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We Celebrate our Golden Jubilee - Part Four

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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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