On the 31 August and 1 September, the Brothers in Austria celebrated 25 years since their foundation in Marchegg. Over two sun-filled days they gave thanks to the Lord for all the good things He has helped to grow over the years there.
The celebration opened with a musical comedy on the biblical figure of Ruth, which Br Antal wrote and presented with the children of the “Kisi Club Marchegg”. Following the First Vespers of Sunday, everyone listened to music from the choir “Adoramus”, who came from the Brothers’ priory in Vilnius and were joined by soloists from Germany, Belgium and Spain: “an apt celebration and concert for the vicariate of Europe!” as the brothers said. The evening followed with a traditional “Heuriger”, an Austrian wine celebration.
The high point of the jubilee was undoubtedly the presence of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who has been a long-time friend of the Brothers and who celebrated the Sunday mass in the conventual church – there were no empty seats! During his homily, the Cardinal evoked another anniversary: on 1 September, 1939, just 80 years ago, the Germans attacked Poland, triggering the Second World War. In words that were very personal and fair-minded, he reminded us just how much war, discord and sin in general leave man deeply wounded. He thus insisted on the vocation of every Christian, and in particular the Brothers and Sisters of Saint John in the current context of the Church, to live the beautiful vocation of intimacy with Christ. Before continuing with a beautiful meditation on true Christian humility, he added: the “heart of the Johannine vocation” consists in constantly “offering and revealing this friendship with Jesus to every man and woman“.
Following a large meal served al fresco and accompanied by traditional Austrian music, there was time to listen to performances from different local choirs and testimonies given by some of the brothers who have lived in Marchegg over the past 25 years.
With the Brothers, we can say, “Thanks be to God for this beautiful jubilee lived in friendship and in faith.”