PARAGUAY, Dorys and Jorge Ortigoza •
It was 2005; we were participating in a retreat about the Home Shrine during the initiation phase of the Schoenstatt Family Work. Fr. Déogratias Marahukiro (Burundi) gave a talk, and he offered the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Everything he told us about the Home Shrine touched us deeply, and simultaneously we both had the idea that it was the time to bless ours. We approached Father Deo, we shared our idea with him, and we asked him to celebrate the blessing ceremony of our home. He was very happy, and he asked “When…?” We responded, “Whenever you can, Father.” He looked at his calendar and suddenly he said “26 November”. Jorge and I looked at each other and we told him: “That is excellent, since that is our wedding anniversary.”
The reason for the hurry
And so the spiritual conquest of our Home Shrine began. We spoke with our children. We asked each one to choose a symbol and to work to conquer it. We did not have anything yet, but we were happy that this year, in more or less four months, we would have our Home Shrine.
We worked hard to offer the Blessed Mother the best we had in our home, in our family, in our lives.
The great day arrived. We only invited our group brothers/sister, and Nelly Turró, so that she would give her testimony. Hernán Brugada, Julito Chansin and two girls sang two beautiful songs during the ceremony. We do not know how the Branch leaders on the level of advisers, our neighbors came, but it was a great celebration. The Blessed Mother was preparing us for something very big. To complete the ceremony, we enthroned our symbols. While we were singing and receiving congratulations from the participants, the phone rang. Jorge’s brother was very sick; he was in a coma. We left the house without bidding farewell, and I drove as fast as I could. We were holding hands and praying the Confidence Prayer repeatedly. Early the next morning, Jorge’s brother returned to the house of the Father.
After a time, we understood why we were in a hurry to bless our Home Shrine. The Blessed Mother
wanted to prepare us to face the difficult trial that was coming. She wanted to be in our home as our mother, as our educator, as our ally, and as our mediator of all graces.
However, she needed our home to be her workshop. She needed a response of love from us and of giving of self. In some way, she needed us to reaffirm the Covenant that we had sealed with her just a year ago. We gave her all we could, and she accepted the invitation to establish herself in our home.
Fresh flowers always
When our children were small, we had family reunions in front of the Home Shrine, where everyone evaluated how every member of the family acted, as a way to improve our relationships. The children also entrusted themselves with their school or university exams. Today it is the place we go to express gratitude for the blessing that all of them are professionals, and we entrust ourselves to her for her intercession when any problem or difficulty occurs.
From the Shrine, the Blessed Mother participates in everything that occurs in our home. She is present during visits, gathering, lunches or dinners; she is in everything.
Our Home Shrine, our Refuge is the place where we go everyday to be with her: to tell her what is happening with us, our concerns, what makes us happy, and what makes us suffer. We gather there to make decisions. We ask the Blessed Mother to be the one who gives us a sign, and somehow she does. From her place, she looks at us with that love and that tenderness that only Jesus’ Mother can do. A candle is always burning because we receive the light of her Son Jesus from it, and we always place fresh flowers because we want her to be happy in our home with this touch, just as we are happy for her presence.
Source: Tuparenda Magazine, August 2016
Original: Spanish. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA