COSTA RICA, Lorena Montoya •
We have started 2023 with 25 new groups of couples (12 adult couples, 9 young couples and three groups of the “Pastoral of Hope” – Remarried couples), for a total of 170 couples. —
The young couples are couples from different areas of the country who have been married for less than five years, with an average age of 32. Some of them have received formation in parish family ministries or other movements. This generation is characterized by the fact that a good part of the couples received their formation in Schoenstatt couples’ groups, and now they want to continue their spiritual and family formation as a couple in the Movement.
Since we began the formation of couples’ groups in 2019, we have received 159 couples who are currently in different levels of the basic formation course, two generations already have a Covenant of Love and the first one received the blessing of their Home Shrines last year. In 2023, with the fifth generation, we are happy to welcome more than 50 couples who are eager to know Mary and to have Jesus in their lives like a three-stringed thread.
“One of the most beautiful experiences we have had as a couple”
Pablo and Andrea, who were married in July 2021 and belong to the 2022 generation, share their experience: “Schoenstatt has been one of the most beautiful experiences for us as a couple. It has always been our priority to live our union with God and the Blessed Mother, and this place has not only enriched us, but it has also been a guide and a daily reminder of how we want to live our married life. The group has surrounded us with couples in a similar stage of life to ours, where we have found companionship and support. At each meeting, we have the guidance of our facilitators and other couples who help us reflect and give us more tools to deal with the challenges of everyday life. Incorporating prayer into our marriage routine certainly gives us the confidence that whatever happens, we have God and the Blessed Mother on our side.”
These younger generations have pushed us to grow as a movement and to adapt to families that are growing and have special needs to find a balance between work, study, family life, children and being in a formation group.
Themes that are really necessary for a marriage
From 2019 until today, we have been blessed with the birth of many babies in these families and sometimes the babies accompany their mothers and fathers to the group meetings.
One of the pillars of Schoenstatt, the pedagogy of ideals, guides these young couples to discover God’s will in their lives in the first stage of marriage and family. This is how José Miguel Rosales and Natalia Esquivel, from Generation 2023, express it:
“The bridal group allowed us to touch on topics that are really necessary for a courtship, to take time to communicate, and to be strengthened with an ideal for the future. To have a strong foundation for the decision to get married. Now we have the joy of continuing to belong to a group of young couples where we can share with other couples the experiences that make us choose the same person day after day and grow together”.
“Learning from other couples, sharing experiences”
Manuel Gonzalez and Maricruz Rothe (main photo) also express: “Our expectation from the course is to strengthen our marriage by the hand of God. We believe that God is the center of our love and our home, so we are very excited to learn from other couples, share experiences, and learn from God and the Virgin Mary in an environment full of love”.
The groups of young couples in their first year of formation, which in Costa Rica we call “Year 0”, receive information on topics related to daily life, Church doctrine, and Schoenstatt pedagogy, with the emphasis on providing tools to increase the couple’s knowledge, to achieve communication of feelings, to avoid conflicts before they arise, to define the lifestyle they want to have economically and in the family, in general, to strengthen the marital relationship through assertive communication and under the care of our Heavenly Mother, at the same time being surrounded by couples who are also seeking the way to holiness.
Felipe and Tatiana describe their experience this way: “It has been a total blessing and joy,” they tell us:
Felipe and Tatiana describe their experience as follows: “It has been a complete blessing and joy:
“Our experience in this first year being part of the Young Couples Group has been a complete blessing and joy. First of all, we have been able to see, recognize and grow in many aspects of our marriage from God’s love and plan. We have been able to connect and make beautiful friendships with our peers and leaders, because our group was definitely chosen to perfection by God and Our Lady. And finally we have found invaluable support and companionship for us who are strangers. Thank God and the Virgencita for this beautiful group!”.
Original: Spanish, 28.01.,2023. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org