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 published: 2004-02-05

The Blessed Mother takes a cab to go on pilgrimage …

The Taxi Drivers’ Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign grows in Argentina

Peregrinación de taxistas al Santuario

Taxi driver pilgrimage to the Shrine

Taxifahrer-Wallfahrt zum Heiligtum


Bendición de taxis en Buenos Aires

Blessing of taxis in  Buenos Aires

Taxi-Segnung in Buenos Aires

Foto: Diaz, Beltramo  © 2004


Compromiso misionero de taxistas en Bariloche

Taxi drivers in Bariloche receiving the Pilgrim MTA

Sendungsfeier der Taxifahrer in Bariloche


Bendición de taxis en Bariloche

Taxi blessing in Bariloche

Taxisegnung in Bariloche

Fotos: Aguilar © 2002


Rosario de los taxistas misioneros en el Santuario de Belgrano

Rosary of the taxi drivers in the Shrine in Belgrano

Rosenkranz der Taxifahrer im Heiligtum von Belgrano


Boletín de la Misión de Taxistas Católicos

Magazine of the Catholic Taxi Driver Mission

Zeitschrift der Katholischen Taxifahrer-Mission

Foto: Beltramo © 2004




ARGENTINA, Cliver Beltramo/mkf. "When I began giving away pictures of the Schoenstatt Virgin to my passengers, I never thought this could be transformed into a religious campaign in the long run" said Cliver Beltramo, a cab driver from Buenos Aires. Today, the MTA of Schoenstatt is the patron saint of the catholic cab drivers of Buenos Aires. The Pilgrim Mother goes from cab to cab in six images. The Campaign also began in Bariloche, La Plata, and Cordoba.

Everything began with a cab driver who gave away hundreds of pictures of the MTA to his passengers; thereafter, at a gas station, he met with another cab driver who fell in love with the MTA, made a U-turn of his life and started to work for the MTA. Then the taxi drivers’ pilgrimages to the Schoenstatt National Shrine in Florencio Varela began. The sixth pilgrimage was in September 2003: "We are the Mosto family, and we started to come to the Schoenstatt Shrine in Florencio Varela three years ago", Ricardo and Teresa Mosto said: "we don’t have to die to be in paradise, because we find peace here and we are with the Mother of Jesus"

Marlene Ivette Marambio went for the first time last year, and said: "We are the Zuccoli Marambio family (a large family). This is the first time I come and Schoenstatt seems to be a fantastic, humane, loving, integral Christian family, besides this place is incredibly beautiful. I was moved by Fr. Kentenich’s statue, radiating life, peace and wisdom. From now on I love you all! I must say that I am Protestant, but what matters is to share faith and life under the eyes of God. God bless you all!"

The cab drivers’ Mission – evangelization in the streets of Buenos Aires

Cliver Beltamo says: "At the end of the year 2000 we gathered in the Vicariat of Devoto (the Archbishopric of Buenos Aires, was divided in four Vicarages due to its large population, each of the Vicarages has an Auxiliary Bishop) along with Bishop Raul Rossi, Fr. Alejandro Puiggari and many cab drivers who were invited for the event. It was determined that we needed a chaplan to guide us in the great task of evangelization in the streets of Buenos Aires." - "The only help, collaboration and support we had up until that moment had been from Sr. Maria Andrea Azar and Fr. Guillermo Carmona, from the Schoenstatt Movement. They were always side by side with us giving us advice and spiritually leading us in everything we did.

At the end of that year, Fr. Jose Maria "Pepe" Casadevall, Parish Priest of Nuestra Señora de la Salud parish was named the Chaplan of the cab drivers and their families. By then, our joy to count with a priest to lead us was huge; just imagine how we saw the spiritual growth and the support we felt from the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. Mary was interceding."

The MTA’s missionary cab drivers

In December 2001, the first cab drivers joined the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign, creating a new modality: the Taxi Drivers' Campaign. Among the first to receive the Pilgrim MTA were: Nora and Leo Cuenca, Pablo Cavallaro, Manuel Díaz and Cliver Beltramo. These missionaries then looked for another ten cab drivers to pass on the Pilgrim MTA once a month each. Each Pilgrim MTA travels with a notebook where passengers and their families write their intentions and thanks. The drivers then take these notebooks to the Shrine located in Echeverria Street, in the Belgrano neighborhood, where every day they pray for their passengers and the intentions written in those notebooks.

"This task was a gift from the MTA, strengthening our mutual friendship as taxi drivers, and improving our relations with the poassengers. One of the taxi drivers who received the Pilgrim MTA joined the missionaries in 2002, with a new Pilgrim MTA. Now there are six images that travel around Buenos Aires City. This last missionary is Javier Maulen and his wife who is a missionary in the Villa Ballester Shrine neighborhood", said Cliver Beltramo.

The drivers gather weekly in the Villa Ballester Shrine to rotate the images (from one car to another, from a home to another, from a family to another). There are two images: a small one that stays in the cab, and a larger image that goes to the drivers’ home. During the Year of the Rosary the taxi drivers met in the Shrine in Belgrano twice a week to say the rosary.

The Cab Drivers Campaign begins in La Plata

It’s been two years since the cab drivers’ campaign began in Bariloche, in the Rio Negro province, in La Patagonia.

In December 2003, the first Pilgrim MTA was entrusted in La Plata, as Manuel Diaz tells us:

"On December 30, 2003 in the city of La Plata a group got together with the blessings of the MTA: a group of cab drivers of La Plata; Fr. Alberto Meroni, Schoenstatt diocesan priest from the Medalla Milagrosa parish; and the coordinators of Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign.

Representing the cab drivers were Juan Jose Navarro and Carlos Bignone, who belong to the Gonnet Hospital stop. Fr. Pepe Casadevall, local cab drivers’ Chaplan, Manuel Diaz and Cliver Beltramo traveled from Buenos Aires, to support and help them. These representatives gave the cab drivers a Pilgrim MTA to guide them in this journey in which they have been elected by the heavenly Mother."

"She spoke of the mission in each cab we took"

"Missionary travelers" began the cab drivers Campaign in Cordoba, Liliana Campisi shared:

"Here the mission of the cab drivers emerged after a year of long and hard work performed by Cristina de Soria, missionary of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign. Each cab we took (and we took many cabs since Cristina de Soria can barely walk and she is very active giving preparation talks on the Covenant of Love and Home Shrine around several neighborhoods; in addition, we are responsible for the Campaign here) she began talking about the mission. Finally, on May 18th the first vocation flourished, and on August 18th, the day of the Anniversary of the Campaign in Cordoba, other two joined: a man and a woman from the same cab company "Taxi-Com", then the Auxiliary visited there. Other vocations are emerging. The Capital of Grace is being fruitful…"

"Mother, I am so pleased with the cab drivers’ mission!"

Nora Cuenca, one of the first cab drivers' missionaries says: "Mother, I am very pleased with the cab drivers’ mission! I have met so many people because of you! I am very grateful for your protection while I am working my cab. I always ask you to guide my husband and children. I put in your hands the purchase of our new cab, so we can earn a living for our family. You are our hope. Thank you for all your blessings".

The testimonies from travelers in the notebook are impressive:

"Loved Virgin, as usual, you are in my prayers and in my heart, just like I feel your company in this journey. I pray to you for the health of Mario Rodriguez, to enlighten his life and to go with him always. I love you. (Natalia, passenger 7/6/03)

"We ask for our dad (Rodolfo Amadeo Videla) to get better from the accident injuries, as well as for our mom, (Elisa Fernandez) to improve her health problem. Thank you, so loved Virgin" (Belen, Juan, Maximo and Luz, 10/10/03)

The Pilgrim Virgin is also the missionary of her Missionaries:

"My name is Luis, and like many around here, great part of my life I was secluded from any religious participation. One day, a friend and colleague invited me to participate in the monthly Mass offered for and to the cab drivers. I went there thinking it would be a Mass like all, but at the end of this, along with the blessing of a cab, a Missionary of the MTA offered me to take the Pilgrim image and to meet them in the Shrine to say the Rosary. I accepted to go without knowing that from that moment on there would be a "change" in my life. Today, each time Our Lady travels with me, I feel spiritual peace and security. In addition, I feel great joy to see passengers interested in our pastoral labor and ask to write intentions and their thankfulness in the notebook.

My "conversion" has been such that I must thank Fr. Pepe, Chaplan of the cab drivers, who has explained me how to improve my Christian life that last December our youngest daughter was baptized; and God willing, I will do the same with my other children.

Lastly, and if it is the Blessed Mother's wish, in the future I would like to be a missionary, so I can pay back some of the good SHE has given to me."

Translation: Vera Gamez, Austin, Texas, USA

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