SPAIN, Miguel Lasso de la Vega •
It has been a couple of years since Mary kindled a desire in the hearts of two Schoenstatt couples in Madrid— a desire to take the richness of its marriage pedagogy beyond Schoenstatt.—
At the time, it was only an idea, the desire to move beyond the Shrine. The two couples wanted to reach others who were unable, uninterested, or simply unaware of the need to draw close to God. The missionary spirit had arrived in their hearts; it was the moment to break down walls, an impulse that can only be explained as coming from God.
Inspiration from Costa Rica and Chile
They were looking to support other couples with a simple marriage workshop, which fits in perfectly with the pastoral work of their parishes and used the lessons learned from a marriage workshop in Costa Rica as a resource. The presentation of the Marriage Strengthening Workshop in Costa Rica [article in Spanish only] was such a fruitful experience that led them to collaborate in its implementation in Spain.
Through a variety of different ways, the couples had heard about another, different marriage workshop in Chile called “Pub del Amor [Love Pub], which seemed to arrive providentially, as if to dispel a sense of unease about the format. With the help of Father Juan Pablo Rovegno, the Madrid couples were able to reach out to the organizing team of “Pub” in Chile, Jorge Gutiérrez and Teresa López. Generous with their time over several months, the Chilean couple explained the structure of “Pub del Amor,” sent the documentation and patiently responded to various questions and concerns.
The common objective was to serve the needs of parishes
Back in Madrid, the next step was to ground the project in Spanish reality and find a parish to host it. The couples found what they needed at the San Benito Menni parish and its pastor, Father Jaime Alier, as well as in two parish couples who were very involved in parish life. One of the two parish couples had attended the Marriage Strengthening Workshop, an experience that certainly helped to facilitate the project!
With great enthusiasm, little by little, the project came together and more couples from the Schoenstatt Family joined, arriving providentially and with a special role to play. The common goal was to meet the needs of the host parish and be relevant to its particularities.
Schoenstatt, an instrument to serve parishes
On Friday, February 22nd, they presented the Madrid marriage workshop, which was attended by seventeen couples. The space for the workshop was in the church nave, with Jesus permanently present, presiding over both work and celebration.
The parish should lead the workshop with Schoenstatt providing the support, and this is exactly what happened. The two parish couples ran the program, while the Schoenstatt couples motivated the group with their testimonies. Above all, the couples’ conversation drove the experience. This was the goal: in the whirlwind of a busy week, to make a meaningful moment for married couples.
With the help of four Schoenstatt couples serving as waiters, the marriage workshop pulled off an authentic pub scene— a stage for presentations and testimonies, dim lighting, soft music, and engaging conversation.
In the end, it was evident— in happy faces, in thankful words— Mary’s work had been fulfilled once again. The moment echoed our Father and Founder’s words: “It is your work. Glorify yourself!” Participants left with the promise of repeating this question to themselves: “Quedamos?” The question means, literally, “Do we stay?” or “Are we in this together?” “Quedamos” is now the name given to the Madrid workshop, a name that can be taken back to married life. A final testimony posed an additional question. It is not enough to question our commitment, so we also ask, “What do we give?”
Original: Spanish, 10 March. Translation: Ann Bronk, Wisconsin, United States. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA