The Schoenstatt League Priests
The Schoenstatt League Priests is one of the four Schoenstatt priestly communities. Its members live and work in their parishes and dioceses, where they realize their priestly vocation. They are incardinated in their home diocese.
The Spiritual Orientation
Like the other Schoenstatt communities, they strive in the spirituality of Father Kentenich 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 definitive promise of the Father-God’slove 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 internal reform of the Church and the new evangelization of their environment and to offer their service especially through their spiritual accompaniment of other Schoenstatters and their communities. In the process, it is important for them to take seriously the psychological laws of growth of the human soul in their own lives and in the lives of the people around them, and in individual development.
The members of the League of Schoenstatt Priests strive to shape their personal lives and pastoral activities in the spirit of “active, practical faith in Divine Providence”: they assume 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 should lead them into his glory. In respectful listening and the common search for the guidance of God in every biography of a human being, they are less concerned with the shaping of life and work in the sense of prescribed laws and doctrines. Rather, they want to reverently and humbly listen and accompany people in their personal and current possibilities. In this sense, Father Kentenich often spoke of “empathetic” and “uplifting understanding”. Thus their pastoral care is more one of fostering love than of demanding rights and laws.
The members of the League of Schoenstatt Priests, like the other communities of diocesan priests, know that they are assigned to their bishop and his presbyterate and that they are committed to him, especially to the confreres of their own pastoral unit or deanery. They work on the renewal of the image of the priest in the sense 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 co-operative pastoral care in parishes and communities and especially appreciate 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 themselves integratively in interdenominational and interreligious effort sand search for ever new possibilities and ways of reconciliation. With all people of goodwill, they work for the responsible handling of the life resources of mankind and for the preservation of creation. As a member community of theSchoenstatt Family, the confreres of the League of Priests are preferably 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 International 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 League of Priests 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 solidarity and human solidarity.
On a more national level, members of other Schoenstatt priestly communities offer personal and inspirational help to the confreres of the League of Priests at the “headquarters of the SchoenstattMovement” of a country. They can offer national meetings and retreats. Many league priests take part in the annual events offered by the Central Office. The independent diocesan communities of the League of Priests can each choose a “speaker” to represent them at the 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.