Pentecost meeting at Cham: “Mercy – what is that?”
Two weeks before the Feast of Pentecost the 2016 Pentecost meeting took place at the Marist School, Cham. It was attended by present pupils of the school at Cham and former students from the association of “Friends of the Marist School, Cham” (F.M.C.) as well as guests. The preparations for this meeting were once again in the hands of a committed group of the F.M.C. while the spiritual input was the responsibility of Johann Staudner, R.E. teacher at the school.
In the course of late Friday afternoon participants arrived at the school. Again this year, students from Mindelheim with their teachers and Brother Michael Schmalzl were among them. After the evening meal the timetable indicated Mass, during which Johann Staudner in his short homilectic thoughts looked more closely at the theme of “Mercy”, which is highlighted by Pope Francis in this Holy Year of Mercy. The rest of the evening took its harmonious course in the F.M.C. club rooms.
After morning prayer and a substantial breakfast, the Saturday session began with the official welcome by Johann Staudner in the original music hall. He wished those present two successful and blessed days for the Marist Family. The students and former students were then broken up into smaller groups to look at the theme of Mercy as seen in the Bible. A list of questions for reflection helped them to become aware of their own strengths and weaknesses in this regard and so make some resolutions for these few days. After the theoretical aspect they broke up into practical groups. There was a choice of themes but all of them directed towards the motif of the Pentecost meeting. So, one group began by decorating candles with texts and symbols of Mercy which they were then invited to take home with them at the end of the weekend. Another group painted numerous stones with symbols in light colours which in the evening they then put in wire mesh pillars at the main entrance to build a door of mercy for the school. A further group put a hand in plaster and so created wonderful plaster holders in which they could put tea lights. Another group occupied its time painting gadgets for the prayer corner in the classrooms. In these practical activities they were under the care of Johanna Aschenbrenner, Alfred Urban, Franz Strigl, Christian Röhrl, Brother Michael Schmalzl, Brother Georg Bock and the teachers from Mindelheim.
Saturday evening reached one of the highlights of this year’s Pentecost meeting with the celebration of the communal Mass by the chaplain, Alexander Dyadychenko. At the end of the Mass he blessed small heart shaped stones which were then given to each one as a reminder of the occasion. Then followed a second highlight: the biggest Heart of Mary in the Marist Family was given its Church blessing. It is a large wooden heart in which, firstly the participants and then later all the school students, could have the opportunity to insert, through the slots on the side, their personal petitions or letters to Mary.
After a communal meal the meeting gradually came to its end, but not before thanks was said to everyone for the wonderful weekend at Cham which had been enriched by the hard work of the former students and teachers of the school and, of course, by the presence of the young participants themselves.