In Storms and Downpour - 10,000 persons celebrate their Mother and Queen
Golden Jubilee of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Shrine Campaign in Santa Maria/RS Brasil
(Sr. M. Neiva, Luciana Gomes) With an encounter that gathered more than ten thousand people in Santa Maria, Brazil, the 50th anniversary of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Shrine Campaign was commemorated on September 10. Representatives of seven countries - Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, United States, Germany, and from thirteen Brazilian states - participated at the place where Deacon Pozzobon began this work of evangelization in 1950.
After intensive preparation including prayers, sacrifices and practical works of organization done by the Schoenstatt Sisters and the Schoenstatt Movement, the victory of the MTA was celebrated – the joy and pride were not affected by the downpour and storms that hit Santa Maria on this day.
Delegations of various sizes from thirteen states of Brazil and six other countries began arriving on Friday, September 8, to participate in the event. Some came from the north end of Brazil, a trip of almost 4,000 miles. Almost all of the hotels in the city were booked for the MTA's guests!
The groups that arrived on Friday or Saturday were offered a special program. They were introduced to the history of Tabor and they learned of the legacy that Tabor received from the Father and Founder. During the day, it was possible to visit the historical places that are the source and origin of the Campaign: the Tabor Shrine, from where the graces flowed into the homes of thousands of families; the Tabor House Chapel that symbolizes the ideal of the Brazilian Schoenstatt Movement, to be a "Tabor of Christ's and Mary's glories;" the room where Father Kentenich lived during his visits in Santa Maria; the original "Peregrina" (Pilgrim Mother) given Mr. João Luiz Pozzobon on September 10, 1950, by Sister M. Teresinha Gobbo; Deacon Pozzobon's House, today a museum where Mary's presence through his home shrine is tangible; and the Santa Rita Cemetery, the place where he is buried. The explanation and tour were led by people from the Movement, especially by the Mothers. They were very well prepared and did their job with great responsibility and mission consciousness, which made this day memorable for all who were present. Sharing the work with the Mothers was a good organizational strategy, allowing the Sisters to coordinate the various activities and, at the same time, to be available to welcome the guests and to talk with the people.
A Single Person Can Move the World
On Saturday night there was a family encounter, where several delegations were present; and some introduced themselves in a very original and friendly manner. Father Antônio Maria Borges, Schoenstatt Father, provided joyful Marian songs. Mr. Hermann Arendes, a Brother of Mary, the only representative of Germany present at the jubilee celebration, gave his testimony on Mr. Pozzobon. Among other things, he shared about Mr. Pozzobon's last encounter with Santa Maria's Diocesan Bishop, then Dom Luiz Sartori. Knowing that the bishop was very sick, Mr. Pozzobon went to visit him with the Peregrina. After Mr. Pozzobon's greeting, the bishop, going to the Mother of Schoenstatt, said, "This Campaign will save the world." A few days later he died. This same bishop had placed several prohibitions on the Movement and also on Mr. Pozzobon. The Mother always wins! To conclude Saturday evening, a video on the history of the Campaign titled "A Single Man Can Move The World" was presented, narrated by the Movement Sisters, which motivated the people and introduced them to the great event to take place the next day. Another video titled "Hero Today" also exists.
A Marian Current born in the Tabor Shrine
On Sunday, already at 4:00 AM, the ringing of the bell in the Shrine announced the arrival of the first bus of pilgrims. During the course of the day, 145 buses arrived, carrying approximately 10,000 people. The anniversary celebration consisted of two parts. In the morning, the celebration took place in the Sporting Club Dores, which is about l5 minutes from the Shrine.
After greeting and welcoming the pilgrims, the Pilgrim Shrine Campaign was presented beautifully and joyfully through dance, songs, music, and short comments, depicting its development from the beginning to the present time. The people's attentiveness and reaction were profound and impressive, especially when the beginning of the Campaign was presented on the stage, when Sister M. Teresinha (Schoenstatt Sister of Mary) gave the first image of the MTA to Mr. Pozzobon in the Marian Year 1950.
Then followed the solemn entrance of the Original Pilgrim Shrine, outlined by a heart made of living flowers and cypresses. It was a very emotional moment. When the Orignal "Peregrina" entered, a rain of petals greeted her, while the people applauded. The love of the Brazilian people was noticeably strong and alive, as well as that demonstrated by the Latin-American people. Finally a huge picture of Mr. Pozzobon with the Pilgrim Mother was brought to the stage and placed beside Father Kentenich's picture, which had been on the stage from the beginning. Mr. Pozzobon was introduced as the "grade school student of Fr. Kentenich," as he called himself. Important quotations from Mr. Pozzobon were written on posters and displayed in several places. One of them was, "My vocation was born in the Shrine." Small explanatory texts were read by two speakers. There were moments of reflection and dance, interspersed with songs by Fr. Antônio Borges and also by the Movement singers who encouraged the audience to sing along. Fr. Antonio Maria sang several songs which told about the ministry developed by this simple man, that he was considered a "donkey of Mary" to take Jesus and Maria to the world. This ministry grew and is present today in the five continents. There are more than 150,000 images that travel among families, taking the Mother of God into homes, uniting parents and children who pray the rosary together. Finally, some people gave their testimony as to how the Blessed Mother called them, how they committed themselves to the Campaign, and how she works in souls, which proves that this Marian current, born in the Shrine, was in the plan of God.
There was a deep, family-like atmosphere, marked by gratitude and joy. It was obvious that all present were really devoted, committed people, interested in knowing more, who experienced this as a moment of grace.
"Threatened by storms in our faith"
At 2:30 PM, the Holy Mass of thanksgiving took place in front of the Shrine. But there the Blessed Mother severely tested the faith and the trust of the pilgrims with stormy wind and rain, which made some people leave in spite of their good intentions.
The Holy Mass was celebrated by Diocesan Bishop Dom Ivo Lorscheiter and concelebrated by about 15 priests from different places. In spite of the rain and strong wind, the Bishop was very reluctant to discontinue the Holy Mass. However, starting from the moment of the Consecration, the celebrants had to enter the Shrine because of the rain; and they stayed here until the end. But the Mother still took care that the sound system worked to the end so that all could follow the Bishop's prayers.
Until this moment, Dom Ivo said everything calmly without paying any attention to the storm, and he gave a beautiful sermon in which he expressed thanks for all that Mr. Pozzobon did through the Campaign. He shared about the course of the process of canonization that is practically all being handled on the diocesan level, and now only the "sign of God," the miracle, is awaited. He stimulated the people to continue this mission as evangelized and evangelists. At the end of the Holy Mass, mentioning the storms he said, "Likewise, when in our life we are threatened by
storms in our faith, we should not be afraid, we must stay firm." At the end of the celebration, the Mother was crowned again by the Bishop; and all participants together said a mission-sending prayer for the next 50 years.
A Sister shared: "We were impressed by the people's piety, and that many didn't care about the rain and the wind. They simply stayed there praying until the end. For them it was very natural to do this, to make the sacrifice." Someone else said: " Mr. Pozzobon endured rain, wind and storms a lot
of times along his pilgrimage; and it never discouraged him".
"It is good to be here!"
It was impressive to observe how the people love the Blessed Mother and how they manifested this love in so many ways. They brought flowers, candles, posters, petitions, and contributions for the Capital of Grace. Some went on their knees from the entrance gate to the Shrine. All wanted to enter the Shrine, which was almost impossible. There they expressed their love and their affection, praying, singing or even crying, especially those who, after long years of waiting, arrived here for the first time. It was very beautiful to hear their exclamations. Many said, literally, "It is good to be here"! or "Here is a piece of heaven"! or "That beautiful place!"
It was a beautiful day where all could thank God for such an important mission evangelist and to prove what the Father and Founder, Father Joseph Kentenich, said, "The work of Mr. Pozzobon is a visible reality of what Vincent Palotti said, 'She is the Great Missionary. She will work miracles.'"
João Luiz Pozzobon, a life dedicated to Evangelization
Deacon João Luiz Pozzobon was born in Vale Vêneto, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, on December 12, 1904. Coming from a deeply religious family, he found a new meaning for his life iin the Schoenstat Shrine and in personal contact with Father Kentenich. The Shrine was his favorite place of prayer.
On September 10, 1950 he received the image of the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, from Sr. M. Terezinha Gobbo, the image which he carried on his shoulder for 35 fertile years, walking 87,500 miles, visiting families, schools, hospitals, prisons and parishes and motivating others to pray the rosary. Nothing hindered him from his pilgrimage, neither heat, dust, frosts, rains nor fierce storms.
Deacon João Pozzobon's life as husband and father was a testimony of fidelity, love and dedication. He was humble, merciful, honest and charitable. He had a special love for poor families, freely helping them to build homes, helping them to feed their families, and directing many to receive the sacraments and to participate in the life of the Church.
In 1951, João Pozzobon received the blessing of Father Kentenich with the words: "All the fundamental forces of Schoenstatt become effective in Mr. Pozzobon's apostolate." According to João Pozzobon, "The blessing of the Father and Founder was the force for this Campaign."
To enhance João's apostolic work, on December 30, 1972, Dom Érico Ferrari ordained him Permanent Deacon of the diocese of Santa Maria in the chapel of Our Lady of Graces, built with his collaboration.
In 1979, Mr. Pozzobon visited Schoenstatt and Rome, and the Campaign began to take on a universal dimension.
On the morning of June 27, 1985, the year of the Centennial of Father Kentenich, Deacon João Luiz Pozzobon was struck by a truck amid a thick fog while he walked to the Schoenstatt Shrine to participate in Holy Mass, as he did every day. Heaven won one more ally. His last words were, "Mercy, Lord! Mother, mercy! I will die, help me, I am not able to do more "!
His exemplary life moved Dom Ivo Lorscheiter to solemnly open, on December 12, 1994, the cause for his beatification.
When Deacon João Pozzobon died, there were 2,750 images of the Blessed Mother travelling among families. Today there are more than 150,000 around the world including such countries as Thailand, Pakistan, Sweden, Denmark, Cuba, and Russia. The seed fell to the earth and bore fruit.
English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, WI, US
Letzte Aktualisierung: 17.09.2000 1:07 Mail: Redaktion / Webmaster
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