Kentenich Year, Message of the General Presidency on the occasion of September 15, 2018 •
Last week, Fr Juan Pablo Catoggio, turned to the editors of schoenstatt.org with the request to help spread a message from the General Presidium to the Schoenstatt Family on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Fr Kentenich’s death. “It was intended that this message should be published on 8 July, in the hope that it would aid the preparations for the celebrations on 15 September at various places and countries”, Fr. Juan Pablo commented. The text of the message is already available in Spanish, German, Portuguese, French, and English. We gladly take on the task of disseminating this communication of the General Presidium.
MESSAGE TO THE SCHOENSTATT FAMILY
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE DEATH OF FATHER JOSEPH KENTENICH (September 15,1968)
Dear Schoenstatt Family,
On September 15, 2018 we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of our Father and Founder. For this occasion we proclaimed a Year of Fr. Kentenich during which we wanted to give witness to him and his charism in different ways.
We experienced the great jubilee of 2014 as a moment of grace and renewal which committed us to become a Schoenstatt on the Move (Pentecost Congress 2015).
That’s why as September 15 approaches we ask ourselves, “What does our Father and Founder want to tell us 50 years after his death? And what do we, his Schoenstatt Family, want to tell him”?
What does our Father and Founder tell us at this moment?
In his farewell discourse Jesus left his followers with three commands: “Remain in me as I also remain in you” (Jn 15:4), “love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12), and “I have chosen you so you bear fruit, fruit that will last” (Jn 15:16). Our Founder is a reflection of Christ for us, so we can imagine that he would speak to us in a similar manner.
“Remain in me as I also remain in you” (Jn 15:4) – Creative loyalty to the Founder
God has called us together with and in our Founder. We believe in him, in his charism and in his mission. We also believe that through the Covenant of love with the Blessed Mother, God allows us to share in his founding spirit. If “we remain in him”, if we remain attached to him through the Covenant, then he will “remain in us” and his charism will become active in a creative manner and will become fruitful in and for the Church.
“Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12) – Cor Unum in Patre
Just as Fr. Kentenich emphasized the autonomy of each of the communities he founded, he also promoted and demanded the unity and solidarity of the respective communities and branches of our federally structured Family among themselves. What he envisioned that God planned for his spiritual family was a great community of hearts: “That seems to be the purpose of God – to hold this fusion of hearts as the foundation for the next 50 years throughout the Family … not just for the next 50 years, but for all times to come”(Fr JK Dec 25, 1967). The Cor Unum in Patre – One heart in the Father – should find expression today in the concrete solidarity among the various communities and national Schoenstatt Families on a worldwide and multicultural level. We need each other. This solidarity should be an expression and the beginnings of a fruitful covenant culture.
“I have chosen you so that you will go and bear fruit, fruit that lasts” (Jn 15:16) – Schoenstatt on the Move
Fr. Kentenich contemplates with joy the strong missionary current that inspires the Family today. Borrowing an expression of Pope Francis, we want to be a “Schoenstatt on the move”, a missionary Schoenstatt that gladly wants to pass on the gospel message filtered through Schoenstatt for the Church and world of today. The Covenant becomes a mission, the Covenant becomes a culture. In all areas of life: youth, family, education, Church, in all areas of society and culture (cf. Pentecost Memorandum 2015). “May a new world arise in the power of the Covenant of Love, and wherever we live and act, may we bring forth a covenant culture” (Prayer for Fr. Kentenich Year).
“We need grace from above and we get it when we believe in our Covenant of Love. You can be sure that a multiple charism is associated with our Covenant” (Fr. JK November 25, 1965). Our Founder’s Dilexit Ecclesiam – He loved the Church – that he chose to put on his tombstone, is a legacy that guides us and urges us to commit ourselves.
What can we as Schoenstatt Family tell our Father and Founder today?
The first thing we would express is our gratitude for the gift God gave us in Fr. Kentenich. We owe him a debt of gratitude for Schoenstatt and all it means for us: the Shrine as a source of grace, a spiritual home and family, the spirituality and its orientation, a purpose and mission. For us Fr. Kentenich is an example, a father, and a founder and prophet. That’s why we are grateful from the bottom of our hearts. As we tell the Blessed Mother, so we can say to him: “Where would we be without you”!
The next thing we would express is our needs and petitions. In the light of the great mission he entrusted to us, we are aware of our weaknesses and limitations. Thus we ask for his prophetic spirit like Elisha asked of Elijah: “may I receive two portions of your spirit” (2 Kings, 2:9). During this year we therefore ask God: “Give to us of his fire and of his founder spirit! May his charism be so alive in us that we will be able to give shape to the future of the Church and of society” (Prayer for the Fr. Kentenich Year). In the light of our mission we also ask God for the unity of the Family and that the Blessed Mother may draw to herself many “youthful hearts” who will give themselves totally to her mission.
Above all we would promise Father our availability and loyalty: loyalty to him and his charism, loyalty to his work and his Family, loyalty to his mission for the Church and the world of today. In this spirit we want to renew the covenant with him and we ask the Blessed Mother to guide all of our efforts in the process of beatification in such a way that from all of our Schoenstatt Shrines especially the Matri Ecclesiae Shrine in Belmonte his charism will prove to be a blessing for the Church.
Dear Schoenstatt Family,
Now that 50 years have passed since his death, it remains to be seen to what extent the founder remains alive in his foundation and eventually be recognized by history. The future of Schoenstatt is being decided at this moment. What began in him has to take deep roots in his Family and in us. Fr. Kentenich could say to us like St. Paul: “You are our letter of recommendation, inscribed in our hearts and known and read by all. Indeed you are a letter of Christ written by our ministry, not with ink but with the spirit of the living God… “ (2 Cor 3: 2-3).
When a group of Schoenstatters asked Pope John Paul II to canonize Fr. Kentenich, he responded, “You canonize him”! This is our fervent petition, that a new miracle of the Holy Night may occur. When the Family seriously strives for holiness, then the Founder will be canonized. Joseph Engling of the founding generation and the centenary of whose death we celebrate on October 4 of this year, precedes us in this serious striving for holiness together with many others. The first miracle we pray for is that of the holiness of the Schoenstatt Family.
Only the Holy Spirit can do this. In the faith and confidence of our Father and Founder we march together toward the future. “You will receive strength from the Holy Spirit and you shall be my witnesses to the ends of the earth” (Acts. 1:8).
On behalf of the International Presidency of the Schoenstatt Work,
Fr. Juan Pablo Catoggio