The Schoenstatt League Priests
The Schoenstatt Priests’ League is one of the four Schoenstatt priestly communities. Its members live and work in their parishes and dioceses where they live out their priestly vocation. They are incardinated in their home diocese.
The Spiritual Orientation
Like the other Schoenstatt communities, they strive to form and develop their personality in a holistic way. In their attachment to the Blessed Mother of Schoenstatt, the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen, and Victress of Schoenstatt, and in the spirit of the founder, they know that they are carried by the promise of God the Father’s love in Christ Jesus. They know that they are at home in him and in their priestly community, secure in the midst of a pluralistic, digitized, and secularized society. They are committed to serve the ever ongoing internal reform of the Church and the new evangelization wherever they are. They especially offer their priestly service through their spiritual accompaniment of other Schoenstatters and their communities. It is important for them to seriously consider the psychological laws of growth and development in the human soul, not only in the lives of the people they serve, but also in fostering and striving for a healthy spiritual and physical well-being in their own lives.
The members of Schoenstatt Priests’ League of strive to shape their personal lives and pastoral activities in the spirit of active, practical faith in Divine Providence: They trust that God is a God of history and of all life. He is a God of the covenant which he has made with each individual person and which he wishes to lead into his glory. In respectful listening and the mutual search for the guidance of God in the life of every human being, they focus on the shaping of life and work according to Gospel values. They strive to reverently and humbly listen to and accompany people in their personal and current journeys. In this regard, Father Kentenich often spoke of empathetic and uplifting understanding. Their pastoral care is meant to be one of fostering love rather than demanding rights and laws.
The members of the Schoenstatt Priests’ League, knowing that they are assigned to their bishop and his presbyterate and that they are committed to him like the other communities of Schoenstatt diocesan priests, strive to be especially attentive to the needs of the confreres of their own pastoral unit or deanery. They work on the renewal of the image of the priest in the spirit of the Church after the Second Vatican Council, which Father Kentenich described as a ministering, spirit-filled, humble, fraternal, and poor Church, a Church that is a friend of the poor and the soul of a new world.
They advocate cooperative pastoral care in parishes and communities and especially appreciate working along with the social and ecclesial service of all the baptized. In the spirit of the Council and its realization, which is still to be achieved to a large extent, and in the spirit of the covenant of love with all people, they engage integratively in interdenominational and interreligious efforts and search for ever new possibilities and ways of reconciliation. With all people of good will, they work for a responsible handling of the life resources of humanity and for the preservation of creation. As a member community of the Schoenstatt Family, the confreres of the Priests’ League are, if at all possible, available to the entire movement for priestly ministries and spiritual accompaniment.
The Organization and Life Structure
The Schoenstatt Priests’ League is organized at the diocesan level like all other league communities of the Schoenstatt Movement. This is what distinguishes it from the Federation of Priests, which is organized on a national level, and from the Institute of Priests, which is organized on an international level. It was important for Joseph Kentenich to emphasize that the different types of communities of the Schoenstatt Family are equal but different. The members of the Priests’ League are not obliged to live in permanent communities of priests. Membership has fluid boundaries. But those who want to can, of course, meet in regional groups on their own initiative. Where such local groups exist, experience shows that the confreres meet monthly or several times a year for a spiritual exchange and to cultivate their professional and personal solidarity.
On a national level, members of other Schoenstatt priestly communities offer personal and inspirational help to the confreres of the Priests’ League at the headquarters of the Schoenstatt Movement of a country. They can offer national meetings and retreats. Many members of the league take part in the annual events offered by the Central Office. The independent diocesan communities of the Priests’ League can each choose a speaker to represent them at meetings with other diocesan speakers organized by the Central Office. These meetings serve the inter-diocesan exchange and the common spiritual and pastoral orientation of the community.