By Ann Ayala
On the chilly evening of Monday, October 17, 2022 – the vigil of the celebration of the 108th anniversary of the founding of Schoenstatt – the Bishop of the Diocese of Madison, Rev. Donald Hying and the National Delegate Superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers, Fr. Mark Niehaus celebrated Mass on the grounds of the Founder Shrine in Madison, Wisconsin.
The event was attended by over 100 faithful people. We were honored by the presence of two Schoenstatt Sisters who were present at the dedication of the Founder Shrine 70 years ago (June 20, 1953) – Sr. Annmarie and Sr. Marihedwig.
The liturgy for this special Mass was the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Teacher in the Spirit. The readings were especially appropriate. Isaiah 56:1,6-7 spoke of the salvation about to come and the welcoming of foreigners who would become the servants of God, their prayers and sacrifices acceptable and God’s house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples. Isn’t that a wonderful and hopeful expression of the Schoenstatt Shrine? The Gospel was taken from John 19:25-27. The reading contained the words of Jesus from the cross – “Behold, your mother”.
Bishop Hying’s sermon
Bishop Hying expressed his happiness to celebrate this anniversary of the founding with us. He remembered that the word ‘Schoenstatt’ translates to ‘a beautiful place’ and that Mary was that beautiful place where our Savior took on his flesh.
He spoke about creation and that at the moment of the fall in the Garden of Eden, God prophesized that a woman would crush the head of the serpent. Bishop Hying’s homily emphasized the crucial role Mary occupies in salvation history.
Mary is the “new Eve” who gave her fiat, her yes to God when the original Eve disobeyed God, plunging all mankind into the darkness of sin. The New Eve gave birth to the New Adam – Jesus. Mary’s life was centered around her great love for the Holy Trinity.
Mary is the sinless example for our living. She is God’s masterpiece, the first and best disciple. We too are called to give birth to Christ in our world, to make Him manifest to others, to live a Trinitarian life as a child of the Father purchased by the blood of Jesus and temples of the Holy Spirit.
Procession to the Founder Shrine
Following the Mass, a procession to the Founder Shrine was led by an altar server carrying the crucifix, others carrying flags of Schoenstatt and the Vatican, followed by Bishop Hying with Fr. Mark and with the faithful walking behind. The pews were removed to make more room in the shrine. Fr. Mark proclaimed the new motto for Schoenstatt in the Diocese of Madison –
Arise! Lift Up Your Hearts! Behold Your Mother! In Latin = Surge! Sursum Corda! Ecce Mater Tua!
Arise! Lift Up Your Hearts! Behold Your Mother! He gave the following description:
Arise: Get up! Get moving! Have courage! In the Gospel, Jesus told those he healed to arise, take up your mat and walk, your faith has saved you. We need to get up and bring healing and hope to a hurting world.
Lift Up Your Hearts: Words said by the priest at every Mass after the offering. Rise above your circumstances and set your sights on heaven. God is Love. Give Him your heart.
Behold Your Mother: The words of Jesus from the Cross. He gave His mother to us. It is up to us to give her to others. In Schoenstatt, we can bring her to others through the Apostolate of the Pilgrim Mother and by bringing others to the Shrine, her throne of grace in Schoenstatt. We can come here to encounter her, to behold her anytime. We are truly blessed!
We thank the Holy Spirit and the Mother Thrice Admirable for providing the inspiration of the motto!
ARISE! LIFT UP YOUR HEARTS! BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER!
Fr. Mark then led the Covenant Renewal followed by the singing of My Queen, My Mother. The Diocesan Representative of the Schoenstatt Family in the Diocese of Madison, Ann Ayala, spoke to Bishop Hying, speaking for everyone as she pledged support for the Bishop and his initiatives as well as offering the graces from the Shrine.
Sr. Isabel Bracero expressed Schoenstatt’s willingness to work with the Bishop for the growth of faith and formation in the diocese using the tools Schoenstatt possesses, most especially practical faith in divine providence. We try to do what the Blessed Mother did – to listen to God, interpret God’s will and to respond to it. She thanked Fr. Niehaus and Bishop Hying for their presence. Sr. Isabel asked that the Blessed Mother continue to bless us through Bishop Hying.
Barb Brochtrup gave gifts to Fr. Mark and Bishop Hying and assured them of our continued prayers and support.
Fr. Mark invited everyone to come to the Family room for refreshments and fellowship. Connie Mota and the people of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Apostolate helped set up, prepare the snack, and clean up. One also donated time and resources for cleaning up the yard and putting mulch and mum plants around. They also put spotlights on the shrine. The evening was enjoyed by all especially our Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen, and Victress of Schoenstatt in her Founder Shrine!