BOLIVIA, Alexandra Kempff •
I could write an article every day on the emotions experienced in preparation for the construction of the Santa Cruz Shrine. From the euphoria and confidence that everything is possible, to the overwhelming doubt of whether we will be able to afford all the projected expenses. In between, a lot of meditation and prayer, listening to Divine Providence, and trying to avoid the confusion caused by our own voices. —
Something that at the time simply seemed a curious fact
In 2016, while visiting San José de Chiquitos, a town located 270km from Santa Cruz belonging to the Jesuit Missions, we were struck by the fact that at the end of Mass, the entire congregation prayed the small consecration prayer accompanied by the priest. This is usually something done after Schoenstatt celebrated Masses.
In 2019, as a gift to Schoenstatt, it was decided that the cornerstone would be blessed by renewing the mission of the 31st of May. We began looking for a stone that would be “beautiful”, worthy of being exposed in the Shrine’s wall. However my husband Roberto is a person who meditates and prays about everything before acting, something that I admire, but at the same time leads me to despair on numerous occasions because of the delay in his taking time for decisions. Not even an apparently simple task such as choosing a stone that was suitable and beautiful was taken lightly.
After traveling through places where they sell construction materials, he knew San José de Chiquitos was the answer, and he found a connection to the 2016 visit. It is the only missionary church with a stone façade, where people consecrate themselves at the end of Mass, and it is where Santa Cruz initially was founded in 1561 before moving the city to its present location. Roberto contacted San José’s pastor, who immediately accepted the idea of donating a stone from the same church, and Claudio Baluzzo, from the Family Branch, who works in a field near San José, offered to bring it.
That stone will not simply be adequate and beautiful, it will be a symbol of a new foundation of Santa Cruz through the Schoenstatt Shrine. In it we will coin the new Missions through Schoenstatt reaching out.
Preparing for the first big day
Thus that day, May 31st, we found many anonymous, generous, and selfless hands working to adorn and prepare everything for what happened on June 1st: we crowned the Blessed Mother as the queen of unity and construction, the cornerstone was blessed and the first shovelful dug.
A picture is worth more than a thousand words, so I am grateful for Eduardo Gutiérrez and Luico Egüez’ photographs that transmitted much more than we could ever say.
Original: Spanish. 2 June 2019. Translated: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA