June 21, 2022

Now is the Time to Celebrate a Feast!

Sister M.Tatjana Seeboth

„Lot uis es kieken, wat hier löpp!“

“Let’s see what’s going on here!”

The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Church of the Annunciation at Schoenstatt-Meadows, Borken, Germany

It is 6:00 pm on a very ordinary Tuesday. The Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary have been invited to a pontifical Mass to close the month of May. In addition, the golden jubilee of the consecration of the church is to be celebrated on this day.

Will anyone come? Shortly after 5:00 pm the first guests to the liturgy arrive in order to secure a good place. This is the first large celebration in two years because some things had to be canceled due to the coronavirus. The guests are grateful that they may come and soon even the extra rows of chairs are occupied.

Auxiliary Bishop Dr. Christoph Hegge of Munster is the presider. Pastor Andreas Hageman, the diocesan president of the Schoenstatt family of Munster, and Deacon Klau Tebruegge from Bocholt, who likewise belongs to the Schoenstatt Movement, process with the bishop in the solemn liturgy. Banner carriers and altar servers precede them. Members of the Borken Brass Orchestra, the organist Stefan Lemanski, and a small choir of sisters contribute to the festive arrangement.

“Now is the time to celebrate a feast!”

states the introduction, because it is time to praise God and to thank him for the golden jubilee of the church and for 31 blessed days of May.

In her words of welcome, Sister Marisa Spickers, provincial superior, created a bridge to the event 50 years ago. On July 1, 1972, the newly built Church of the Annunciation was consecrated by Bishop Heinrich Tenhumberg, at that time, Bishop of the Diocese of Munster and president of the General Presidium of the Schoenstatt Work. He interpreted the event and said that we experience “this place of worship as an uplifted sign of God’s abiding presence among us.” And to everyone present the bishop said : “His special presence in this world becomes visible in the witness of Christians, in their word and deed.”

In the past 50 years we have experienced the reality of these words. Thus Sister Marisa spoke:

“Schoenstatt-Meadows, with its shrine, has become a center for training, reflection, and renewal, both for adults and young people. From here, together with the Schoenstatt Movement, we are allowed to give many spiritual impulses to our surroundings. Today these impulses are more important than ever and the Blessed Virgin Mary is active from the Schoenstatt shrine as mother and educator. At the present time, we are experiencing her effectiveness strongly in all the worries and afflictions that people have, especially also for peace in Europe and the whole world.”

“Behold, I make all things new.”

In his homily Auxiliary Bishop Hegge referred to the reading from the liturgy for the consecration of a church which speaks of God dwelling among people.

Literally, the auxiliary bishop said: “What is alive here at Schoenstatt-Meadows is precisely this tent, this continuous contact with the God who dwells in our midst, truly, with the God who is among us, with the living Christ who makes all things new.”

In view of our current time, he became very concrete: “This is the great challenge facing the Church and local Church proceeding into the future. ‘Behold, I make all things new!’ Can God do this with us, as he did with the Blessed Virgin Mary?” so asked Auxiliary Bishop Hegge and continued: “Christians whose hearts are on fire know no expiration date, they remain eternally young in spirit, in love, in joy and in inner peace, and in their surroundings they generate an atmosphere of loving togetherness, a togetherness in which the higher quality of life of Christian togetherness can be felt and experienced… Like the Blessed Virgin Mary, look very attentively, and seek God‘s dwelling. Let God act, let God make everything new, let God make everything different, because nothing is impossible for God. This is the invitation that comes from Our Lady today, which we can take with us beyond the month of May, which we can take with us beyond this jubilee…”

This is also right away quite practical. At the conclusion of this solemn Mass everyone went in procession to the Schoenstatt shrine. With roses, our gratitude and our petitions were brought to the Mother of God and the covenant of love with her was renewed. Accompanied by the wind instruments, gratitude resounded from the heart: “Holy God, we praise thy name…”

Encounter and exchange

All of the guests were invited to a social gathering with refreshments. A picture display showed the history of the construction, the blessing of the cornerstone, and the consecration of the church. The people looked at the pictures with astonishment and exchanged ideas. Also, witnesses came forward who experienced the construction and were present at the consecration.

„Lot uis es kieken, wat hier löpp!“

This phrase in Munster dialect means something like: “Let’s see what’s going on here!”

This request was given to a then young girl by her mother who had seen on television that something was happening in Schoenstatt-Meadows. They came to the consecration and “stayed.” And so the woman enthusiastically said that she didn’t want to miss the jubilee, either. In these 50 years, she has attended Holy Mass and other events in the Church of the Annunciation countless times. She is not the only one who, when departing, said “We’ll be there for the hundreth, too!”