Missionary spirit and alliance with Mary, the mother of Jesus, are the two tenets of the spirituality of the Schönstatt Family, a Catholic movement formed in Germany a 100 years ago. And on the occasion of the 100th year of its foundation (October 1914), Pope Francis received in audience 7,500 representatives of the Movement last 25 October. There were dialogues, and testimonials, and the word of Pope Francis focused on the family, stressing the the existential peripheries, a theme he holds dear, , but also the missionary spirit, and renewal of hearts to open out to the culture of encounter.
Various ecclesiastical movements also participated in the event, among which was the Focolari President, Maria Voce,, and Co-President, Jesús Morán. “The last act the Pope did was to send all out on a mission, saying: I send you out, not in my name but in the name of Jesus, and the entire Church. Over 7,000people, how marvelous it is to see people like you going out into the world to bring Jesus,” Maria Voce exclaimed on returning from the audience.
«Upon greeting the group’s world leader, Fr. Heinrich Walter, I thanked him and told him that we too form part of the “Alliance” (a pact which is their typical feature, and which they make with Our Lady). I could feel a deep oneness. This true relationship is a concrete gift of God! It is one of the many lovely things that are in the Church and humanity. It was like an invitation from Jesus to have a big heart in acknowledging all His gifts, an invitation to join forces to strengthen our commitment which involves all of humanity.”
In the Centre of the Focolari Movement dedicated to relations with ecclesiastical movements and relations, there is a picture, of the “three times admirable Madonna.” It represents and testifies to an important moment: the start of a tale of unity.
On the back of the picture is a prayer to Mary who has always been present from the start in the work of Fr Kentenich, and which well represents all the charisms in the Church, that entrust themselves to the friendship and communion of Movements as the first step towards universal brotherhood. Chiara Lubich’s signature is among the signatures.
This happened in 1999, a year before the Pentecost of 1998: the historic world meeting of the Movements and new Communities with John Paul II, and which marked the start of a new season for the various ecclesiastic realities born from the charisms and consisting in reciprocal acquaintance and esteem.
Since 1999 the Focolare Movement’s relationship with Schönstatt has progressed, and even extends throughout the world. And everywhere cooperation was established at various levels, paying special attention to the expectations of humanity, the world of employment, battles against poverty, initiatives for Europe, the family and other sectors of society.
Our best wishes to the Apostolic Movement of Schönstatt for these first hundred years: a long time, a long testimonial of life and faithfulness to the charism that God endowed P. Kentenich with and that has spread and borne so much fruit the world over.