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 published: 2009-06-02

The MTA Establishes Herself in Her New Warm Covenant Land

Blessing of the fourth Shrine in Ecuador: Shrine of Ciudad Celeste in Samborondón


31. Mai: Einweihung des Heiligtums in Ciudad Celeste, Ecuador

31 de mayo: Bendición del Santuario de Ciudad Celeste, Ecuador

May 31st: Blessing of the Shrine in Ciudad Celeste , Ecuador

31. Mai: Einweihung des Heiligtums in Ciudad Celeste, Ecuador


Sie kommt...

Llegue la Mater

The MTa comes to her Shrine

Sie kommt...

Pater Sidney Fones, Schw. M. Gracia, Erzbischif Arregui, el P. Mariano  

El Padre Sidney Fones, la Hna. M. Gracia, Mons. Arregui, el P. Mariano

Father Sidney Fones, Sr Ma Gracia, the Archbishop Mons Arregui and Fr Mariano, Provincial Frs Schoenstatt

Pater Sidney Fones, Schw. M. Gracia, Erzbischif Arregui, el P. Mariano

In Erwartung der MTA  

Esperando a la Mater

Waiting for the MTA

In Erwartung der MTA





Im Heiligtum  

El interior del Santuario

The interior of the Shrine

Im Heiligtum

Heilige Messe

Santa Misa

Holy Mass

Heilige Messe

Fotos: Angie Santos © 2009

Álbum de fotos – photo album – Fotoalbum  1

Álbum de fotos – photo album – Fotoalbum  2




ECUADOR, Angie Santos. On a sunny day of Pentecost, the Schoenstatt Family from Guayaquil and Samborondón gave the MTA her new throne of Graces. In a ceremony presided by the Archbishop of Guayaquil, the Most Reverend Antonio Arregui, and concelebrated by the Provincial Superior from Chile, Fr. Mariano Irureta and various other Schoenstatt Fathers and priest friends, approximately 4,000 persons were present to receive our Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt into her new home.

"Warm land of the Covenant" is the beginning of a beautiful and well-known song of the Schoenstatt Family of Guayaquil. That warmth was present and palpable on May 31, 2009, at the blessing of the new Schoenstatt Shrine in Ecuador, not only because of the warm sun of the morning, but also in the warmth and love which radiated in the hearts of the members of this beautiful Schoenstatt Family. The floral arrangements around the Shrine, on the main entrance-way, and around the tent of the celebrants, were truly spectacular for the eyes where white and red dominated on a background of blue sky and river. All was tastefully done. It was also spectacular to see the smiles of those who arrived. You could feel their joy and their emotion. Many were elegantly dressed in white, ready for a true feast. The organization and the logistics flowed impeccably and you could see the efforts of hundreds of persons who worked to prepare this great event. The influence of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary who are experts in preparing the minutest details could be seen.

The foundation of the Shrine at the foot of the river

All of the life and graces experienced at this place have a solid foundation. It is now 50 years since the Movement arrived in Ecuador, a half century of surrender to the Treasury of Grace…..of work and joy and especially of the surrender of the heart which predominates in the Ecuadorians since they surrender it all with great passion, solidarity and friendliness. There are also concrete lives which have offered themselves and dreams, like that of a mother, Piedad de Burbano, who lost her son Guillermo at the age of 12 in 1973, and her great sorrow led her to find refuge in Schoenstatt. Since then she began to dream that on land inherited from her father, some day a Shrine would be built. Along with Rodolfo and Iván Baquerizo, promoter of Ciudad Celeste, the fortress where this new place of Grace is located, they are in agreement to donate this place where Mary can establish herself. Iván and his wife, Verónica, granddaughter to a great deceased Schoenstatter, Nana de Loor, became pillars of this construction. In the foundation of the Shrine also rests their young daughter, María Verónica, who died a few years ago and for whom Schoenstatters from throughout the world prayed. Likewise in the foundation rests the son of the Varenius family, Oscar. These lives which speak to us of great sacrifice and childlike love, along with those of the founders of Schoenstatt in Ecuador who accompany us from the Eternal Schoenstatt, are lives which have been fruitful and that can be noticed when you walk at this holy place. In 2002, pilgrimages to the Wayside Shrine of Ciudad Celeste began, and since then, as can be read in the latest edition of the local Schoenstatt Magazine "Father’s Family," nothing has been in vain: "First on the vacant land, then at the Wayside Shrine, and then on the construction, there have been flowers, pictures, letters, drawings, etc. Inclusively, on the walls of the unfinished Shrine, girls from the Covenant Group and families have left their handprints as a means of leaving a sign of their having come through the Shrine and having prayed here. Nothing is in vain. All of these gifts are contributions to the Treasury of Grace so that Blessed Mother can establish herself in Ciudad Celeste by the river."

Several commissions were formed for this blessing: Liturgy, Construction, Communication, Housing, Folklore and Kiosks, Financial and Logistics, all working together with great accuracy. A giant screen made it possible for all to appreciate the celebration. There were first-aid tents, tents for entertaining the children, tents for the sacristy, etc., etc. Sister María Dolores and Cristian Castelblanco extended a welcome to everyone, especially to those who had come from afar…..from Chile, the United States, Perú, etc. and from other cities and provinces in Ecuador; for example, dozens of representatives from the Schoenstatt Family in Quito, all identified with a blue bow. Almost all of the Ecuadorian Sisters were present, some 15, along with their Provincial Superior, Sr. Yolanda Roa, Sr. Eliza, a German who was the first to come to Ecuador, Sr. Consuelo who initiated the pilgrimages to the Shrine, and two Sisters from Chile. It was a great joy for the Family from Ecuador to see again Fr. Christian Christensen who worked for 12 years as director of the Family Branch in Ecuador and who now lives in Austin, Texas USA.

The great festivity begins

The celebration began around 10 AM. Mónica Maruri Del Pozo and Marcelo Del Pozo were the masters of ceremony and guided the liturgy. The concelebrants entered through the central aisle, led by those carrying the banners of each of the Schoenstatt Branches. Little girls dressed in white formed the honor guard. The choir, accompanied by guitars, percussion instruments and violins, sang magnificently. The Archbishop centered his homily on the mystery of Pentecost and the priesthood which has recently been shaken by detailed scandals. He mentioned his joy at meeting with Schoenstatt Father, Fr. Sidney Fones, with whom he had collaborated in CELAM. He emphasized the importance and centrality of the laity in the Church and asked for prayers especially for the priests in this year dedicated by Pope Benedict XVI to the priesthood and to St. Paul. He expressed his gratitude for the gift of this Shrine to the Archdiocese and also expressed his joy on the beauty of the place. He then proceeded to consecrate the walls of the Shrine and placed the relics of Santa Marianita de Jesús (first Ecuadorian saint) and a remembrance of Fr. Kentenich.

The most moving moment was the arrival of the picture of the Blessed Mother which was ceremoniously carried by members of the Families. It was beautifully adorned with red ribbons as is common in this tropical city and it was preceded by little girls dressed in white who were scattering rose petals as She processed. Applause, shouts of joy, tears, the love for the Blessed Mother overflowed in all who were present. Afterward, the image was blessed by the Archbishop and while the Blessed Mother was being enthroned in the Shrine with the door open, Holy Mass continued within the Shrine. The builder and several members of the various commissions led by Sr. M. Leticia, slowly assembled the Shrine. Two Sisters did the final touches with the beautiful flower arrangements and the candles. At the end of Mass, the Archbishop expressed his gratitude for this new place of Grace and gave the solemn blessing. From the roof of the Shrine, doves were released as symbols of joy and peace. After the Holy Mass, a Cantata was presented and the opportunity was given for all to enter the Shrine for a moment.

Contagious joy

The persons who attended had to face high temperatures, some humidity and direct sunlight. That in no way took away their smiles. The joy was contagious. Other challenges still remain, like building a house for the Sisters and a center for meetings. The treasure of Schoenstatt, which is more important, is already there in that small and simple Shrine of the Mother and Queen.

News of the blessing of the Shrine made the front page in the local newspaper. Many foreigners were also present without experiencing the physical heat, but experiencing the human warmth thanks to the internet transmission of the entire ceremony. Tools like Facebook and photo albums served to exchange commentaries on the beautiful experience. Some persons who followed the ceremony via the internet or who later viewed the photos could not contain their tears and were infected by the joy.

As in all true Schoenstatt encounters, after the supernatural comes the natural. This great event was celebrated with a buffet lunch in the Guayaquil Convention Center where many Schoenstatters (revived by the air conditioning) from different places could meet anew and remember old times. We already know, Schoenstatt is a handkerchief.

Testimonies gathered in Facebook:

"In Guayaquil, God has given a new throne to the Virgin Mary so that She can attract hearts to the faith. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Father, I can never thank you enough." Tere Quiroz de Toledo, Family Branch, Miami.

"Yesterday, we had a spiritual and joyful experience beyond words. Our hearts burst with joy and love for Jesus and the Queen who now unites us in love for the Covenant!" María José Falconi, Women’s Apostolic League, Guayaquil.

"Simply spectacular!!!!!.....You outdid yourself, Mother." Karina Constante Marcial, Family Branch, Guayaquil.

"Schoenstatt Samborondón!!!!! A little piece of heaven at the foot of the river.....There are no words to describe the emotion....." Mariuxi Villacrés, Family Branch, Guayaquil.

"We give you thanks for all the gifts which we have received in such abundance: for choosing Schoenstatt as the place of Christ’s rebirth….."J.K. Thank you for the Election!" María Elena Vilches, Guayaquil.

"Undoubtedly, we could not accomplish a greater apostolic deed nor leave our successors a more precious legacy than to urge our Lady and Queen to erect her throne here in a special way and to distribute her treasures to Ecuador and to work miracles of grace… Shrine" Luigi Pólit, Boys’ Youth, Guayaquil.

"We have a new home!!!!! You have established your throne in Samborondón, thank you, MTA!" Isabel Galvis, Girls’ Youth, Guayaquil.

"What a blessed day. Thank you, Father, for all your gifts, for the abundance we have received." Mónica Maruri, Family Branch, Guayaquil.

"It has been beautiful to see the photos…..I have cried tears of joy and emotion. What a joy that our dear Mother wanted a new Shrine in Guayaquil." Lourdes Falcones Heinzl, Ecuadorian in Germany.

Translation: Carlos Cantú Schoenstatt Family Federation La Feria, Texas USA 060509



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Last Update: 10.06.2009