PARAGUAY, Editorial team of Tupãrenda Magazine •
Deacon Pablo Martinez has joyfully assumed his vocation, as he was ordained as a priest by Bishop Francisco Pistilli, bishop of Encarnación, in the Eucharist held in Holy Mary of the Trinity Church in Tupãrenda on Sunday, June 24th at 11:00 pm. Thinking about his emotions, that of his relatives and of the whole Movement, we wanted to get to know him better. —
“We are inspired to act by the example of all those priests, religious, and laity who devote themselves to proclamation and to serving others with great fidelity, often at the risk of their lives and certainly at the coast of their comfort.” (1) Further from our Schoenstatt Family, a young Paraguayan has inspired us who by his daring and fervor has decided to consecrate his daily efforts entirely to the mission. It moves us because we know that “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few…” (2) and the turbulence of our times needs laborers with firm, free, priestly personalities.
Trained in the Home Shrine
It was not difficult to contact Pablo, although he was still finishing his training in Chile, since besides the contact through the fathers’ community, we had his mother Susana and his sister, Sr. Katia. We always find Susana in “the shadow of the Shrine,” not only contributing to training two wonderful young people who consecrated their lives to the Schoenstatt family work, but that she is busy being an efficient instrument, always available to work for our Father and Founder’s mission. Pablo acknowledges that the most valuable his parent’s teaching was that they led him to the Blessed Mother: “Our Home Shrine was one of the most beautiful places in the house, it was a mini chapel. It was there that I heard my parents praying to the Blessed Mother from the time I was very young, praying for us, and for themselves. They talked with the Blessed Mother in our presence with a naturalness that always caught my attention,” he told us.
He was ordained at the site of his childhood adventures and experiences
Moreover the ordination was in a special place for him: “Tupãrenda has been one of the many great Schoenstatt experiences, to go there with the family was a great adventure. I have recordings of Christmas Eve Masses and Easter Vigil in the pavilion close to the Shrine. The explorations following some path between the retreat house, the Boys’ Youth house or the cemetery.”
Pablo is the youngest of five siblings. He learned a different lifestyle from his parents and his siblings, based on faith and trust, a style that had the Schoenstatt seal that enthused him to join the Movement from the time he was very young. Since as soon as he made his First Communion, he joined his life group, which was later named “Matris Milites” and which he recognizes as the fundamental pillar for his life until he decided to enter the Fathers’ Community.
His sister asked him a key question
Our future priest carried out his primary and secondary studies at the “St. Christopher” School in Asunción. From his school years, he was already attracted to Economic Science. He discovered a vocational restlessness after school, while he studied to enter the Economics Faculty. He recognized that it was a very difficult year since the more he made an effort to study the more he felt a call, which at first, he preferred not to share with anyone, not even his family. Fr. Cruz Viale was the person who accompanied him on this road. “I saw a great sign of God that, in the midst of all the discernment, my sister Kathia, who was on vacation at my home at that time, asked me if I had ever thought about the vocation to the priesthood. That is when it “clicked” and I was encouraged to take the leap.”
Pablo is touched upon recalling those strong moments of his life that marked a before and after in his self-development and in his relationship with the Blessed Mother: the Covenant of Love with Mary on 3 October of 2004, along with his “Matris Milites” group, the spiritual exercises that he made in May 2017, with a Jesuit priest and the “Yes, forever” that he received from the Community on 30 August 2017. “During the month dedicated to the spiritual exercises, I was able to perceive God’s presence in my personal history with a profound clarity, and I discovered how he led me through my family, my friends, my life group, the Schoenstatt Family, my course, my community to receive such a beautiful gift that is being a priest for Christ.”
In Tucumán he learned about the social realities of the most vulnerable
His experience in the St. Joseph Parish in Tucumán, Argentina, confronted him with the difficult reality of many neighborhoods mutilated by that very terrible scourge that is drug addiction: “Upon sharing with these youths, I have seen how drugs can destroy every kind of attachment, it leaves the person completely alone, and at the same time, I could verify that with great faith and will power one can move forward and to again weave bonds with family and friends in a wholesome atmosphere.” He has also shared with the Boys’ Youth from Tucumán, that is carrying out a variety of social projects that show how committed these boys are with the social realities of the most vulnerable of the city. “I would like to accompany youths like that. That by the Blessed Mother’s hand and with a beautiful community path we can go out to encounter the reality of the neediest,” he affirmed
He desires to imitate Fr. Kentenich’s great availability, the warmth, and concern with which he attended people who went to him, since he considers that “from listening attentively the daring in oneself is also born to shape life responding to the needs of the man of today.”
He desires that Paraguay be a country of opportunities that more and more fosters all human areas, so that all people can develop their vocation toward the artistic, athletic, cultural…and above all, that it be a more just country in distributing these opportunities.
In the Shrine, the soul opens to allow itself to be looked upon by God
On the road of everyday sanctity, he humbly recommends that we seek and cultivate moments of silence and solitude with God. He acknowledges that many times he feels the temptation to fill the activities of the youths with noise and to avoid moments of silence. However he notices that the moments for meditation would be more and more important when “the soul opens to allow itself to be looked upon by God,” to find moments to simply “be in God’s presence” without seeking many immediate fruits, and for this he values the great gift that Schoenstatters have, which are our shrines.
His vocation makes us proud, it fills us with hope, and it makes us happy. The family celebrates with “Fr. Pablo” and it unites in prayer so that “standing close to the Redeemer of the world, and going with him the way of the Father in the Holy Spirit.” (3)
1 Holy Father Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation “Gaudete e Exsultate”, 138.
2 Luke: 10:2
3 Prayer For Male Vocations to Schoenstatt, Heavenwards, p. 140, Joseph Kentenich
Original: Spanish. 20 June 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA