History » 1939 - 1969 » 1946 Address by Fr Kress

Address by Fr Josef Kress PSM 1946

Interpretation of the Generation Symbol

Thirty-two years ago those words were spoken for the first time at this holy place: All who come here will experiences Mary’s glories.

How often have we not come on pilgrimage to this place in the last twenty years! How often have we not experienced the reality of those words! And now that we are together here in this hour of grace, we may experience Mary’s glories again in a very special and profound way.

We have not gathered here by chance. For years we have struggled together to create our generation community and to find our generation ideal. Then came the seven lean years that scattered us all over the world and led us to the fronts in Russia, France, Norway, Italy, the Balkans and Africa. We were cast out over the oceans to Canada, North America, South America, Australia, into concentration camps and into our eternal Schoenstatt. Many who prayed and struggled with us have entered into their eternal home.

(Note: In the report drawn up by Heinrich Kaiser there is a memorial on pages 10-12 of all the priests and Fathers who belonged to the generation and had already died.)

The communities were destroyed, the individuals isolated in a world that was far from God, that was an enemy of God, that was degenerate and without morals. For nine years we were unable to meet here, yet what we prayed and struggled to bring about did not collapse. We are more united than before, we see our common goal more clearly, and we are determined to realize it.

It is a great grace that we can stand here in this way. We owe it to the wise, kind and powerful, yet almost imperceptible work of our Covenant Queen and Mother.

This hour should mark a certain conclusion to our common struggle until now, but also a new start. May this hour summarize once more all that has been said and done in the last few days.

On the first day of our conference we looked into the past. We was all our struggles, our battles, our failures and victories in Mary’s glories. She has led us through all the years of storm with her wise, kind and powerful hand, even to the experience of this hour.

On the second day we tried to take a look at our future task in the individual formations of the Movement and in the Family as a whole.

On the third day our gaze turned from the present to the next world, so that we could remain in touch with our departed, who are truly the living. We felt like the apostles after the Ascencion of the Lord. Once their Lord and Master had left them, they were alone and had to stand on their own two feet. Yet they were not alone – they had their Mother and Queen in their midst, who prayed for the coming of the Holy Spirit upon them. So also we in the past days have not been alone – our Mother and Queen has been in our midst. She is the actual leader of the conference, and those who have the eyes to see have noticed how she has led us securely through all human inadequacy to our goal.

We have gathered this morning to give her a consecration gift, a Pentecost Dove. This consecration gift must be 1. A symbol and sign of unity; 2. a symbol and sign of our common mission; 3. a thanksgiving gift; 4. a tribute to our Mother and Queen, the Mother Thrice Admirable and Queen of Schoenstatt, the Queen of the Apostles.

1. A symbol of unity

In this consecration hour we say a sincere, confident and joyfully victorious ‘Yes” to one another. This yes is not based on our human goodness and gifts, but mainly on our Marian faith in Providence and our mission. We have recognized that we are all instruments of our dear Mother Thrice Admirable and Queen, who have been called to build up her work, our Schoenstatt Cathedral, together. We are all children and instruments of the MTA, the Queen of the Apostles. That is why we affirm one another sincerely and confidently. Confidently, because we do not base ourselves on our own strength and wisdom, but mainly on the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, whom our Mother prayed to come upon us, and so we are filled with confidence in one another. We affirm one another joyfully and victoriously. If the Blessed Mother has led us so surely and wonderfully in the past, she will direct everything to our best also in the future and bring it to a good conclusion.

We say our ‘Yes” in the presence of our Queen and Mother. We say it in the presence of Jesus Christ, our Master and King, who is with us in the Tabernacle. We say it in the presence of the Father, who fills all creation, and in the presence of the Holy Spirit, who brings about all life. We say it in the presence of St Michael and all the heavenly host., in the presence of St Joseph, the Protector of the Church, in the presence of St Peter and Paul and all the apostles, the pillars of the Church.

In a very special way we say it also in the presence of our revered Founder, our spiritual father, Vincent Pallotti, whom God and the Blessed Mother chose to be the first source of our Family. A hundred years ago today he consecrated himself with his successor, Fr Vaccari, and thus founded the community of priests, the Schoenstatt Fathers.

(Note: Strangely enough Fr Kreß used the title “Schoenstatt Fathers” already in 1946.)

We say our ‘Yes’ in the presence of Joseph Engling, who 28 years ago today became a building block and foundation stone for our Schoenstatt Cathedral through the oblation of his life.

We say ‘Yes’ to one another in the presence of all Schoenstatters, the sons and daughters of Pallotti, in their eternal home, and in the presence of the Family as a whole here on earth.

We say it in the spirit of love, in the spirit of Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. He alone is the bond of unity. So our symbol is a sign of unity.
It is also

2. A symbol of our common mission

What symbol is that? The Holy Spirit has the mission to be the soul of the Church. So we Schoenstatt priests and Schoenstatt Fathers also want to be the soul of the Schoenstatt Movement as a whole – some more in their parishes and dioceses, in the ordinary pastorate, the others more in the extraordinary pastorate, each community in itself with its specific task according to its specific character. However, we are building a common work and a common task together, and that is why we have chosen a common symbol. How are we to carry out our common task to be the soul of the Movement as a whole, each one at his specific place? We embody the Cenacle ideal of our community, in the whole Movement, and through them in the whole Church and world. It is the ideal of an apostolic community bonded to Mary, the Eucharist and filled with the Spirit.

So in both formations (the diocesan priests and the Pallottine Fathers) we must work and struggle at our specific post for the inner and outer unity of the Family as a whole. That is the mission of our generation. We know that it has not yet been carried out, that there is a great deal still to do. Yet we set to work with joyful victoriousness, because at this hour we not only affirm one another, we also say ‘Yes’ to our Queen and Mother.

This brings me to the next point: Our symbol is

3. A thanksgiving gift

How often have we not spoken this ‘Yes’ to ur MTA when we consecrated ourselves to her or renewed our consecration, and how often has she not said ‘Yes’ to us. Look at how she has protected and cared for us over the years! Isn’t it her work that we are together here today? How often in our Sodality days have we not had to do without Holy Mass and Holy Communion; how often have we not felt our Mother’s closeness in Dachau, at the front, and in the bombing at home. It is not by chance that we are here in the shrine, that the shrine is still standing and is completely unharmed. I was able to spend the last two years of the war here at the shrine. How often the squadrons of bombers flew over Schoenstatt and dropped their bombs nearby – forty bombs at the entrance to the Membermuehle Valley, about a hundred bombs on the sheep pastures above the College, about as many bombs on the railway line in Vallendar. On one occasion a four-engined bombe crashed into the quarry next to the Home of the Federation, the Schoenstatt Valley was under artillery bombardment for almost three weeks towards the end. Two shells fell in front of the Home of the Federation, two hit it at the back, one hit the roof, twelve landed in the garden of the Steyler Sisters (Marienau), the last one very close to the shrine in front of the Wasserburg, yet not even a window of the shrine was cracked. At the last moment Vallendar was meant to be bombarded.

Do we not have reason enough to be grateful? For all the protection and loving guidance in these stormy years? And how much protection and guidance the community of priests, the Schoenstatt Fathers, have experienced in the last hundred years! Extraordinary difficulties from within and without threatened to smother the young plant in the bud, which would have damaged the Church terribly. All have been overcome and will be overcome, because from the beginning the Woman who crushes the serpent was behind it, because from the beginning she has been the Patroness and actual Foundress of this work. Do we not have sufficient reason to thank her and give her this symbol as a thanksgiving gift?

However, it must also be

4. A tribute

The experience of her wise guidance in the past motivates us strongly to attach ourselves still more lovingingly to Mary. Individuals have done this often already. Today we want to do so as a generation community; we want to consecrate our generation community to our Mother and Queen. Acts of consecration are always acts of love and self-surrender. By this act of consecration we profess our faith in Mary’s position in God’s plan of salvation, we believe that she is our Queen and Mother. And we give ourselves completely to her. We acknowledge her as our Queen and give her as an outward sign the symbol of the Dove. The Holy Spirit is something like a crown with which God himself has crowned her being. He did this three times: the first time as Mary Immaculate entered into existence, the second time when the Holy Spirit came upon her with greater fullness in her little room in Nazareth, making her the Mother of God, and the third time when she prayed for the coming of the Holy Spirit from the midst of the young Church. She remains crowned with this crown forever.

Let us strive and make every effort so that her crown may also shine out over our lives. Through our fineness of hearing and our obedience to grace may Mary’s reign in our lives increasingly become a reality. Our wishes and will are not important, God’s will and Mary’s wishes are. They are made known to us through the Holy Spirit.

This brings me to the last point:

Our symbol must be a constant admonition to us to want to strive for the highest heights of perfection. The higher we come, the happier we will be, and the more fruitful we will be for others, for God’s kingdom, and we will all the more glorify God. The symbol of the Pentecost Dove is at the highest poit of theshrine, an admonition to us priests to strive at all times for the highest ideals, at least in our serious longings. The heights of the Blank Cheque and Inscriptio are only possible through love, and this is given to us by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of Love. Only when this Holy Spirit is given us in his fullness will we fulfil our great generation mission in the spirit of the Blank Cheque and Inscriptio.

So let us struggle and pray that our common great task will be realized, and that as a Marian Pentecost community under the leadership of Vincent Pallotti and Joseph Engling we may commit ourselves totally and untiringly as instruments of the Mother Thrice Admirable and Queen of the Apostles to the victory of our Schoenstatt realm in our Fatherland and all the world.

We do not see the Cenacle ideal floating somewhere up there in the air. For us the Cenacle is first and foremost our shrine here. It is here that the Queen of the Apostles is particularly close to us as the Mother Thrice Admirable. It is here that we find Christ and all his saints. It is around this shrine that our whole Schoenstatt Family gathers as a living Cenacle community. We may not rest until our whole Family has this character, until our whole German people and the universal Church has become a living Cenacle, so that soon there may be but one shepherd and one flock, and Christ the King over all, so that he can hand over the kingdom to the Father and God will be all in all. Amen.

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