Maria Fischer and Fr. Egon Zillekens •
“Today an elderly lady told me that she prays the Rosary for our intentions in the early evening because it is too late and dark at 8 p.m.!” Fr Zillekens said on Thursday evening during the first hour of prayer for vocations for Schoenstatt. This intention, which was publicised in a letter from Fr Juan Pablo Cattogio on behalf of the General Presidium to all the Schoenstatt communities, was obviously already well known. All who are not present can always join in. Concern about vocations was an important theme at the last meeting of the General Presidium. We have to pray if vocations are to grow. This gave rise to the initiative to pray together in the Original Shrine for vocations, for people who are prepared to commit themselves completely to Schoenstatt. This prayer will take place every first Thursday of the month from 8-9 p.m. in the Original Shrine. All are invited to join in from their shrines and home shrines.
On 1 December the Priests’ Federation prepared the first of these hours. Fr Zillekens not only designed a flyer to advertise the event, but also sent it to all the members of the Priests’ Federation.
Prayer for vocations isn’t a new discovery, so Fr Zillekens took his bearings from the prayers in Gotteslob – the hymn and prayer book in use in Germany – as well as the Pontifical Works for Vocations, which started ninety years ago in Freiburg with a small group of women. In the 1970s it had developed into an “Information Centre for Vocations for the Church”, and today is known as the “Centre for Vocations Pastorate, Office of the German Bishops’ Conference for religious vocations and ministries”. True to the intentions of the founders of the women’s group, the office publishes an annual inspiration for prayer for “vocations”.
“I think we are well advised to join in this ninety-year initiative and then to add our own emphasis as time goes by”, Fr Zillekens remarked. He, therefore, chose the text for a time of prayer published on www.berufung.org for the hour of prayer on 1 December, “which we can be sure will not only the prayed here and now”.
In the coming months the prayer for vocations for Schoenstatt will take place on the first Thursday of the month at 8 p.m. in the Original Shrine.
Original: German. Translation: Mary Cole, Manchester, UK