May 31, 2019

Perhaps It Will Spark!

from Sr. M. Aenn Fischer and Sr. M. Anna Rosa Nguyen

Shrine festival in Nittenau
on 28 April 2019

– a family experience –

“Perhaps it will spark!” This was the motto of this year’s shrine festival at the Schoenstatt Center Nittenau.  Despite the “April weather,” the Schoenstatt Family of the Diocese of Regensburg arrived at the center late in the morning of April 28th to celebrate the great feast of the shrine.

Under the motto “Perhaps it will spark!” the members gave each other real joy, family experiences and lively togetherness and fellowship.

Already the day before many girls, young women and young men came to help and to create the atmosphere for the celebration. Tents were erected, the technical equipment was set up, the games were put together, the lecture hall was decorated with many sparks and flames, small gifts were prepared. There was also a joint choir rehearsal for the festive Mass.

 The spark comes HERE to a fire!

Because of the heavy rain on Sunday morning we had hardly expected so many families to come to us. We really felt: “Maybe the spark is here!”

The program began with the festive Mass near the shrine. The Shrine and the altar which was outside were decorated with flowers.

The Mass was musically framed and arranged by the MJF and SMJ in a lively and fiery way. This gave youthful life to all participants. And the April weather did not disturb at all.

In his sermon, Diocesan Priest Johann Babel spoke about the motto of the day. Married couples sometimes tell him when there was a “spark” between them.

“If today we transfer this human level to the story of love and the way with God, with the Blessed Mother Mary, then we can probably make a point in our own lives where I was allowed to feel: Someone is looking at me in the Shrine; Mary is not letting me out of her sight; I can’t get away from her; I return again and again and can feel a great affection and appreciation. HERE – and many can experience this again and again – I feel attracted. There it sparked!

Then he continued: “Whoever sets out again and again on his way here, whoever holds even the slightest spark in the wind of the Holy Spirit, may again go with fire to what he is called to do in this ‘apostolic time’, to everyday life. Where are our fields of work for this? Where I am asked to give my testimony as a Christian and where I do not repeat everything that the spirit of the times babbles. When stamina is required and fire can soften some army tanks…

Today, when you go home, you should have the certainty again that God has nourished the spark again for you to the fire in this year of the apostleship. HERE in the Shrine the Blessed Mother looks at you personally. From HERE I am again sent and called to accept my mission and to live it”.

With his moving, practical, stirring sermon, Father Johann Babel not only met the participants, but also heaven, so that later in the afternoon we were able to experience wonderful sunshine and a wonderful blue Bavarian sky.

Try together: Maybe it will give a spark!

After the welcoming program there was a colorful afternoon for the guests with different offers in the Father Kentenich House. The brass band from Nittenau gave a concert during lunch.  There were many possibilities to play.

For each offer there was a theme: for example
“When we trust someone greater.”
“When we see each other as great.”
“When we are allowed to be children.”
“When we learn to enjoy life.”
“If one goes ahead.”
“When we become creative.”

First there was a polonaise for the outdoor program. Then followed the performance (theatre combined with a PowerPoint presentation) of the Girls’ Youth. It was about the fact that God accompanies us in everyday life, even when we think we are left alone. It needs attention in order to perceive God’s nearness in his signs – attention in order to feel when there are sparks.

In the concluding song the young people sang:
“I was alone myself among a thousand friends.
True happiness was only in my dreams.
But now I see you. Light finally falls into my night!
Only with you at my side does every day begin anew.
I know that I cannot find the way to happiness alone…”

In the Shrine, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed throughout the afternoon as an invitation to personal prayer.

The priests were also able to bless the people personally.

The film “One must go ahead” was shown in the lecture hall.

In addition to various games, children’s face-painting and candle making were offered.

An evening praise with the request for the Holy Spirit – combined with a praise of Mary and the renewal of the Covenant of Love – finally formed the conclusion of the celebration.

It was a very beautiful, successful chapel festival. This feast made it clear that a good family spirit, community spirit is important for everyone. It invited us to give each other sparks in our daily lives, to see each other as great and to encourage each other.

Apostle time! Maybe it’s sparking! 

After this beautiful and family day of grace with joy, with large and small contributions, we have every reason to thank God and the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt in the Shrine.

At the end, all participants received a matchbox with the motto “Perhaps it sparks”.

With the song of the MJF we let the celebration end in us:
“The longing for more begins in the small.
Discover in the Shrine what the meaning can be.
Understanding through your gaze,
what we are called to do.
High, higher, highest, love begins.”