CELAM, by Marité and Ramón Marini, Paraguay •
Over the years and with different life experiences, we have learned that God manifests himself and inspires the people who meekly open themselves to his plans, knowing how to interpret everything that comes from Him.
There are many examples in our history…our Father and Founder was a clear example, with the witness of his life and his loyal giving of self to the Church.
We can also “feel” God’s intervention with the election of our beloved Pope Francis. He is now the instrument that points us on the path to follow, and he does it in a clear, concrete, simple way that appeals to the greatness of the human spirit.
His apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” is the great gift that he has given us for our time.
The entire Church is moved by the difficult situations that families go through. This exhortation points the way, the way of a Church reaching out. Translated into our language: a Schoenstatt that reaches out.
It is the time of the laity, so that together with our priests, all the Movements work together in our parishes at the service of the families. It is the time to work seriously towards building the universal Apostolic Confederation, one of Schoenstatt’s goals.
Pastoral application of the post-synod apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia”
But let’s get to the matter at hand because this reflection is born from the initiative of the CELAM [Latin American Bishops Conference] Department of Family, Life and Youth, together with the Pastoral Commission on the Family of the Bishops Conference of Ecuador, to hold a Latin American meeting of Leaders of Family Pastoral Work of the Bishops Conferences and the Leaders of Movements with a family charism.
Their stated objective is “to promote a methodology of integration in the national plans of pastoral activities focused on families, to strengthen its missionary discipleship by studying and understanding the pastoral applications of the post-Synod Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.”
Collaboration for a renewed family ministry
The meeting took place in Ecuador with the participation of bishops, priests, and executive secretaries of the different Bishops Conferences and representatives of six Movements that work with the family. The invitation was sent to the International Board of the Schoenstatt Apostolic Family Federation, and thanks to its intervention we participated representing Schoenstatt.
The bishops of Ecuador as hosts, the leaders of CELAM, the bishops from the different Bishops Conferences, priests, speakers and participating couples experienced a truly familial atmosphere.
In our experience, solely through the action of the Holy Spirit, people who did not know each other (it was the first gathering of this kind), established bonds based on the main objective of working at the service of families, with a renewed pastoral activity, as proposed by Pope Francis.
Integrate, not marginalize
As Schoenstatt Family Work, we have to take up this challenge and support it with determination, in the country where we operate, to look for innovative pastoral paths that will allow us to go out and encounter all families, irrespective of their reality, integrating them into the life of the Church. INTEGRATE, NOT MARGINALIZE.
Our Father and Founder spoke of “rescuing the salvific mission of the west”, as one of the goals of the Schoenstatt Work.
During his presentation, the bishop of the Diocese of Ponce, Puerto Rico and President of the CELAM Department of Family, Life and Youth invited us to “rediscover the road of discipleship and transmit tenderness. It is better to ask for forgiveness than to do nothing, he who risks nothing does nothing. Make your house a home, your home a church, where Christ is the center.”
Using the Spanish word for home (HOGAR) he said that H stands for humility, O for obedience to listen, G for generosity, A for joy and R for respect.
Similarly the word for Church (TEMPLO) has a T that stands for tenderness, E for giving of self, M for mercy, P for patience, L for freedom of God’s children, O for offering.
“Our mission is to love, by being the church reaching out.”
We thank the Blessed Mother and our Father and Founder for calling us to this Mission.