They came with gratitude in their hearts and many with beloved home shrines for blessing.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher celebrated Mass for a sea of joy-filled pilgrims at the golden jubilee of the Mt Schoenstatt shrine at Mulgoa on Pentecost Sunday.
“I am grateful for the impact that the sisters, fathers, families, friends and pilgrims who share in the life of the Schoenstatt have had on the devotional life of Sydney, on the formation of the lay faithful, and through support of families, youth and adults,” he said in his welcome.
He was joined by auxiliary bishop Tony Randazzo, Australia’s Maronite Eparch, Bishop Antoine-Carbel Tarabay, and many clergy who concelebrated the Mass and heard confessions on the glorious autumn day.
“It was just so beautiful, and you can do so much planning but you can’t plan the weather. It was a gift from heaven,” Sr Julie Brcar said.
“And God ensured that we could honour Our Blessed Mother with a very solemn and worthy Mass.”
The Marian shrine is a place of welcome, not only for members of the Schoenstatt community or even only for Catholics, but all who find in Our Lady a source of comfort, grace and blessing.
For members of the Schoenstatt community, the shrine is central to their spirituality.
Sr Renée Buchmann says that maintaining it is a mission because, “The shrine is our home, it is also where Our Lady works for us.”
Today there are 20 Schoenstatt sisters living at the shrine which was opened and blessed by Cardinal Gilroy, on 19 May 1968.
He also foretold its eventual significance saying, “This is a little gem that has been constructed here on the top of this hill…I dare say that there are few places in the municipality and the electorate that will be so celebrated as this one in the years lying ahead!”
Archbishop Fisher noted that the last half-century has certainly borne out those words.