Casa del Niño

Posted On 2023-04-10 In Schoenstatt - Reaching out, works of mercy

The grape is for you, it is holy week after all

ARGENTINA, Maria Fischer •

“Grapes, grapes, grapes…”. On Tuesday, March 28, when the children of the early shift at Casa del Niño José Kentenich, the day care center in a poor neighborhood of Florencio Varela, received their dessert, the joy was clearly seen and heard. I remembered a story that Veronica Arias had told me a few days ago. A new child in the house did not touch the tomatoes in the salad. The little one didn’t know what it was. He had never seen a tomato in his life, much less eaten one. At that moment, a boy, maybe eight years old, comes up to me. Says, “For you.” He has a grape in his hand. “I’ll give it to you. It’s Holy Week.” —

Casa del Niño

A few hours earlier we had arrived at Casa del Niño from Buenos Aires, four people, from the board, catechists, volunteers, journalists. Gabriela Sarquis had already brought me to the Casa last November, is known to our readers as the author of several articles, a catechist, and has been a member of the Board for several years. Like her, the other board members regularly visit the Casa del Niño in Florencio Varela, right next to the grounds and the Sion Shrine of the Schoenstatt Fathers. They know how important it is to experience concretely how the 300 children, their families, the staff and the volunteers are doing.

Catechesis with guitar, songs and coloring pictures

Casa del Niño

Casa del Niño, catechesis

Gabriela Sarquis and Alejandro Larrosa invited me to participate in the weekly catechesis. Four times – twice in the morning and twice with the children on the afternoon shift – I witness how they approach the children with great creativity and love, teaching them the meaning of what Christians around the world celebrate during Holy Week.

The reception of the Argentine soccer team, and Lionel Messi in particular, after winning the World Cup is the ideal starting point to explain what is celebrated on Palm Sunday. But how can it be that the same people in one moment shout: Jesus, Jesus, and in another condemn him to death? “Phew, what happened when we lost the first game against Saudi Arabia?” answers Alejandro. Yes, of course.

With his guitar and songs to sing together and with movements, Alejandro Larrosa reaches the children, he really knows how to involve them.

The Last Supper with the great gift of Jesus to his friends and to all of us, the saddest day with the death of Jesus on the cross, the great hope of seeing him again and with him so many friends, grandparents, parents who have already died, the Easter light that shines brighter than any darkness…

When little Mateo gave me a bunch of grapes and his friends followed suit and also gave me grapes, I knew that something of the Easter message had reached and remained in the hearts of these children.

Finally, they get drawings to color – five candles for the five special days of Holy Week. Now they all become artists, choosing the best colors and seeking applause from the adults present.

One child somewhat shyly handed his drawing to Alejandro. “Give it to you.” The joy is mutual.

Casa del Niño

Casa del Niño, catechesis

Do you still remember me?

Casa del NiñoLunchtime – the end of the morning shift and an hour later the beginning of the afternoon shift – is always an opportunity to talk with the children…. “Do you remember me?” asks David, with whom I sat at the table in November and who offered me his bed in case Russian troops invaded Germany. What joy on his face when I replied, “Yes, I remember you, how could I forget you?”

How can I forget this friend? How can I forget Mateo, who showed me his paper Christmas tree last time? How can I forget my new friends who give me grapes to remind me of Jesus’ love?

How can I ever forget that 13-year-old boy, still in third grade, who sadly told Alejandra Martin, the volunteer who tutors him, “No one took me to First Communion preparation…”?

How could I forget the child who said, “It seems that everyone here has a mother, but not me, mine died of covid…”?

How can we forget these children who live in extreme poverty and here, at Casa del Niño, they are given a chance thanks to the real apostolate of so many Schoenstatters?

Casa del Niño

Lunch with Messi

Sunflower seeds

Before leaving for Argentina, Renate Siebenkäs, one of the few Germans from the network of occasional collaborators of, had sent me a bag of sunflower seeds to give away. I took them with me to Casa del Niño.

What a surprise to find that they were there replanting the abandoned vegetable and flower garden with the help of youths in a work integration project! Mercedes, the assistant director, was grateful for the simple gift.

The sunflowers will bloom…just as Casa del Niño will bloom thanks to the work and generous donations of so many people.

Casa del Niño

Concrete solidarity

Donate online

Bank account in Argentina

Name: Casa del Nino Padre José Kentenich
Bank account: 4002-500061/0
CBU: 01400021-01400202698121
Banco: Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires

Bank account in Germany (SEPA zone)
Name: Schoenstatt-Patres International
IBAN: DE22 4006 0265 0003 1616 07
Purpose of payment: Casa del Niño P. Kentenich

Institutional Page (soon also in English)


Original: Spanish, 01.04.2023. Translation: Maria Fischer

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