May 29, 2019

Europe’s Soul Burns – Flames of a New Beginning

from Sister Mariett Heuking

Solemn May Opening in Schoenstatt-Au Borken

We Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary had invited people to join us in opening the month of May in the Schoenstatt-Au Borken. We were presented with a joyful and profound experience.

It was a joyful evening! The spontaneous impression of a pilgrim can only be confirmed by an equally moved woman: “This was a real feast of faith! How beautiful it is to be able to celebrate faith with so many!” The celebration on the eve of May, the month of Mary, in the midst of the current crises of the Church and the world, becomes a truly joyful message, a wake-up call for a new beginning, a testimony of a living community of faith.

Joy that can change a climate

When Auxiliary Bishop Lohmann enters the church with priests, deacon and a large group of altar servers and opens the celebration, the joy is written in his face, a joy that a climate of oppressive fears of the future can silently be changed and transformed into an atmosphere of joyful Christian living.

And a completely different evening, that of the horror of the burning Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, had given the impetus for the theme of this celebration: Europe’s soul is on fire!

Not only is the famous building in the capital of France, but also the Christian soul of Europe is burnt out.

In his fiery sermon, Auxiliary Bishop Lohmann makes it clear that Europe is not a union of economic ideas, where money is concerned, influence, power, in order to hold what has become important to you. Anyone who sees it that way has understood nothing about Europe. For us as Christians it is a matter of carrying a Europe in our own hearts and writing it on our flags, as the twelve golden stars on the blue European flag express it: as a community of Christian values; as a community of believers who, like the apostles, gather around Mary full of longing and trust and pray with her for the flames of the Holy Spirit, for the flames of a new beginning for a Christian Europe.

For a Christian Europe

 Thanks are due to the Emmaus Choir with its instrumentalists and the organist for their rousing singing and music.

The fact that this evening is particularly about a Christian future for Europe is made unmistakably clear by Linus at the head of the banner bearers. In his hands he holds a whole bundle of small national flags of the  European countries, followed by the European flag and Schoenstatt banners. During the procession of lights to the Schoenstatt Shrine, they are an eloquent sign of praying and singing together for a good European choice; for responsible women and men who are bringing the Christian heritage of Europe to light and seeking to evaluate it for a contemporary policy.

A group of the Borken Brass Band also in their jubilee year does not let it be missed to make the familiar Marian songs resound and touch the hearts: “Mary, Queen of Europe, show that you are a mother where need is greatest …”.

Over 80 Shrines on the European Continent

Yes, we all have confidence in her, the Blessed Mother of Schoenstatt, who now lives in more than 80 Schoenstatt Shrines on the European continent and distributes many gifts and graces. Bishop Lohmann turns to her when he expresses his conviction: “You, Mary, call us to reignite the people and nations of Europe with the fire of divine love, with HIS flames that purify and cleanse, defeat the ungodly and renew hearts from within…”. We gladly and wholeheartedly place ourselves at the disposal of the Queen of May for this task: to ask for a new beginning of Christian life in Europe and to take small steps towards it in each concrete living space.

When the wind players intonate the Te Deum and put the whole festive assembly in tune with it, it may have happened to some in the same way as a woman describes it: “I just want to say thank you for the wonderful arrangement last night. The May procession simply did me good with the beautiful and appealing Mass, the choir and the subsequent procession.”

And this reaction comes from guests who are currently in the Schoenstatt-Au from the eastern federal states: “I have never experienced such a beautiful May opening. Thank you for this wonderful evening!

We Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary would like to express this gratitude to all those who have volunteered for various ministries, whether in the foreground or in the background! Thank you very much and a sincere ‘God reward you’ for even the smallest ministry!

May everything be fruitful for a good European election and for a Christian future for Europe!

Photos: Andreas Mäsing