More than 300 people attended the traditional Pentecost Festival at St. Gabriel Mission House.
In sunshine and early summer temperatures, around 300 people came to the traditional St. Gabriel Pentecost Festival at the Mission House of the Steyler Missionaries in Maria Enzersdorf on Pentecost Sunday, 29.5. 2023. "The Spirit of God creates unity in diversity, diversity instead of uniformity!" said Provincial Fr Christian Stranz SVD in his words of welcome. This diversity was visible and tangible at the Pentecost Festival: from babies to 90-year-old Steyler Fathers, all ages were represented, young people and families came as well as numerous religious, and among the guests were people from different continents and cultures and with different mother tongues.
In the morning, the visitors of the Pentecost Festival were engaged in five workshops on the theme "God's Spirit unites": Bible reading with Fr. Michael Kreuzer, ecological spirituality led by Fr. Franz Helm, an exchange with Steyl seminarians from other continents, and a music workshop with the Steyler Music Apostles, the twelve-member Fatres Band from St Augustin near Bonn. The Latin American community of Vienna organised a "Retiro" with Fr. Carlos Alberto da Silva. The beautiful park of the Mission House invited to meditative walks and offered quiet places for exchange in small groups. A wide variety of food brought along was shared at the lunchtime agape.
Fr. Stephan Dähler SVD celebrated the festive service, the Steyler Musikapostel and a Pentecost choir provided the musical accompaniment with stirring rhythms. During the service, Clemens Thurnher was sent out as a temporary missionary by Provincial Christian Stranz. The Provincial of Steyl presented him with a blessed wooden cross to accompany and protect him during his mission. In September, Thurnher will begin his mission abroad as part of the Steyler Voluntary Service MaZ (Missionar:in auf Zeit) in Paraguay. The Vorarlberg native will work there in a project of the Steyler Missionaries.
Rector Fr. Franz Helm was pleased that the new concept of the St. Gabriel Pentecost Festival - a one-day festival for young and old - had been so enthusiastically received. "I am very grateful for the wonderful festival, where the connectedness with God, with each other and with the whole of creation could be experienced." The first Pentecost feast had taken place in St Gabriel 39 years ago, and for decades young people met to pray and celebrate together in the Steyler mission house. After a three-year break due to a pandemic, the festival could take place again this year in a new form.