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Family Congress

Family Congress

Schoenstatt - Archdiocese of San Antonio

January 16, 2016



The significance and life implications expressed from the call coming from Pope Francis, the international Schoenstatt leaders and the Texas movement


Representatives of the branches and communities gathered at Mount Schoenstatt to discuss how to go out into the world as a local movement asking ourselves, “What does Schoenstatt want to offer to the Church and society at present?”  We tried to answer this challenging question knowing that Pope Francis is calling the Catholic movements to leave their comfort zone and to go out to the peripheries of society, and that the international leaders of our movement invite us to get out and share our spiritual treasures with everybody, suggesting strongly the idea: “Schoenstatt on the move.”


Additionally, the Texas Schoenstatt Movement proclaimed the annual motto, mentioned above, stating “With Mary, We Go - A New Pentecost for our Times.” But where should we go? In what direction do we want to walk in the time to come?


Here is the result of our inspired deliberations that were shared in prayer, tolerance and respect.



We came to the common conviction that we want with the help and guidance of the Divine Providence --

To lead ourselves and others to a deep and organic encounter with the Living God and with one another in Christ, through the Covenant of Love with Mary, Mother and Educator.


After a lively and proactive discussion, we clarified that everything that we want to achieve in the service to the people and Church has to have the central elements of our spirituality: total confidence in Divine Providence; encounter with God the Father in Christ; family spirit and unity; proclamation of the covenant of love for everyone as the mission of our Founder Joseph Kentenich; Mary from the shrine in her role not only as mother, but as educator as well.


After the vision discussion we tackled the obvious question: How do we want to accomplish it?  The next step was then to express what we are already and positively doing to achieve that vision. The initial result is as follows:





We are aware of our weak points and limitations, but, with the grace of God and Mary, we could state that we are already accomplishing some goals that evidently need more development and immediate improvements.


+          We are offering a “beautiful place” to the people and   pilgrims.

+          We are growing in our welcoming ministry.

+          We are utilizing a more inclusive language and signs.

+          We are improving with our presence in the public life of the Church.

+          We are experiencing an improvement in and an increase in numbers of our liturgical services.

+          We are learning how to share more creatively our specific spiritual treasures: covenant of love, shrine, spirituality, community, and family spirit.

+          We are present in the digital media. We are reachable in this way.

+          We understand that our reaching out is bringing more fruits: recognition, acceptance, inclusion in the local Church because we are suggesting a relevant message for our times.

+          We recognize that all that we do in and from Mount Schoenstatt is an apostolic contribution to the New Evangelization as the mission of the Church.





For everyone present in the Family Congress, it was clear that we have to do more in order to be in accordance with the challenges of our times.  This “to do more” involves spiritual efforts and also short and long term practical initiatives.  The ideas collected regarding this burning topic were these:


Spiritual and educational aspect


*           We need to offer more and better educational activities for men, women, couples, and young people.

*           We need to keep our Liturgies vibrant and attractive.

*           We should find the way to offer more sacramental services like any Marian shrine: masses, confessions, blessings, adorations, holy hours, and day retreats… 

*           We should invite the diocesan priests more to our events and include them in our activities.  We need friendly priests that get rooted in Schoenstatt; otherwise, the movement growth will be impossible.

*           We badly need youth (girls and boys). Without them there is no future.

*           We need more new leaders for our movement.  Let us organize Schoenstatt leadership courses.




Practical and organizational aspect


*           We need to go more into the public life of the local Church.

*           We should improve our communication network. It should be fast, global and efficient.

*           We need to increase our financial support. Lack of money is a heavy limitation.

*           We should improve the signage and lighting all over the grounds.

*           The restrooms demand an urgent improvement, especially the ladies’ restrooms. Why not build more restrooms?

*           A change station for babies is missing.

*           Our center needs now a substantial upgrade in many different aspects.

*           Very important: we should make Mount Schoenstatt friendlier to the handicapped and elderly. We are not being just and welcoming to the brothers and sisters with special needs.  Let us show through upgrades and improvements in this field our love for our neighbor.

*           The essential guardian and sacristan services are key to the life of Mount Schoenstatt. Let us promote them in order to get more devoted and selfless servants.


Dear brothers and sisters in the covenant,


On these few pages I tried to condense a wonderful moment of the Holy Spirit. I believe He was inspiring us.  The Spirit of God united us and gave us the beautiful experience of being co-builders of a new world in Jesus and Mary.


I hope you can read the report on the Family Congress, reflect on it, and share it in your communities and try to answer the question: what am I going to do to keep Schoenstatt on the move!


United in the Cor Unum inited in the Cor Unum I. rses.our movement.  Let us organize Schoenstatt leadership courses.s n Patre Shrine,


Fr. Marcelo Aravena, Coordinator

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