Greetings for November 16

Today we celebrate the birthday of our father and founder. We give thanks for his person and calling to found the Schoenstatt Work. The Schoenstatt Press Office congratulates Father Kentenich with a series of witnesses who shed light on their relationship with him in the here and now. These short videos will be posted every Monday on: https://schoenstatt.com/father-kentenich-today-a-series-of-videos/`

Next week we celebrate Thanksgiving. Many churches and homes are decorated with the fruit of field and garden. The photo on top of this page shows the Thanksgiving altar in the Adoration Church in Schoenstatt (in Germany Thanksgiving is celebrated on the first Sunday of October). The fruits of the harvest are a symbol for all the gifts we have received in the course of the year.

Holy Scripture reports that the apostle Paul and his companion Silas rejoiced when they were beaten with rods and thrown into prison. In the Acts of the Apostles (16:25) we read: “About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns as the prisoners listened…” (Acts 16:25). Despite their misfortunes they were able to praise and give thanks because they felt God’s nearness and love which sustained them.

Likewise, in the Dachau concentration camp, an environment that didn’t really encourage gratitude, Father Kentenich formulated a prayer of thanksgiving that is well known:

For everything, yes everything, let me give heartfelt thanks, clinging to you, Mother, with tender love. What would have become of us without you and your motherly care.

Because you delivered us from great need and bound us to yourself in faithful love, I will give you thanks, be grateful evermore, and dedicate myself to you with undivided love.

Guided by our year’s motto “Lead from the Shrine with Trust in Divine Providence and Charity to All’ Thanksgiving may be an opportunity for us to ponder all the gifts we have received during the course of the day and past year. Concretely:

  • Each evening, try to discover at least one good gift from God and give thanks for it.
  • Be more attentive to the good that others do for me and thank them for it. In gratitude, return to others small gifts of love.
  • Reflect on difficult situations that, in retrospect, have had a positive effect after all? Did I mature through them? Did I learn something new? Was there perhaps an unexpected solution which emerged? Can I also give thanks for that?

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and praying for your and your intentions in the Confidentia Shrine,

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary

Lead from the Shrine… Fruit of the Vine.

Our family Fruit of the Vine Home Shrine was blessed on March 18, 1981, at the home of my parents, John R. and Elisa Garza, in Harlingen, Texas. All the family, including my married sister and her family, chose the name and made contributions to the capital of grace in preparation for the blessing of our home shrine.  We chose the name Fruit of the Vine thinking of Jesus as the Vine, who leads us to the Heavenly Father and we as the branches, who are called to be fruitful. Our home shrine is truly a family shrine where all our needs and those of our relatives and friends are presented to our Blessed Mother and she has glorified herself and been victorious many, many times over the years.

After my father died, we decided to crown the Blessed Mother in his memory. We designed our crown as a family, my niece made the drawing, which was sent to the Schoenstatt Brothers in Germany where our crown was handcrafted in their goldsmith shop. All our family is represented on the crown with our birthstones and the name of our shrine is etched on the front of the crown. We again prayed and made contributions to the capital of grace in preparation for the crowning. Our contributions to the capital of grace were represented with colored beads of each our birthstones. All the beads were placed in a small glass replica of a shrine and they were offered during the Crowning Mass on February 4, 1986. Afterward, the beads were taken to Lamar and Sr. Philomena made several rosaries for us. These rosaries and our crown have become family treasures. We have the tradition of adding birthstones of new additions to the family when the baby is baptized.  The crown is also taken to church to be blessed when the children receive the other sacraments. Our crown now represents five generations.

Our home shrine has always been open to all our family, relatives and friends. It also welcomes our Schoenstatt Fathers and Sisters of Mary and is available for Schoenstatt meetings and activities.

After my mother died, I became the custodian of our home shrine although it has always been with me since I always lived in the family home.  When I moved to San Antonio, Texas in 2008, our Fruit of the Vine Home Shrine came with me and it continues to be the center of prayer for me and all my family, and the Blessed Mother continues to answer all our pleas and needs. My current desire and striving are to obtain a scepter to present to the Blessed Mother in honor of my mother. Thanks, a thousand thanks dearest Blessed Mother for thirty-nine years of blessings you have bestowed on all of us.

Celina Garcia, Women’s League, San Antonio