PARAGUAY, by Mima and Juan Carlos Cardona •
“Everyone, welcome to this Eucharistic celebration. On this day, we joyfully gather filled with good wishes because our community is celebrating. We are commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the blessing of the Wayside Shrine in our city, protected beneath the Blessed Mother of Schoenstatt’s maternal gaze.
We implore the intercession of our Mother and the blessing of God the Father as committed missionary disciples, so we can carry forth the challenges that our Mother Church proposes.”
The Mass celebrated on 16 December at the Wayside Shrine, located at the entrance to San Juan Bautista, began with this introduction. Fr. Carlos Galeano, spiritual adviser of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign in this diocese, celebrated the Mass. He added that the bishop was aware of the anniversary, and he sent his greetings and blessings.
In the homily, Fr. Carlos stressed Mary’s presence and the commitment of the missionaries, recalling Mary’s visit to her cousin St. Elizabeth. The Blessed Mother goes in haste to accompany her, without questioning and in silence; he compared this to the missionaries’ style of carrying out their mission in the same manner.
Through the visits carried out in the families, she conquers and transforms the hearts of her children in silence, creating an atmosphere of peace and love, respect and family unity in the home. Thus the “Nothing without You, Nothing without Us” is truly lived out.
Fr. Carlos joyfully commented that the Youth Ministry in the diocese was emerging as a fruit of the missionaries’ example, which allows us to hope for the continuation of evangelization as a great contribution to the Church.
Crowning her with 3 crowns
Because of its location, the Wayside Shrine is a three-sided prism. The Blessed Mother gazes in three directions at the city and those who pass; she gazes at her children. Her gaze encompasses everything. For this reason, she received three crowns blessed by the priest and then presented to one of the first missionaries: Mrs. Apolinaria, who convoked three missionaries for the crowning:
Mrs. Ana crowned her as Queen of Consecrated Life.
Ubaldina, daughter of Mrs. Teresa, one of the first missionaries, crowned her as Queen of the Family.
Augustina crowned her as Queen of the Community.
Beneath Father’s gaze
Leti and Martín Pereira arrived with a beautiful gift for this event: the “Father symbol” made from a piece of slate from the roof of the Original Shrine that they were given on their trip to Germany. An artist designed it for the Wayside Shrine.
A prayer before Christmas
A few days before the birth of the Christ Child, we prayed that he would give us humble hearts like Mary’s in order to be true missionaries like her. Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt, shelter us in your maternal heart, transform us into new men, and send us to proclaim the Gospel.
Original: Spanish. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited by: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA