Schoenstatt Movement: First Marian shrine is slated to open in September

Father Jesus Ferras, ISP
Guest Columnist

This year the Schoenstatt Movement of Austin is taking the next step in our history as we prepare to dedicate the first Marian Shrine in the Diocese of Austin. After many years of prayer, growth, sacrifice and renewal, we are ready to invite Mary, Our Blessed Mother to make her home at our land in West Austin.
In the fast-paced and hectic world we live in today, it’s not often we take a chance to stop, to center ourselves, and to rest with our Lord. Often we find ourselves on autopilot, continuously moving and going from activity to activity without taking the time to rest, to be at peace, and to reflect on whether or not all of the things we are doing are truly fulfilling the mission God has for each of us.
The shrine is an answer to this need. It is a place to rest, a place to be at peace, a place to come and pray in an intimate setting with Christ and Mary. As we strive to keep Christ in the center of our lives in the world today, it is important to develop a personal and intimate relationship with him. In the shrine, the Blessed Mother welcomes us as our spiritual mother as she guides our hearts and minds towards her Son. In the shrine, we are in communion with Christ and find ourselves at home in an experience of Heaven here on earth.
The shrine also creates a beautiful and intimate setting to speak with God and to share the worries, the joys and the dreams that are dwelling deep inside our hearts. Through this dialogue we can come to understand our place in the world and find the unique way in which each of us is meant to serve to the world. Through this dialogue we experience a transformation of heart, a renewal of our baptismal covenant, and fire of the Holy Spirit to go out and do good works for God.
Schoenstatt’s founder Father Joseph Kentenich and his early students sought a small and humble place of prayer, a little chapel, where they could invite the Blessed Mother to make a special place of prayer that would enkindle a resounding sense of home. The Schoenstatt Shrine is a spiritual home; it is dedicated to Mary as the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt. There we experience the deepest sense of belonging –– as children to the Mother of God, as brothers and sisters in Jesus, and as beloved sons and daughters of God our Father. We are one body in Christ, a community of God’s divine love.
The first shrine –– located in Germany near Koblenz on the Rhine –– became our Lady’s place of grace in 1914. Throughout the years, many such shrines have been built on all continents, each of them an exact replica of the Mother Shrine. This first chapel became the Original Shrine, and around the world today, there are more than 200 shrines –– each one home to Christ in the Tabernacle, to the Blessed Mother, and to every child of God who comes to pray and to learn. Each shrine is connected by grace to the Original Shrine in Schoenstatt, Germany. 
Until now, the closest shrine to Central Texas has been the Schoenstatt shrine in San Antonio. There is also a shrine in Rockport, near Corpus Christi on the Gulf Coast. There are 10 Schoenstatt shrines in the U.S.
The Schoenstatt Movement of Austin invites everyone to attend the blessing and dedication of the shrine in Austin on Sept. 13. Bishop Joe Vásquez will attend, will you be there?
For more information on the Schoenstatt Movement of Austin and the shrine dedication ceremony visit www.schoenstatt.us. The shrine is at 225 Addie Roy Rd., Austin 78746.
Schoenstatt Father Jesus Ferras is the director of the Schoenstatt Movement in Austin. For more information, visit www.schoenstatt.us.

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