"Everyone Aboard The MTA Ark"
Journey of Love 2006 of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign, USA
USA, mca. End of june, the "Journey of Love" 2006 took place, the leaders’ convention of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign in the USA. This year’s Journey of Love had 135 delegates present from 22 different states, with Tennessee being present for the first time.
After a Holy Mass opened this year’s convention in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the evening activity was marked by socializing and getting to know each other in the framework of "Noah’s ark" – represented by a cake in form of an ark and stuffed animals. Each region or state from which coordinators came was represented via a song verse. As they heard their region or state, they walked up and took an animal, which also had a saying from the Zoological Garden of John Pozzobon.
Sister M. Frances then presented a Powerpoint on the history of the Schoenstatt Girls Youth, who celebrate their Golden Jubilee on July 30, and Sister Patricia Vinje shared pictures from and told about the ecclesial movements’ trip to Schoenstatt and Rome which had just taken place in late May and early June.
Essential traits of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign
Sister Jessica stated that our goal at this Journey of Love was to discern the plans of the Blessed Mother’s and John Pozzobon’s mission for us as coordinators. She shared highlights from a talk given by Father Guillermo Carmona who was the National Movement Director in Argentina. (more here and here)
Pilgrim MTA Apostolates in the USA
After a short break, the delegates gathered together again. Father Hector introduced the four panel members who would be talking about their particular apostolate area.
Carole DiFabio from Indiana talked about her family apostolate. She said that with the MTA we strive to become more and more like our Blessed Mother. Accepting Mary is like a series of "yeses" to our Mother. Through the covenant of love we are able to exchange hearts with Mary.
Joe Rizzi, from California, was the next panel member who talked about his apostolate with nursing homes. He shared about bringing Communion and the MTA to nursing homes. He gives each person their own individual MTA picture for their room. Joe tells them to combine their prayers with Mary’s. The residents often say they have no one to pray for. He tells them to pray for families, for friends, for the country. Joe also does a prayer and communion service at the nursing homes.
Maria Sommerauer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin has been bringing Pilgrim MTAs to over 50 schools in Milwaukee for the past 10 years. She takes them to Catholic grade schools and middle schools in the city and some of the suburb schools. There are many Baptist students in the schools. But these students, too, like Mary and Baby Jesus. What a wonderful way of evangelizing!
The last panel member was Arismendy Taveras of New York. Arismendy takes the MTA personally to over 200 homes. She has brought many people back to the Church. He sees the gifts from Mary, many people are transformed, many people say the Blessed Mother comes just when they need her.
Different workshops were offered: Schoenstatt songs -especially the traditional ones-, group dynamics, John Pozzobon’s Footsteps, Schoenstatt Movement, all of them but the singing practice offered in English and Spanish)
Friday evening we walked by candlelight to the shrine. As we walked, we prayed Rosary Mysteries of the Holy Family. At the shrine, the National Auxiliary MTA was crowned by Isabelle Lutzke and Helen Liccione from Milwaukee, WI.
To allow the Blessed Mother to act as Great Missionary
On Saturday, after morning prayer, Holy Mass and a good breakfast, all joined in listening to Sister Jessica’s session on Schoenstatt Rosary Coordinator Training. She incorporated a slide show as she talked about the Campaign. She started out with some basic information about the SRC.
The Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign is a mission and it is incorporated into the church. The MTA is united with the shrine in the spirit of Deacon Pozzobon and after his example, to allow the Blessed Mother through the covenant of love to act as the great missionary at the service of the renewal of families, the Church, and society.
After a short break, the participants went through and discussed the 10 most common questions about the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign. They learned that January 1, 2005, there are over 200,000 MTAs active in the world and that she reaches over 14 million homes monthly.
Presenting Schoenstatt to others
The afternoon started out with a very interesting DVD on the life of John Pozzobon made in Santa Maria, Brazil.
On to the next item on the agenda. All of the delegates were divided into regional groups. Each group was assigned a leader and a reporter. They talked about the greatest challenges we faced in building up the Campaign.
After a short break, they gathered again in their groups and worked on ways of presenting Schoenstatt to others. Within our group, 2 or 3 people worked together on a scenario and then had to share it with the rest of the group. We were then to choose the best scenario to be presented to the whole group on Sunday. Some scenarios:
Rosary Procession to the Shrine
After dinner, it was off to the Provincial House again for evening program. They settled into the meeting room and heard several testimonials from coordinators. Next, Father Gerold gave a talk on Father Kentenich’s great love for the church and the promises he made to Pope Pius XII and the German Bishops.
The final event of this year’s Journey of Love was the Rosary procession to the Shrine. The participants carried their MTAs and prayed the Joyful Mysteries as they walked up the hill. Once there, Father Hector blessed our religious articles, distributed newly blessed MTAs, and commissioned and blessed the coordinators. The Washington, D.C. delegates provided them with joyful music. Each received their SRC Leadership Certificate and a small gift. Then they walked back down to the Center for another delicious lunch and a last chance to visit before saying their goodbyes.
And so, another Journey of Love has come and gone. The participants were blessed with beautiful weather, interesting and informative presentations, and the opportunity to share their love for the Blessed Mother with each other. They made new friends and got to spend time with old ones. They got to share their successes and the challenges theyface. They left knowing that the Blessed Mother continues to help a sthey go forth as her "little donkeys" to bring her and her son to homes across the country. The MTA Ark is off and sailing!
Edited with material provided byPhyllis Schicker, Johnson Creek, Wisconsin, USA