BELMONTE, by Maria Fischer •
During his general audience, which coincided with Ash Wednesday, and on the eve of the 12th Apostolic Trip taking him to Mexico as a “Missionary of Mercy and of Peace,” Pope Francis asked to be accompanied with prayer:
“The day after tomorrow, I shall embark on my Apostolic Journey to Mexico, but first I will go to Havana to meet my dear Brother Kirill. I entrust to your prayers both the meeting with Patriarch Kirill and the visit to Mexico.”
On 11 February, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Fr. Daniel Lozano, rector of the “Shrine of all of us” in Belmonte, Rome, placed a large jar with the picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe at the altar of the Shrine (photo at the right). It is the jar taken by the Mexican delegation for the blessing of the Shrine, on 8 September 2004 (photo above).
Let us recall the motto: “Fill the jars with love for the Church!” in preparation of the blessing, along with the invitation to take their shrines’ jars to symbolically unite the currents of “Nothing without you, nothing without us,” from all the world’s shrines and wayside shrines with this shrine that the entire Schoenstatt Family had promised Fr. Kentenich.
In the heart of the universal Church
“Many of the jars brought to the dedication in 2004 remained in Belmonte and have been given a place of honour in the Casa dell’Allenza. Time and again a different jar is place in the shrine to connect it with the country from which it came,” the Belmonte website states.
Some visitors are surprised to find a Shrine in Rome with a jar in the shape of cholita – a typical vessel of Bolivia – a basket from Burundi, another one with the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or with an inscription in Portuguese.
Then they realize that they are not in an Italian or German Schoenstatt Shrine, but rather in the International Schoenstatt Center.
In the heart of the universal Church.
8.9.2004: Pilgrims from Mexico carrying the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Let us go on pilgrimage to Belmonte to go on pilgrimage with the Pope
The Pope’s great dream to pray in front of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas is realized. I do not want to go to Mexico without visiting her.
A little more than a week before beginning his apostolic trip to Mexico, Pope Francis granted an interview in which he expressed his affection for Our Lady of Guadalupe for whom he feels “safety, tenderness,” and he asked the Mexicans to allow him to be “alone before the picture for a little while: when he visits the Basilica dedicated to the Mother of God. This is the favor I ask of you.”
“What do I feel for her? Safety, tenderness. Many times when I am afraid because of some problem or something bad has happened and one does not know how to react, I pray to her, I like to repeat to myself: “Do not be afraid. Am I not here who am your Mother?” Her words: “Do not be afraid.” That is what she tells me,” the Pope expressed.
Thank you, Schoenstatt Family from Mexico, for leaving us this jar with the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which tells our Pope Francis, our Schoenstatt and each and every person: “Do not be afraid, am I not here who am your Mother?”