Posted On 2016-05-17 In Original Shrine

May Reception in Step with our Times

Content from Fr Egon M. Zillekens and Maria Fischer •

Fr Theo Breitinger, Chairman of the German Presidium of the Schoenstatt Movement, invited representatives of the Church, politics and society to attend the May Reception and discussion of an extremely topical subject: Integration. Fr Egon M Zillekens chaired the reception on the last day of April in the Marienau, the house for priests and lay guests.

The reception was supported musically by Wilfried Roehrig, Carolin Ankebauer and Amin Jan Sayed. With his music Wissam Mawuas from Syria transported the participants to his homeland. With that the subject was already rooted in reality: Refugees and their integration. The presence of young Syrians who have found a welcome in Schoenstatt simply did us all good.

District chief executive, Dr Alexander Saftig, situated the subject in a most interesting and current way within the framework of the Holy Year of Mercy, on the one hand, and the hotly discussed questions of the zero interest rate policy and global capitalism vs. a social market economy and family politics. Without God’s mercy, Dr Saftig, said, people are often not able to become involved in promoting their outlook on the world or their convictions.


Believing Muslims ask us if we pray, and where the Bible is in our homes

Prof. Hubertus Brantzen, Mainz, chaired the panel discussion that followed, on the subject of “Integration” with Mayor Christoph Ewers (Burbach), Joud Ahmarani (Syria, living in Vallendar), Dr Alexander Saftig, Fr Franz Widmaier and Sr Marie Munz.

What follows are questions and topics from this discussion, all of which did not find an answer in this framework, and in which not all the aspects harmonise, but which could make us thoughtful and offer matter for conversations, perhaps even beyond this May reception:

  • What is integration: If we talk and look into our system, or with one another, what results?
  • We have to discuss among ourselves who we are, in order to define what integration means.
  • Believing Muslims ask us whether we pray and where the Bible is in our homes.
  • Goals: To look together beyond ourselves for a greater reality.
  • Avoid parallel societies, define what we understand with integration, and build a new society. Be realistic, objective, see the challenges and understand them as God’s call; start meeting others with heart and hand         on the way to integration.
  • “Integration can’t be commanded from above and organised from above.”

Accompanied by wonderful music, and a perfect buffet rustled up by the Marienau kitchen, the discussions continued intensively for a long time…


Photos: Heinrich Brehm, PressOffice Schonstatt, Germany

Translation from German text by M. Cole, Manchester UK

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