Pilgrims’ Church

A place of encounter with God and with Mary

Whoever comes to Schoenstatt as a pilgrim, is most welcome to participate in the many holy Masses and prayer services for pilgrims which take place in the Pilgrims’ Church.
This is a place where we encounter Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation.

This church is dedicated to the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, whose image of grace can be found in the church.
To come into contact with her, to kneel before the tabernacle and pray, reveals the true significance of this sacred space. Pilgrims may light candles in front of the image of the Mother of Our Lord and bring Mary their own petitions and their personal thanks.

The altar has historical significance.
The founder of Schoenstatt celebrated holy Mass on this altar.

The cross – on the left side behind the altar – is a sign of redemption through Jesus Christ, who on the cross revealed his love for us. Its colorful design is a symbol for the resurrection and for joy.
The tabernacle, the cross and the frame of the image of grace were designed by the Chilean artist Fernandez.

The curved roof design catches your eye. The laminated timber beams (carrier) are firmly grounded in the earth. They run flat, then steep and in a curved shape to the top. It is a symbol that God draws us to himself.

The large skylights illuminate the Church and flood it in the light. This symbolizes Christ who is the Light of the world. He brightens our life’s path.
The Pilgrim’s Church has around shape, similar to a tent. The circular shapes repeat again and again. At the topping out ceremony, the architect said:
"This earthly circle draws our glance up above: to the light, the cross, to the top, into the infinite."

A small plaque placed in the exact middle of the floor indicates that the church is dedicated to the MTA (Mater ter admirabilis), the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt.
On the threshold to the third millennium it was a gift to the Triune God and to the countless national and international pilgrims who come to Schoenstatt. With its 1350 chairs the Pilgrim’s Church welcomes a great number of pilgrims.

The ecologically friendly structure helps humanity and nature achieve harmony and unity with God. The wood of the church makes it warm, gives a closeness to God’s creation, brought about and sustained by him.

The cross on the rooftop collects the round form of the church in one point. It is gold pleated and points to the light and the Sun. These are symbols for the resurrection, which we as Christians believe in. In its middle, the cross is encircled by a ring, which has no beginning and no end. This is a symbol for the eternal God. The foot of the cross ends in a globe – the world – upon which we find a large “M” – symbol for Mary, who stood under the cross and who stands at the side of Christ as helper and associate.

The large doors remind us of the Psalm which reads:
And now our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem: Jerusalem, built as a city, walled round about … (Psalm 122).

We walk into God’s tent among humankind, we seek the nearness of Mary, open eyes, ears and heart for the mystery, which wants to capture us in this house of God.

Very close by is the large Pilgrim’s Amphitheatre. It can seat several thousand people. It was rebuilt in 2005 for the International Youth Festival which took place in Schoenstatt before the World Youth Day in Cologne.


Architectural Features of the Pilgrims’ Church

Construction Year
and Period:
1999, January-July
Architect: Alshut, Anton - Ing, Ratingen
Woodwork: Blum, Christoph Holzbau GmbH, Neuwied in collaboration with Mohr Holzbau GmbH, Trier
Diameter: 50 m
Height: 12.60 m to pressure ring
to the cross peak 23.50 meter
Pressure Ring: 9.50 m diameter
90 cm high
34 cm thick
8.8 cubic meters of wood, the heaviest part of the construction
Wood: Spruce Fir
Roof: Area of approx. 2500 square meters of the lower exposed panel,
32 half frames with 165 cubic meters of processed timber
the upper closure is formed by 16 roof lantern truss beams with 13 cubic meters of wood, laminated wood purlins with 31 cbm,
a total of 220 cubic meters of wood with a total weight of 110 tonnes (without sheathing and roof),
natural wood (construction and roof)
colorless ecological “Leimbauschutz”
Floor: Spanish granite "Amarillo Fiorito"
Floor under the chairs is oiled Siberian larch


Pilgrims’ Church

Pilgrims’ Church inside