Father, from your Shrine Hope for the Church and the World
The Schoenstatt Movement in Argentina waiting for a "New Arrival" of the Father and Founder
ARGENTINA Monica Badano/mkf On January 11th, finally, the Father Statue arrived to Buenos Aires traveling to Argentina during the severe social crisis that provoked acts of violence and bloodshed during the month of December, and a time marked by increased extreme economic and political insecurity, tension and fear. "Father, from your Shrine - hope for the Church and the world! Here we are, we go with you!" - The whole Schoenstatt Family of Argentina, pilgrims, members of apostolic groups, 32000 missionaries of the Rosary Campaign of the Pilgrim Mother, members of the different Branches, Federations and Institutes, kids, young people and adults, wait for the Father to arrive. Like in 1952, when he promised to come from "wherever I am in the world to bless the Shrine", Father Kentenich today "returns" to Argentina, giving his presents to the whole family that will on January 20th, as family, seal the covenant of love with the Father and Founder.
Many jubilees are celebrated in Schoenstatt, but the special imprint of this golden jubilee of the National Shrine is the participation of the entire Movement of Argentina, united not only in the celebration of January 20th but also in the preparation and in the gifts offered on behalf of this jubilee. It is a unity that the "Family of the Father" experienced as the grace of counting on him, the Shrine, and its mission, but also as responsibility to be carrier of hope in the middle of the difficulty that the country is facing.
Creating an Atmosphere of Hope
The "Decalogue of Hope" - ten basic attitudes that all members of the Movement worked for in order to create an atmosphere of hope – was born from the theme for the year "Father, from your Shrine, hope for the church and the world" in view of the national reality, as well as the "Prayer for the country" prayed during the year in the diverse shrines and more than 700 wayside shrines. Thousands of cards with the Decalogue and Prayer for the Country were distributed throughout Argentina and farther. Many parishes supported this initiative, which motivated the circulation of millions of photocopies and constant re-prints.
"We have been praying and offering to the capital of grace for our country for quite a time", said Ana Riquelo, member of the Federation of Women. "It is significant that these acts (looting, riots) occurred on the 19th and 20th of December, just one month before the jubilee of the Father Shrine that we celebrate on the 19th and 20th of January. We unite ourselves with him in Covenant as family of Schoenstatt in Argentina. I think we are sharing in the mission and destiny of our prophet. We are living our January 20th, our Dachau. I believe the day of Victory of Father will also arrive. But we have to deserve it living out our national mission: With Mary, Family of the Father. The two main points of the last National meeting of Delegates at the beginning of November were solidarity and victoriousness. Living this time of darkness with these two attitudes, affirming them with daily acts is our actual mission." - "That Mary, who gave birth to the redeemer, transforms us into carriers of victorious hope as children of God to be able to be hope for the church and the world", was the wish that was expressed by Lilian and Miguel Mateu, diocesan coordinators of the Movement in Mendoza, in their Christmas greeting, one that resounded in numerous variations in many Christmas greetings, reflecting the great hope and expectancy in the "new arrival of our Father".
The National Shrine - a Sign of the Presence and Love of the Father
Our Father and Founder visited Argentina many times between 1947 and 1952. On the 20th of January of 1952 - on his way to exile - he dedicated the Shrine of Nuevo Schoenstatt, in Florencio Varela. It is the only Shrine that was graced to be dedicated by him in Argentina. Because of his blessing, the Shrine became a living sign of his presence and paternal love. For all this, at the 25th anniversary of the dedication, on January 20th 1977, this Shrine was designated formally as the National Shrine.
The jubilee song expresses the significance of this Shrine in its golden anniversary: You looked for allies for your mission, Father, and our Queen brought you to our land; as children we unite us to your dream to create from the Shrine a new world. 'From wherever I am in the world, I will come and bless this Shrine' - " you looked for it like the child of your yearning; you marked it with your name in blood and flame." Symbolized in the statue that will be placed by the Shrine of Father, the Father and Founder "returns" to his "land born out of the energy of that January 20th", responding once again to the yearning as on the 20th of January the whole family will seal the covenant with him. This covenant with the Father, sealed as a family, and the Father Statue as the symbol of this covenant express the gift and promise of the "Family of the Father" in this jubilee: pilgrims, members of the action groups, 32000 missionaries of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign, members of all the diverse branches, Federations and Institutes, kids, youth, and adults, all children of the Father want to assume the promise of the allies he came to find when he came to this country: "Father, here we are, we go with you! " - To express their gratitude for the National Shrine, all the diocese where Schoenstatt is present give a plaque of bronze that will be placed in the frame, similar to the original Shrine, that will go inside the Father Shrine.
Victoriousness, Solidarity, Austerity
Hope is not enough, realizing the reality of being children of our Victorious Queen is also needed, - the victoriousness was what the meeting of delegates in November of 2001 marked. They felt incredibly impressed by the situation of the country: the discouragement of the people, the fear and the poor without hope, the politicians without solutions, the growing gap between the rich and poor, the corruption and the atmosphere of increasing insecurity. This harsh reality knocked at the door of the family, making difficult the participation of many Schoenstatters in the jubilee. The expressions for the victoriousness, during the time if the final preparation for the jubilee, were solidarity and austerity. As a sign of solidarity and austerity, and finally the possibility of participation of many Schoenstatters on the 19th and 20th, it was resolved to lower the costs and have a less solemn celebration, in tune of the national situation that effected much of the family. For many of them, especially those who live far away, to participate in the celebration meant a huge sacrifice economically. But still, all participants were asked to bring something for the Children's Day Care Center "Padre Jose Kentenich", in Florencio Varela, and for the very poor parishes around. Like Ines and Jose Eduardo, of the community of Rawson, many members of the movement felt called "to continue working to make Argentina a country where the solidarity is higher than the egotism, where generosity wins over the meanness, and unity over the divisions". - "In the middle of the difficult situation of our country, we also have the chance to make true the message of the Shrine that we celebrate." wrote Sister Virginia, member of the central commission for the Jubilee. "We don't know how many will come, the difficulties are real, but the number is not a sign of the greatness and reality of the a mission." The 20th of January 1952, our Father and founder prophetically manifested: "We want to ask God that he gives us men and women that not only know how to talk but instead understand the power and weight of the immense mission that has been given to us by God for our time and are ready to give their lives for it." The family of Father, in its entirety, is ready to assume today this legacy.
"I contributed to the Father Statue!"
"I contributed to the Father Statue" - simple words that have ignited much life, joy and attachment in the family of Argentina and farther. When on the 19th of January 2002 the Father statue will have been blessed, when on January 20th at 12 pm those who have the chance to participate actively in the jubilee celebration, hundreds and hundreds of people coming from all parts of Argentina, seal the Covenant with Father - in their name and the names of many Schoenstatters from the interior and other countries that spiritually unite with them – they all are able to say: "I contributed to the Father Statue." This Father Statue in Argentina is probably the one of the many that exist of that the biggest number of persons say: "My Father statue, our Father statue, the Father statue that we conquered together! " For all of them the Father statue is a sign of the living presence that invites many to unite with him.
When, united in front of the Father Statue, the participants of the jubilee will seal their covenant with Father Kentenich, thousands across Argentina who could not make the trip, along with many people from Germany, Paraguay, Ecuador, United States, South Africa, England and Chile will be present by the thousands of coupons with their name, symbolizing their material and spiritual conquering through the year. More than 30,000 cards with the Father statue and covenant prayer were spread across Argentina and other countries in the campaign of "1 peso for Father."
Many dioceses, branches, federations, and institutes put their own original mark to the preparation of the jubilee, the Covenant with Father Kentenich and the commitment to the Shrine. The crown of the Family Movement crossed Argentina; many dioceses made pilgrimages to the national Shrine to enliven its spiritual message. In the national meeting of the Schoenstatt Rosary campaign, the delegates decided to unite themselves with Father Kentenich in the covenant of love: "We unite with Father Kentenich like John Pozzobon united with him to complete his mission." As part of the motivation, a picture of the Father Statue, with a Pilgrim Mother picture in hands, traveled to many places in the country, conquering the hearts of the coordinators. In this year's meetings of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign the relationship between John Pozzobon and Father Kentenich, was highlighted as well asthe importance that Father Kentenich gave to the Rosary Campaign. The Auxiliaries who were asked by the Cdentral Commission to preside over the workshops of the Jubilee will give a testimony of the trust and commitment of the missionaries with Father Kentenich and the mission of the Shrine. Many of them made a special effort to send the Auxiliaries of their dioceses to the Jubilee so that they would be present in the hours of grace thru them.
The whole movement united in the weekly novena for preparation for the Jubilee and the coming of Father, which began on the 18th of November, the birthday of our Father and Founder.
You Send us in the Covenant
"We hope that in midst of this situation which touches our lives, we find in Father, answers and the strength that we need to live and help others live with dignity that we are given being children of God." wrote Rosa Ciola of Villa Ballester.
"You send us in the covenant" expresses the song of the Jubilee of 2002; so that "all who take the hand of our Mother become portals of hope and peace in this year that begins", says Dora Campos of San Isidro.
It is not a jubilee and grace only for the family of Argentina. Also in the tomb of Father Kentenich in Schoenstatt, Germany, a small flag of Argentina remembers this Jubilee. "From Argentina all the grace that we receive in these days will arrive in the current returning to the Original Shrine," said a member of the movement there. "That the International Family of Schoenstatt feels the presence of Father 'like the sun of a new time.'"
Translation: Cousett Ruelas, Austin, TX, USA
Editor's note: the article was published in German and Spanish some days before the jubilee
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