COSTA RICA, Margarita Morera de Escorriola •
Family after celebrating his last Mass in the Adoration Church on Mount Schoenstatt on 15 September 1968.
Faithful to the Father and Founder’s sending forth during Holy Week, a group of families and youths from Costa Rica’s Schoenstatt Movement, placed themselves at the service of the Church. They went out to encounter others with a missionary spirit accompanying Jesus at Calvary, in his Passion and Resurrection.
The Blessed Mother’s presence grows in San Martín
San Martín is a coastal town located in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, whose population is of limited economic resources, and it has problems of family discord, hopelessness, and lukewarm faith.
There is a chapel, but at this time, the parish priest cannot attend the activities normally related to Holy Week. Therefore the Schoenstatt missionaries helped the community’s committed lay people organize services, processions, and Liturgy of the Word. They also missioned through the streets, visiting the sick and elderly; they shared with families, and they organized activities for youths and children.
This is the third year that the Schoenstatt Missionary Family has visited this community, and the fruits are already showing. During this Mission 2017, they verified the missionary action of the Blessed Mother in this town, since it already has three Allies. Fifty families, who receive the Pilgrim Mother, the Blessed Mother is enthroned in the chapel, and the Covenant renewal takes place every 18th of the month in its community.
This year, the Schoenstatt Missionary Family reached out to the encounter, this community from the recently blessed Family of Hope Shrine, trusting to make the motto of the mission a reality: “Mary, Queen, Hope for San Martin.”
During Holy Week, the missionary group welcomed the community’s children in the chapel; they carried out activities, they read and commented on the Gospel, and they shared games. It was a beautiful opportunity for the missionary children to share with the children of the community and together to experience the joy that they are all God’s children.
On Wednesday, they organized a bonfire on the oceanfront for the youths. During this bonfire called “There is fire in you,” the youths on mission shared songs, testimonies of the saints with the youths from San Martin, and together they arrived at the conclusion that by having Jesus and Mary in their hearts, they have a fire that they can share.
On Holy Wednesday, along with the Pilgrim Mother, they visited the sick, elderly and families in their homes. They arrived joyfully, trusting Mary, the great missionary, and that she works miracles.
In those encounters, they experienced the Blessed Mother’s presence in the open hearts of those who opened their home and in the generous hearts of those who visited. In the thirst for love of the weary ones they found in the grateful hearts of those who recognized the blessing, in the tears of joy or sadness that some shed, in the prayer and song that they shared…
In every visit, the missionaries experienced that by encountering others, along with the Blessed Mother, God’s infinite mercy was really felt, and this is how the “magic” of becoming a Missionary that is “Missioned” occurs, and upon giving, they receive much more in return.
Internally within the mission, the missionaries also experienced great miracles of transformation. They lived Holy Week, serving, meditating, praying, singing, accompanying Jesus on the cross in many ways.
Parents, children, youths, little children shared the joy of service. They began and ended their day with shared prayer, they commented on the Gospel, and they shared cleaning and food preparation tasks. They became a large family, where each one gave their best to others.
In this mission, they contributed a great deal to the Capital of Grace that they represented with a crown of thorns, like the crown of our strong and humble King, who also was crowned with thorns.
Even though these thorns were thorns of love, they hurt Jesus and his Mother. During the mission days, the missionaries exchanged the thorns for flowers through their efforts and acts of love. At the end of the mission, they presented Mary and Jesus with a crown filled with flowers worthy of such an act of love of dying on the cross for us.
Within the mission, intense faith experiences are experienced. On Good Friday, the missionaries went on pilgrimage to the top of a mountain, praying, singing, adoring the Cross, and they prayed for mercy for their families and friends who carry a physical or mental cross.
They shared in the daily tasks of cleaning, washing dishes, and sweeping to the most super- natural in prayer with the richness of discovering God’s love in others and of learning from others.
Mary, Queen, is really San Martin’s hope
When the mission ended, the group bid farewell to the community with hearts filled with gratitude, certain that “Mary, Queen, is San Martin’s Hope,” because hope emerged in every smile and hug that was given, because in every missionary, the heart was enkindled with love.
Everyone returned to their daily life with the satisfaction of having given their yes, of being faithful to the Father and Founder’s last words: “Go now I send you”
“WITH HOPE AND JOY AND CONFIDENT IN THE VICTORY WE GO WITH MARY INTO THE NEWEST TIMES!” (Fr. Joseph Kentenich, Heavenwards, p. 179).
Original: Spanish. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA – Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA