Croatia: A Schoenstatt family full of passion
Schoenstatt grows from its two shrines
May 3rd. 2021
Fr. Christoph Horn, from Switzerland, has been working in Croatia for 23 years and has helped to build up the young Schoenstatt Movement there. In the summer of 2009, the first National Shrine in Mala Subotica was blessed, followed in 2018 by the Shrine in Ivanovci. The two shrines in Croatia are home to many committed families, men, women, youth and children.
A heart in the Father
Due to the coronavirus, Father Horn wrote the annual retreat in letter form. Since it was copied and passed on digitally among the members, many more people were able to participate than during a face-to-face event.
This year’s motto “A Heart in the Father” refers to the placement of the Father symbol in the Ivanovci Shrine, which is scheduled for September 18. Father Horn wrote seven reflections on the Father Symbol, which were sent and distributed to a large number of members of the Croatian Schoenstatt Family on seven consecutive Saturdays.
All the reflections: Providence, Suffering, Being a child before God, Mercy and love, Praying, and Walking with the Father have the common goal of getting to know the Heavenly Father better, loving and honoring Him more, and also learning to enter into a lively personal conversation with the Father of life.
The two Sisters of Mary collaborating in Croatia, Sr. M. Mariana and Sr. M. Ramona, who are especially there for the women, the mothers and the families, were able to have some formation during Advent 2020 and Lent 2021.
A new help for Croatia – Father Przemyslaw Skapski
Father Horn has been looking for helpers from the institutes involved in the Croatian Schoenstatt Movement for a long time. Now his prayer has been answered. Father Przemyslaw Skapski from Poland received permission from his superior in September 2020 to go to Croatia for one month each year to work with the Schoenstatt Masculine Youth. Father Skapski has long lost his heart in Croatia where he learned the Croatian language, did his pastoral internship, and celebrated a First Mass after his ordination in 2017. He fell in love with Croatia not only for its literature and food, but above all for its culture and the people, “who became so incredibly friendly with me,” as Father Skapski expressed.
The shrine in Ivanovci is growing
The initial structure of a pilgrims’ house next to the Ivanovci Shrine was finished in November 2020. However, there was not enough money to continue the construction.
Father Horn wrote in his newsletter: “But the Blessed Mother will take care that in 2021 we will be able to begin construction in the interior…” And he relates, “One day in mid-November, I sat down in the Mount Sion Shrine and addressed God the Father, who in his wise and loving providence cares for us. I told him: Dear and good Father, we have become quite helpless in terms of money, and for the life of me I can’t see any new source for a large donation. But you, good Father, have a very big purse…”
It is unbelievable what happened the following weeks. It became obvious how big our Father’s heart is and how He can also open other people’s hearts and purses. In a short time, many important donations were received in our shrine’s account and we could confidently continue construction. “Many thanks to all the donors.”
Fr. Horn is in Croatia again and will remain there until mid-June. He will focus on God’s and the Blessed Mother’s Shrines, bringing love to the people and inviting everyone to a personal relationship with them.
Croatia’s Schoenstatt Family webpage is www.hso.hr