Argentina has a new Shrine: Los Olmos
Under the motto “Take off your shoes, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground," the blessing of a new Shrine of Schoenstatt in Argentina, at Los Olmos was celebrated. It has been the only shrine blessed during the pandemic. It took place this past Saturday, February 20th in Pilar of the province of Buenos Aires.
Luciana Müller - 23 February, 2021
A profound experience
At 5pm, in person and online, this great moment began. There were videos with testimonies, the history of the place, songs, and the recitation of the rosary. A large crowd was in the park in front of the Shrine, experiencing the ceremony in person. A screen allowed the attendees to see what was going on up close. On the other side of the screen and from various corners of the country, Latin America, and the world, many others participated through the social media of the now official Shrine of Schoenstatt. At 6pm the long-awaited ceremony began. Monsignor Pedro María Laxage, Bishop of Zárate-Campana, presided and was accompanied by many priests, among them, Fr. Marcelo Gallardo, moderator of Los Olmos and the principal promoter of this Shrine.
Covenant with all
During his homily, the bishop emphasized that it is God who establishes his covenant with us: “We know well the value that this word has in Schoenstatt: the covenant. Soon, we will renew it. It is God who makes the Covenant. It is my covenant God says, not that of each one of us or however we decide to make it. And this covenant is with all because the covenant is not only something personal that we make individually with Mary; because truly, upon making it with Mary, we are making it with all. Mary is the Mother of God and our Mother. This unifies us all. It unites us. We are all brothers and sisters. This Covenant of Love that we make with Mary must become a Covenant of Love with all living beings. Principally with our brothers and sisters,” he expressed.
The bishop asked those present to follow a way of peace and of love, united in our Mother, especially in this time of Lent. He highlighted, “each time that we come to make our Covenant, to renew it, let us remember that the origin of this all is in baptism. Afterward, everything is additional,” he affirmed.
Consecration and enthroning
Prior to the homily, the builders of the Shrine presented Bishop Laxage the keys, symbolizing its opening. Later, the rite of consecration began. The bishop placed the relics in the altar before anointing it with holy oil. Then the altar cloth and antependium were placed on it for the first time as a visible sign of its consecration. The altar and then the community were incensed.
The trumpet call of the gendarmerie announced the arrival of our Mother by carriage, in reference to the Virgin of Luján, while the people greeted her with white handkerchiefs. Different groups of people from the local community led her to the altar to begin the rite of enthroning. The doors of the Shrine were closed shortly until the bell rang. The Blessed Mother was placed in her home.
Then, the bishop was given 18 million Hail Mary’s and the jar of the capital of grace offered during this time of conquering. Materials that were used for the construction were also symbolically given. After communion, the Body of Christ was placed in the tabernacle for the first time.
Federico Dumas, one of the founders of Schoenstatt in the area, shared some words of gratitude: to the Blessed Mother for all the graces poured out, to the donor families, to the lay people, to those present, to Father Marcelo and the other priests in this “folly of love for the Mater,” and especially to our Father and Founder.
Today, Argentina has a new Shrine of Schoenstatt, a symbol of faith and love for Mary and Jesus to show that, even in the most difficult times, the dream of a new home for her can be fulfilled. Let us remember that if we persevere, she will help us. “Nothing without you, nothing without us.”
Video of the blessing of the Los Olmos Shrine: https://bit.ly/3sin5iV
Photos: Schoenstatt Argentina