"The Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign, a sign of hope for the Church and the World"
Report on the National Representatives' Convention of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign, Argentina, on April 28th and 29th, 2001
(Sr. Arntrudis Seeger, mb/mkf) On April 28th and 29th 2001, 122 Representatives of the Rosary Campaign of the Pilgrim Virgin gathered at the National Shrine in Florencio Varela. They came from all over the country, from 34 dioceses and about other 20 more places where the Campaign is so strong that separate entities were created. This is a symbol of the constant expansion of the Campaign which is undoubtedly the fruit of the Pilgrim Mother’s wish who, together with her allies, the Father and Founder, and Don Joao Pozzobon, wants to conquer Argentina as a Marian land. She seeks the most unusual ways, setting our to all corners and unknown places, to families, to people from all walks of life, who have one feature in common: to be humble enough to open their hearts for the Blessed Mother's message.
The atmosphere was sincerely family-like, marked by solidarity, prayer, fraternity and joy. A lot of people came with gifts from their areas (the wine from Mendoza was not missing!). Displays and posters about various activities and projects from different places were presented. Of course, each diocese's Auxiliary Pilgrim MTA was present as well as a photograph of Don Joao carrying the Original 'Peregrina' (Pilgrim MTA) by the National Shrine, and a picture of Father Kentenich, who seemed to smile with joy and gratitude at his lively missionaries.
The World Enfolding on the Walls
All were surprised to also find enlarged copies of articles about their activities and riches, published on the web site of the Schoenstatt Movement in Germany, decorating the walls. A whole world of news was enfolded there: the sending of the Jubilee Pilgrim MTA to Senegal from the Shrine in Córdoba; the benediction of a wayside shrine for Don João Pozzobon in Bahía Blanca, a replica of the one by his house, an other article with photos of wayside Shrines at various places in Argentina; the Holy Father blessing Father Cassone's Pilgrim Mother picture; the announcement of this Convention, and also an article about the Campaign in Germany that created wonder and amazement. At once all wrote down the URL to visit this site and to send information. Spontaneously, the people expressed their gratitude for the work of those responsible for this site who make it possible to share the riches of the Campaign in Argentina with people in all areas of the world. What a joy to find out, once again, that the Campaign "shrinks" distances and creates attachments in a amazingly natural way and within short time.
The Importance of the National Shrine for the Campaign
The three lectures were deep and motivating for the work to be done in the committees. According to the number of participants, the convention broke into ten committees, each one with a coordinator. This is a key person, because, as the Campaign is "pure life", the risk of being carried away and leaving given questions aside and not come to any conclusions is always present! Obviously, all of the ten committees did their work well and achieved the goal.
The Convention aimed at the following objectives:
Commitment to the Father and Founder and the Mission of the National Shrine
The two days of the Convention were marked by many beautiful experiences that united the representatives in their common mission: the Eucharist's in the Church of God Father, with meditations on the subject: "From your Shrine"; moments of common prayer in the Shrine and other experiences. The most profound event and that with the strongest impact took place on Saturday night: the commitment to the Father and Founder and the mission of the National Shrine.
The celebration began in Solaz de María, the Retreat Center, with a video presentation of testimonies given by several Sisters about Father Kentenich, the history of the Shrine, and the Father Covenant: sister Verónica, late Sr. Anselma, Sister Cristvera, and, Sister Ursula who touched all those present through her personal experience of the day of the benediction of the Shrine. An audio vision followed with photos of Joao Pozzobon in Nuevo Schoenstatt, accompanied by texts that showed his identification with the mission of Father Kentenich and the Founder's acknowledgement of the Campaign. Once again, Father Kentenich's words, so important for all those dedicated to the Campaign, resounded: "You see, all of the central forces of Schoenstatt become efficient through the work of Mr. Pozzobon." From there, all processed to the Shrine with the Father picture, the picture of Joao Pozzobon, and the Auxiliaries, praying some decades of the rosary. The doors of the Shrine wide open, the representatives felt personally welcomed by the Blessed Mother, while the light of the full moon illumined this climax of the convention. Gathered by the Shrine, all pledged themselves to the Father and to the mission of the Shrine, in the spirit of Joao Pozzobon.
After a short introduction, they answered to four basic questions:
Each questions was answered by all, singing the refrain of the jubilee 92 hymn: "Father, your legacy our mission, we are ready, we go with you, our hand in your hand, our heart in your heart."
The celebration ended with many VIVAs, - the MTA, Father Kentenich, Don Joao, the Shrine, accompanied by the memory of Father Esteban, who started the Campaign on Argentina and lives in the hearts of all.
"Don Joao lead me to an encounter with Father Kentenich"
Many occasions for sharing were given, adding to the joy and deepening the mutual bonding. Diana Hernández Zunini of the Bahia Blanca diocese gave a beautiful testimony on how she combines work and prayer. In the committee, she shared about how she combines work and prayer: "Trying to imitate Don João Pozzobon 's 'a little bit more' I looked for a way of praying during work, and I found one with elements of my work. I am biochemist and I place ten small test tubes in a container along with another one with a blue mark. While I pray the rosary doing the tests, I place the tubes into another container, and then again back, for each Hail Mary - usually I have one AVE MARIA, Hail Mary, with each patient, completing a rosary in the course of the morning." A woman from the Chaco diocese shared: "I secure my relation with João Pozzobon by turning my work into prayer. When I am cooking or ironing I unite with him praying the rosary. In order to not lose track of the Hail Mary's, I placed a rope with ten wooden beads at the kitchen window - above the desk -, and at the laundry room's window -above the table where I do the ironing. They go to and fro while I am working and praying and praying and working. Through this, my work is transformed into a prayer, creating an intimate relation with Don João Pozzobon, whose daily life was a prayer of faithfulness towards our Mother Admirable and her Son Jesus. Don João Pozzobon also led me to an encounter with Father Kentenich."
Belonging, Presence, Participation
One of the major gifts and joys of these days was the presence of a big number of Youth Missionaries - the future of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign. Their joy was contagious, their songs a delight for the other participants, whom they enkindled with their testimonies, thus adding to the overall family-like climate that marked the whole encounter.
Father Guillermo Carmona summarized the fruits of the Convention in three key words:
Experiencing the gift of belonging to a rich and enriching family with the great mission of giving hope. Belonging to each other in mutual sharing, caring and responsibility, aware of community and solidarity in a culture of communion: to be a family.
Discovering the presence of beloved people: Don Joao, the Father and Founder, two realities in communion. As from today the campaign will be different from this perspective. And, above all, the presence of Mary, sign of hope.
Concrete actions: In January 2002, the Campaign should not be absent. Summoned at an early hour, the Campaign is looking forward to tomorrow, to the new shore.
Evaluating the fruits of this Campaign, one of the representatives said: "For me, the most important result was that our Father, on the side of Don João Pozzobon, has placed himself before the Campaign. From now on, the Campaign will promote the Father and Founder, like Don João Pozzobon."
Translation: María Rita Pachec
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