PERÚ, Manuel Huapaya •
“Gospel for the poor,” with this phrase that framed Bishop Reinaldo Nann, Bishop of the Prelature of Caravelí’s pastoral work, we gathered a little more than a year ago to begin the first Schoenstatt Family Missions in his city. At that time, everything seemed so far away, but it was interesting and challenging. Undoubtedly the Blessed Mother had a course charted, and so Bishop Nann asked Fr. Esteban Casquiero from Argentina (Institute of Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests) to be in charge as adviser and to direct this task. —
The convocation was person-by-person, family-by-family and before we knew it, there were fifty-one of us registered, among them nine Argentineans (three from the Girls’ Youth, two from the Young Men’s Youth and two couples). Upon arriving at the place of mission, ten young men from the Caravelí seminary joined us on this mission. Fr. Kurt Faluhaber, trainer for the Institute of Diocesan Priests, attended. During his years as a student he had many encounters with Founder, Fr. Joseph Kentenich and he took the opportunity to relate his experiences with Father, and to accompany some missionaries during their travels.
Quite an experience…
It was a week full of gifts and very beautiful experiences, as Ximena Chávez, one the members of the Girls’ Youth commented:
“There are experiences that are life changing and transform the heart: going on mission is one of them. It is a joy coming from the depths of one’s heart and despite different circumstances, it doesn’t go away… rather, it becomes stronger. It is definitely a joy that comes from Heaven.
Every day we gave a little piece of our hearts, and with it we received the greatest blessing…a piece of another’s heart, a hug given from the depths of the soul, a closeness to the Blessed Mother, a caress from God…
We were filled with learning, stories, feelings, hope, faith, love, joy…I believe that was one of the greatest rewards we received.
Not everyone has the same amount of problems. It is about easing burdens and with a hug you can feel God is there; he will never abandon you. In these missions, we gained brothers/sisters, and we built a family placing God, the Blessed Mother, and our hearts as a foundation. To go on mission is a wonderful experience, because you not only go to take a message from God, but you receive a message from him…”
We go to mission!
In between, it happened that the Apostolic Nuncio to Peru, Bishop Nicola Girazoli, visited Caravelí, and as was his custom, he had some very kind gestures for Schoenstatt and the Blessed Mother. Every day it was a joy to see the little missionaries (children ages 2-8) dressed in their mission attire and badges and hear them say: “We are going to mission!” Then to see them return energetic and happy pointing out how many homes they had visited. Today we can affirm going on mission as a family is a great testimony and an enormous blessing; it is a message for the world. It is possible to do it; there are no excuses, ages, or the number of children. When we propose it, God always gives us the strength to undertake this task.
A great task was carried out and there is much to do
At the end, a woman’s baptism was celebrated. She approached us from the first afternoon, and she wanted to speak to a priest. Two Pilgrim Mothers were sent out, the first meeting of Madrugadores was held, and four family altars were presented. There is great need, not only materially, but also a closeness, arriving in God and the Blessed Mother’s names opened every door and gladden hearts. We saw a great deal of loneliness and abandonment especially in the elderly— a great task remains ahead.
We are grateful to Bishop Nann for the convocation and for this founding initiative. We are also grateful to Fr. Esteban Casquero and the nine Argentinean brothers/sisters who gave their yes and came to share their experience from previous Family Missions. In the same manner, to everyone who contributed economically or with food to carry out this project, and finally to everyone who supported us and supported us constantly with their prayers. This is a three-year task and commitment, we have taken the first step, and we are already looking toward 2020. We remain united in prayer with the motto and the challenge posed by Pope Francis: go out to the peripheries and take the gift of the Covenant of Love to others.
Original: Spanish. 3 February 2019. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA