USA, TEXAS, by Carlos Cantú •
Torrential rains and bad weather including tornados had been plaguing the state of Texas for several days. The Annual May Pilgrimage from the Brownsville Diocese was scheduled for May 24th, the feast of Pentecost. With some trepidation, but confident in the Queen of unlimited, childlike, victorious confidence, they went forward with their plans. During the night before the pilgrimage day it rained, but on the special day, there was not one drop of rain, although it had been predicted and the odds were 90% in favor of rain. It was a beautiful day, the weather was most pleasant and 500+ pilgrims found their way to the Confidentia Shrine in Rockport/Lamar, Texas. Many joyful pilgrims arrived on six buses and the others via car.
They were very blessed to have two priests with them for the entire day: Msgr. Gustavo Barrera, a treasured diocesan priest and member of Schoenstatt, mostly spent a great deal of time hearing confessions; Schoenstatt Father, Marcelo Aravena, was also assisting and all were very grateful for his participation on the pilgrimage. He gave a moving talk in Spanish and an inspiring bilingual sermon.
Blessed Mother serenaded
The day began with greeting Blessed Mother at the shrine. Scores of pilgrims stood in front and around the shrine as the traditional “Mañanitas” was sung. “Mañanitas” is a traditional Mexican song that is sung to a beloved on birthdays, Mother’s Day or any special occasion, so with great love, this is sung to Blessed Mother at many of the gatherings in Texas. This singing set the mood for the day, and hearts were brimming with love for their Mother and Queen! After greeting Blessed Mother, everyone was invited to hear a talk. Naturally, one talk is given in English and another is given Spanish so that everyone can receive a special message.
The Crowning moment and prayer
Holy Mass was also bilingual with both the readings and hymns offered in our two chief languages. After Fr. Marcelo’s homily, the special moment had arrived, the moment when they crown Blessed Mother. In great solemnity and silence, everyone was invited to give Blessed Mother their special claims of love…..to thank her, to petition her, to promise her. With beautiful and appropriate music in the background and with their hearts filled with anticipation, Leonard and Clara Zimmerer brought up the crown this year in procession. As the crown was offered to Blessed Mother, the following crowning prayer was recited in both English and Spanish:
Dear Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, …once again your children from the Diocese of Brownsville come before you in your Confidentia Shrine. We thank you for all you have done for us since our last May Pilgrimage. Our hearts are filled with gratitude and can never cease thanking you for your help, guidance and protection in all, which concerns us. Today, on this feast of Pentecost, we bring you once again our many needs, petitions, concerns and supplications. Mother, we need a new Pentecost for our times, for ourselves, for our families, for the world. We see the absence of God everywhere. More than ever before do we need the power of the Holy Spirit. We are weak and helpless, and we know we need to unite our smallness to the greatness of God. Mother, you were with the Apostles in the Cenacle when the Holy Spirit came at that first Pentecost. You and the Apostles, in the power of the Holy Spirit, consumed yourselves for the mission to change the world. We, our world, and our families are in need of a new change, a new Pentecost. Therefore, Mother, in great confidence and from your Confidentia Shrine we dare to crown you today as: QUEEN OF OUR CENACLE!
Resounding applause and hearts filled with love and gratitude filled the assembly hall as the master of ceremonies shouted out… “LONG LIVE OUR SCHOENSTATT QUEEN!”
Lunch shared and commissions renewed celebrating a fruitful apostolate
After the celebration of Holy Mass and the crowning of our Blessed Mother, people with smiling faces and gleaming eyes made their way to lunch.
At 2:00 PM, new coordinators for the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign and those coordinators needing to renew their commission, gathered in the Confidentia Shrine for a special ceremony. This apostolate is very fruitful in the Brownsville Diocese, and they are grateful to participate in Blessed Mother’s visitation to many homes and families.
When Mary greets you
At 2:30 PM, everyone gathered again for the recitation of the Holy Rosary and Benediction. Offering the pilgrims a special memento concluded the pilgrimage. This year everyone was given a beautiful leaflet entitled “WHEN MARY GREETS YOU” in both Spanish and English.
Needless to say, it was a great day, a grace-filled day! Everyone was very grateful to the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary who work so hard to make everything very nice, so that everyone who comes to the Confidentia Shrine truly experiences the grace of a home! All those from the Brownsville diocese who worked so hard to make the Annual May Pilgrimage a most blessed event cannot be thanked enough.