Saint Paul VI
and a Schoenstatt Family promise
Today, May 29, the Church celebrates St. Paul VI, a pope who played a most decisive role at a crucial moment in the history of Schoenstatt, the well-known "Fourth Milestone".
Ir. M. Nilza da Silva
May 29, 2021
“Jesus is a radical. He gives his all but asks all from others as well. He is not satisfied with a mere percentage of your love. We cannot love him at twenty, fifty or sixty percent. It’s all or nothing.” (Pope Francis, during the mass for the canonization of Saint Paul VI)
On December 22, 1965, Saint Paul VI received Father Joseph Kentenich in audience at the Vatican. That date signaled the end of the Founder’s exile, and from that day on, the Church allowed Father Kentenich to return to Schoenstatt and to his work with the Movement giving full autonomy to Schoenstatt’s work.
Father Monnerjahn recalls that “a few days before the Christmas festivities, the news arrived that the Holy Pope (Paul VI) wished to receive Father Joseph Kentenich for an audience on December 22. It was a very exciting moment when Father Kentenich stood in front of Paul VI with his black cassock and his hair white as snow. Upright, as usual, he listened to the words spoken to him by the Pope from his throne and he answered in Latin. At the end, he presented the Pope with a chalice for the church that the Holy Father was planning to build in honor of Mary, Mother of the Church and in memory of the Council. The foundation stone had been blessed by the Pope in the solemn closure of the Council on December 8th.”1
With regards to a Church in transformation following the II Vatican Council, Father Kentenich promised the Holy Father that Schoenstatt would always remain faithful to the Church and that the Movement would pledge all its efforts to help the Church fulfill its enormous tasks after the Council.
It was during this period of renovation, coinciding with the launching of Saint Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae Encyclical, that the Founding Father wrote his well-known phrase to his Schoenstatt Family: “With hope and joy, confident in the victory, we go with Mary into the new era.”
Saint Paul VI spoke about Kentenich
Pope Paul VI, immediately after Father Kentenich’s death, mentioned his example on several occasions. At the general audience on April 8, 1970, while greeting a group of German pilgrims, he said: “My dear children! On the tombstone of a prominent German priest and pastor of souls the following words that are the expression of his personality and the content of his blessed life are engraved: ‘Dilexit Ecclesiam’, He loved the Church. These same words I now direct to you: Love the Church! In these troubled times, remain faithful to the Church’s magisterium and to Saint Peter’s successor. This way, your life will also become rich and meaningful.”
The Schoenstatt Family is grateful to Pope Paul VI for understanding the original mission that the Mother and Queen fulfills from her Shrines. He showed himself open to the Movement on several occasions so that the Holy Spirit could work in the life of the Church through Schoenstatt. Many of the ideas set forth in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi are highlighted by Father Kentenich.
We have a mediator in heaven: “Today, -said Pope Francis on the day of the mass for the canonization of Saint Paul VI- Jesus is inviting us to return to the fountains of joy, that is, to those encounters with Him, the courageous option of risking everything to follow Him, the joy of leaving everything behind to embrace His path […] Paul VI did this, following the example of the apostle whose name he had chosen as Pope. Just like Paul, he consumed his life for Christ’s Gospel, crossing new frontiers and becoming his witness by spreading the word and through dialogue, becoming prophet to a Church that is looking outwards, that looks at those found roadside and cares for the poor. Even in his troubles and through misunderstandings, Paul VI was a passionate witness to the beauty and joy of totally following Jesus. He is still encouraging us, together with the Council, of which he was wise navigator, to live our common vocation: the universal call to sanctity, not half-way, full sanctity.”
1 José Kentenich, A Life for the Church, Engelbert Monnerjahn, Editorial Patris Argentina, 2006, p. 292
2 Greetings message for the Schoenstatt Family during the Catholic Day in Essen, on September 7, 1968.