Today Fr Leonhard Erhard, retired parish priest and member of the Priests’ Federation, who is working at the Schoenstatt Centre in Memholz, Germany, will answer these questions. “As an end-of-range model with some mobility, who is just about able not to stand in the way of active life, I no longer fit completely into the optimistic Jubilee spirit of a new start. When they look back at the answers offered until now, people could arrive at the idea that a photo from Granny’s album has got lost.” That was how he described himself when approached with the questionnaire. But in that he is mistaken. “A preacher, speaker, confessor, priest, spiritual director and decision guide, the clarifier of spiritual chaos and remover of confusion, the calming influence in a busy house, who is always ‘there’, and whose diary always gives priority to pastoral counselling, and who so often sums up a process in a single word for which others would need three lectures” – this is how someone described him who knows him well.
Six months into the pilgrimage through the second century of the covenant of love…what is your dream for this Schoenstatt in who we are and where we find ourselves in the Church, the world, and in our mission?
Rather less as a dream, and rather more in view of the life revealed at the Jubilee celebrations in Schoenstatt, I see a vitally alive family of God with a global field of vision embracing all the colours of the rainbow. The Creator Spirit is always creatively at work with the hands of our Schoenstatt Queen, whose picture can be found everywhere. Her shrines around the world show me that although she has gone out from one place, she is not riveted to the spot; she is always on the way to wherever people are living.
The fact that the Blessed Mother brings about solidarity in a world that is breaking apart is an action that helps people to survive.
In order to fulfill this dream, what do we need to avoid or leave behind?
Fear of what is new and unfamiliar, and clinging to ideas and habits, while overlooking that they have become fossilized. People saw the Jubilee as youthful, although the numbers of young people were in proportion. We could avoid moaning that we will soon have to bury ourselves.
In order to fulfill this dream, what practical steps do we have to take?
Take up the Pope’s view. During our audience he showed us that each Schoenstatt Family member has a possibility just outside their front door to help the MTA with her enormous mission through their abilities, knowledge and possessions, through personal detailed work. With our homes in the midst of an unredeemed world we have an opportunity to have a long-term effect without being afraid of contact with the world. Fr Kentenich’s faith in Divine Providence is both practical and effective.
Original: German. Translation: Mary Cole, Manchester, England