PARAGUAY, Ani Souberlich •
Every year on 18 October, there is an unprecedented celebration in Tupãrenda; it is the largest pilgrimage to a Schoenstatt Shrine in the world. Year after year, more than 40,000 people go on pilgrimage to the Tupãrendá Shrine to greet the Schoenstatt’s Mother Thrice Admirable. They bring their Pilgrim Mothers adorned with flowers; these traveling shrines visit them in their homes year after year.
Year after year, hundreds of Schoenstatters place themselves at the pilgrims’ service. Year after year, bishops from the area along with two bishops who are Schoenstatt Fathers take turns celebrating one of the four massive Masses. Year after year, dozens of priests offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Year after year, there are an endless number of tents and stands that offer Schoenstatt’s best.
However on 18 October of this Holy Year of Mercy, there was something new; something never before seen. In the shadow of the Schoenstatt Shrine, youths, ages 15, 16, 17, wearing green t-shirts and smiling happily were at a stand offering lettuce and all kinds of bread and rolls. The Blessed Mother did not want to celebrate her large feast without her favorite sons…
Mother of Tupãrendá House stand at the 18 October celebration
The clients of Mother of Tupãrendá House (CMT for the acronym in Spanish) joyfully prepared for the Celebration of the Blessed Mother of Schoenstatt – this is what the youths are called who after completing their sentence at the juvenile detention center voluntarily decided to work toward this House: to learn a profession, to learn how to live a life of dignity and responsibility –.
The stand they set up provides information about the House and offered bakery goods that they have learned to make. They have done this with great success on Sundays after the Mass in Tupãrendá. The variety of baked goods was a complete success: the products placed on the table…disappeared instantly and they were well received by everyone.
What great support!
Being at the stand gave each client the opportunity to chat with pilgrims, proudly tell them they were from CMT, and they were there to change because they no longer desire to be deliquents. It was a great surprise to them to see how many people were happy for them and encouraged them to continue on this road and not lose hope that they could get ahead.
For many of them, it is the first opportunity in their life
With great pride and joy, I can say that during the three months since the CMT blessing, small miracles of transformation are seen daily in the life each client, and they are enormously grateful for this opportunity, the first one the majority of them have ever received.
Let us continue to support and to accompany these youths, who struggle intensely, day-to-day, against everything that takes them away from the better road.
The Shrine is their home
They are pilgrims just like the 40,000 pilgrims who came on 18 October. Many times, they are seen in the Shrine, participating in Mass with Fr. Pedro Kühlcke. “The most blessed days are when Fr. Pedro visits us and removes the dust from our interiors, and he makes us feel “lighter.” Masses at the Tupãrendá Shrine fill the soul with peace, and the Blessed Mother takes care to blow on our wounds, so that they heal and do not hurt as much,” they commented on their Facebook page. “Fr. Pedro, you are an angel for us, and we owe it to you that we are here!”
Interview with CMT youths on Radio María Paraguay (spanish):
…Jesus’ gaze goes beyond sins and prejudices, he sees the person through the eyes of God, who does not stop at past faults, but sees the future good. Jesus is not resigned to closing, but always opens, always opens new spaces of life, he does not stop at appearance, but looks at the heart.”
Pope Francis, 30.10.2016
If you want to help with your donation (every contribution counts):
Account in Paraguay:
Sudameris Bank SAECA, BIC BSUDPYPXXXX
Account in Europe (SEPA)
Schönstatt-Patres International e. V.
IBAN DE91 4006 0265 0003 1616 26
Intended Use: Fr. Pedro Kuehlcke, Casa Madre de Tupãrendá
Original: Spanish. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA