We are diocesan priests who live from the spirituality and pedagogy of Schoenstatt. First and foremost, we are at the service of our dioceses. In obedience to our bishops and in union with the presbytery, we are available for the pastoral tasks of our dioceses. We strive to live in fidelity to our founder, Father Joseph Kentenich, and to shape the Church and the world in his image. We want to continue his work. Together with the other Schoenstatt Institutes, it is our task to build up and animate the Movement. The Schoenstatt Institute of Diocesan Priests is constituted as a secular institute under papal law.
As diocesan priests, we know that we are united in fraternity across national and continental borders. In all parts of the world we work on the same mission. In this way, the universal Church becomes tangible for us. Looking beyond our own horizons can be very inspiring.
Our community is divided into six regions:
Regio Cono Sur (Nuevo Belen): Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru.
Regio Getsemani: Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico.
Co-founder Regio: Bavaria, Czech Republic.
Moriah-Regio: Germany North and Central, Scotland, Poland, Spain, Kenya.
Nazareth Region: Burundi (Africa).
South/West Region: Baden-Württemberg, Italy.
In order for community to be lived in a binding and concrete way, each member of the Schoenstatt Priests’ Institute belongs to a Regio, as well as to a group and a course. The course is the beginning of the way into the priests’ institute. It remains for a lifetime and forms the core family of the Institute. In the groups, on the other hand, the regional principle applies. Here the priests of a diocese or region come together for regular meetings, which serve the exchange of life and formation.
The way into our community is open to diocesan priests and seminarians. At regularly held meetings for those interested, there is the possibility to get to know our community and other interested persons better. The path into the community on diocesan priests in Schoenstatt begins with candidacy. In this two-year period of maturation and examination, the binding growth into the life of the community takes place. The focus is on getting to know the community, especially the growing together of one’s own course. At the end of the candidacy, the one-year contract is concluded, with which the candidate commits himself to the community. Later, the two-year, three-year and perpetual contracts follow.
As priests, we are given a great vocation. We share in Christ’s life and mission. But vocation is not something that comes naturally. Therefore, as a community, it is important for us to live from a spirituality that sustains us and leads us deeper into relationship with God. The Covenant of Love with God and Mary is for us a source of strength and inspiration for our priestly ministry. Our spirituality is practical and oriented to concrete life. In the events of everyday life we encounter God and ask about his will. The fraternal community helps us to live fruitfully the evangelical counsels. All this gives us the strength to follow our vocation with fidelity and joy.
Our founder, Father Joseph Kentenich, had a new type of person in mind: personalities who live maximum freedom and a great love. We want to discover and develop the possibilities given to us by God. In doing so, we take responsibility for one another. But it also depends essentially on our own cooperation. We call this self-education. In doing so, it is important to use our passions for motivation in our daily lives. On our way to becoming spiritually mature priests, we entrust ourselves completely to the Blessed Mother and God the Father. In being a child before them, we experience transformation in some weaknesses. In this way, we ultimately find ourselves in a greater vitality.
Priests are not lone wolves. Community plays a big role for us. We see ourselves as a worldwide, family community that lives from binding relationships. That is why we bind ourselves to the community and can thus be sure of the community’s care and faithfulness. Confraternal exchange, firm friendships and joint leisure activities are of great importance to us. This creates an atmosphere of security that sustains and encourages us in our ministry.
As priests we need a home. We find this in our community, in Schoenstatt’s spirituality, and in the covenant of love that unites us to Mary and to each other. This community also becomes concrete in our Father House on Mount Moriah. Here, at the place of origin of our Movement in Schoenstatt, we gather as courses, groups and regions for retreats and other encounters. A special place in our Father House is the “Dachau Altar” where Blessed Karl Leisner, one of the first Schoenstatt priests, was ordained in the Dachau concentration camp. In recent years, the Belmonte International Schoenstatt Center has also been established in Rome.
In the Second Vatican Council, the Church decided to set out and interpreted herself as a pilgrim people of God. Fr. Kentenich speaks of a “new Church”. He describes this as a Church that lives and is animated by traditions, but at the same time is free of ossified forms. A Church that finds a good way between hierarchy and fraternity. A Church that is governed by the Holy Spirit. Fr. Kentenich is always concerned that the Church can have a missionary effect in the world and in culture. For us as a community of priests, it is therefore a matter of concern to collaborate in the future of the Church. Because it is important to us, we want to place ourselves completely at its service and make our original contribution as an apostolic community.