GERMANY, Maria Fischer •
Did you know that Jorge Mario Bergoglio tried on three occasions – and failed! – to get his favourite quotation of Isaac of Stella taken into an official Church document, so he had to become Pope in order to be able to mention it finally in Evangelii Gaudium? And did you know that he always has “the duster of our Lady of Luján” in a cotton bag under his soutane? Did you know that he has made an essential contribution towards making the picture of “Mary, the Untier of Knots” known in Argentina and South America, although he had personally never been in Augsburg where the original picture is kept? Do you know his favourite prayer to Mary, which he prays twice a day? Did you know that he prefers to imagine Masy as “a poor woman” and a woman of the people? Do you know what he means when he encourages people to turn their parish churches and towns into “shrines”? Or that he doesn’t think much of the visions and messages of the Mother of God that you can anticipate precisely?
If you can answer all these questions with a “Yes”, you must either know Spanish or Portuguese, and have read the book by Fr Alexandre Awi Mello, leader of the Brazilian Schoenstatt Movement and close collaborator of Pope Francis at the Aparecida Conference and the World Youth Day in 2013. The book is based on a detailed and very personal interview between the author and the Pope that has already appeared in its eighth edition in Brazil. That was until yesterday. From today it is available in German. On 30 August the Benno-Verlag in Leipzig started delivering the book, just five months after the translator offered it to the publishing director although she had only completed a third of the text. This publisher had just brought out a very beautiful book on the Pope’s Marian prayers.
“The book is written with the heart”
The details clearly show that the book was and is in good hands with this publisher. For example, the front jacket text quotes one of the most beautiful prayers of Pope Francis to Mary. Or, the back cover heads the text with by quoting Francis’ answer to the author after he had read the book, “The book is written with the heart. I am happy that my testimony serves to praise our Mother”.
The author, Fr Alexandre Awi Mello, Fr. Egon Zillekens, who “facilitated” the financial backing for the translation, is also happy, along with all donors, Cassio Leal, a member of the schoenstatt.org team who drew attention to the book and thus got the ball rolling for its translation into German (the English edition should appear fairly soon), as well as the translator who completed the final chapter in Bergoglio’s home city, Buenos Aires, and many others.
The book is packed with personal testimonies, with deep and precious stories, which the Pope told his interviewer as he looked back on his pastoral experiences. It is full of central statements taken from the most important Marian and other Church documents. It shows Mary and our relationship to her in the heart of popular theology, the missionary incentives of Aparecida and Evangelii Gaudium, in going to the margins of society, in a Church of the poor and for the poor, in the motherliness of the Church and the revolution of tenderness and the Holy Year of Mercy.
This is not a Schoenstatt book. It is also not a book primarily for Schoenstatters. The author mentions Joseph Kentenich’s name and Schoenstatt in passing on two or three occasions. It is enough. Because in reality it is a Schoenstatt book through and through. It is a Schoenstatt book in the sense of Schoenstatt’s second century, when what matters is neither advertisement nor popularity, but humble service to the Church, offering her what the Movement has tried and tested in its first hundred years. In this instance it is a picture of Mary that corresponds with the image of the Church delineated by Joseph Kentenich on 8 December 1965, the day of the solemn conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, when he symbolically blessed the foundation stone for the shrine in Belmonte, Rome.
Ein Gespräch mit Papst Franziskus
ISBN / EAN: 9783746246796
Available from Benno-Verlag, Amazon, buecher.de, many other portals and every good bookstore.
Ask for it!
The english translation is coming soon.
Original: German. Translation: Mary Cole, Manchester, UK