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We Celebrate our Golden Jubilee - Part Four

By Pilar Huerta

The decades of the 1970’s and 1980’s brought growth in all the branches of the San Antonio Schoenstatt Family. With gratitude, we continue to recollect the experiences of God’s blessings and our Mother’s loving care as we celebrate 50 years of unity.  In 1970 the first pilgrimage from Texas to the Original Shrine in Schoenstatt, Germany was organized.  Members of our San Antonio family went on the first pilgrimage and on the ones to follow every five years.

Part Four – Our Queen of Unity reigns – new challenges and new blessings

In 1973, the Schoenstatt Family crowned our Mother, Queen of Unity.  The crown our Mother and Queen presented to her children in return was the gift of growth in all the branches.  With the selfless service of the Schoenstatt Sisters and Schoenstatt Fathers, pilgrimages to the Confidentia Shrine were organized.  The members bonded as branch and were open to the opportunities offered for formation.  With the grace they received from the Shrine of Confidence and the fruit of their contributions to the Capital of Grace, the young family grew in unity with one another.  Our Mother drew many of all ages and vocations to her Shrine of Unity.  In 1976, a member of the Family Branch was ordained a deacon.  For the next two decades, Deacon Jesse Ochoa would selflessly serve the Schoenstatt Family.

The 1980’s was a decade of jubilee graces.  In 1985, together with the worldwide Schoenstatt Family, the Texas Family celebrated the Centennial of Fr. Kentenich’s birth with beautiful programs in many dioceses, including San Antonio at St. Lawrence Church and the Shrine of Unity with Archbishop Patricio Flores.  It happened that in this Centennial Celebration the first step in the realization of a replica daughter shrine in our archdiocese occurred.  A united Texas Family gave a Father Eye symbol for the future daughter shrine in San Antonio as gift for the Centennial of our Father and Founder.  The design of the symbol was the same as the Father Eye in the Confidentia Shrine which was a gift from Fr. Kentenich.  We were well represented in the July and September 1985 pilgrimages to Schoenstatt for the International Centennial Celebration.

The end of 1988 brought a challenge.  The sisters assigned at St. Lawrence Parish returned to Lamar and the Shrine of Unity closed on December 18, 1988.  The year 1989 was a difficult time.  The local family did not have the community of the Schoenstatt Sisters, however, Sr. M. Antoinette was attending a local Catholic University and she was a blessing in helping us through the transition.  We did not have a “spiritual home” for 18th Covenant Day devotions and renewal of the Covenant of Love or for visits to our Lord and Blessed Mother for personal prayer.  For many months, the picture of grace of our Mother Thrice Admirable, that was in the Shrine of Unity, visited the homes of members and was present for 18th Devotions in various parishes that gave permission to the Schoenstatt Movement to have a prayer service on the 18th of the month.   

The publication of a newsletter, S. A. Unity Letter, with its first issue in August 1989 was a means for the local family to remain united as we prayed for guidance from God and our Mother.  The first paragraph read:  “This monthly publication will serve as a means of informing our growing San Antonio Schoenstatt Family about projects and activities.  Have you felt the spirit of unity at devotions, committee meetings and other gatherings?  Our Mother Thrice Admirable is helping us to grow in love for one another.  In covenant unity, we are truly becoming ‘one family’.”  The editorial volunteer staff consisted of Julian & Pilar Huerta, editors, Ed & Carol Seurer, printing, Rudy & Elodia Moreno, mailing, Linda Silva, advertising and many volunteers for collating.

At a diocesan general meeting, the San Antonio Family decided to build a temporary wayside shrine of approximately the same square footage as the Shrine of Unity.  Our Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen of Unity, took perfect care.  A local Schoenstatt family offered the use of a residential lot (later purchased by the Movement) for the building of the wayside shrine.  The residential lot was centrally located in the city and was on a street with a special name, Ave Maria Street.  On July 28, 1989, the groundbreaking ceremony took place.  Sister M. Antoinette took shovel in hand and broke ground!  She read a prayer she had composed for the occasion.  After the blessing by Deacon Ochoa, everyone took turns having their picture taken as they took the shovel and broke ground for the special place from where Blessed Mother would work miracles of transformation.  By August 6, the foundation and floor were completed!  Building permits in hand and inspections passed, the labor of love continued every weekend.

Jubilee graces abound!  On October 22, 1989 at the 75th Anniversary of the Covenant of Love Celebration at Lamar, the Schoenstatt Family of San Antonio shared the good news with the Texas Family.  The leaders of the Mothers’ Branch presented the picture of grace from the Unity Shrine on a carpet of 75 yellow roses in a beautiful custom white and gold chariot.  It was impressive!  The leaders of the Family Branch announced the progress in the building of the new wayside shrine.  The four branches of the Schoenstatt Family of San Antonio, sustained by the grace of unity, together donated the materials.  The men of the Family Branch building the shrine as a gift of love to the Blessed Mother were:  Rudy Moreno, Steve Trevino, Julian Huerta, Tom McClellan, the father-son team of David Sanchez, Sr. and Jr. and Manuel Muniz.  Chris Ludolph was the advisor for the project and construction guidance was provided by Mr. Gonzalez.  All the branches supported the project both in prayer and providing food, water and chairs for the workers to rest.  Side by side, a Schoenstatt Family united by the Covenant of Love built the wayside shrine.  Next month’s Blog – Part Five will reveal its name and mission.

Click for photos - www.mountschoenstatt.org/event-gallery

 

© 2019 Pilar Huerta, some rights reserved for entire document, request permission to make copies.

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We Celebrate Our Golden Jubilee, Part Three

By Pilar Huerta

With gratitude, we continue to recollect the experiences of God’s blessings and our Mother’s loving care as we celebrate 50 years.  Today, jubilee graces abound.

Part Three – The crowning of our Queen of Unity

The first crowning of our Mother Thrice Admirable by the San Antonio Schoenstatt Family was held in the Schoenstatt Shrine of Unity in St. Lawrence Parish on Petaluma Street on July 15, 1973.  Our Mother was honored with the title “Queen of Unity”.  The beautiful crown was adorned with the symbol of every group in the branches that had been established by 1973.  Some members of the Schoenstatt Family that were in attendance were:  Jesse & Theresa Ochoa, Hope Falcon, Margaret de La O, Mrs. Sczepanik, Mrs. Balderama, Charles & Margaret Gill, Sister Margret and many others from the four branches active in that year.  The crown was placed on the picture of grace of our Mother Thrice Admirable by Fr. Dieter Haas, the Schoenstatt Father assigned in Texas.

From the sermon by Fr. Dieter Haas we read:  “We come together here to celebrate the coronation of Mary, our Queen.  . . . It is of greatest importance what we are doing here now.  We may even say that what we are doing now is of great importance for San Antonio as well as for the whole world. . . . The crowning today is the center for San Antonio, the church and the world.  We celebrate her already for the day when she will reign.  In many ways the world is on the way to become one.  The communication media tell us of happenings in all parts of the world in a very short time. We crown her as Queen of Unity and ask her to be rooted here as Queen of Unity for the whole world. . . . She helps us recover in our lives the person of Christ. . . . She helps us as Queen of Unity to unite with Him in a deep way.  We believe that in the future Mary will be recognized as Queen of Unity. . . . Let us also invite her to be in the center of our families thus uniting us and keeping us united as family.  She will go forward as a powerful Queen.  She will reign as Queen.  She will be victorious.”

Soon after the crowning of our Mother and Queen, Sr. Margret received a new assignment.  On August 13, 1973, she wrote the Schoenstatt Family of San Antonio a farewell letter with this message:  “Our longing is for unity.  We have crowned her our Queen of Unity.  We know that she will glorify herself in all of us, not only every day but every moment of the day.  She will give us peace, unity in our families and all the love and joy that comes with it and for which we always long.  She will give this to us because she is our Mother, our Queen of Unity, because we crowned her and because we are her children.  As our wonderful Mother and Queen she cannot do it any different.  Even though this will be her free gift to us, she nevertheless expects our NOTHING WITHOUT US.  We also must make efforts toward unity.  What can these efforts look like?

Trying to remain united with Mary during the small and great events of everyday life.  In a letter to Father Kentenich, Joseph Engling gives us a beautiful insight into his heart which was one united with Mary.  But this grace of such a deep union with her was not given him from the start.  His sole endeavor was always to please his heavenly Mother.  And this is also what we can do, trying to love her to please her, to offer her small and big sacrifices, to talk with her during the day, to give her gifts of confidence and surrender.

Being thus united with Mary will make it easier also to preserve our unity with all those with whom we live together.  Yet also here our efforts may not be wanting.  One great obstacle in preserving unity is that I see things only my way.  Once I start seeing things, events, circumstances the other person’s way, it looks quite different.  This is a very essential and natural prerequisite for unity in any community.”

Many of our family members will remember that in recent years Sister spent her retirement at the Confidentia Shrine in Lamar.  We were able to greet her and listen to her greeting to us – always words of encouragement and inspiration.  Sister would carry a tote with little gifts of pamphlets or holy cards to give to us and to our Mother’s visitors to the Shrine.  Our loving Father received Sr. Margret home in March 2017.  I want to share this insight – the picture of grace of our Mother Thrice Admirable in the Cor Unum in Patre Shrine was a gift from Sr. Margret.  It is a high-quality print from Schoenstatt, Germany that she gave to Sr. Corelia Bechold to present to the San Antonio Mothers Branch.  The light frame on the altar with the picture of grace of our Mother Thrice Admirable was the gift offered by the Mothers Branch in 2008 for the Cor Unum in Patre Shrine.  Of course, also, the crown from 1973 is a reminder of Sister Margret, the other Schoenstatt Sisters and the Schoenstatt Fathers that secured a firm foundation for the Schoenstatt Family in the early years – the late 60’s and 70’s.  The Schoenstatt Fathers assigned in Texas in the 1970’s were:  Fr. Locher, Fr. Brugger, Fr. Haas, and Fr. Vega.

May we strive together, in the spirit of cor unum, to enliven the unity which has been our ideal since the founding of our San Antonio Family.  Then we can be assured that the  Triune God and our Mother “Queen of Unity” will bestow the same abundant blessings which we have received for 50 years of our holy history.

Click for photos - www.mountschoenstatt.org/event-gallery

 

 

© 2019 Pilar Huerta, some rights reserved for entire document, request permission to make copies.

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We Celebrate Our Golden Jubilee, Part Two

By Pilar Huerta

The story of the holy history of the Schoenstatt Movement of San Antonio continues.  It is now 1972, three years after the dedication of the Shrine of Unity in St. Lawrence Parish in 1969.  The young Schoenstatt family wants to see more growth in numbers in the branches.  They see growth as the means to realize the deep longing in their hearts for a replica of the Original Shrine.   

Part Two:  The preparation for the crowning

In June 1972, Sr. M. Margret Gruendig took the design for the crown to Schoenstatt for the crown to be made.  In a letter to the Schoenstatt family, she writes:

“ . . . The idea and ideal of unity seems to move farther and farther from us people of today.  In its stead, discord, resentment, strife, hatred and indifference seem to take their place and at times even may seem to get hold of us.  And yet amid all this we have the courage to crown our dear Blessed Mother as Queen of Unity and have the firm belief that she will glorify herself as Queen of Unity with us and everywhere, for what we do in love and faith has immeasurable and far-reaching effects.  The greater our confidence–the greater God’s answer!  . . .

In the October 18, 1972 devotion prayer we read:  ‘As a sign of our unity with each other we have united all our group symbols in this crown and ask you to unite always our hearts deeper in love and our minds in truth.  . . . Bless this crown with the special presence of your love and power and especially make it an instrument of your unity.’  As you visit our homes in this symbol, give to our families your love, peace, happiness and harmony.  Make this unity so strong that no power may ever sever it.”

In 1973, there was a crowning pilgrimage around the city of San Antonio.  There were three cars with Sr. Margret and the following members:  Margaret De la O, John & Star Elizondo, Hope Falcon, Charles & Margaret Gill, Jesse & Theresa Ochoa, David & Ofelia Rodriguez, and David, Sr. & Aida Sanchez.  They drove around Loop 410 which at the time was the city’s outer loop.  In their pilgrimage drive, they prayed the Rosary.  When the pilgrimage began, the crown was with the members in the first car.  As they traveled, they would exit the loop, stop and get out and pass the crown to the next car and then the cars would enter the loop again to continue the pilgrimage around the city.  This was done several times as they continued the drive all around Loop 410.

In the pilgrimage prayer we read: . . . With this crowning pilgrimage we come to you . . . our greatest petition is that you will select a special place here in San Antonio for your Shrine and retreat house.  . . . We thank you for this Shrine . . . but our great desire is a true replica of the Original Shrine here in San Antonio or nearby, together with a house, so that your message may be spread.  . . . Draw us ever closer to your heart, transform and change us with the sweet power of your love and deepen in us the desire to bring your message of love and grace to others.  Do this from this Shrine and even more so from your new Shrine that we hope to build for you in the future.  We want to give you also for your new Shrine already many prayers, sacrifices and conscientious fulfillment of the duties of our state of life, so that when we can offer you the throne you can already dispense favors in abundance.”

In the last sentence of the paragraph above, we see already the laying of the spiritual foundation of the future shrine through contributions to the capital of grace.  This was in 1973 – the new replica of the Original Shrine would be dedicated in 2008, 35 years of prayers, apostolate, service and sacrifices -- both small and great, very great.  Only our loving Father and our Mother Thrice Admirable know the great number and the depth.  But also, only our loving Father and our Mother Thrice Admirable know the effect of the abundant grace of unity that the Schoenstatt family, not only of San Antonio, but of eight dioceses in Texas received.  During these years, we went to the Confidentia Shrine in Lamar for retreats or on pilgrimage.  We became children of confidence – formed and transformed by the special graces of the shrine, receiving the grace of confidence in great measure.  Countless covenants of love were sealed in the Confidentia Shrine over the more than three decades – sustained by grace, we would persevere and would be rewarded by our Mother’s victory.

From a letter of Sr. Margret in June 1973, we read:  “We all know many examples of disunity.  In Schoenstatt, God has given us Mary as our Mother . . . close to her our hearts soften, remain open for God and each other.  From her we learn this complete forgiveness which restores lost peace and confidence.   Our Mother Thrice Admirable unites us also by leading us to the Father.”

I want to repeat the last sentence above:  “Our Mother Thrice Admirable unites us also by leading us to the Father.”  More than 30 years later, these words would be an inspiration during the period of discernment for the name and mission of the new shrine.

 

© 2019 Pilar Huerta, some rights reserved for entire document, request permission to make copies

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We Celebrate Our Golden Jubilee

We celebrate our Golden Jubilee

 

By Pilar Huerta

 

November 23, 2019 will be the 50th Anniversary of the Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement in the Archdiocese of San Antonio.  In gratitude to God, to our Mother Thrice Admirable, and to our father and founder, Fr. Joseph Kentenich, we honor our history and the thread of the Covenant of Love that is woven throughout.

 

Foundation:  The arrival of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary to San Antonio on August 21, 1961.  Four sisters came to teach at St. Lawrence Catholic School:  Sr. Anne Mary, Sr. M. Annerosa, Sr. M. Antoinette, and Sr. M. Renata.  The sisters resided in St. Lawrence Parish on Petaluma Street from August 21, 1961-December 18, 1988, offering 27 years of dedicated service to the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the Schoenstatt Movement. Other Schoenstatt Sisters that also served in San Antonio during the years above, were Sr. M. Margret, Sr. M. Ludhelma, Sr. M. Hildegard, Sr. M. Carmen and Sr. M. Gwendolyn.

 

The first Schoenstatt Father, sent by Fr. Kentenich in 1967 to work in Texas, was Fr. Peter Locher.  He made frequent visits to the Schoenstatt Family in San Antonio during his three-year assignment.

 

On November 23, 1969, the first shrine in San Antonio was dedicated in the parish of St. Lawrence (which was celebrating its 10th anniversary on that day.)  The shrine was built by the loving hands and hearts of the first Schoenstatt members.  In the dedication prayer, we read . . . “But most of all we give you our hearts.  Take and receive them, form and mold them, dear Mother, in the fire of your love.  Burn out of them what burdens and hinders them.  . . . Unite them with your heart . . .”   The original intention (idea) of the shrine was to unite the parish. 

 

On this day of dedication, four couples sealed the covenant of love.  Thus, this date also marks the 50th Anniversary of the Schoenstatt Family League in the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

 

Part One:  The origin of the ideal of unity

“On the first anniversary, November 23, 1970, the shrine is named Schoenstatt Shrine of Unity (the name which the founders have already considered before the shrine was built).  In the anniversary celebration and naming prayer, we read . . . ‘through the history of this your Shrine, you have shown us that in this shrine you would like to dispense in a special way the grace of unity to our time that is so much torn by discord and strife.  Show yourself to us and to all who come here to pray as the Mother of unity, who unites all hearts in the love of her Son.  In union with our father and founder, we ask you, dear Mother, give us that deep and strong faith in the Divine Providence of our heavenly Father that we come to an ever deeper peace and unity with ourselves, with our families, with our neighbor.  Be the Mother of unity who unites the children of this parish to one warm parish family, bound together by the covenant of love with you and each other.’  . . . We include in this covenant especially all members of our parish, but also our city, our country, and all of mankind that they may find back to the deep unity with God that comes through faith.” 

 

The idea of unity of the young Schoenstatt Family was to become its ideal.  With the abundant grace of a loving Father from the shrine, the young Schoenstatt Family made efforts to realize its ideal through its lived covenant of love, many contributions to the capital of grace, and with the education of a beloved thrice admirable Mother and Queen.

 

A special visit, a blessing and a confirmation:

In Spring 1969, the groundbreaking and the offering of the foundation stone for the shrine was held.  At this time, April 1969, it happened that the Father Eye symbol was on international pilgrimage (after the death of Fr. Kentenich on September 15, 1968) and visited in Texas including San Antonio.  Father came to us at the time of the groundbreaking for the Schoenstatt Shrine of Unity in San Antonio -- a true blessing!  Was this a confirmation for a future daughter shrine in our archdiocese?  This writer believed this at the moment of grace of sealing the covenant of love, together with my husband, Julian, in 1988 and believes it today, as is attested by the holy history of the Schoenstatt Family of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. 

 

See photos posted to the gallery - www.mountschoenstatt.org/event-gallery

 

 

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Holy Land Lenten Pilgrimage

Join us in this great experience in the Holy Land, where Sacred Scriptures come alive as we walk the path Jesus walked. Feel the beautiful March weather, admire the inspiring scenery and reflect on God's Word. Come along for this Catholic Holy Land pilgrimage that will enhance your faith to appreciate it even more….

 

Date: March 23-April 2, 2019

Price: $3559.00

Schoenstatt Father Johnson Nellissery, Spiritual Director

 

FOR MORE INFO & BROCHURES CONTACT:

Gina Rollman, St. Paul Parish, Austin

ginarollman65@gmail.com / 512-560-6537

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