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Wednesday, October 30, 2013
The Marian Schoenstatt Movement founded by Father Joseph Kentenich marks the 100th anniversary of its founding. The long friendship between Schoenstatt and Focolare as they both strive to promote a path of communion among ecclesial movements
Padre Kentenich

Fr Joseph Kentenich

On October 18, 1914, Father Joseph Kentenich, a German priest who was later imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp, became the protagonist, along with a group of seminarians, of a deep spiritual experience, a Covenant of Love with Mary the Mother of Jesus. This experience occurred in the village of Schoenstatt, Germany at a chapel shrine that is considered the original and is now duplicated in many parts of the world.

On October 28, 2013, the Schoenstatt Movement celebrated the international opening of the Jubilee Year of its birth. More than 3000 members attended celebrations in Germany. The commemoration was also celebrated in other Marian shrines in: Portugal, Paraguay and others.

One session entitled Schoenstatt in dialogue focused on paths for the future while keeping in mind the primary objectives: reviving missionary joy for the evangelisation and bringing the light of the Covenant of Love to the world. Ample space was given for several Movements of various Churches to share the testimonies of their involvement in the Together for Europe network to which Schoenstatt has belonged since the start.

The 1999 visit of Chiara Lubich, Andrea Riccardi and several leaders of the Focolare and Saint Egidio Community was remembered.  On that occasion the two founders, along with Schoenstatt Father Michael Marmann and Sister Doria made a pact in the name of their respective Movements, to love and esteem one another.

Longstanding friendship between Focolare and Schoenstatt. One of the most memorable moments of this friendship was in 2001, in Swizterland when a group of Schoenstatt priests, along with Father Kentenich’s successor, Father Marmann, posed a series of questions to Chiara about one of the main points of the spirituality of communion, Jesus forsaken, and about the “crisis in the ministerial priesthood.” How do we get out of this crisis? “Priests must become better Christians,” Chiara suggested, “because being a Christian means living the Gospel, and because this is how the Holy Spirit works. . . With the Gospel, the Church is revived. It is revived in the laity, in the priests, in the bishops and in the popes. Therefore, the Holy Spirit’s way to emerge from this crisis is to begin living the Gospel authentically and completely.”