Today Werner Maria Philipps answers – a widower, father of three children, solicitor and notary public, living in Gelsenkirchen-Buer, Germany, member of the 16th course of the Schoenstatt Family Federation in Germany. My parents were also members of the Family Federation. When I was reading law in Munster in 1968 I was the leader of the Student Movement in Schoenstatt and led many international student pilgrimages to Schoenstatt. In this hectic period of social change I experienced that Fr Joseph Kentenich had become my spiritual Father. In him I found the direction for my life. As a volunteer I am involved in my home parish and am a member of the parish council, as well as Chairman of the supervisory board of Catholic Clinics. •
We are one year into the second century of the covenant of love – what is your dream of this Schoenstatt as it is, in its position in the Church and world, and in what it does?
In Europe we are living in a climate of dwindling faith, marked by empty or even closed churches. The official church is struggling to find solutions. We Schoenstatters pray each morning, “Use us as you will, may through Schoenstatt the wide halls of our holy church be filled once more.” How is that to happen? We are challenged to make an active contribution to the renewal of the Church and forming a new Christian social order. Our Father – Joseph Kentenich – shows us the way. This year we are celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the covenant of love with the Heavenly Father on 30 October 1966 in the Cologne shrine on behalf of the entire Schoenstatt Family. Fr Kentenich proclaimed a message of salvation for an era that is fleeing from God, a God who is our mercifully loving Father.
He pointed out that the covenant of love with the Blessed Mother is the safest and quickest way to this covenant of love with the Heavenly Father. The meaning of the covenant of love with the Blessed Mother is to be an
security of, and a
means to enter into an insoluble covenant of love with the Heavenly Father.
We can only see it as a gift from Divine Providence that in the Jubilee Year of the covenant of love with the Heavenly Father Pope Francis has proclaimed a Holy Year of Mercy. His reason for doing so is, “The Church feels the urgent need to proclaim God’s mercy”.
It is my dream that Schoenstatt, in the way it is, in its place in the Church and world, and in what it does, will make an active contribution towards this Jubilee Year. We have a mission and we have to carry it out.
What must we leave behind or avoid for this dream to become a reality?
We may not hide ourselves, but courageously live our faith and spirituality. Not fearful, but trusting God.
What practical steps must we take for this dream to become a reality?
Each one of us is challenged every day
to live our trust in God authentically in everyday life
to live in a vital relationship with our merciful and loving Heavenly Father through our covenant with him in everyday life.
Despite all the rush and insecurity in everyday life, to reveal through our being that we are sheltered in the merciful love of our Heavenly Father.
My wish is that Schoenstatt will make many and varied contributions to the Jubilee Year and to the Holy Year of Mercy. That we may look for new ways to proclaim the message of the merciful love of God, our Heavenly Father, in the second century of our original covenant of love.
One such contribution: In the Summer of 2016, from 31 July – 6 August, a pilgrimage on foot lasting a number of days will take place with the subject: Trust in God. An initiative of the Schoenstatt Family Federation. A pilgrimage for people
with great longing
to experience God’s love
To experience that God is our merciful Father
by people who are looking for en encounter:
with one another
and with people we meet on the way.
A pilgrimage for families with children, for youth, individuals and groups, from the shrine in Cologne to the Holy Year Door of Mercy at the Original Shrine. A pilgrimage to join in …
Original: German. Translation: Mary Cole, Manchester, England