Schoenstatt Prepares To Welcome Benedict XVI Home

30,000 Postcards Distributed to Gather Support

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SCHOENSTATT, Germany, FEB. 16, 2011 ( The Schoenstatt Movement is preparing for Benedict XVI's visit to his home country of Germany in September with a campaign to show support for the Pope.

Members are organizing a crusade of love and support of the Pontiff called "Postcard Action," gathering prayers for the upcoming event.

Some 30,000 postcards have already been distributed for the campaign, which the faithful are encouraged to send to the Pope with their personal messages. Another 20,000 cards have been printed for distribution.

The main objective is to be "totally open to him [Benedict XVI] and to the message he wants to bring us," said Father Michael Marmann, who belongs to the circle of former students of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, during the official launching of this initiative.

According to one organizer, the initiative is an attempt to reach "many people and to create in the whole of Germany an optimum climate for the visit."

The member noted that "the proposal invites people to send a postcard to the Pope welcoming him and commenting on the preparations to receive him with an open heart and love of God."

The movement members acknowledged that although they do not know if Benedict XVI will read all the postcards, it is certain that he will perceive a joyful welcome on the part of the Germans.

"No doubt he will have in his hands one or two cards that he will be able to read and that will give him strength and consolation," they stated.

A member affirmed, "Certainly the thousands of postcards that will arrive at the Vatican will be a sign of the connection with the Pope, but above all they will be a contribution to create a positive climate as prelude of the Papal visit." Together with other signs of solidarity, these missives are for the Pope a "consoling concert," as he himself says.

The movement plans to publish documentation with photos and examples of the postcards sent, which will be given to the Pope during his visit.

The official launching of the campaign, which took place in the shrine in Schoenstatt on Feb. 2, began with an hour of prayer for Benedict XVI.

Family support

Families of the 26 German dioceses wrote the first postcards and sent them to the Vatican with testimonies and photos.

A family from the Diocese of Aachen wrote: "For us, as a family, the Pope's visit is a reinforcement. We are a great community and we are all on the way."

Another family from the Archdiocese of Berlin stated: "We await the Pope's visit with interest, because this visit, we hope, will be an impulse to renew and deepen the life of faith of many Christians."

From the Diocese of Eichstatt, a postcard assured the Pontiff: "We rejoice at your visit, with the hope of knowing you personally, or at least of being able to see you. The nicest thing would be if you could give our family the Papal blessing."

A family from the Diocese of Essen said: "We hope that the light of faith will burn brightly again in Germany through the experience and perception of many persons in the simple witness of faith with the Pope. He will proclaim the God of life."

In his initial address, Father Marmann said that it is known that there are people in Germany who await the Holy Father with great joy and openness, but there are also others who are very critical, who expect something from him that he certainly cannot or does not want to give them.

"However," the priest said, "he wants something that was always present in his whole life and in his work as theologian."

"Men seek God and it is the Church's task to proclaim him," Father Marmann stated. "Therefore, it is about finding the link with God."