NIGERIA, Ijeoma Ugwu •
Schoenstatt, a Catholic Apostolic Movement founded by Father Joseph Kentenich in Germany in 1914, has found a warm and enthusiastic welcome in Nigeria. One of the cornerstones of this spiritual movement is the Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother in the Shrine, a commitment that has profoundly affected many people throughout Nigeria. —
This Covenant is an act of faith that strengthens our attachment to Mary, reinforces our baptism and marriage, while fostering unity and a deep sense of purpose within families. The Schoenstatt Family Covenant of Love in Nigeria has become an integral part of the spiritual journey of many Nigerian families.
The nature of the Covenant of Love
The Covenant of Love is a commitment made by individuals, couples or a group to consecrate themselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to seek her guidance and protection in their lives. This Covenant is a heartfelt commitment to strive to live holy, loving and united lives within the family. By entering into this Covenant, families embrace the idea of becoming “little shrines” where faith, love, and spiritual growth flourish.
The Covenant Ceremony
The Covenant Ceremony is an important event in the Schoenstatt Movement. Families gather at the Shrine of the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, a holy place where many graces and blessings are believed to flow. In Nigeria, the Schoenstatt Shrine in Ibadan offers families a place for reflection, prayer and renewal.
During the Covenant Ceremony, the families symbolically offered their Capital of Grace to the Blessed Mother, prayed their Covenant prayers as couples and as a group, and finally their Covenant was received by Father Alexandre Awi Melo, Pater Familias of the Schoenstatt Fathers and President of the International Schoenstatt Presidium. During the celebration, they received a Schoenstatt candle, which represents their commitment to live a life of virtue and holiness under the guidance of Mary, and a medal of the MTA.
Impact on Nigerian Families
Strengthening Faith: The Schoenstatt Family Covenant of Love has played a pivotal role in strengthening the faith of Nigerian families. Through this covenant, families develop a deep and personal relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary, finding solace and inspiration in her example of unwavering faith and devotion.
Fostering Unity: The covenant serves as a powerful catalyst for unity within families. It encourages open communication, mutual support, and a shared commitment to spiritual growth. As families strive together towards a common purpose, they become more resilient in facing life’s challenges.
Instilling Values: With Mary as their educator and model, families imbibe core values such as love, respect, and selflessness. By emulating the virtues of Mary, families learn to put others’ needs before their own, creating an environment of love and compassion.
Providing a Spiritual Anchor: In a world marked by constant change and uncertainty, the Schoenstatt Family Covenant of Love provides families with a stable and spiritual anchor. It offers a source of comfort, guidance, and strength in times of joy and sorrow.
Empowering the Next Generation: Through the covenant, parents impart a strong foundation of faith to their children. They become living examples of the Christian values they espouse, creating a legacy of faith that can be passed down through generations.
A transforming power in the lives of many Nigerian families
The Covenant of Love of the Schoenstatt Family will from now on be a transforming force in the lives of many Nigerian families. It will provide a framework for deepening faith, fostering unity and living the Christian values that are essential for a thriving family life. As more families in Nigeria embrace this Covenant, the impact of their witness and commitment to faith will be felt not only in their homes, but also in their communities and beyond. The Schoenstatt Movement continues to be a beacon of hope, offering families a path to spiritual growth, unity, and enduring love.