Happenings around St. Lawrence
Schoenstatt is a Marian movement in the Church with which many of you may be familiar. Every Spring, some of our parishioners offer formation in the Schoenstatt way of life leading up to a covenant of love with the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to the Schoenstatt spirituality, when an individual makes a covenant of love with Mary, they give her permission to lead their lives. They offer everything into Mary’s hands. Oftentimes this involves making and dedicating a home shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This enthrones Mary in the home so that she can work as she pleases.
Maybe you know why the article entitled “Happenings around St. Lawrence” is beginning with a very brief overview of the Schoenstatt movement, but probably not. For the past few years, Schoenstatt of Ohio has been growing immensely in our area. For example, this fall they are hosting an advanced spirituality class in Newport and have 60 people signed up. With this growth in the movement, they are looking for a dedicated place to call Mary’s home. The group has been prayerfully asking where they could build a shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary and centralize their activities. They have investigated the possibility of purchasing land to build a shrine and utilizing an existing building.
Fr. Steve Mondiek, the current parochial vicar for NW-7 which includes most of Shelby County, is the leader of the Schoenstatt activities in the area. A little over a month ago, he gave me a ride when my car broke down and the conversation moved to the Schoenstatt Shrine. We discussed the possibility of locating the Schoenstatt Shrine at St. Lawrence. Since the car ride, Fr. Steve and I have had a number of conversations, I spoke with the St. Lawrence pastoral council about the possibility, and some members of the Schoenstatt Council have visited St. Lawrence.
Locating the Schoenstatt Shrine at St. Lawrence would mean a number of things. Schoenstatt Shrines worldwide have a specific “look” and some similar architecture. They aren’t carbon copies, but they look similar. So we would do our best to make St. Lawrence look like a Schoenstatt Shrine. The group would provide a high altar or reredos in which the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary would be enthroned. Also they generally have a St. Michael statue. The Schoenstatt of Ohio group would more than likely be able to obtain these from a closed shrine in Wisconsin.
Locating the shrine at St. Lawrence would also mean keeping the Church unlocked for most of the day. Since shrines are places of pilgrimage and prayer, we would keep the Church building open for people seeking our Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Finally, Schoenstatt groups would hold their formation classes and retreats in the hall. There are other possibilities, but these would be the initial endeavors. When Fr. Steve retires in a few years, he would like to dedicate himself completely to the Schoenstatt movement.
To be clear, this is not finalized. We are discussing the possibility of locating the Schoenstatt Shrine at St. Lawrence. The diocesan council for Schoenstatt will be discussing it to see if it is a real possibility from their end. On our end, we are still going to prayerfully discern this endeavor. Once we hear back from the Schoenstatt Council, we will host a meeting at St. Lawrence to discuss the possibility, ask questions, and see where the Lord is leading us. You’ll be informed when this meeting will take place.
The possible addition of a high altar throws us a bit of a curveball for the repainting of St. Lawrence. We will work with the painters to ensure that the paint scheme, which hasn’t been finalized, would accommodate the presence of a high altar, but not necessarily need the high altar.
The paint project begins on Monday, October 24th. To expedite the process, we will remove all the pews from the Church during the afternoon of October 23rd. Please mark the calendar to help with the pew removal. Parishioners from all four parishes are invited to help. Since the pews will be removed, the St. Lawrence members of Pastoral Council have recommended moving the Masses to Immaculate Conception. The project should take three months to complete, which puts us at the end of January. I’m praying that they complete by Christmas, but we’ll see. Beginning Monday, October 24, 2022 all Masses at St. Lawrence will be moved to Immaculate Conception until the paint project is completed.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson