ECUADOR, Fr. Rafael Amaya / María Fischer •
What makes a shrine a shrine, we ask ourselves these days when we read the latest news from Santa Cruz do Sul. The architecture? No. Any ecclesiastical law? Partly. Any norm for the number of pilgrims, for the offering of sacraments, preaching, attention to pilgrims? According to the 1999 Vatican norm, yes. In Schoenstatt? None of this can be applied, since it is an internal way of calling those chapels built all over the world, but also parts of the home, the workplace and one’s own heart: shrine. But how to know, to measure – humanly – if it is a shrine? Watching the last video about the delivery of charity bags at the shrine in Quito, with people in a long line happily running to the shrine, we know this is a shrine, really. —
“All those who come here to pray shall experience the glory of Mary and confess: “It is good for us to be here. Here we will build our tents, here our favorite place,” we read in the Founding Document of October 18, 1914. A feeling that can be seen in the faces of the young people, the elderly, the mothers with their babies in their arms that this week again lined up to receive, in the City Shrine of Quito, those charity bags with food that help them to survive… It gives goose bumps to see how a young girl begins to run, with joy, as she approaches….
Come to me all of you who are tired and burdened
Fr. Rafael and his collaborators, from the beginning of the pandemic, made the word of the Lord their own: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
“This week we have been able to deliver food to 270 families and it is a joy because they are very grateful and above all they are filled with hope because they know that there are brothers and sisters who care about them. In reality, that is the church. And I want to thank God and our dear Blessed Mother because they are assisting us through you. And so, I invite you to continue with this work so that we can give hope to so many brothers and sisters who are in need at this time”, says Fr. Rafael Amaya in a video broadcast after the delivery.
As always, after receiving the bags, the people go to the shrine to express their gratitude and receive the blessing.
“I thank the people who help us”
“In these times it has helped me a lot in my home, and I am very grateful to the church and the people who support us, thank you very much,” says Vanesa Chavez.
“I thank the people who help us, and we have felt good with the people who help us, may God bless you and continue to help us, God repay you,” says another of the 270 people who this August day received what helps them live one more month.
It is a shrine
We are in one of the most severe global crises – war in the heart of Europe and in so many places in Africa and Asia, drought, heat, lack of water, lack of gas and electricity, lack of work in some countries and lack of workers in others, a pandemic not yet overcome, inflation, migration, refugees … We seem to hear the words of October 18: ” Prove to me first that you really love me, that you take your resolution seriously “.
Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org