The beginning of the Campaign in Oberá
A mission directly received from the hands of Joao Pozzobon
ARGENTINA, Elvina Constanza Eva Cot de Taron. A mission directly received from the hands of Joao Pozzobon: that is how the Rosary Campaign began in Oberá, Province of Misiones, where the Schoenstatt Family is already preparing the celebration that will be held on November 26, 2007, for the Golden Anniversary of the Shrine, the second one that was blessed in Argentina.
A very special person was in charge of the first Pilgrim MTA in Oberá: Mrs. Zenona Arciuk de Zaczuk, the present Honorary Consul of Russia in our city, a very sweet person, whose living room is filled with symbols and objects that define her as cultured, religious and steeped in her ancestral roots. An icon of the Blessed Mother painted with a special technique of Russian culture in Chile is seen in a prominent place in the room. On the altar there is a picture of the Blessed Mother of Schoenstatt: It is her Home Shrine. In a simple manner she related how she came into contact with the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign.
Zenona and her family diligently went to the Shrine of Oberá. In January of 1984, they traveled to Brazil for the purpose of visiting Tabor Shrine of Santa Maria in Rio Grande do Sul, where they stayed for several days. They visited Tabor Shrine accompanied by a Sister visiting Father Kentenich’s room, and finally they entered a room where many Pilgrim MTA’s were kept, all of them the same, framed in a special way. Zenona was impressed and she asked what they were.
The Sister told the story of the Rosary Campaign, that was initiated on September 10, 1950 by a family man and modest businessman, Joao Luiz Pozzobon, who changed the rhythm of his life on that day and he initiated an apostolic task without precedence, he was ordained a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Santa Maria, Brazil, and he served as such until the day of his death on June 27, 1985. This happened in January of 1984, when Joao was still alive. They were introduced more into the knowledge of the Pozzobon’s apostolic work by visiting the "Vila nobre da caridade" (Noble Village of Charity).
On January 28th, after the early morning Holy Mass, Zenona and her daughters had an interview with John Luiz Pozzobon. They had the grace to meet him, converse with him and to ask for a Pilgrim MTA to begin the Rosary Campaign in Oberá. Joao was very happy, in the first place because the Campaign would begin in Argentina, and secondly, because it would be precisely in Oberá, a city that he had visited on December 15, 1959, on the occasion of his pilgrimage carrying the Father Symbol.
Don Joao and sister Teresinha commissioned the Pilgrim MTA, No. 2,496, it was blessed and documented in the Tabor Shrine. The following day, January 29th, Zenona and her family began their return trip, completely renewed in their faith and determined to begin the Rosary Campaign by praying the rosary as a family in our town.
Zenona immediately formed a group of thirty families, and on March 1, 1984, the Blessed Mother of Schoenstatt began her pilgrimage in Oberá. Without planning it, the Shrine "Garantia of 20 de January of 1942 (Guarantee of January 20, 1942), was at the center, and the itinerary was formed like a rosary around its surroundings. Since it was well accepted among us, more Pilgrim MTA’s were needed to increase the number of missionaries and also of the number families that would be visited. As Zenona says: "She slowly showered her blessings and searched for her instruments".
In 1986, Zenona requested an Auxiliary Shrine from the secretariat of Santa Maria, which she solemnly received in Tabor Shrine.
From Oberá to Moscow: Pilgrim MTA No. 60
During the Marian Year of 1987, Mrs. Zenona "a soldier in the reign of love (MTA)" she went on a trip of cultural exchange through the Russian community. She used the opportunity to "Unite East with West through Mary and with Mary, like Pope John Paul II had asked and as a desire of Father Kentenich", according to his talks.
She crown and recrowned Pilgrim MTA No. 60 in Russia, Byelrussia, and Ukraine as Queen of Moscow, of Brest, of Ukraine, of the Orthodox Church and Queen of the World.
One day she visited the Catholic Church in Minsk (Byelrussia), where the pastor saw the picture and was marveled, he took her in his hands and said: "Will you leave it with me?". Zenona felt that this was not where the Blessed Mother wanted to stay. Then she gave him a large, blessed picture and a lady drew a sketch of the Pilgrim MTA so that a replica could be made.
After a trip to Brest (on the border with Poland) where they celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord on August 19th, what happened in Minsk was repeated: The priest asked for the Pilgrim MTA, Zenona refused, another picture was given and a sketch was made.
On August 23rd she visited the church dedicated to Saint Ludovico to attend Mass, she arrived a half an hour early. She used this time to speak with Deacon Stanislaw Mosheiko, to explain the Rosary Campaign and she showed him Pilgrim MTA No. 60, he was impressed and he immediately asked for it. Without thinking and undoubtedly coming from her soul: Yes! Was the response of the Blessed Mother. She participated in the Holy Mass and on the way out, after bidding farewell to the priest and the deacon, feeling the peace of someone who had accomplished an objective; she felt the presence of the great Missionary who was giving herself to transform hearts and to shower graces everywhere.
On June 29, 1992 she made another trip, this time to Byelrussia. It was the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The Cathedral was celebrating the patron saints. The Bishop was not around, so she was welcomed by a Sister of Mary! In this way they gave each other mutual strength to continue on the arduous task of the Great Visitation. Sister Francisca received Pilgrim MTA No. 500 to give to Bishop Tadeusz Kondrusewicz with all the materials.
On the return trip, she went through Germany, Zenona visited Schoenstatt. One of her reasons was to step in the footsteps of Father Kentenich. The second reason was to crown Pilgrim MTA No. 1, that belongs to a mothers’ group, Door to Heaven" in the Original Shrine. This group was one of the first circles of families in Oberá that regularly received the visit of the Great Missionary.
To the great joy of this pioneer missionary in our midst, when she arrived at the Original Shrine she met with Father Ángel Strada, with whom she shared her plans. Father Strada supported her in all that she asked of him: he took to Mount Sion; he interpreted the message that Zenona received at the tomb of Father Kentenich: crown Pilgrim MTA No.1 from Oberá here (no. 2,496 from Santa María, Brazil) as ‘QUEEN OF THE CAMPAIGN IN NORTHEAST ARGENTINA".
Cross for the East
It was Thursday. Zenona was in the Original Shrine. All of sudden she noticed that she was before the Cross from the East (Byzantine Cross). She was overcome with emotion, feeling that she was united to it since she was baptized in an Orthodox Church. She asked about it and they referred her to the Secretariat of the East in Schoenstatt under the direction of Father Chrysostomus Grill, who informed her about its rich history. The Cross of the East always remains in the Shrine of the Federation of Priests and it is exhibited in other Shrines every Thursday so that prayers can be said in its presence for the increase of priestly and religious vocations. Furthermore, since it is a symbol for the conversion of Russia, prayers are also said for this intention. Zenona asked for a replica of the Cross of the East for the Shrine of Oberá, which arrived on November 21, 1994.
In June of 1983, she received a letter from Father Antonio from Buenos Aires, asking her to promote the Father Kentenich vocations circle in Oberá. She accepted the suggestion, forming a group of women and one man. Francisco Zurakowski, they were joined by Ricardo Ferber, the present deacon. In March of 1988 Eucharistic Adoration was inaugurated on Saturdays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., which has continued until now, conquering the mishaps of daily life.
Presently there are more than thirty Circles in Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, which meet for national journeys, alternating the headquarters: Florencio Varela, Cordoba, Paraná, etc.
Two priests, Father Oscar Figueredo and Father Correa, were ordained in Oberá whose vocations were accompanied by the prayers of the Circle.
Translation: Celina Garza, Harlingen, TX, USA