Portugal, Lena Castro Valente •
As part of the spiritual preparation for World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon, the Pilgrim Mother Campaign of the Patriarchate of Lisbon has been visiting all the parishes of the Patriarchate with the Auxiliary since May 22, 2022; the theme is the renewal of the crowning of the Auxiliary as Queen of Encounter and Mother of Visitation. On November 6, it was my parish’s turn to receive this visit; the Auxiliary was passed to the parish of Paço de Arcos, also a great diocesan bastion of the Schoenstatt Movement, this Sunday, November 13. —
In my parish of Santo António de Nova Oeiras, the Blessed Mother has been well known for many years. Especially through the Pilgrim Mother Campaign, but also through students, mothers’ groups, youth groups – many of them with Covenant of Love – and the wayside shrine that has been near the church since December 2, 1990. It was erected by the hands and hearts of a group of youths led by Father Francisco Sobral, who was doing his internship here at that time, and is now a member of the General Council of the Schoenstatt Fathers.
On September 12, 2002, the Blessed Mother, in the image of the wayside shrine, was crowned Queen of the parish of Santo António de Nova Oeiras. The Schoenstatt Fathers Miguel Lencastre, António Lobo and António Maria Borges were present at the crowning. Bishop Melo, who was pastor of Santo António de Nova Oeiras at the time, presided over the celebration.
The program of the visit
The program for the week was extensive and intense, involving all areas of parish life: Youth Groups, Scouts, Children’s Catechesis, Parish Social Center, Charismatic Movement, Neo-Catechumenal Way, Mothers, Men… receive the visit of the Blessed Mother – with daily prayer of the Rosary, Eucharist, Eucharistic Adoration, Confessions, talks… and even with a visit to the Magusto – a typical St. Martin’s feast in Portugal – organized by the Parish Social Center.
Thanks are due to Fr. Nuno Westwood, who has a Marian heart and has always made sure that Schoenstatt, or rather, the Blessed Mother, is received with love and devotion in the parish he presides over.
Their visit touches
The fruits that will remain in the life of the community after the Blessed Mother’s visit cannot be determined now. In the course of time and according to God’s plan, they will prove to be blessings and concrete acts of love, and they will contribute to increase the flow of this Church that is expanding in the service of humanity and especially of the weakest.
Thank you, dear Mother, for it is you who chooses us and decides where we should go!
Photos and Vídeo: Elisa Morais
Original: Portuguese, 8. 11. 2022. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org