ARGENTINA, Paula and Marcos Firenze •
This year, during the Family Missions in Córdoba, the Blessed Mother surprised us with many changes. Many young people joined us. More than half of on mission were younger than 18 years old. —
We left Córdoba on Saturday, 18 January and headed for Saturnino María Laspiur, some 194 kilometers East of Córdoba, in Argentina’s central region. We began our third cycle of missions. These are our seventh Family Missions.
Renewal with our heroes
In previous years, each participating family received the name of the family’s father. This time, we chose to give each family the name of one of the Schoenstatt heroes. During the women’s year in the movement, we called one of the families Margarita, after Sr. Margarita, a Sister of Mary in Tucumán, who died a few years ago when she was still very young. The rest of the families received the names “Reinisch,” “Eise,” and “Engling.” These groups/families last for the duration of the mission cycle, thus encouraging more parents and rotating the families.
Another great surprise that Mary gave us was the welcome we received from the people of Laspiur. We want to highlight not only each person who opened their hearts to us during the mission, but also the presence of Fr. Pablo Villosio, who became another missionary, accompanying us each day.
Mary tripled this grace, because we received the blessing of being able to go to another two communities that have a large pastoral project. We shared the joy of Mary in Colonia Prosperidad and in Las Varas.
Inside the mission: eating, cleaning, accommodating … and praying
As in every family, someone needs to take care of the cleaning, cooking and accommodation, in addition to taking care of those who are outside on mission, come rain or shine.
For this reason, we decided that one family would stay a full day inside the college where we were staying. This family is responsible for all the meals, cleaning, and accommodation at the college. If there was time left over, they could be found praying in the Home Shrine that is set up for the mission. This was a risky decision but it turned out really well.
As also happens in family life, this also allows internal bonds to grow and multiply while the daily activities are taking place.
In order to relax after the burden of the day, they were always waiting for us with some games in the evening so that we can enjoy ourselves as a family.
Our contributions to the capital of grace – a symbolic and creative tree
In order to bring our daily efforts, joys, difficulties, and struggles to Mary’s capital of grace, we decided to plant a “symbolic tree” and use it as contributions to the capital of grace.
To do this, one day we placed soil in a bucket in the home shrine. Then we planted the symbolic seed and watered it. Then we fertilized the soil and added more water until the tree “appeared,” made with a trunk and branches. Then we added paper leaves and flowers as decoration and a symbol of our contributions to the capital of grace.
As a reminder of our mission, we planted a real tree in the chapel garden as a symbol of all our efforts and the efforts of the people who welcomed us.
Activities with the people
We were blessed to go out each day to go house-to-house on mission. We went out every morning and afternoon. Those who did not have specific activities also had the opportunity to continue going on mission. Since there are children, youths, adults, grandparents, mothers and fathers in our mission, the time slots were flexible so that each one could give the best of their abilities (not all of us can do the same things or even keep up with the same rhythm).
In the afternoons, there were planned activities at the college for the children. They were very popular and also lots of fun.
The adults were able to enjoy mateadas (get togethers for conversation while drinking mate, a popular Argentinean tea) with people from the village who visited us. It was a very enriching experience.
Mary calls us and waits for us
The last day was very special. We ended the mission with a beautiful Mass attended by many people and a wonderful choir. As we said earlier, we planted a real tree that will grow together with our mission next to the chapel.
The people of Laspiur and the small communities of Prosperidad and Las Varas said their goodbyes with a shared dinner.
Returning to the college, the closing activities and farewell took place. The final prayer was at the mission’s home shrine, but it not a farewell. It was simply “until the next mission.”
Mary waits for us to return to be her feet and to take her from home to home, to share the joy of health and successes, to listen to difficult stories and to be a shoulder to lean on, to evangelise and share the Good News of the Lord.
In Córdoba, She waits for us in her shrine to reawaken our missionary fire.
Original: Spanish, 23 February. Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Cape Town, South Africa