SPAIN, Maria Fischer •
In the media, it is already a success with a strong appearance on Spotify, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, several diocesan websites, radio, news portals, bulletins, with few words (we hope that they still verbalize all the experiences and stories), many videos and a lot of music: Mother, come – this great pilgrimage through the streets of Spain is making news and history during this summer of 2021, marked by the pandemic and not a few storms within the church. —
So far, the “Mother, come” pilgrimage has travelled through Aragon, Navarra, the Basque Country and Cantabria, leaving behind a great number of anecdotes and touching moments.
Ambrosio Arizu, of the Schoenstatt Family Federation, initiator of the pilgrimage and who has accompanied the “Pilgrim Mother” since the beginning, on May 1st, shared a video and told me: “Our Mother visits the elderly people of Bergara, then she is accompanied by the Sisters of Maria Stella Matutina. They are 40 young women of 27 years old on average…” You can feel the joy.
“It is incredible the joy that she transmits to the people when she arrives at each place. Everything has been organized with great care, respecting the forums and restrictions imposed because of the Covid”, says Marco, who has accompanied the image in almost all the places it has passed through in Navarra.
Mother, come, through Asturias
“There is a great variety of memories that we have engraved in our memory -explains José Luis Prieto, responsible for organizing the pilgrimage through Asturias, from June 13 to July 8-, like when the image of the Virgin is passing through a town and the people see her passing by and spontaneously join the pilgrimage, or when she goes to visit some nuns in a cloistered monastery and they receive her with emotion; We have been to some old people’s homes and you could see them crying with emotion when they saw that the Virgin was there to see them; I also have the memory of a home for psychiatric patients, where they made her some fabric flowers that we have added to the little car with which we are transporting the image. When we travelled through Pamplona, the students of the university were very enthusiastic; it was beautiful to see hundreds of people in the streets singing to the Virgin. Also in Loyola, where she has visited, coinciding with the fact that this year is the 500th anniversary of the conversion of St. Ignatius. It is being, in short -he adds- a pilgrimage led by Her, and that is why it is being so impressive. Besides the fact that the image, being white, transmits an impressive light and peace, everyone who sees it says so”.
In addition to José Luis, the stages of the pilgrimage in Asturias have been distributed among several people, who count on the collaboration of parish priests, volunteers, confraternities and brotherhoods, who are working hard to make each section and each stop of the image of the Immaculate Virgin as she passes through Asturias a special one.
Mother, come: No registration required
At the same time, from the organization is reminded that participation is spontaneous, no need to ask permission to join it, and on its official website www.madreven.es is possible to be informed daily of the places where you will meet. Its profile on social networks, especially Instagram, allows following the route almost live.
“Our Lady does not ask for our ID card or resume,” says Father Jaime Bertodano, one of the organizers. “She goes out to meet all those who want to receive her in one way or another. Of all ages, they can sign up as pilgrims or as volunteers on the website www.madreven.es and do the stages they want, or welcome the Virgin in the town where she passes through or participate in the celebrations in her honor.”
It all started with a group of friends
An experience that will be carried out this summer in Asturias, the organizers describe it as impressive. “All this started with a group of friends -recognizes José Luis-. And thanks to word of mouth, people from all over the world have started to join in. It is the Virgin who is gradually organizing the pilgrimage, we just have to let her do it, and trust”.
“We can be assured that from this will come fruits of faith, fruits of conversion, fruits of love, and when we look back it is funny that we had those doubts,” says Ambrosio. “The life that has sprung up around ‘Mother, Come’ is impressive.”
“We are seeing how the Immaculate is approaching the simple of heart and the way many are feeling consoled and joyful in faith,” says Fr. Jaime. “The visit of Our Lady is being a true encounter with Mary Most Holy and is giving a boost to many towns, parishes and communities that the pandemic had caused to take a step back. Our Lady is setting us in motion and pulling us out of fear or boredom. Many make the words of that well-known song their own and truly say to her: “Be with us Mary along the way, guide every step we take”.
In addition, all the work done for this pilgrimage is being a very exciting experience of communion between different charismas and accents, but united by the same Mother. Also the work of the laity is incredible and we need it in the Church. So I hope that all this remains at the end: the strength for evangelization, the communion in her Church, and the co-responsibility of the laity. And the love for Our Lady, of course.”
With information from: www.madreven.es and the website of the Archdiocese of Oviedo, Asturias
Original: Spanish 2021-06-20. Translated by: María Aragón, Monterrey, México