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When the 17th Pilgrim Shrine was sent out in Southern Italy ...

From a Wayside Shrine in a Garden, the MTA Began Her Victory March

Wayside Shrine in Santeramo in Colle, Italy
Bildstöckchen in Santeramo in Colle, Italien
Procession with Pilgrim Shrines
Prozession mit Pilgerheiligtümern
Italian Marian songs were sung - one after the other
Italienische Marienlieder erklangen immer neu
After the prayer service - a good party
Nach Gebet und Prozession wird kräftig gefeiert
A jubilee birthday cake
Fest mit Jubiläums - Geburtstagstorte
Fotos: Schoenstatt Italy © 2000

(Sr. M. Noemi Massaro) Approximately 80 adults and 20 children got together in the garden of a family in Santeramo in Colle near Bari, Southern Italy, to celebrate the Holy Year and the 50th anniversary of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Shrine Campaign. That evening, August 25, 2000, the 17th Pilgrim Shrine for Santeramo was sent out.

Lights were placed by the Schoenstatt Wayside Shrine in the garden, illuminating the most important people of this get-together: Jesus and Mary. A tree by the wayside Shrine, a fine cloth, some boxes – made a platform for the Pilgrim Shrines brought by the co-ordinators. A simple celebration took place, marked by joy and a prayerful atmosphere.

A Genuine Love for the Schoenstatt Madonna

Sr. M. Noemi Massaro, a native of Santeramo now working in Germany, welcomed all the participants. Then Sr. Ines Maria, a Brazilian working in Northern Italy, shared about the celebrations in Brazil and the crowning of the pilgrim shrines. The Italians responded with applause. Then they all joined in praying the rosary – as they always do when they receive the Blessed Mother in the Pilgrim Shrine in their homes. Short meditations introduced each decade, linking the joyful mysteries to everyday life. All of the children prayed along, the rosary in their hands, gazing at the MTA picture in the wayside Shrine. They love their "Madonna" with all their heart. Italian Marian songs resounded, expressing the deep love of the Italian people for Mary. Afterward, a short litany of thanksgiving was prayed, summarizing all the gifts and graces received by the families. Then all joined in renewing the Covenant of Love: "Oh Signora mia ..." The procession was the climax of the celebration – the children, with little flags in their hands, led the procession, the co-ordinators carried the pilgrim shrines, all greeted the MTA as they walked by the "altarino," the wayside Shrine. And as the way was so short and the procession was so beautiful, they just walked around twice, as one Marian song after the other resounded. Then the 17th pilgrim Shrine for Santeramo in Colle was sent out.

A birthday cake for Jesus

Immediately after the final blessing, a joyful party started. Everybody brought some food to share – pizza, cake, cookies, orange juice, mineral water. As a surprise, one lady brought a real birthday cake for Jesus – with frosting that showed the symbol of the Holy Year in bright colors.

Spontaneously, a birthday song for Jesus was sung!

Pictures were taken, small pilgrim shrines and other souvenirs were purchased, and all of the children received an MTA medal. The three Schoenstatt Sisters present were asked questions and shared a lot. None of the participants left the party without walking once again to the wayside Shrine. Plans were made for a pilgrimage to the Schoenstatt Shrine in Rome or even to Schoenstatt in Germany, the place of Schoenstatt's origin.

In August 1997, the Pilgrim Shrine Campaign started in Santeramo. Since then, 18 pilgrim shrines travel among families. The number tends to grow! The wayside Shrine was erected in 1983 and in 1986 the picture was crowned. No wonder that the MTA set out from there ...

English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, Wisconsin, USA


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