ARGENTINA, by Lilita and Carlos Ricciardi •
On Saturday, 30 January, the last day of La Plata’s Schoenstatt Family Missions at Magdalena, Francisco Carrera, a young, 76-year-old grandfather, told us about his first experience as a missionary. He is an engineer, a widower with daughters and grandchildren, and he has belonged to La Plata’s Family Work for about forty years. He is a Eucharistic Minister and a loyal guardian of Santuario de la Liberación del Padre (Shrine of Father’s Freedom).
During the year, he attended meetings and he felt like the youths naturally incorporated him to the group as one their own age. He worked on Mission spirituality with them. Thus the day of departure arrived. Gathered around the Shrine, he felt the warmth of the communal embrace greeting the Blessed Mother and giving her this Mission.
We asked him:
What expectations did you have of this Mission?
“I felt curious at experiencing the Church reaching out, not enclosed in itself. This new Church, projects outward in search of the other as Pope Francis asks us to help carry out.”
What do you take from this Mission?
“It was a very strong Schoenstatt and Church experience.
Even though I have previously had other experiences of ecclesial community, it was always between peers. When I was young, it was with youths and when married, with other couples. It is the first time that I had a Church experience with adults and young people integrated in a mission.
It is an atmosphere that is strongly touched by the supernatural. It is a glimpse of heaven. It is an experience of land, of my Schoenstatt land.
I perceived an unfettered Church. It is a “commotion” in the line of “stirring things up,” that Pope Francis asked of the youth. I found a family of life and of mission.
Faith, joy and hope took me.
My strengthened faith. Joy for a long time and hope in the continuity of the family that these very committed youths are with the Church.”
What would you recommend to those who have never gone on mission?
“To be encouraged to live this communal and missionary experience that will allow them to reaffirm Catholic principles in practice. Father Kentenich would have missioned as a family if he were with us at this time.”
The Mission’s two “youngest” included: Regina Carelli almost 2 years old (in her father Enrique’s arms) and young at heart, Francisco Carrera.