"Pilgrim to the Shrine - com, get to know and proclaim!"
More than 7,000 persons joining in the Campo Limpo Diocese's pilgrimage to the Schoenstatt Shrine in Atibaia, Brazil
(Sr. M. Isabel, Sr. Adriane Maria) The 11th pilgrimage of the Campo Limpo Diocese, São Paulo/SP, on March 18, 2001, once again demonstrated the love and affection of the Brazilian people for the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt. The pilgrims from this diocese came with 120 buses, thirty more buses came from other cities, giving a total of approximately 7,000 pilgrims on the Covenant Day in March.
The origin of this pilgrimage lies in Bishop D. Emílio Pignoli's special devotion to the Mother and Queen of Schoenstatt. He shared that 11 years ago the diocese was suffering from several major difficulties. On the suggestion of one priest from the diocese, he brought the clergy of his diocese for a week's retreat by the Shrine in Atibaia. There some of the priests got to know the Pilgrim MTA pictures and soon decided to begin that devotion in their parishes.
The Pilgrim Mother Campaign - a New Impulse in the Diocese
The diocese changed, the difficulties were overcome; and it was clear that the cause of this spiritual renewal was the Campaign. Therefore, this annual pilgrimage of the whole diocese is part of a special desire of the Bishop. Each year since the beginning in 1990, the dedication of the whole diocese to the Mother Thrice Admirable and her motherly care is renewed. The diocese got ready spiritually for that pilgrimage and divided the tasks among the several parishes so that all could participate in this great day of encounter in the Shrine.
The pilgrimage began at 9:00 o'clock in the Shrine; the Bishop participated from the very beginning, accompanying the procession from the Shrine to the Pilgrims' Tent that was beautifully decorated for the festive day. While welcoming words were extended to the pilgrims from the different places, three priests of the diocese and the Bishop heard confessions.
The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary - Mary's Love for Each of her Children
At 10:00 o'clock, the Holy Mass began. The couple in charge of the Campaign in the diocese entered with the Auxiliary Pilgrim MTA, while the 7,000 pilgrims joined in waiving white flags and singing the hymn of the Campaign: Mãe Admirável, ó Mãe Peregrina - Mother Admirable, O Pilgrim Mother ... All the texts, songs and elements of the Holy Mass were prepared by the coordinators and missionaries of the Campaign. The motto of the pilgrimage was, like that of all of the pilgrimages of this year: "Pilgrim to the Shrine - come, get to know and proclaim!" The elements of the Mass were beautiful and significant, so that the participants could receive a message and an incentive for their lives.
After Holy Communion, the five joyful mysteries of the rosary were performed. In the end, while a youth sang "Salve Regina," another youth entered, dressed with clothes similar to that of Mary on the MTA picture, tending in her arms a child dressed as Baby Jesus. She stood behind a silhouette of the Shrine. This simple and genuine performance was to show the love with which Mary waits for each one of her children, taking them in her arms and leading them to God. Then a lady entered with her son. She put him in Mary's arms, who welcomed him, singing "Magnificat" – a scene that expressed the grace of having a home.
The importance of Mary's Presence Through the Pilgrim MTA Picture
At 2:00 o'clock, all came together to pray the rosary. At each mystery, a part of a house was erected, depicting Mary with the family and showing the importance of her presence, especially through the Pilgrim MTA, to defend the houses from the dangers that try to destroy the families. "It was touching," one Schoenstatt sister shared, "to see whole families -- father, mother and children -- with rosaries in their hands, praying with so much trust!" The pilgrimage ended with the Eucharistic blessing.
The Most Important Moment of the Day: Entering the Shrine
On such days, the affection and love of the people for Mary can be seen everywhere and all the time. For instance, soon a line formed before the picture of Mary in the Tent. Each one waited her time, then she knelt down before the image in a respectful attitude and had a personal encounter with Mary. Also, the line to enter the Shrine was immense. But with endless patience and love, the people prayed the rosary or wrote their requests while they waited in the line. For those who are visited by the Pilgrim Mother every month, their visit to her Shrine is the most important moment of the day, a moment of thanksgiving and love.
" Today I can lie down in the bed of the Heavenly Mother!"
Very beautiful and significant was a child's reaction. A girl (about two years old) got sick during the pilgrimage. Her mother took her to the infirmary. The girl had a high fever and was really sick. In spite of that, she radiated a happiness that amazed all. When the nurse tucked her in the bed, the child, when seeing the white sheets, looked at her mother and said, "Mom, today I can lie down in the bed of the Heavenly Mother!" Young as she was, she knew that she had come to the " house of the Heavenly Mother," the small Shrine that is really a house, a home for thousands of people of all of races, languages and walks of life!
At the end of the day, all thanked the Blessed Mother who had provided such a marvellous day for the Diocese of Campo Limpo. "I firmly believe that no one will be lost who remains faithful to the Covenant of Love ..." (Fr. Joseph Kentenich).
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