ITALY, Maria Lucrezia Rallo •
2017 has surely been a year this large Schoenstatt Family will remember, among other things, for Italy’s first group of Apostles, and Sicily and Apulia’s first Girls’ Youth. It was a year when everyone’s collaboration allowed Mary’s light to enter the hearts of those we met on the way as one small group of little girls bore witness —these Apostles, who in their littleness present their reality to Mary daily.
In concluding this year, these small Apostles from Marineo carried out (in only two days) a short performance with the title: “Christmas is…”
In addition to the wonderful dances, songs, and small special effects created by their smiles, it has been exciting to understand how deeply Mary has entered into their lives. The title chosen for this innovative manner of prayer is not casual. It almost seemed incomplete, but it is not, because each one of them, like each one of us, should finish the phrase with what is most loved and profound in their hearts.
As Apostles, the little girls completed the phrase with a simple term, but basically, fostering welcome. The same welcome was shown to a new little girl to the group, it was the same welcome seen in their families who receive the Movement, and the same welcome felt by the Sisters from Mary’s School of Marineo, who house us in their rooms making us feel close to the Original Shrine.
Each one of them is special for being who she is!
Every Apostle reminds me of an aspect of our Mother, who has immense kindness, but also patience. Each one is special for being who she is! For this reason, in collaboration with the mythic Sr. Julia (a Brazilian Sister of Mary who works in Italy), with the volunteers from Rome who financed the idea with their kindness, and my grandmother, who carried it out, we gave them some bags. The bags seemed to be alike, but they actually were quite unique because each one bore the name of one of the little Apostles— a small symbol confirmed (and also in a way announced “the taking of the handkerchief”) the great responsibility and importance of their role as Apostle has for us, the Schoenstatt Movement, and for society.
Mary light of the road toward Jesus
The desire that I have for us as a Schoenstatt Family and for all humanity in 2018 is to have the opportunity to be instruments in Mary’s hands, that she may be our shining star: light of the road toward Jesus.
The only fear for this New Year is not being able to help Mary, being like her small pencil, because in being an instrument, one makes the most of every one of Mary’s children’s strength, so they are never lost.
Original: Italian. 10 January 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA