Every year members of the Schoenstatt Movement come together for the annual October Weekend. We review the past year and prepare ourselves for the coming year! You may ask, don’t we usually do things like this at the end of December as we move into a new year? That’s true; however October, being the founding month of Schoenstatt, is an ideal opportunity to gather, to reflect, celebrate and renew! In Cape Town the Schoenstatt members gathered together from 4th-6th October in Schoenstatt, Constantia. During the course of the weekend Father Michael Hagan who, though residing in Germany, came to give us an insight into the current trends in the International Movement and Church. Over the next few days a summary of his talks and the workshops will be posted!
Opening of the weekend
Let’s begin at day one, Friday 4th October! On arriving at Schoenstatt it was wonderful to see a car-park full of vehicles. Despite the challenges of venturing out at night, there was a good turnout for the opening evening. What could be more appropriate than Holy Mass to open a ‘Catholic’ Weekend? Father Michael Hagan was the main celebrant. It was the Feast of St. Francis and the anniversary of Josef Engling’s death. In his Sermon, while referring to St Francis’ charism to live poverty, Father Michael focussed on the CHARISM of our FOUNDER, Father Joseph Kentenich. The following summary of his thoughts was put together by Sr. M. Connie:
Summary of the sermon
All founders (and foundresses) embody a special mission [charism] for a particular time. St. Francis found himself in a situation of wealth and embraced poverty as an answer to the needs of the time. A charism is a ‘ray of Christ’ made present through that founder (or foundress). When we consider our founder’s unique charism, it may be summed up as the gift of a covenant relationship, a ‘relational paradigm’, a network of relationships, that is, attachments to those around us; family, other members; Our Lady, the Triune God.
A charism is a gift given for a purpose – it grows out of a context! We cannot understand Schoenstatt without understanding the person of Father Kentenich. In those early years preceding Schoenstatt’s foundation, it was clear to our founder, also from his own life experiences, that faith and life were not being integrated. In 1912-1914 the rebellion of the boys in the minor seminary reflected the signs of that time. Religion was an outer form with very little inner connection. Natural and supernatural attachments were lacking. Father Kentenich spoke to priests in 1952 in Brazil about this lack of human bonding. The Marian person is that new person who is bonded in a network of God-pleasing relationships. Our situation today reflects this lack of genuine bonds when we think of how people are connected through the internet, social media and yet do not have the capacity to develop lasting genuine relationships.
As a family coming together
We ended the evening, as usual, with a social gathering. We are grateful to those who brought a plentiful supply of cakes and other goodies for the Weekend. Equally important to the input that we were receiving were these moments of informal conversation; sharing everyday events and the experiences of spiritual help we receive which give us the courage to continue. We know we are not alone, but are a large family spiritually united in the covenant of love. After all had been tidied up, the cups washed and reset for the following day, we went our different ways with a sense of anticipation for what was to come.