Schoenstatt was originally founded by Father Kentenich in Germany 18 October 1914. We are now approaching the Millenium of SChoenstatt's foundation which is truely an amazing achievement that Father Kentenich would be proud to see the growth around the world.
The Schoenstatt Shrine offered to all pilgrims around the world not only is there an Original Shrine but over 200 Daughter Shrines across the Globe. In preparation of 2014 Celebrations, the Schoenstatt Family recognises the need for us all to come together to pray and rejoice in the gift provided by Father Kentenich in 1914. An idea and divine providence lives on today.
“The General Presidium joyfully accepts the desire from Conference 2014 that the Father Eye Symbol which our Father and Founder gave to the Original Shrine begins a world-wide pilgrimage. On July 8, 2009 (the 99th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of Father Kentenich), at the celebration of the Eucharist at 9:00 A.M. in the Original Shrine, it will be sent out to visit all national Schoenstatt Families. With this symbol which reminds us of the loving care and direction of God the Father, all are invited to the 2014 Jubilee in the Original Shrine…..”
On October 15, 1967, Father Kentenich gave this Symbol of the Father – a symbol of the loving care and direction of God the Father – to the Schoenstatt Family of the Diocese of Treveris in representation of the entire Family, for safe-keeping. Only one year later, unexpectedly, the Symbol of the Father began an unforeseen world-wide pilgrimage with the death of Father Kentenich. It went on pilgrimage to the countries which had for so long awaited the personal visit of Father Kentenich after the long years of separation due to the exile which had been imposed on him by the Church. After several years of pilgrimage, it returned to Schoenstatt where it remained as a precious legacy in the safe-keeping of Father Heinz Künster, a priest of the Federation.
In February 2009, Conference 2014 suggested “that shortly the pilgrimage of the Father Symbol which was a gift of the Founder, begins its pilgrimage throughout the world. We wish that with its presence, our Family purifies itself and grows in unity to strengthen us in our mission at the service of the Church and society.”
Introduction: A father is not only a source of life, he with his wife is also a protector of life. There are a number of ways that Jesus describes the protection of God in St. John chapter 14:1-10. I offer you only one of these which is connected to praying. ” you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” ( John 14:7)
Reflection: Father Kentenich always strove to carry out the plan of God for himself and his Schoenstatt Family. There are many examples where he showed the aspect of firmness in his life, when he believed that this was something that God wanted him to do. Some people have even described him as stubborn. Two examples of this are firstly his decision not to take the human way offered him when he had the possibility of not being sent to the concentration camp. He did this because he believed this was what God wanted him to do in building up Schoenstatt.
Some years later he was challenged by the Church authorities whom he was convinced had a different understanding of his position as father to the Schoenstatt Family. These Church leaders thought Father Kentenich was taking away from the glory of God. They did not grasp that his understanding was mirroring the example of Jesus, as Jesus expressed in John 14:28 'I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.”
As a result of his trust in the power of God and Our Lady, and his firm conviction that this was what God wanted him to do, he freely took upon himself the 14 years of exile.
Spiritual Preparation: You might like to place yourself spiritually in the Shrine or with your Pilgrim Mother and reflect on how Father Kentenich protected the Schoenstatt Family with his firm convictions of trust in God’s loving plan, with the help of Our Mother Thrice ‘Admirable and his understanding of God’s merciful love.
Introduction: The Father Symbol is a reminder to us that our spiritual journey should ultimately lead us homewards to the Heavenly Father. To help us on this journey we have Our Blessed Mother together with her Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
We come to know the heavenly Father through the teachings of his Son, Jesus, and also through those who by their example, reflect here on earth the qualities of a father –natural fathers and spiritual fathers.
Reflection: Father Kentenich emphasised often that the order of nature is the order of being. This phrase means that how God made something is the way it should be used. “the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)
A man becomes a father when he is a source of life. There is natural life, spiritual life, and supernatural life. We call Fr Kentenich the father of the Apostolic Schoenstatt Family. Father Kentenich gave supernatural life to the students in the seminary in Schoenstatt through encouraging them to educate themselves to be “firm free priestly characters”.
During his life time as a priest and father of the Schoenstatt Family, Father Kentenich was not only an educator, but for many became a caring, kind and wise father through whom they could receive, and in whom they could see, the fatherly love of God. And he always led them to the Covenant of Love with our Blessed Mother which gave them supernatural life.
Spiritual Preparation: You might like to place yourself spiritually in the Shrine or with your Pilgrim Mother and reflect on how Father Kentenich has been a source of life for you.
Introduction: The Father Symbol in October 2014, is based more on Father Kentenich than on God the Father. You will find the basis for this in the book of Genesis God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. (Genesis 1:26)
This means that in some way we all reflect God.
You can say that in some way we are icons of God. Different icons emphasise different aspects of the relationship the person in the icon mirrors. For example, sometimes you see the hands being out of proportion to the arms and the rest of the body. At other times angels are behind a person protecting them. At other times people are close together expressing a love for God or the love they share for God.
Reflection: You might like to place yourself spiritually in the Shrine or with your Pilgrim Mother and consider what aspect of Fr Kentenich’s life you see as a reflection of God the Father.
In the Shrine Our Mother Thrice Admirable is offering Jesus to those who look at her and her child..... what does this symbolise for you?
“God is Love”
Spiritual Preparation: You might like to place yourself spiritually in the Shrine or with your Pilgrim Mother and reflect on this scripture quote:
“Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love...... We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.” (John 4: 8,16)
Reflection: God reveals his love for us through the wonders of his creation. One of the gifts that Father Kentenich had was being able to see how all these gifts that God has given us in creation – the nature around us – the birds and plants and flowers and animals – our physical gifts – our feelings, thinking and freedom to choose – are all connected.
Father Kentenich used the word ‘organic’ to describe these living connections in creation. He also used the phrase to describe the loving care that God has for all his creation by saying that God does everything: “out of love, through love and for love.”
Dear Heavenly Father, we ask for the grace through the Shrine of growing deeper in our relationship with you and with your Son. As Mary helped Jesus with the work of redemption, we want to serve the Church through our involvement in Schoenstatt. We thank you for giving us Father Kentenich who believed that everything created and all that comes about is part of God’s eternal plan of love for all his creatures and creation.