary, the Mother of God, this vocation is realized in an exemplary way. The covenant with her opens us to our own vocation through the Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit on tour

At the end of the service, Bishop Gerber sent the Holy Spirit symbol on his travels until August 2020. Ellen and Steffen Buedel, from the preparation team, gave an indication of the meaning of this pilgrimage: “The symbol wants to invite us to perceive more deeply what the Holy Spirit gives as special gifts in the Schoenstatt Shrine: home in faith, spiritual growth and apostolic spirit.

The first thing the symbol will do is to visit the Schoenstatt priests at home in their field of activity. Then it will be passed on at the Covenant celebration on the 18th of each month. Pastor Dr. Vonderau received it on behalf of the Schoenstatt community.

Background: Holy Spirit symbol on tour in the diocese of Fulda – why?

Bishop Gerber’s central concern is that the restructuring in the diocese should be a spiritual process, where one asks attentively for the work of the Holy Spirit. Could it be a coincidence that the Holy Spirit symbol in the branch Shrine of Dietershausen has long been in urgent need of renovation?  The ravages of time and a lot of candle soot have taken their toll on the silver dove in the golden halo. In 1970, the Schoenstatt priests that were there at the long time, along with Bishop Adolf Bolte, donated the symbol to the Shrine asking for the rich work of the Holy Spirit in the Diocese of Fulda.

Rediscover the Spirit of God and His work 

Now the Schoenstatt priests from Fulda, together with Bishop Gerber, have commissioned the renovation of the symbol from the Schoenstatt Goldsmiths. On January 18, 2020, the symbol was picked up in Schoenstatt in new splendor. But the “Holy Spirit” in the chapel should not only be polished up externally. The visible sign rather wants to be an impulse to rediscover the Spirit of God himself – in your own life, in the Church, in time.

For this reason, the renovated symbol is not immediately reinstalled in the chapel in its original place on the ceiling above the altar, but it wanders through the communities – so that as many as possible are encouraged to turn to the Holy Spirit. A book accompanies the symbol in support.

At each Covenant celebration, the symbol of a Schoenstatt community is passed on.


Sending out the holy spirit symbol: Rev. Dr. Vonderau is the first to receive it.

Source: With friendly permission.

Original: German 03.02.2020 Translation: Lindsay Burger, Ohio, USA

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