By María Fischer •
Saturday June 27 was the 30th anniversary of the death of João Pozzobon, the untiring missionary of the Blessed Mother and the founder of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign. He was invited to participate in Fr. Kentenich’s centennial celebrations in September 1985 in Schoenstatt and in Rome. But a few months before, on June 27, 1985, he was killed after being hit by a truck on his pilgrimage to the Shrine. He died in the presence of Original Pilgrim MTA (which was also hit by a truck on the eve of the jubilee of the 100 years of the covenant of love, as if to become a “church which is bruised” (The Joy of the Gospel, # 49)) and he was accompanied by Fr. Uriburu, who some time before had started to make the Rosary Campaign international
“In the person of João, God gave us a simple, childlike man who showed solidarity with the neediest, a heroic apostle of Mary, a model of a holy Schoenstatter. Mary educated him in her Shrine with a profound heroic childlikeness that was apparent in his entire being.
He was a man of extra-ordinary prayer, of a deep contemplative life, marked by his tender love for his Mother and Queen and a remarkable devotion to the Eucharist and the Trinity. He was also an exemplary husband and father to his family, an honest and just working man. He never neglected his obligations to his family or work because of his intense apostolate. His intimate Covenant of Love with Mary made him a model of everyday sanctity. João is an example of the special traits that embody Schoenstatt ideals and he is also a model for the Campaign of what She wants to accomplish, a safeguard and guarantee of loyalty to the original forces from which it emerged.” (Santa Maria Document, 1989).
Fruit of the 31st of May
The Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign was born within a very specific historic Schoenstatt milestone: the 31st of May 1949 and Father Kentenich’ international trips.
The Campaign is a response to the desires that moved Father Kentenich: the desire of having allies for the mission, expanding and popularizing the Covenant of Love, complementing and enriching Schoenstatt through a great movement of pilgrims and living the organism of attachments to places, persons, values, and to a mission.
The Campaign is a new Visitation of Mary in our time. Mary goes out on the road in haste: “Mary set out in haste.”
The “Schoenstatt saint setting out”
“From the beginning Father Kentenich, and with it Schoenstatt, oriented himself to Mary, the Mother of the Church and the woman setting out: and he was actively guided and accompanied by Her”, said Monsignor Robert Zollitsch, Archbishop Emeritus of Freiburg, Germany during a conference in November 2014 (which will be published shortly, as a book, by Editorial Nueva Patris, Chile). He explains: “Mary is synonymous with dynamism and She is the way to the people. She also synonymous with a Church that like Mary, is sustained by the Holy Spirit and is guided by Him so that, with faith in this guidance, sometimes surprised by God, it also goes on its pilgrimage through daily life. Mary, who is filled by the Holy Spirit and is interwoven with Him (cf. Lk. 1, 35); who not only heard God’s voice but also kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart (Lk.2, 19.51). She opens our eyes, our heart and our ears to scrutinize in depth the signs of the times and interpret them in light of the Gospel (cf. Mt.16, 4: GS 4).
Mary also sets out also today to the people, drawing closer to them to speak with them. In our present times we experience a fascinating phenomenon in the “Pilgrim Mother”. Several years ago Deacon João Luiz Pozzobon in Brazil took the picture of the Mother Thrice Admirable for thirty-five years, until the day of his death. He walked thousands of kilometers on foot, taking this image to the people, and in the process experienced an unexpected chain reaction. Today 200,000 pictures of the Pilgrim Mother visit people in almost a hundred countries. (Talk given by Emeritus Archbishop Robert Zollitsch DD] to commemorate Schoenstatt’s hundred years in co-operation with the Wurzburg Cathedral School on 19 November 2014, 7 p.m.)
Joao Pozzobon, a Schoenstatter reaching out. We will only be a Schoenstatt that reaches out if we have Schoenstatters who reach out, just as the “Memorandum of the Pentecost Congress” urges us, just as Schoenstatt.org put up as its post-jubilee motto on the night of October 17, just as Francis asks us:
“In giving you the blessing, I send you as missionaries in the years to come. I send you, not in my name, but in the name of Jesus. I send you, not alone, but hand-in-hand with our Mother Mary, and within the womb of our Mother, the Holy Church. I send out you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. (Pope Francis to Schoenstatt Family, October 2014)