International Schoenstatt Center in Rome
A forty-year-old promise has finally been kept.
In the city of the Popes, the promised Schoenstatt Shrine takes shape.
An almost forgotten site is still there a "Land of the Father."
On a freezing winter day in the presence of a few people the foundation stone was laid.
In the bright Roman sunshine a few months later, thousands from all over the world celebrated the consecration and blessing. It is for them, "the Shrine of all of us."
A place comes into being round the shrine on which the vision of a new church form is taken on.
A church according to the heart of Pope Francis.
The International Schoenstatt Centre Belmonte in Rome is the gift of the worldwide Schoenstatt movement to its founder. It is the local realization of their love for the Church, which was so central to Father Kentenich that he had written as an inscription on his grave: Dilexit Ecclesiam (He loved the church).
Belmonte stands for a place for a new picture of church, a fraternal, spiritually based, poor, going on pilgrimage and missionary church that Father Kentenich wanted to help build through Schoenstatt - a Church, as Pope Francis in his words and gestures forms, and whose contours are already becoming visible.
The Joy of the Gospel
This new church lets people rediscover the joy of the gospel. It is church which is mother, Shepherdess and home. It is a church that goes out to the people on the peripheries of society. A church that is characterized by mercy and motherly outstretched arms. It is a church which is Marian.
Belmonte stands for the energetic willingness to be a co-builder of his vision. Belmonte offers from the Charisma of Fr Kentenich in the era of Francis a place of grace for him and the church, which experiences a new Pentecost. It is that Pentecost for which the II. Vatican Council opened doors and windows.
Horizons of a Renewed Church
Father Joseph Kentenich with the blessing of the foundation stone for the shrine in Rome outlined his vision of a renewed Church totally in the spirit of Second Vatican Council.
- "It is a church that, on the one hand, is profoundly and wholeheartedly bound to tradition, although, on the other hand, it is extremely free, it is detached from rigid traditional forms.."
- "It is a church that is profoundly united in a fraternal sense, while at the same time being hierarchally governed and directed in a truly fatherly way. ."
- "It is a church that has the mission to become the soul of our present day future culture and world."
- The new church will be a Marian Church. Mary is "model and Mother of the Church".
- Later, in a talk on the church’s image after the Second Vatican Council on 2 February 1966, Fr Kentenich added to the characterization of the renewed church. It is important to him that it was "a poor church", "which more and more removed itself from the usual pomp" and is a "friend of the poor and not constantly in a state begging for goodwill and satisfaction".
- A church that does not rely on wealth and political power will be in a whole new way open to the action of the Spirit. So he points to "a church that is governed through and through by the Holy Spirit".
- Finally, he describes the ideal of a "humble church that professes itself as guilty and has the courage to ask for forgiveness".
The offer to be a co-builder of this vision is the available to the generation of Schoenstatt, which is at the beginning of the second century of its history.
This is now.
What the title of the Shrine means
On the evening of the consecration Monsignor Dr. Peter Wolf said: "It really has become the shrine of all of us." And it remains the shrine of all of us.
The pilgrims bought jugs to the consecration. For many it was not easy to bring these jugs to the consecration. The jugs were filled with offerings from their shrines. There was a current flowing back from the jugs. It is a shrine overflowing with love for the Church.
It means more than a few colourful flags. It menas a Covenant of continents, mentalities, nations, languages, taking and giving, awe and thanksgiving. No fear of what is different. Variety, history, experience, concerns and graces of each country become Schoenstatt ”of all of us" in the middle of the universal church.
Out there, out at the periphery, out in the countryside, not we, but the Blessed Mother had built us a nest and given us a task. If we want to be Catholics, we ultimately need the blessing of our Holy Father. March on Rome!
Fr Kentenich, 16 November, Belmonte
If it did not already exist Belmonte should come into being. A Shrine, built on the foundations of enduring love for the Church. It is a Shrine for now: For the Church which Schoenstatt is a part of in the current of renewal through Pope Francis.