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Girls Youth Summer Camp - A Schoenstatt Adventure

To tell the truth, we were 95% excited and 5% nervous as our family drove into the parking lot of the Schoenstatt grounds. Nevertheless, as soon as we saw the beautiful ocean view on the grounds, the familiar Schoenstatt shrine with a Holy Door of Mercy, and a smiling sister who gave us directions, our nervousness subsided. Our family was warmly greeted by Sister Sandra, the sister directing the retreat, Sister Alejandra, who was assisting Sister Sandra, and the young adult volunteers. We were shown to our room, which we were to share with three other girls. We had the typical butterflies one has on their first overnight retreat, but the courtesy of the sisters and volunteers and the friendly manner of other girls who had been to several previous Schoenstatt retreats made us feel welcome.

There were so many wonderful and memorable things about the Schoenstatt Retreat; we hardly know where to begin! First of all, the Schoenstatt sisters were so kind. They were always smiling with a contagious joy as they conducted a retreat activity or served the food at mealtime. The food, by the way, was so delicious, and there was dessert for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day! Back to the subject, the Schoenstatt sisters emphasized the importance of the virtues, especially cleanliness. The girls were instructed to always keep their rooms tidy; furthermore, a cleaning fairy would leave a surprise gift for those with the cleanest room and neatest bed. We had never been so careful in making our bed before, but our effort was delightfully rewarded. The sisters also allowed the girls to practice service. After every meal, some girls were assigned for dish duty and helped the sisters wash the dishes and clean up. Do not worry; there were different girls assigned for dish duty after every meal, so nearly every girl had their turn. The sisters also had “lights out” at around ten o’clock or ten thirty each night, turning off all the lights and instructing the girls to go to sleep.

The entire Schoenstatt retreat was faith-centered. We had morning and evening prayer in the Schoenstatt shrine every day, and there were confessions for anyone who wished to go. The priest celebrated Sunday Mass in the Schoenstatt shrine for all the girls, and we had all practiced the songs we sung during Mass at the retreat. The retreat was also very well-planned. The Schoenstatt Spring Break Retreat was in March, but the volunteers had been preparing for it since January! The activities were all set up in advance around the Schoenstatt grounds and were well-coordinated. When we first arrived at the retreat, there were hand-made name tags that the young adult volunteers made for all the girls. They were especially helpful in learning everyone’s name, as there were about 45 girls at the Spring Break Retreat! Even the meal prayers were specially planned, each one sung to the tune of a popular song in addition to the regular grace said before meals. Needless to say, the Schoenstatt retreat was so much fun! The first night of the retreat, the sisters showed all the girls a movie, and the retreat activities were based on that movie. All the games we played were fun and involved all the girls, so no one felt excluded. All through the retreat, the games and activities encouraged us to build new friendships. After the retreat, everyone wanted to get the phone number or mailing address of a new friend to keep in touch. The Schoenstatt Spring Break Retreat was fun and faith-centered, but most importantly, it gave us the opportunity to do a work of mercy.

Near the end of the retreat, the Sisters presented all the girls with a surprise gift: a box of shampoos, conditioners, bath gels, lotions, and bar soaps for everyone to choose from. The hygienic items had been given to the Sisters, and the girls were allowed to take as many as they wanted. We remembered that about a month earlier, a lady who worked at shelters had come to talk at a day retreat we attended. She had talked about how there was so much need at the shelters for donations. She also mentioned that toiletry items were one of the things they needed most. Suddenly, from the retreat had blossomed an opportunity to perform a work of mercy. After we explained our idea to make toiletry packets to Sister Alejandra, she generously allowed us to take home the box of leftover hygienic items. Using the gifts from the Schoenstatt sisters, our family set out to make toiletry packets for the people at the shelters.

To assemble the toiletry packets, we put a shampoo, conditioner, and bar soap into a goodie bag, sealing it off with a silver tie. We were able to produce attractive, fancy-looking toiletry packets by matching hygienic items of the same brand, or different brands that complemented each other. Not only was it fun to turn such simple things into rewarding gifts, but it was also hopeful. It might seem silly to think that hope can lie in hygienic products, but it can. By giving people the means of keeping themselves clean, their self-dignity is restored; they feel better about themselves. Furthermore, people’s lives are touched. They know that they are not alone in their struggles, and that there are people out there who care about them. This can give them a brighter view of the future. Hope is something that must never be lost. It is our prayer that these toiletry packets will help strengthen or restore it.

Moreover, it is especially fitting that we were able to perform this act of mercy during this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. During this special year, Pope Francis has called the faithful to perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We are so glad that we were given the opportunity to be merciful to others. The retreat was like the fertilizer: it was where we were given the materials. From there, out sprouted a sapling of mercy.

We are very thankful to the Schoenstatt Sisters for such a wonderful retreat. It was well-planned, faith-filled, and lots of fun! We are so glad we were able to attend. We would also like to say a special thank-you for the hygienic items; these allowed us to reach out to others through a work of mercy. We encourage any girls who have not been to a Schoenstatt retreat to go. It is a beautiful and memorable experience.  We truly benefited from the Spring Break Retreat and cannot wait until our next Schoenstatt adventure!

 

JMJ

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May Crowning - "Queen of Merciful Hearts"

Our Mother and Queen was honored with the title “Queen of Merciful Hearts” when she was offered her beautiful crown filled with hearts with the names of her loving children. 

The coronation was held at the two covenant Masses, the May 15 Third Sunday Covenant Mass, celebrated by Fr. Hector Vega and the May 18 Covenant Day Mass celebrated by Fr. Patricio Rodriguez.  Arnie & Sonia Salinas felt very blessed to have the privilege of offering the crown in the Mass on May 15.  Lisa Perez had the honor and privilege of offering the crown to our Queen in the Mass on May 18.

                                                                                               

I am sharing an excerpt from a reflection by Cardinal Wuerl that helps us to understand that Marian feasts, devotions and traditions are celebrations of Jesus Christ.  Through them we learn how to stay close to him in prayer and through the practice of charity, with confidence that our prayers will be answered.

 

Pilar Huerta, Family Federation

Communications Editor

 

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It has been a tradition of the Schoenstatt Family of San Antonio to crown Blessed Mother each year during the month of May which honors Mary.  The first crowning was in 1973, when she was crowned with the title “Queen of Unity”.  We crown Mary to acknowledge her Queenship as Queen of Heaven and Earth:  on her Assumption, Mary our Mother was solemnly crowned by Christ.  In the fifth glorious mystery of the Rosary – The Coronation, we pray:  You reign now in heaven as Queen and dwell in bliss with the Triune God.  With your Son you govern the world:  He has chosen you to be its Mother.  [Heavenwards, p.100]  The final prayer of the Rosary begins with the greeting:  Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy…

On October 11 of the Marian Year 1954, Pope Pius XII proclaimed Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth and instituted the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, which the Church celebrates today on August 22.

Pilar Huerta, Family Federation

Communications Editor

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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.

VISION

 

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:

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Our CCD classes will be starting again on August 31, 2015 at the St. Lawerence Church. I plan to share the Love that Father Kentenich, had for our Blessed Mother and how it's so vital to spend time with our Schoenstatt family. The agenda is I will be visiting 3 classrooms, for 15 minutes each and will share pictures and prayers from Father Kentenich Novena. I am very excited about sharing the graces with our young children.

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The Second Milestone in the History of the Schoenstatt Movement

The Second Milestone in the History of the Schoenstatt Movement

 

Every January the Schoenstatt Family commemorates and gives thanks for the second milestone in our history, January 20, 1942.  It was an act of simple trust in divine Providence; it was an act of standing in divine confidence and a battle for “inner” freedom.  It was an act so significant it is referred to as the “axis” of our Schoenstatt history.  One of the fruits of this milestone is the founding of the Schoenstatt Family Work which is of personal significance to me as I have been blessed to belong to the family branch of Schoenstatt, together with my husband, for over 30 years.   I hope the sermon below explains the importance of this date in our history and for all the Schoenstatt Family that it will help us to live the spirit of January 20th in our lives.

Pilar Huerta, Family Federation

Our father and his decision of 20 January 1942

[Excerpt from a sermon on 20 January 2006 in the Adoration Church in Schoenstatt by Mons. Dr. Peter Wolf]

 Dear Schoenstatt Family,

 You only need to mention some dates and a whole people or generation knows what is meant.  If you mention the date 11 September today, you can be certain that everyone will connect with it the terrible events of the terror attack on the USA.  … You only need to mention 11 September and the whole cosmos of experiences will have been conjured up.

Something similar happens with the 20 January for our Schoenstatt Family.  This date, or the 18 October or 31 May, stand for a whole world of experiences and connected realities in the history of our Movement.  What has brought us together this evening is the decision and fullness of life connected with the 20 January 1942 in our father’s life and our Schoenstatt Family.  Just one day prior to it, it was still completely unclear whether there would be a 20 January with its decision and significance as we know it today.

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The celebration of the Texas Schoenstatt Family on July 12, 2014 commemorated the arrival of the founder, Father Joseph Kentenich, to the city of Corpus Christi, Texas in 1948.  For article and photos:  www.schoenstatt.org/en/news/2041/262/Commemorating In this second part we will follow our founder’s footsteps on our Texas soil in his mid-June 1948 visit in Corpus Christi.

Father Kentenich’s visit to Corpus Christi

Father Kentenich, accompanied by Father Wilwers, flew from Milwaukee to Arkansas to meet with Abbot Paul Nahlen (1882-1957) at the New Subiaco Abbey in Subiaco, Arkansas.   Abbot Nahlen had invited and arranged the trip for Father Kentenich’s visit to Arkansas and Texas.  In 1947, Abbot Nahlen had discovered the Schoenstatt Sisters in Germany and was interested in them coming to help his friend, Emmanuel Ledvina, bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi.  The bishop himself was very interested in having the sisters come to his diocese.  Father Kentenich, Father Wilwers and Abbot Nahlen made the long road trip from Arkansas to Corpus Christi, Texas.

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 “Living Our Covenant Mission in Today’s Modern World”

Today’s fast-paced world places many demands on our lives and the lives of our families.  With personal communication shifting to the internet and the recent social media explosion, how do we continue to be Mary’s instruments in spreading God’s word and living our covenant mission?

Please join us for a day of reflection on Saturday, July 26, 2014 from 1:00 pm - 5:30 pm with registration beginning at 12:30 pm -- Mount Schoenstatt, 17071 Low Road in Helotes, TX.  The fee is $12 per couple (lunch included).  The presenter is Fr. Marcelo Aravena.  Holy Mass will be at 4:30 pm. 

 

 

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