CHILE/CUBA, Father Pedro Pablo Celis •
After celebrating the 100 years as a Schoenstatt Family, we began to see the fruits and graces of this Jubilee. We have had the opportunity to look back to express gratitude for the gifts we have received throughout all these years, renewing our ideals and beginning to plan the next one hundred years. When we look toward the future, it is necessary to begin from who we are, from our identity. The Latin American Boys’ Youth, but especially the Chilean Boys’ Youth has identified itself by a profound mission consciousness. What we have lived, what we have experienced in the shrine and in our Schoenstatt Family cannot remain only for us; but instead, we want to share it. It is a missionary generation impelled from the shrine in the strength of the covenant with heroism and coherence to give Schoenstatt to the Church and the world. Many youths from our country are moved by this motto and have heard Pope Francis’ words to go out and not to have borders.
To go out from the shrine to serve the Church
During the preparation for the Jubilee, in a diverse group of youths of the University Boys’ Group from Campanario, the desire emerged to go out of the shrine to serve the Church and to found the Movement wherever the Lord and the Blessed Mother led them. Thus, on October 18, 2014, they presented a letter in the Original Shrine and in Campanaro asking the Blessed Mother to manifest herself. Listening to the voice of God, a door was opened to us that led us to Cuba. Three young Cuban priests, who are Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests, were at the celebration in Germany. We had an encounter with them, and they invited us to go to help them re-found the Cuban Church and to found the Movement. They are a part of the small Schoenstatt Family that exists on the island, and they are fruit of the mission that began in 1999, when Father Carlos Cox and a group of youths from Campanario went on mission to Havana. The youth mission did not last long, but it had great fruitfulness in silence.
To place oneself at the service of the Cuban Church
The goal of the mission consists in placing oneself at the service of the Cuban Church, inserting us in the parishes, where these priests work. We will help in training young leaders, we will accompany the youth pastoral of the parish and of the diocese, and we will support the catechesis of First Communion and Confirmation, as well as the missions and social projects. Therefore we will discover the road to begin to found the Schoenstatt youth in the parish if it is God’s will. During all this time, we have been preparing with prayer and contributions to the capital of grace.
In January we had the gift of visiting Cuba to prepare the mission, to get acquainted with the places where the missionaries would be, to deepen in knowledge of their culture, and in the reality in which the country lives with its richness and its poverty with its needs and its beauty. What made us the happiest was the encounter we had with so many people: families, youths, priests, bishops, couples, ladies, children, religious, and rural missions, etc. In every one of their faces, we saw the hope that God places in the heart, that fills the soul with joy and which gives us inner freedom. Mary, the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, is rooted in the heart of every Cuban. There is no home or place that does not have the picture of “Cachita,” because as the phrase that singles out the Church in Cuba says, “Charity unites us.”
Cuba is a land of mission
Cuba is a land of mission, and Mary has placed her gaze on this place. In March three university young people from the Boys’ Youth of Campanario were sent for six months to mission in the Diocese of Camagüey, in the center of Cuba. Let us pray for them in gratitude for their giving of self, their generosity and heroism, and for their families, who allowed their sons to depart. Let us especially pray for the fruitfulness of “Mission Cuba” so that that many youths in Chile will want to join this call of going forth to give Schoenstatt to the Church and the world.
Why the youths long to mission in Cuba?
Matías Rodríguez: “It is a way to express gratitude to God and the Blessed Mother for what I have received in my family, in the Boy’s Youth and from my friends. It is a concrete way of responding, going out and giving all that I received in my Schoenstatt training at the service of the Cuban Church.”
José Ignacio Sepúlveda: “I believe that the best way to express gratitude for everything I have experienced and received in my life is to give to others. I believe that Christ is needed in Cuba; it is necessary for the Blessed Mother to live there, and it is a beautiful and a great challenge to found Schoenstatt during the centenary of the Covenant of Love. I am very much motivated that the mission develops within the ecclesial sphere that we work in parishes and chapels. I think that it is there where we have to begin to present Schoenstatt.”
Vicente Jaramillo: “Gift and death leap– it is a gift to feel needed by others of valuing the little one has, of expressing gratitude for every encounter and gaze. We need a little of this in our country, where we live overwhelmed by what we have. To live a semester in material scarcity in order to have human and spiritual abundance is a gift that no one has earned; I received it because He on High is great. And as a Son, I have to be grateful every day…and to make the most it and also to take a death leap. Do I know what awaits me over there? Very little, almost nothing. Is it easy to put the university “on hold?” No. Is it going to be difficult? Sure. To leave family and friends? It hurts me. The truth is that I am very anxious and scared to death, but the Heavenly Father knows best what one needs, so here we go: a death leap.”
Source: Vínculo Magazine, May 2015