Kevelaer, (Germany) -- Interreligious Symposium “Mary, Mother of Jesus”

Kevelaer is the second most popular pilgrimage site in Germany. There Father Germán Rovira, of Opus Dei, established the IMAK (Internationaler Mariologischer Arbeitskreis Kevelaer). Twenty-six years ago an international Marian congress was organized that culminated in the visit of Blessed John Paul II to Kevelaer. On that occasion Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was also present.

From its creation, IMAK has organized an annual conference on a topic related to our Lady. This year’s was held from April 28 to May 1, under the title “Mary, Mother of Jesus.” In conjunction with the director of pilgrimages at Kevelaer, Father Rolf Lohmann, a canon of Munster Cathedral, it was decided to open the symposium this time to non-Catholics who know and venerate the Virgin Mary. The leit motif was interreligious dialogue, with contributions from Christian participants and also from a Muslim theologian. The atmosphere was one of mutual respect and friendship, despite differing viewpoints. The peaceful simplicity of the pilgrimage site certainly contributed to this atmosphere. The image of our Lady venerated there is a simple black and white drawing, a copy of our Lady Consolatrix Afflictorum (Comforter of the Afflicted) in Luxembourg.

Speakers included the old rector of the basilica, Father Richard Schulte Staade; Pastor Konrad Schrieder, prefect of an ecclesial community, the “High Church of Germany”; Archpriest Alexeis Ribakovs, from the Russian Orthodox Church; Professor Dina El Omari, from the School of Islamic Theology at the University of Münster; and a priest from the Armenian Church, Pastor Hratsch. The Catholic priests Germán Rovira and Peter von Steinitz preached meditations in the Chapel of the Candles on “Mary, bridge between the Churches of the East and West” and “Mary, companion of the Redeemer.” The conference ended on May 1 with a solemn Mass in the basilica, celebrated by the auxiliary bishop of Münster, Bishop Stefan Zekorn, and Bishop Pius Mlungisi Dlungwana of Mariannhill, South Africa.

Romana, n. 56, January-June 2013, p. 116.

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