On September 27, 2018, Sister Erika-Mária arrived as second sister in Timişoara in Romania. Together with Sister M. Böbe she will help to build the Schoenstatt Movement in Romania. There are so many starting points that it is a real pleasure to work there.
Since October 1, both sisters work in the pastoral work of the Diocese of Timisoara in 70 parishes. Sister M. Böbe is active in the general pastoral work with the following priorities: family pastoral care, adult catechesis, youth work, office hours, so that the adults have the opportunity for personal discussions, etc., and in building the Schoenstatt Movement.
Sister Erika-Mária is employed as a youth representative in the diocese, i.e. in concrete terms, to set up youth groups, train young people as youth leaders, train priests and adult youth workers in parishes, participate in over-diocesan youth meetings in other cities, organize larger youth events and have office hours so that young people have an opportunity for face-to-face discussions. Other tasks include visiting the Hungarian girls in the boarding school of the Gerhardinum once a week to give them a group lesson or prayer times or some creative offers, as well as giving girls the opportunity to have a one-to-one talk. Every week there are meetings– once in Hungarian and once in Romanian– with students. In addition, on every first Sunday of the month there is a youth Mass and on every third Thursday there is a time of adoration designed by youth for the youth. She also works for the development of Schoenstatt Girls’ Youth.
We let Sister M. Böbe and Sister Erika-Mária say a few words about their experiences in their homeland.
“My greatest joy at the moment is the Schoenstatt Family Academy in Romania, which is accompanied by a family in Hungary, a priest and me. For two years, seven families from Romania have visited the Schoenstatt Academy and now in the fall the examinations took place. It’s amazing how deeply the couple grew together during this time. We were able to feel and experience many miracles and the guidance of God for which we can only marvel and thank. Above all, I am very happy the families, who wanted to do something at the beginning only for their married life now feel that they want to continue and help other families to support their married life. We would like to start a new group and the families who were so enthusiastic will help us. ”
“It’s just great to be back home after 14 years in Germany, even though the people of Germany are very close to my heart. Romania has very high expectations of us, but our powers are really too small and our time is very limited. We have so many ideas and yet we also have to keep an eye on the reality in the country. This is not easy for us, because often both parents and young people are in other countries in order to earn money. We also feel that faith is not always in the foreground and people would rather relax than go to church. It is not easy for us to help people to feel deeply at home in their faith. As in many other places in the world, we in Romania must also go new ways for we will not find people in the church, but seek them wherever we have opportunities, be it on the street, on the train, in the streetcar…. But I hope and trust very much that our Heavenly Father and our Queen will help us to succeed.
We are, of course, very pleased that, thanks to the commitment of the bishop and the priests, many religious offerings are taking place in the diocese so that people have the opportunity to draw from the faith in the challenges of their lives. Multilingualism makes our work a bit more difficult, because at events we often have to speak three – Romanian, Hungarian and German – or even more languages, because several nations live together in Timisoara. On the other hand, that enriches us too.
I am very impressed by how our young generation in Romania, which does not have much time or money, likes to run social projects because they want to help the poor and the sick in our diocese.
On Wednesday evening I meet with a Romanian student group called ‘Jubilate’. They really wanted to do big social projects, but we decided together that we will start with small projects. In December, we are organizing a Christmas party for poor children in which the children will also receive gifts. We are currently looking for sponsors. Young people often do not have it easy in our country, but they want to do something GREAT in their lives.
It is important that we do not let the numbers guide us, how many come to our meetings, but rather look forward to everyone coming to us in order to do something for their religious life.
Every week is well filled for us, but I am very happy about it. You can clearly feel that the Blessed Mother and Father Kentenich are working and actively supporting us. We thank the many who pray for us, who accompany us in the background. God needs each one of us. We go along! “