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Apostolic Movement

The European Congress of Schoenstatt Families meets in Vienna under the motto “Family – hope for the future”

By: Susi Mitter.

From April 28 to May 1, 2023, 350 representatives of the Schoenstatt Movement from eleven countries will gather for the first European Congress of Families. The meeting will take place in Austria and will also be the first large-scale event to be held at the newly expanded Schoenstatt Center in Kahlenberg.


Maria and Anton Lilek (Video clip: Gramm Productions)

We soon realized that this was our place

Maria and Anton Lilek, who represent Austria at the European Forum of the Schoenstatt Family Movements together with Sister Gertrud-Maria Erhard and Father Felix Strässle, explain how the idea of bringing this Congress to Vienna came about:

“The European Family Congress 2004 was a decisive experience for us when we were just getting to know Schoenstatt. The internationality, the ebullient life, the encounter with families from other countries whom we did not know before and with whom we immediately felt a special rapport and shared values, was a powerful experience. From that moment on it was clear to us: this is where we belong, Schoenstatt is our path. This motivates us to make the same experience possible for other families.

The key is to become allies and to empower ourselves in communion

Today people are taking to the streets to manifest their concerns. With this congress we want to set an example as Christian families: Trusting in God’s guidance, we look to the future with hope amidst turbulent times, where war is once again ravaging Europe, and we shape our family life as “active agents” (Amoris Laetita). This is easier to do when we become allies with one another and experience communion with like-minded people.

The Congress must radiate hope to Europe as a whole

Wilfried Röhrig, who has written many Schoenstatt songs and musicals, presents the Congress song “On our journey through life”. It goes like this: What is the way and who has the compass? Where is our star that promises the future? We are looking for a hope that fills our hearts, that satisfies our longing here and now.

We want to be bearers of this hope. From the Congress it must radiate throughout Europe. Together we want to be hope for the future.

The countdown is underway – the anticipation is growing

The preparation team is working full speed ahead, many families from all participating countries are contributing their charisma. Several parts of the program will be transmitted on Schoenstatt TV. There will also be reports from the Congress on various social media channels.

Planned online transmissions of the Congress

On Saturday, April 29, with the motto “Living Marriage and Family”, the following broadcasts will be available (Europe time):

● 09.45 Joy of loving – Making the marriage ideal shine in a renewed way.

Ingeborg and Richard Sickinger, Austria.

● 11.00 Panel: Living aware of current challenges.

Moderator: Fr. Elmar Busse, Germany.

● 15.20 Panel: Sources from which we live: Covenant of Love, Home Shrine, Father Kentenich.

Moderator: Maria and Stefan Pelz, Germany.

● 16.30 Workshop: The Holy Place – Home Shrine.

Moderator: Bacigalupo Family, Germany, Austria.

● 20.45 Evening prayer for Europe: a network of blessing spreads across Europe from home shrine to home shrine.

Organizers: Family Work Germany


On Sunday, April 30, which has the motto “Transmitting marriage and family”, the following activities will be broadcast (Europe time):

● 09.50 Conveying with joy and dynamism the family ministry of Fr. Kentenich, conquering new bearers,

Father José Luis Correa, Costa Rica

● 10.50 Panel: Families who want to be protagonists. Generating new bearers.

Moderator: Helga and Helmut Schröer, Austria.

● 15.00 Workshop: Families in search of sources.

Moderator:  Bacigalupo Family, Germany, Austria.

On Monday, May 1st everyone is invited (online as well: see link below) to participate in the festive Mass with Msgr. Hermann Glettler, Chairman of the Family Commission for the Austrian Episcopate, in St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna, with renewal of the Covenant of Marriage.


The Austrian families joyfully awaiting the participants from all over Europe (Photo: Agnes Rehor)

A warm welcome

The Schoenstatt Family Movement in Austria is happy to welcome families from other European countries and to create a space of gathering in a joyful atmosphere. See you soon in Vienna or online!

For more information


● Congress program

● Further access links will be announced during the week prior to the congress. Languages in which talks will be offered will be posted shortly.

● Invitation to the festive Mass on May 1, 12 noon, at St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

Join the Festive Mass online:




with your loved ones

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