HISTORY OF THE PILGRIMAGE CHURCH
In the 14th century the first Marienkapelle was built, named Reinhartskapelle after its builder. From 1400 pilgrimage processions came from the Rhineland and from the Netherlands. A short time later, the present picture of the Virgin Mary, a pietà very similar to that of Marienstatt, was erected. In 1498 the chapel was enlarged and became a church for even more pilgrims. In the course of the introduction of the Reformation in the county of Leiningen-Westerburg the pilgrimage church was abolished. The counts removed the miraculous image. The church building fell to ruin. However, the pilgrimages did not stop completely.
In 1899 a new Catholic parish church Liebfrauen was built on the ruins of the previous building. Cistercians from Marienstatt led the parish and pilgrimage for 60 years. Today the Liebfrauenkirche is the centre of the Westerburg parish Liebfrauen with a total of eleven church locations.
In the course of the introduction of the Reformation in the county of Leiningen-Westerburg, the pilgrimage church was abolished. The counts removed the image. The church building collapsed into ruins. However, the pilgrimages did not stop completely.
From 1860 onwards, the Catholic Countess Seraphine of Leiningen, who was originally from Austria, took charge of the construction of a Catholic church near Westerburg. The miraculous image removed from the old church was returned. The foundation stone of the new building was laid in 1898
THE PILGRIMAGE CHURCH TODAY
The Liebfrauenkirche, a popular pilgrimage church for believers from near and far since its foundation, is now not only the name giver of the new parish Liebfrauen Westerburg, but without doubt also the heart of the parish.
Many people find their way into the church through the Liebfrauenkirche. People come here for the regular services, for pilgrimages or just for a silent prayer and to light a candle in front of the image.
The church is also popular with bridal couples to marry and young parents to baptize their children. Special pastoral offers are very popular. Concerts are also frequently performed here. It is thanks to many donors that the running costs can be covered.
In addition, numerous measures have been taken in recent years with the help of the very active support association; particularly worthy of mention are the new parking spaces, the beautiful choir windows and the colourful copy of the 14th century Madonna on the throne (original in the parish church Christkönig, Westerburg).
Further projects are planned and some of them have already been started: for example the renovation of the historic windows, the renovation of the chapel above the Marienquelle, the Marienquelle itself and the investment in a new organ.
It is a neo-Gothic basilica with three naves. The side naves are slightly lower than the central nave. The church is oriented from west to east. The choir is located on the east side as an extension of the central nave. The portal on the west side is designed as a transept. Above the transept and the central nave is the indented tower like a crossing tower.
The interior of the transept is designed as an anteroom, and is 5 steps above the level of the nave. It also takes up the full width of the gallery. Inside the church there are about 140 seats and 4 confessionals.
The high altar in the central choir is a winged altar. When it is opened, it shows nine scenes from the life of Mary. When it is closed, it shows the five movements of the Painful Rosary. The central picture with the crucifixion scene remains visible in both positions.
The left side altar is dedicated to St. Joseph. The right one shows the image of the Mother of Sorrows. In a niche in the transept there is a statue of St. Anthony of Padua.
Parish office Kath. Pfarramt Christ- König, Jahnstraße 3 a, 56457 Westerburg, Tel.: (0049) 2663/94170, E- Mail: email@example.com