Posted On 2017-10-05 In Projects, Schoenstatt - Reaching out

When people do not come to Church, the Church goes out to them

GERMANY, Gisela Sonka, Rita Löhr, Hna. Cordula-Maria Leidig

With little candles in their hands and trembling knees, some Wiesbaden Schoenstatters went to the weekly market in Wiesbaden-Biebrich; they invited passersby to light these candles for a loved one, and that they would also do it at St. Marien Church, where Eucharistic Adoration was taking place at that time. Many entered…it all began with quiet moments of Eucharistic Adoration in the shrine and during the “Sunday coffee.”

Sunday coffee

Since 1 September 2016, an hour of Eucharistic Adoration four times a week is held in the Wiesbaden Schoenstatt Shrine. Normally seven people attend along with four or five others who are motivated and attend occasionally to pray.

On top of that once a month, there are two hours of adoration with a time of praise and petition, where a similar number of people attend, even those people from outside the parish attend. To prepare for this adoration of praise, four motivations are presented during the year with a “Sunday coffee,” since it was observed that Sundays are a challenge for many single people, widows and widowers.

“Sunday coffee” is the subtitled, “Thank God it’s Sunday,” which is the real title. The motivation always depends on the annual motto of the German Schoenstatt Movement. For example, this year the motto is: “He approached them and walked with them…” in relation to the question of how to live the Holy Mass in a deeper way. The Mass of God’s Instruments from “Heavenwards” offers plenty of material for this.

A listening heart

During these four Sundays of the year, Sr. Angelus, who belongs to the Adoration Sisters of Wiesbaden, is always present. While the prayer of praise and adoration is held in the shrine, Sr. offers a heart that knows how to listen, thus people can go to the sacristy to have a spiritual talk with her or for a prayer of petition. Sister is much sought out, because of her long experience in a psychiatric clinic; she has an excellent way of reaching people.

Go where the people are

In reality, she lives in Wiesbaden-Biebrich, where the Adoration Center is located; all the Adoration Sisters, who work in Germany, are from India. There is Eucharistic Adoration in St. Marien Church for six to eight hours daily, but the Sisters have asked themselves for quite a while, how could they invite people from outside? First the Circle from the Schoenstatt Shrine attempted to organize a weekly prayer of praise in St. Marien, but no one attended. Then the idea came about to have a prayer of praise in Biebrich, at the same time that the weekly market was taking place, which is held directly in front of the church, in the shadow of the statue of the Virgin Mary.

The great moment arrived on 22 September! Two women from the Schoenstatt Couples’ Branch, at first with trembling knees, went to people who were at the market shopping. They gave them a small candle and asked them if they would like to light them in the church for a loved one, for someone ill in the family, or in the neighborhood, and they added that they could stay a little longer in church referring to the music and adoration.

The Lord’s presence in the weekly market

The “experiment” lasted approximately forty-five minutes, but the results were impressive:

We met a Mother working with “Lichtzeichen” (an apostolic project of the Mothers’ Branch of Germany to help mothers with problem pregnancies).  Two young women, who met regularly on a weekly basis to pray in some church of Wiesbaden or Mainz, had agreed to meet at St. Marien. Providential? Thirteen people came to the church with their little candles, and they stayed for a surprisingly long time. Another ten people did not enter, but they had valuable conversations with some of them such as the reason they had left the church, or how one of the vendors at the market had the impression that the church was uncommunicative or almost aloof. This will be different in the future…

Both women who distributed the little candles were radiant and they affirmed: “We have to do this again! What fantastic encounters!”  We felt the Lord’s presence along with Mary invites people to be close to him, he opens hearts, gives reconciliation, and clarifies misunderstandings…

They continued with this “experiment” on September 29 from 12:30 to 2:00 pm.

Original: German. 27 September 2017. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Jankegt, Elgin, TX USA

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