Posted On 2012-06-09 In Covenant Life

Mary, Road to Heaven: Ten years of blessings

MEXICO, Eduardo Shelley. The road to heaven is not easy.  It has obstacles, and it must be traveled with constant effort.  The road to the Monterrey Schoenstatt Shrine of “Mary, Road to Heaven” that showers it graces from the heights of the Cerro del Caído, 500 meters above the city, is the same.  Ten years ago, on May 18th, in the presence of a great number of participants who arrived from Monterrey and many nearby cities, it was blessed.



The Mass and the celebration in the Shrine were the climax of a series of events that had been held previously:  the traditional 5K race, organized by the Youth with the help of the Family Branch, a Schoenstatt Song Festival, and precisely on Friday, the 18th, there was a Mass in the Shrine and a dinner.

Enveloped by Year of the Shrine Current spirit toward 2014 and in the midst of the month of May, Mary’s month, approximately 700 people gathered at the Monterrey Shrine, “Mary, Road to Heaven,” to express gratitude to God and the Blessed Mother for ten years of abundant graces for the faithful from Monterrey in the northeastern part of the country.

The pilgrims began arriving early, many of them on foot, traveling the two kilometers uphill to reach the Shrine.  Men, women, and children began the ascent with enthusiasm, and they arrived tired, sweaty, but happy.  After praying the rosary for an hour, the Mass began punctually at noon.  Dalia and Eugenio Reyes, the masters of ceremony, recalled the motto “Your Shrine, our road”, at the Shrine, where earth touches heaven, the Blessed Mother shows us the way, God’s plan, and the road to heaven.

We cannot remain looking at heaven

The Mass was con-celebrated by Father Gonzalo Castro, Jorge Ávila, Stefano Daneri and Deacon Luis Villarreal.  In his homily, Father Stefano emphasized our holy history, what we have experienced in the ten years that have passed since the blessing of the Shrine and since we joined the Movement.  Our hearts have been touched; we reciprocate the merciful love of Mary, who has chosen us.  We are privileged!  However, although we can look back with pride and nostalgia, the challenge now is what are we going to do with this place?  What are we going to do with a Schoenstatt that is approaching the centenary?  We cannot simply remain looking at heaven, in comfortable Tabor; rather, we should act, live the apostolic sending forth, and be an example that makes an impact.

In a country as Marian as Mexico, with such a profound devotion for the Virgin of Guadalupe, it seems strange that we should do more, but in Schoenstatt the Covenant of Love, the exchange of hearts is fundamental:  “Prove to me with deeds that you truly love me, and I will establish myself in your midst.”

During the Mass, the Matlachines, a group of dancers, who wore elaborate costumes and feather headdresses made their inaugural appearance.  In Monterrey, it is traditional that a group of people, usually women (in our case César was the exception, and he was a worthy representative of the men) gather to show devotion to Our Lady through dances that are based on the pre-Hispanic past.  After their blessing during the Mass on May 18th, the Matachines of the Virgin of Schoenstatt, they made a distinguished introductory presentation.

After the Mass, Paty and Salvador Silveyra, coordinators of the Shrine’s anniversary celebrations, addressed the Blessed Mother to once again offer the community’s Covenant of Love and their complete confidence reflected in the motto “Your Shrine, our road, our road to heaven.”

United in thought and prayer

Then Deacon Luis Villarreal emotionally read aloud the congratulations that different Schoenstatt personalities had sent for the occasion of the anniversary.  Many of them had carried out crucial roles of the Movement’s founding in Monterrey and in the building of the Shrine.  Luis read messages from Father Mariano Irureta, Superior of the Pentecost Province; from  Sister María Gabriela Mashiska, the Provincial Superior of the Sisters of Mary, with headquarters in Lamar, Texas; from Father Guillermo Múzquiz; Brother Felipe, Father Lucho Ramírez, and finally, with great applause, from Father Marcel Mouras.

Father Gonzalo also expressed gratitude to the brothers Fernando and Raúl de la Garza, who donated the land where the Shrine was built and to Martha and Ramiro Garza, who initiated the Schoentatt Movement in Monterrey with a other few couples.

The celebration concluded with a procession to the altar by the representatives of the different Branches, escorted by the Matlachines; they presented gifts to the Blessed Mother as a symbol of love and gratitude.

For the next ten years!

No celebration in Mexico is complete without food, so everyone was invited to a gathering on the grounds adjoining the Shrine.

The people were happy and excited.  Some of the people have been witnesses of the founding of the Movement long before the Shrine was built, such as Lupita and Aberlardo Riojas. Lupita commented, “The Virgin has shown herself as victorious for the entire world and today we have proven it in the way that She has blessed our city, and we hope that this blessing is for all the world, our desire is that we may all be sanctified from our Heart Shrines”. Abelardo complemented this by saying, “As Father Stefano said, it is up to us to maintain the Shrine.”  Other couples such as Faride and Jesús Guzmán have only been in the Movement for a short time, but they were very pleased with the atmosphere of joy.  “It is something beautiful, there are many people and everyone looks happy.  We have only been in Schoenstatt for a short while, but we are also very happy.”

Gilia de Romero spoke about her excitement to be part of the Matlachines:  I had wanted to belong to a group of Matlachines since I arrived in Monterrey 20 years ago, and now my wish has been fulfilled.  I am grateful to the Blessed Mother for this.”

Ana and Luis Soto were also witnesses of the founding of the Monterrey community, and this celebration reminds them of the effort to open the road to the Shrine in the middle of the hill, to reach the place the Blessed Mother chose to establish herself, but their eyes are placed on the future:  “We are happy to participate in this event, but we are going for more, for the next ten years!”

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