It’s true! Currently, there is a substantial effort underway to build a Shrine for the Blessed Mother Mary in the Diocese of Austin – where as of now, there is no Marian Shrine or Marian place of pilgrimage. This Shrine will be a gift to the Blessed Mother, and to the entire Diocese – it will be a place of retreat, a place of pilgrimage, and most of all, a place of grace – where any pilgrim soul seeking rest may find a home.
The Schoenstatt Movement
The group spear-heading this Shrine-building effort is the Schoenstatt Movement of Austin, which is the local branch of the International Schoenstatt Movement. Schoenstatt is one of the oldest new communities in the Catholic Church, founded shortly before the First World War in Schoenstatt, Germany.
Since it’s inception, the members of the Movement have strived to carry the Blessed Mother into the world. They have strived to live secular life in the middle of the modern world in such a way that each member is an “irresistible question mark” that
draws others to Christ through His Holy Mother.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Schoenstatt is the axis of the Movement. The movementwas born out of the Original Shrine in Germany, and since the Second World War, duplicate Shrines have sprung up across the world – including two in Texas – one in Lamar, and one in San Antonio.
Each Shrine is the center of the life of the local branches of the Movement – and more essentially, each one is an ever-open door to all children of God to encounter Christ and His Mother.
In each Schoenstatt Shrine, the sanctuary light glows day and night to announce the presence of Christ in the tabernacle. And just above the tabernacle, illuminated and softly glowing, is the image of Our Lady of Schoenstatt – our Blessed Mother, who holds out her Divine Son to each pilgrim who enters.
I have visited many of these Shrines – and that is what I have experienced, each time I slowly ease open the great wooden door, and enter into the small, quiet, holy chapel, I know that I am not alone – Christ and Mary are there, present with me and present to me. I feel instantly at home – no matter which Schoenstatt Shrine I am in, across the continents, I am home. I am at home with Christ and Mary in a way that I don’t experience anywhere else.
The same sun shines everywhere, and yet its rays become particularly effective at certain places…It is the same with the Blessed Mother. In a genuinely human and motherly way she tries to be close to our earth; there she chooses her favorite places…-we call them places of grace per eminentiam, or places of pilgrimage because people go there in large numbers – she reveals her power, wisdom and kindness in an extraordinary way by distributing original, special graces.” – Fr Joseph Kentenich, Founder of Schoenstatt (The Shrine, Source of Life, p 67)
We want to bring this place of grace to Austin – for our Diocese, and indeed for all children of God who seek a home.
Capital Campaign for the Shrine
The goal for the dedication of the Shrine is 2013 – and fundraising efforts for the Capital Campaign are well underway. If you’re interested in donating to the Shrine, or are interested in having a group give a presentation about the project of the Shrine to yourself, friends, family or church groups, please contact Joe Lawlor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fundraising Gala featuring the Bishop
Additionally, all are invited to participate in the Seeds of Grace Gala, sponsoring the Shrine, and featuring the Most Reverend Bishop Joe Vasquez. The Gala will be August 2nd at the Chateau Bellevue in downtown, Austin. A formal dinner, silent auction, and presentation on the Shrine will all be a part of the night! Tickets may be purchased for $100 by contacting the Gala Coordinator, Katie Martin, at email@example.com.
For More Information…
For more information about the Shrine, the Gala or the Schoenstatt Movement of Austin, you can stay up to date by checking out the website at schoenstatt.us, or by following on Facebook at “Schoenstatt Austin” or on Twitter at “SchoenstattATX.”
The Blessed Mother wants to make her home here in our Diocese in a special way. All of us are invited to help build it – for as we can do nothing without Christ, nothing without the divine Mother whom He gave to us, so she also chooses to await our own individual participation in God’s great work of salvation and grace .
“Nothing without you, Blessed Mother, nothing without us!” (Fr J Kentenich)