My name is Manuel de la Barreda Mingot. I have been married for twenty-four years to Lourdes Navarro, and we have four children ages 22, 20, 18, and 8. The third one, Javier, has Down syndrome and he is adopted •
We have been a part of the Madrid Family League for sixteen years. We formed a life group with couples who are friends of ours and we have been able to keep it stable until now with few changes. We made our Covenant of Love in 2003 with part of the group, and renewed it in 2009 with the rest of the group. In 2008, we consecrated our Home Shrine. In 2010, my wife and sealed her Blank Check, and I found my Personal Ideal. We were also consecrated as members in 2014, and during the membership training we found our Marriage Ideal.
We have participated in many commissions within the Schoenstatt Family to prepare League activities such as retreats, camps, and javieradas [40 km walking pilgrimages between Pamplona and Xavier, cradle of Saint Francis Xavier]. Approximately 120 people participate, including couples and children. The youth organize their javierada. We have led the Home Shrine workshop for the Family League five times. I have also led this workshop in Mexico DF for the Schoenstatt Family there, during a year-long work related stay. I helped to initiate this workshop for a group of mothers in Panama during another work related stay.
At the Serrano Shrine in Madrid, I collaborate as an Extra-ordinary Eucharistic Minister and I take communion to the sick. I also collaborate in my parish as a Eucharistic Minister.
We belonged to the Patronato de la Fundación María Ayuda [Patronage of the Mary Helps Foundation] of Spain for four years and I served as its president.
I also work on several apostolates outside the movement.
Before my wife and I married we went on pilgrimage with the sick to the Shrine at Lourdes, accompanying the Diocesan Hospitality of Madrid. I have done this for 25 years and have taken approximately 35 pilgrimages to this Marian Shrine with the sick.
We have also gone on pilgrimage to the Shrine at Fatima and Medjugorje.
Presently the apostolates that take most of my time are the Pastoral de la Esperanza [Pastoral of Hope], born in the shadow of the Shrine (divorced couples who have remarried), the Fundación el Arca [Ark Foundation in Madrid, Jean Vanier (of which I am president) for the development of equal living opportunities for the mentally disabled.
Six months into the pilgrimage through the covenant of love’s second century… what is your dream for this Schoenstatt in who we are and where we find ourselves in the Church and in the world, and in our mission?
Personally, I dream my future Schoenstatt as a reference point for the Church, for the world, on those fronts that have supposedly broken with poorly established principles that are outdated. Principles that make people sick. But not a “progressive” liberal movement, no. A brave movement that is 100% respectful of the Church, its authority, and its Magisterium, but not afraid to open new doors to the things that affect people today. And to open these doors to bring such people close to God through the Blessed Mother and by the hand of the Church.
A movement which, like Fr. Kentenich’s in his time, knows how to adapt to the times, keeping the essential, important things of our faith and Church, and getting rid of the extra baggage that is not useful.
A movement of people who are not afraid to make mistakes and are courageous enough to recognize their failures and correct them. Of people, who are not afraid to step into the unknown with that wholesome abandon that Fr. Kentenich spoke about. An abandon to throw themselves into the good of the human being as a child of God.
A movement that knows how to be at opening of the most urgent physical and spiritual human needs at the service of the Church, in as much as it is at the service of God and the Blessed Mother.
But a movement that anchors its strength on prayer. In a profound and true prayer, in the world. To be a praying point of reference for the Church and the world.
In order to fulfill this dream, what do we need to avoid or leave behind?
Beginning at the end, we should not be afraid to pray, to make abundant times of adoration in our Shrines, to influence and teach how to pray within our freedom, how to relate with the Blessed Mother and God through prayer and how to rest in them; how to allow oneself to be transformed by the fruit of prayer.
We should also avoid having smothering structures that numb and alienate.
We should not be afraid of those who question us, inside or outside of the Church, as long as we defend our principles with integrity.
And above all, we should not be afraid, to make Christ’s words our own, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; …” (Mark 2:17) constantly getting out of our comfort zone towards others, and above all, to those who are on the outside, given that we are a missionary movement.
In order to fulfill this dream, what practical steps do we have to take?
Firstly, we need to fill our “tanks”, to begin to favor and foster a strong pastoral of prayer, taking everything that our charism has within itself and enriching it with other charisms within the Church for the good of this pastoral activity. The Shrines, these privileged sites for prayer, should always be filled with people in prayer and adoration.
Every family needs to learn to contribute growth to all its components, independently of the length of time they have been in the Movement. Activities for new people are important so that they can be integrated and motivated, but we must not forget our longstanding members.
We must constantly revisit our comfort zones and whether we are comfortable within it. This should be done at all levels and on a regular basis.
We should encourage all missionary activities, through these understanding everything that makes us set out from the Movement towards the Church and the world.
Original: Spanish. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA