Light of Freedom Illuminating the Future
Wayside Shrine in Confins/MG near Belo Horizonte, Brazil - a Precursor of the Future Schoenstatt Shrine
(RdL) January 21, 2001 will be remembered with emotion by the people of Confins/MG near Belo Horizonte, Brazil. This was the day on which the citizens of this calm and small town in the northern area of Belo Horizonte saw a pilgrimage of devotees of the MTA arriving from Belo Horizonte, passing by the cities of Vespasiano and Santa Luzia. A total of 42 buses, 242 cars and 32 motorcycles escorted by the military police arrived in the city singing, waving banners and flags. Leading the motorcade was the little Shrine with the picture of the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt.
The motorcade was received by the people of Confins with applause and fireworks along the entire route up to the land donated for the construction of the future Shrine, "Tabor of Freedom." The area is already developed, with two open streets leading to the place of the future Shrine, Father Joseph Kentenich Street and João Pozzobon Street. The names of the two streets mark the origin of this Shrine – Father Joseph Kentenich, the Founder of the International Schoenstatt Movement (1885 - 1968) and João Pozzobon (1904 -1985), who (as Father Kentenich's "small student" as he liked to call himself) began the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign in 1950that helped spread Schoenstatt in over 80 countries of the world. An altar was erected at the place for the Eucharistic Celebration, an act of thanksgiving for the culmination of the first step towards the Center of Spirituality that soon will be built to promote the religious formation of all people in the Archdiocese of Belo Horizonte and neighboring areas. It was a solemn mass, celebrated by Fr. Geraldinho, parish priest of Confins and great benefactor of the Shrine. Concelebrants were Fr. Cornélio, a sincere devotee of Our Lady who introduced Schoenstatt in the Church of St. Theresa and the Little Flower in Belo Horizonte; Fr. Arthur de Pedro Leopoldo; and Fr. Reni, a Schoenstatt League Priest and Military Chaplain in Brasília.
Approximately 5,000 People from 23 Parishes Participating
Also present on that special day were Sr. M. Teresila, who began the Schoenstatt Movement in Belo Horizonte; Sr. M. Eliza, the current Movement sister who made the blessing of the wayside Shrine possible on that very day; the Mayor of Confins with his family; and devotees from more than 23 parishes. Approximately 5,000 people participated in the program, neither bothered by the burning sun in Confins nor by the rain coming down in Belo Horizonte. They sang and greeted their Mother with fervor, uniting their voices with the choir "Mary's Singers," which added radiance to this solemn moment.
A Moment of Light - Initial Mark for the Construction of the Future Shrine.
At the end of the Mass, the blessing of the Wayside Shrine took place; and four couples sealed their Covenant of Love with Mary. "In Confins now there won't just be airplanes going up and down. Through Mary's intercession, our prayers will rise and abundant graces will come down..." This was one man's comment after the celebration. With the blessing of the Wayside Shrine, land which before was without use now was transformed into "holy ground." Since January 21 hundreds of pilgrims have come together there on the third Sunday of each month for the celebration of the pilgrims' Holy Mass.
The conception of the project of the small chapel, the responsible leaders share, "was a moment of light because it incorporated the spirit of the mission of the future Shrine, "Tabor of Freedom." It also assumed the character of an "initial mark" for the construction of the future Shrine.
All Works of Mary are Simple
A great rectangle of bent steel, a stairway of stone, and an open door in a triangular format make up the simple design of the wayside Shrine, a symbol of freedom. An MTA plaque of polished iron was fastened in the masonry. The lateral walls lost their limits and the sky became the roof of this small and simple chapel, explained the architect when conceiving the project.
A work of Maria would be simple, as are the gestures of a Mother who simply reveals all her power, all her love for her children. The people of Confins are sure that this is one of the many fruits that the Mother of God wants to grant to all who trust her and offer their contributions to the Capital of Grace.
It is Good to be Here
Isa Oliveira de Carvalho described the meaning of this wayside Shrine in a poem:
Here is the place, where a door opens on earth,
Freed from sin and evil, we may rejoice:
English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, Wisconsin, USA
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