PARAGUAY, Santa Rita, by Amada Girett/org •
Santa Rita (department of Alto Paraná) located approximately 350 km east of Asunción has a natural wonder that has gained a lot of attention in recent times. It is a tunnel of lead trees (mimosas) that extends 1,550 m. (almost a mile) in length along a stretch of Route 6. At this time, it is one of the area’s main natural tourist attractions. It all began about twenty-five years ago, when a few lead trees were planted on both sides of a stretch of Route 6, as a barrier of plant protection. Today, it has become a natural wonder, the Santa Rita tunnel of trees is a great tourist attraction and some even attribute magical properties to it.
However, the green tunnel was not the motivation for Mima and Juan Carlos Cardona’s travels to Santa Rita on 18 March. They traveled to take the Auxiliary MTA of the Interior Rosary Campaign to this city, where the Campaign is growing around two wayside shrines, thanks to the commitment of many missionaries.
16 new missionaries commissioned
On Friday, 18 March, Santa Rita celebrated the visit of the Blessed Mother’s Auxiliary and the Campaign leaders to its two wayside shrines. Sixteen new missionaries were commissioned during the Mass that was celebrated after the visit to the wayside shrines. It was a beautiful celebration and everyone was very touched.
Wayside Shrine celebration
They prayed for the canonization of Joao Luiz Pozzobon at the “Full of Grace” Wayside Shrine at Santa Rita. The visitors from Ciudad del Este and those from Santa Rita, who were visited, truly experienced a celebration. Then they went in procession to the Church that is close to the Wayside Shrine to celebrate Holy Mass and to commission the new missionaries with the Pilgrim Mothers.
Santa Rita’s true beauty and magic
They also gathered at the “Door to Heaven” Wayside Shrine, which was the first one that was built at Santa Rita; it was blessed on 18 October 2014. These were greatly emotional moments and moments of renewed commitment to Mary, the great missionary, who has made her dwelling in Santa Rita and who visits her families via the dozens of Pilgrim Mothers.
Much is said about the beauty and the “magic” of the green tunnel, and it is true, it is an unforgettable experience to pass through this tunnel and to touch and feel all of nature’s strength. But Santa Rita has still another beauty and “magic”: the beauty of its wayside shrines, its dozens of Pilgrim Mothers and missionary hearts that burn in pure love for Mary, the Mother of God, and for all people and the “magic” of the covenant of love that transforms this city into a Shrine.