At the most recent SUM 24 hour retreat, at the initiative of Fr. Mark, we discussed the Mariengarten Shrine at (the former) St. Philip Neri Parish. Apparently, the whole Schoenstatt Family will be discussing the Shrine in the upcoming Convention in October. The issue seems to be that there is very little being done either spiritually or physically to safeguard the Shrine specifically from Schoenstatt.
The Shrine is a place of Grace (also a Place of Rest for those of you who know the song). It is meant to transform those who go there and who encounter it. To this point, although it is located in a bad part of Milwaukee, vandals have not damaged it. Its placement in the rough neighborhood of course opens up the opportunity for evangelization. It must become a place of Grace for the neighborhood. I believe this was the idea of the SUM when they first started the safeguard initiatives back in 2006-2007.
To that end, I mentioned the idea of having sports days in the field near the shrine and invite the boys of the neighborhood to join us, following up with some time in the Shrine. I believe this would be an effective witness to the neighborhood.
I would be unable to help with this during the year because I will be overseas, but I would be willing to help out and organize it next summer. I believe that we could involve the HS branch as well and could get a pretty regular sports day going, perhaps every Saturday. If anyone else was willing to start earlier than next summer, I would highly suggest doing it.
The other aspect of the Mariengarten Shrine, of course, is the spiritual aspect. The Capital of Grace obtained in connection with that specific shrine...to keep the bank open so to speak. This aspect of the renewal of the community at Mariengarten is probably more important if less obvious than the physical presence of the sports days were they to start happening.
Back in the initial stages of its reopening, the SUM spearheaded a Hail Mary initiative which raised 144,000 Hail Marys during advent. Talk occurred along these lines at the retreat and so I was wondering if anyone had any concrete ideas as to what we could do as the SUM to show our interest in the Shrine and to keep it alive.
The other option is, of course, to close it and donate the furnishings to another community which needs to build a Shrine. This is what is before the Schoenstatt Family here in Milwaukee. Do we want this to happen? And if it does what then is the SUM's role here in Milwaukee?