PARAGUAY, Julio Giménez •
This quiet Sunday winter afternoon, which is even rare without soccer, allows us to enter the depths of our spiritual being and recall the moments we experienced yesterday, 8 July 2017, in Tupãrenda, at the Reception of the Alb for the Schoenstatt Fathers’ novices, who come from all parts of America, Portugal, Germany and Hungary.
Favorable weather and nature, a sun that did not burn, but embraced instead, green vegetation that waved rhythmically in the fresh breeze that refreshed the heart and soul. It was the setting with which nature received and welcomed us for this very special cenacle moment.
To begin with, the sounds of that beautiful but simple music, inspired by St. Joseph, enveloped us with the magic of its lyrics and sound, represented for our delight by that holy, humble, simple, quiet figure, as part of the lyrics say, was “Guardian of the Light”, that light is Jesus Christ.
The choir’s sung music, which seemed to cast a spell, accompanied by a magnificent instrumental group, transported us above the surface and elevated us to the heights that only the spiritual can do, in a combined carrying away of faithful, relatives, priests, religious, and of course of the novices. The novices entered the area, their faces reflecting the fullness and joy of taking this very radical personal step for the Church and the world.
The Lord’s voice is heard here
We could cite many common moments relative to this great event, but I only want to point out the following, which are not exactly common or ordinary: The Antiphon said: “May the voice of the Lord be heard here.” Yes, the voice of the Lord was virtually heard here, in the vibrations of these 21 souls that were consecrating themselves to God. That vibration was transmitted to us, and the sensation seemed to increase and deepen with the harmonious tolling of Tupãrenda’s bells, which joined the choir and instruments, as if they had all agreed upon such a beautiful moment. It was as if God said: “Samuel, Samuel,” and we saw these twenty-one little Samuels responding: “Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord!”
After the music, which took us beyond the profound abyss of our souls when the choir sang, “Open the doors to Christ do not be afraid…” reminding us of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI. General Superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers, Fr. Juan Pablo Catoggio’s, beautiful homily upon addressing each one of the Novices, he said something like this: “It is a very simple, but at the same time a challenging thing: God likes you and for this reason the commitment is even stronger.”
Fr. Juan Pablo Catoggio’s Homily (mp3) – Spanish
21 young men who left everything for EVERYTHING
Novices from everywhere, with the presence of no less than five boys from different parts of Paraguay, even inland, from families of deepest Paraguay, to the point that one of them had called himself “ambassador of Quyquyho, a little town of our countryside dear to my feelings for my relatives, which made my beloved wife, Cristina’s heart beat even stronger, and seeing tears of emotion and joy streaming down her face, since I am not cold blooded “cheve avei chemo pirimba” (I also got chills).
The response to the petitions was: ÑANDE JARA ORE RENDU (God hear us), and believe that indeed, ÑANDE JARA, he heard us, especially when we refer to those 21 souls who consecrated themselves for the long process of preparation and conviction of the direction that God and the Blessed Mother offer them.
Finally, we could think, what happened that made these young men leave everything that the world offers? I think that they are leaving everything, but at the same time, they access EVERYTHING, the greatest, the exalted, which does have a price, to be closer to God.
One of them was an aerospace engineering student dedicated to learning about the wonders of the universe, now he deepens his studies about the wonders of God, an immensity that does not even compare with the enormity of the Cosmos.
In a nutshell, there were moments of intense spirituality, immense joy that only God and the Blessed Mother can give us.
Photos: Johana Goodacre, Seba Denis, Schoenstatt Movement Austin (Facebook)
Thank you Sonia Zaracho and Sandra Lezcano for the translations from Guaraní. Original: Spanish. 10 July 2017. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX