Rome – Belmonte, by María Fischer •
Tuesday, 9 June 2015, A thundershower at the end of a hot summer’s day in Rome. It couldn’t be more simple. In the Matri Ecclesiae Shrine in Rome a handful of people have gathered to celebrate Holy Mass – an Argentinian, Brazilians, Germans, Italians and a young walker from the Ukraine who is taking refuge from the rain. As usual there are two jars in the shrine – the big one from the Tuparenda shrine in Paraguay filled with countless slips of paper with contributions to the capital of grace, and a small jar from Costa Rica that is repeatedly used for the collection. Yet there is another jar, which is actually not a jar, but a basket, and it comes from Burundi.
United with Burundi
The Rector, Fr Daniel Lozano, very consciously brought this jar into the shrine. Recently Sarah-Leah Pimentel from South Africa called for prayer for Burundi via schoenstatt.org. In her professional work she studies the media for crises in Africa, and the reports from Burundi are alarming – a failed putsch, postponed elections, executions, abductions, and torture by the Imbonerakure Militia who are loyal to the government; for weeks schools have been closed, petrol has been in short supply, as has food, 40 have died since the putsch, and 110.000 people have left the country out of fear. 110.000 refugees have sought asylum in the neighbouring countries and do not know when they will be able to return home.
The UNO commissioner said this week that there is danger that the thirst for power by a few fighters “could catapult Burundi back into civil war”.
Whoever visits the shrine is reminded of Burundi
Now the jar from Burundi is in the shrine in Belmonte, and whoever visits the shrine is reminded of that country; perhaps they will pray, place a slip of paper with a contribution to the capital of grace in this jar, and become part of the worldwide network of solidarity that draws its strength from its roots in the covenant of love. It isn’t possible for everyone to come on pilgrimage to the shrine.
Whoever would like to tell the Blessed Mother and the people in Burundi – where so many live in the covenant of love with her, and have done so much for peace, which is now breaking down – that Burundi has a place in their hearts, can place their slip of paper virtually into the jar:
Covenant solidarity. We are Burundi.