mda. 18 December 2014, after the Covenant Celebration. The usual sending out and blessing of the Pilgrim Mother pictures for Germany had again taken place when Fr Egon M. Zillekens, re-elected on 21 October as representative and member of the General Presidium, and as such the Rector of the Priests’ Federation, came to the Original Shrine. His intention: He wanted a Pilgrim Mother for the International Priests’ Federation, one that would travel with him around the world to visit priests belonging to the Federation. The hour had come for a Pilgrim Mother picture, which has stood faithfully in a corner for the last three years.
In actual fact she has stood on the cupboard in the corner on the right in the Original Shrine. It is the corner where the Pilgrim Mother conquered a place for herself in 2009 and 2010, when the Holy Masses “on the way to 2014” started. Tidied away again and again, she returned again and again, and in the end simply stayed there. In front of her lay the pilgrimage prayer for 2014 in a number of languages, the sign recalling the country for which the Holy Mass was celebrated, and above all photos, letters, and USB sticks with the intentions of people who could not come personally to the Original Shrine. The Pilgrim Mother simply stayed in the right hand corner and was connected with a request to Mr Arendes, Brother of Mary, to greet her and remind her of her mission whenever he entered the shrine. She remained there when the impossible happened and the Pallottine Fathers gave the Original Shrine to the Schoenstatt Movement. She remained there when piles of printed requests, prayer intentions, gifts and promises, which were sent to the Original Shrine via the virtual hotline, were placed in the jar. She also joined in the celebration of the Jubilee in her corner to the right. Then her time there came to an end.
The main people involved at a very special moment knew nothing of this. Fr Zillekens was not given any of the pictures destined for Germany; a telephone call delayed him from taking part in a real commissioning. Then Sr Johanna-Maria’s gaze fell on the Pilgrim Mother in the front right hand corner. No one knew where she had come from, or to whom she belonged; she was simply part of the Original Shrine. So the Rector of the shrine, Fr Antonio Bracht, was asked if he agreed, and during a simple ceremony the Pilgrim Mother, which had originally come from Argentina, was passed from Rector to Rector. The mission and missionary passed to the International Priests’ Federation and will accompany its leader. Bernadette Weweler took the photos and recorded the moment for posterity. As M. Paz Leiva of the Schoenstatt.org team said, “that is the second century”.
On 21 October 2014, at its first international Federation gathering with representatives from fourteen countries, the Schoenstatt Priests’ Federation elected its international leaders:
Fr Alejandro Araujo Blanco, Argentina
Fr Benno Riether, Germany
Rector Egon M. Zillekens, Schoenstatt
Rector Zillekens is both the representative of the Priests’ Federation and a member of the General Presidium, and as such the leader of the Priests’ Federation.
The national conference of the territorial Schoenstatt Priests’ Federation had met (Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Czech Republic) the previous day. At the end of the term of office of Fr Sigbert Baumann as national leader (Landeskurat) , this position was not filled and remains vacant.
The national leaders took over the leadership of the regions:
Dean Andreas Neuser, Northern Region
Fr Franz Kraft, Central Region
Fr Dietmar Herman, Southern Region
The representative in the German Presidium is Fr Georg Müller, Neuwied.
All the decisions were unanimous and are valid for three years.
The Schoenstatt Priests’ Federation lives and grows in Argentina, Bolivia, Burundi, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Germany, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, India, Peru, Portugal, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Chad.
Who knows. The Pilgrim Mother, who has stood for years in the front right hand corner in the Original Shrine, and who was responsible for the prayer intentions coming from over eighty countries week after week, could now perhaps visit many of those countries.
Our sincere congratulations to the leaders of the International Priests’ Federation and the leaders of the territorial Priests’ Federation.
Original: German. Translation: Mary Cole, Manchester, England