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Schoenstatt
Apostolic Movement

First Congress of the Schoenstatt Institute of Families

By: Rafael Muñoz - Institute of Families

In early December 2022, we, as the Institute of Families, held our first Congress as an International Community. In order to give room for the participation of all its members, it was held online. More than 125 couples from 12 different nationalities participated. It was a challenge for the organization since we had to combine different time zones and different languages.

International working groups were created

first Congress

We experienced an enriching moment, with couples meeting each other for the first time. In order to make this possible, this process began in all the communities in the different regions and delegations. During a second stage, international work groups were formed, which were able to share their experiences and desires. Thus, when the days of the Congress arrived, we were able to have a very rich and interesting exchange, in which proposals were made to continue developing the Institute of the future.

Welcoming in dignity, equality and appreciation

As a result, different cultures, different ways of thinking were brought together for a weekend, giving ecclesial testimony of mutual acceptance in equality, in dignity and in appreciation for what the Holy Spirit had inspired. In sharing our differences, we were able to praise the Lord for our identities and diversity in the Institute: it was an experience of co-responsibility and, at the same time, a manifestation of adherence to our Father and Founder.

During these days we experienced the need to ignite the flame of our hope, a rare and fragile element in today’s world. We want it to dwell in us, in our courses, in the spaces of our everyday life. It is clear to us that our hope is in the Lord, not in human glories. Therefore, we must joyfully adhere to what the Spirit is helping to flourish in other places: the creativity and audacity to live our consecration and discipleship within other cultural contexts.

Under Mary’s protection

In the Encounter we saw the need to accompany the new generations towards the future, favoring the process of the inculturation of our charism with discernment and trust, but we also saw the need to accompany our elders who have given us so much. Thus, “under the protection of Mary”, we tried to listen to the God’s wishes in order to “continue towards the new shores”.

As a final summary, Paul’s powerful exhortation resonates in us: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is: his good, pleasing and perfect will … Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Rm12, 2. 11-12)

You can also read:  Family Shrine

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