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 published: 2005-09-30

"Schoenstatt should emerge from here!"

Silver Anniversary of the Shrine of Villa Ballester, Argentina


25° aniversario del Santuario de Villa Ballester, Argentina

25th anniversary of the Shrine in Villa Ballester, Argentina

Silberjubiläum des Heiligtums in Villa Ballester, Argentinien


Partiparon unos mil personas

Some 1,000 persons participated

Etwa 1000 Personen feierten mit


Los novicios de los Padres de Schoenstatt

The novices of the Schoenstatt Fathers were present

Mit dabei auch das Noviziat der Schönstatt-Patres






Cantando las maravillas de Maria

Music for Mary

Liederfestival für Maria


Torta de cumpleaños

Birthday cake


Fotos: Sosa © 2005


ARGENTINA, Roberto and Viviana Sosa. "There is a photo of the Shrine of Villa Ballester in the Home Shrine, because since we met the Vallendors – during the founding of Schoenstatt in Argentina – it seemed that there was such a fundamental richness in this place, that we almost traveled there for the celebration..." wrote someone who lives more that a thousand kilometers from Villa Ballester (a district of greater Buenos Aires) where Schoenstatt began in Argentina…On Sunday the 18th of September the 25th Anniversary of the blessing of the Schoenstatt Shrine was commemorated. It was truly a "feast of gratitude, of love and of hope." Because wherever She summons us a family is built: it was in this spirit that the anniversary was celebrated.

The Shrine was beautiful; it was radiant. The grounds were decorated with dozens of colored balloons and Argentine flags. Heaven deemed to give us a marvelous afternoon; it was very pleasant and luminous. Holy Mass began at 4:00 p.m. presided by the Diocesan Bishop, Monsignor Guillermo Rodriguez Melgarejo, and he filled everyone with emotion from the beginning. .The Regional Superior of the Institute of Schoenstatt Fathers, Father Juan Pablo Catoggio; Schoenstatt Fathers, Guillermo Mario Cassone and Andres Rodriguez (who was recently ordained and is a native of Ballester); Father Guillermo Vido, Pastor; Father Claudio Gutierrez, of the Franciscan Order, Chaplain of the Shrine; Fathers Claudio Cabrera, Carlos Barrientos and Rogelio Del Pero (Diocesan Federation of Schoenstatt) concelebrated the Mass. Twenty-five seminarians from the Institute of the Schoenstatt Fathers attended the celebration.

One thousand grateful pilgrims in the Blessed Mother’s home

The "owners of the house" were undoubtedly very happy to see such a great number of people at this celebration. There are so many people who come daily to Her and her beloved Son, there are so many people that are grateful for the gifts and the attention they receive from them! The grounds were completely full of people. A thousand grateful pilgrims came to Her home to celebrate the anniversary of the Shrine. No one could move and many followed the Holy Mass from the street, behind the bars. Among those attending there was a score of Sisters of Mary and religious from other communities, the Consul of Austria, Mr. Harald Ulbrich and his spouse.

After the Holy Mass there were greetings and expressions of gratitude, accompanied with good refreshments. Furthermore, you could hear greetings and see friends and Schoenstatt brothers from other dioceses embracing; in some cases, it had been years since they had seen each other. Emotions were mounting…

A large group of women – approximately 30 of them –who were in the Girls’ Youth 25 years ago, renewed their Covenant of Love in the Shrine with songs and hymns from those times.

Time flew and the people did not leave. It was time for the recital of Silvia Sapag. It was recital for the Blessed Mother and Jesus that enthused everyone, it made them dance and applaud. It was excellent in its professionalism, and marvelous in warmth! The family sang and enjoyed it with their Mother. "Thank you Silvia for the gift of your voice, and we also thank your musicians for making us feel so good".

The founding times of Schoenstatt in Argentina, and in Villa Ballester

Around 7:30 p.m. there was a presentation recalling the founding times of Schoenstatt in Argentina and Villa Ballester 70 years ago, the presentation included the first Sisters and the youth from this place that formed the first groups; the Father and Founder’s first visit in 1947, the founding groups of youths, couples, and mothers. It showed the building of the Shrine and later the blessing. The fruits that emerged from it and at the end, all the activities that took place throughout 2005, that were carried out in preparation for the great celebration of the 25 years of sheltering, transformation and apostolic zeal that the Blessed Mother has worked "from here" (Father Joseph Kentenich’s prophetic words said in Villa Ballester to the Sisters of Mary in one of his many visits, referring to fact that they should not attach themselves so much to Schoenstatt, Germany, rather they should attach themselves here where God had sent them. Several times he repeated: "Schoenstatt should emerge from here!") The end of the presentation showed the future in the faces of the little ones, who Father Guillermo Cassone said were the fourth generation of this Family – and in many cases they are also relatives of the founders. They nourish hope and trust that the charisma that the Founder left as a mission for the new times will continue. The entire presentation was accompanied by a cantata that referred to each historic moment.

At night the "Happy Birthday" was sung, there was a symbolic cake made of dough in the shape of the Shrine, and a reminder that again evoked the Father and Founder: "What is my response before the difficulties? Mater habebit curam! (The Blessed Mother will take perfect care)".

The 500 persons who stayed until the end of the celebration saw the colored balloons disappear into the night sky carrying to the heights all the joy and gratitude of the journey. But, there was one more surprise, prepared by the youngest ones: some fireworks that gave the celebration a touch of light and uproar. The end of the celebration could not have been better or in any other way. Under the multiple luminous stars that will remain in our memory and in our hearts we could tell our Blessed Mother again and again: "Thank you for your loyalty! Thank you for loving us unconditionally! Thank you for educating us in the image of your Son, the Lord!"

Translation: Celina M Garza, Harlingen, TX, USA

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