Youth: "Here we are because we had the courage to dream"

"We come from different nationalities, but we are united by something in common: love for Christ, for the Church, for Schoenstatt. We had the courage to dream, that is why we are gathered here today". These are the words that opened the International Youth Mass celebrated in Schoenstatt. It took place in the Pilgrims' Church on the afternoon of July 25th. Delegations with youth from eight countries, who are on their way to WYD in Lisbon, participated in the Mass.

The groups in attendance came from: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, United States, Mexico, Paraguay, and Puerto Rico. Members of the international youth, their advisors and several members of the local Schoenstatt Family were present as well.

The Mass was presided by the Rector of the Original Shrine, Father Ignacio Camacho. Concelebrating with him were priests from Nigeria, India, Germany, Chile, Portugal, Ecuador, Uganda, Brazil, USA, and other countries

Youth and pilgrims on the way

The liturgy recalled the figure of St. James the Apostle. He, like the young people of WYD, was "also a pilgrim," said Father Ignacio. James was one of the disciples closest to Jesus, who was present at important moments, such as on Mount Tabor and in the Mount of Olives. "When I think of him, the idea of the road quickly comes to mind - we have all heard of the way of St. James. The image of the pilgrim is directly associated with him".

Father Ignacio Camacho stresses that the invitation to be a pilgrim comes from Christ, who takes the initiative. "Something we can describe from the public life of Jesus is that he also traveled extensively. So many images in the Gospel show us Jesus on the way. And he teaches his disciples to walk like he did."

Dare to ask: What is my path?

Taking the Gospel in the light of Schoenstatt's history, he adds: "The image of the road also speaks to us about our own personal life and our Covenant life. The Covenant of Love is a real road that we travel, a road that our Father also traveled. The way of St. James was not simple or easy, he did not understand everything at the beginning [in Schoenstatt], not everything was clear, but God gradually unveiled it".

Fr. Ignacio motivates the youth to maintain their originality, reclaiming their personal history. "The way of Jesus is an original path. No two are alike. Jesus calls us with our own history, with our families, with our abilities and also with our weaknesses. He is the treasure that we carry in clay pots".

The Rector emphasizes that the road of life with Christ must be traveled as a community and with simplicity. And he launches a challenge: "Dare to ask Jesus: what do you want from me, what is my life path, where do you want me to go, how do you want me to follow you? Dare to dream. Don't have small dreams, but rather profound ones. Dare to step out of your comfort zone, to do like our Mother and go out in haste."

Different cultures, the same ardor

A special moment of the celebration was the renewal of the Covenant of Love in the Original Shrine. There, the youth lived an experience in which they once again gave their hearts to the MTA.

"We were able to experience the bond between all the nationalities that were present here and also prepare our hearts, in this longing to go to WYD and to stand up and take Mary everywhere," said Jéssica Fernanda Prado, from Brazil.

"It was very beautiful, and I was able to realize that the Schoenstatt Youth extends across several borders and we all have the same enthusiasm. We have an inner fire that we want to share, to be together, to go toward God, to give everything for the Covenant," said Santiago Perón, from Argentina.

Rosario Galilea, from Chile, says: "The Covenant renewal was very beautiful, and I really liked the enthusiasm we felt and everyone's collaboration. We are very happy to meet people from different countries and cultures. We discovered that there are many others who are passionate about the mission".

Young Jacinta Loomis, Christina Rivera and Allyson Kahler, from the United States, share that "it is beautiful to see many different countries and cultures coming together in one Mass, celebrated in different languages. A place where we believe and celebrate the same thing. We are preparing for some amazing few days. After Mass we went to the Shrine, which is beautiful because we were all there for the same reason: to renew the Covenant that we have sealed in different parts of the world. And then we had a celebration in which each country presented something different from their culture. And it was very lovely to see how each country celebrated Schoenstatt in a slightly different way, but that we all managed to communicate and dance together. It was amazing."

Complete vídeo (click)

Ignis JM: “Eu vim trazer fogo”

Ignis Boy's Youth: "I came to bring fire"

Expectation, anxiety, and a lot of work are part of the routine of the members of the Schoenstatt Boys' Youth from Portugal. They are fully engaged in the preparations for Ignis, which is the International Encounter of the Boys' Youth. The event will take place in Aveiro/Portugal, from July 27-30, prior to WYD. In total, 532 participants from 18 countries are expected.

"We are full steam ahead, with lots of meetings, logistical work, rehearsals, trips, calls, etc. But we are happy to have a great team of young people and advisors who are giving their very best to make IGNIS a remarkable experience of encounter with God and among young people," commented seminarian Lucas Botassio, from the Institute of the Schoenstatt Fathers.

Bringing the fire of our charism to WYD

The motto chosen by the team of WYD leaders from Portugal and Spain for this encounter is a phrase spoken by Jesus (Lk 12:49): "I came to bring fire".

"It expresses the spirit that we want to live during these days of preparation for WYD. On the one hand, we want to let ourselves be set on fire by the vitality and enthusiasm that each group of the international Boys' Youth brings from their country of origin. It is a great treasure and an opportunity to share dreams, to build new bonds and to feel the fire of being together again, especially after the pandemic. On the other hand, it expresses the desire to bring the fire of our charism to WYD. We want to share our way of living our faith, our Covenant culture with all those we meet. Thus, we are also sent to spread the fire!", Lucas explains.

As a symbol, they will go on pilgrimage from Aveiro to Fatima, on July 30th. They will carry the same torch that the Boys' Youth carried, in 2014, from Rome to Schoenstatt (Fackelauff). "This gesture expresses our dream of bringing, through Our Lady, the fire of Christ to all the people participating in WYD," says Lucas Botassio.

The young participants are the protagonists

Participating in Ignis (a word that means "fire") will be representatives from: Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, and the United States.

"Young people are the protagonists, that's why we want them to have a privileged space to express themselves and share their dreams and experiences. The IGNIS leaders strove to make the encounter as experience-driven and dynamic as possible. Therefore, we have reduced the 'massive' moments and focused on activities with smaller international groups. The greatest gift of the encounter is the opportunity to be together and to get to know Schoenstatt and the Boys' Youth from many places through the groups that will be made up during the encounter," the seminarian explained.

Today, across the ocean

The first edition of Ignis took place in Brazil, just before WYD in Rio de Janeiro, in 2013. Lucas Botássio participated in this event and, based on this experience, talks about his expectations for the next International Encounter of WYD:

Ten years ago, I participated in the first IGNIS in Rio de Janeiro. It was an experience that deeply influenced me, even in the vocational sense. I remember being at Copacabana beach and looking at all those people, colors and flags that expressed the values to which I wanted to give life. Looking at the sea on the horizon, while contemplating the sunset, I felt an immense peace and a desire to go beyond. I think it was there that Jesus began to call me to go into deeper waters, even though at the time I did not know how to express in words that he was calling me to the priesthood. Today I find myself across the sea, geographically speaking. It is a privilege to be in Portugal and to have the opportunity to work so that many can experience the testimonies of other young people and of Christ, who continues to call young people to a full life, be it in marriage, or in consecrated or religious life.

The Symbol of the Ignis

The 𝐚𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐬𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 has been a national symbol of Portugal since the late 15th century, when King D. Manuel incorporated it into his royal emblem. Invented in China first and then improved by Greek and Persian astronomers, it was an astronomical instrument that allowed Portuguese sailors to understand the starry sky to guide themselves across the Oceans. It is a symbol that unites Portugal with the rest of the world!

The 𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐬 of unity is our star! A cross that represents the union so profound between Jesus and Mary and reminds us of the centrality of attachments in Schoenstatt spirituality, it is made in iron on the stone of the memorial behind the Lisbon Shrine. It is the symbol of the heroism to which we want to aspire for our lives. As the star that guides us in the surrender of love to the limit!

The 𝐬𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐬 of the Portuguese ships, such as the caravels, which were designed in Lisbon and Coimbra between the 15th and 16th centuries, made it possible to cross the ocean with the wind against and carried embalmed the Cross of Christ. They were especially important for crossing the Cape of Storms (Cape Town, South Africa), where the usually stormy winds would sink the boats and destroy the crews. This achievement was accomplished by Bartolomeu Dias in a Caravel and therefore later fostered the production of this type of boat with triangular sails. It reminds us of Mary, our flag, in her missionary impetuosity to take Jesus regardless of the strength of the adverse winds!

The 𝐝𝐨𝐨𝐫 of the shrine, a symbol that in Portugal became the ideal of the JM and later of the entire Family. We want to be the Door of Europe! Just as the Christian expansion left Europe, through Portuguese ports, to meet the new world. So we also believe that the re-Christianization of Europe goes through Portugal and the welcoming of the Portuguese people. We want to be a door of exit and entrance of God's graces! It is the symbol in Portugal of the counter-current of the 31st of May and of the Schoenstatt mission to the world!

Como alcançar Indulgência Plenária no Dia Mundial dos Idosos

How to receive the Plenary Indulgence on the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

This Sunday, July 23, you have a special opportunity to renew yourself spiritually. According to a decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary, it is possible to receive a Plenary Indulgence on the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly.

What is a Plenary Indulgence?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1471) defines:

"An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints".

According to the CCC, "the indulgence is partial or plenary according to whether it frees from the temporal punishment due for sins in part or in full".

In short, it can be said that by receiving a plenary indulgence, a person is totally exempt from the temporal penalties of their sins. These are the penalties they would pay in purgatory.

And, as the Church indicates, "the faithful can gain indulgences for themselves [...] or apply them to the deceased".

The World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly

This commemoration became part of the Church's calendar in 2021, instituted by Pope Francis. It is celebrated every year on the fourth Sunday of July. In 2023, its motto is "His mercy from generation to generation".

How to receive the plenary indulgence on Grandparents' Day

According to the official decree, the Apostolic Penitentiary “grants the plenary indulgence of the heavenly treasures of the Church, under the usual conditions of sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the intentions of the Holy Father, to grandparents, the elderly and all the faithful who, moved by a true spirit of penance and charity, participate on July 23, on the occasion of the III World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, in the solemn celebration that Pope Francis will preside over in St. Peter's Basilica, or in various events that will be celebrated throughout the world. The plenary indulgence may also be applied as suffrage for the souls in purgatory."

In summary, to obtain the indulgence it is necessary to complete the following:

1) Sacramental confession

2) Eucharistic Communion

3) Prayer for the Pope

4) Fulfill one of the following conditions:

a) to participate, on July 23, in the solemn celebration that Pope Francis will preside in St. Peter's Basilica; or
b) participate in one of the celebrations that will take place throughout the world; or
c) visit in person or virtually through the means of communication, elderly brothers and sisters in need or in difficulty (such as the sick, the abandoned, the disabled...).

How can the elderly receive the indulgence?

The bedridden or disabled elderly will also receive the indulgence by following these indications:

They will be able to obtain the Plenary Indulgence "on condition that they detach themselves from all sin and have the intention of fulfilling the three usual conditions as soon as possible. These people will have to spiritually unite with the celebrations of this World Youth Day offering to the Merciful God their prayers, their sorrows and the sufferings of their lives, especially while the words of the Holy Father and the various celebrations are being broadcast by the media."

And so that divine grace may be distributed to the various people, the Apostolic Penitentiary asks priests to be prepared to minister to the faithful.

Information from

Tres schoenstattianos llamados al Sínodo

Three Schoenstatters called to the Synod: Let us pray for them!

The Vatican last week presented the list of names that will make up the next General Assembly of the Synod, to be held in Rome during October 2023. Among the more than 360 summoned there are three members of the Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement.

As a Family, we are invited to pray and ask the Holy Spirit for each of them and for this very important moment in the life of the Church. They are:

Msgr. Ramon Alfredo de la Cruz Baldera, from the Dominican Republic

Bishop Ramón Alfredo de la Cruz Baldera is a member of the Institute of Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests. He is bishop of the Diocese of San Francisco de Macoris in the Dominican Republic.

In a letter to the priests of the diocese, he writes: "The mission of building the kingdom of God invites us to a continuous renewal of the Church. Today this has a name: the Church of synodality. Synodality presents us with many challenges, challenges that at times we do not know if we will be able to face, but on the other hand we are confident that the Lord has given Peter's boat a good navigator who, together with many bishops, priests, religious and laity, will bring it safely to port."

Msgr. Nicolas Nadji Bab, Bishop of Chad

Msgr. Nicolas Nadji Bab was in Schoenstatt in 2019 for the centenary celebration of Hoerde

Another of the bishops summoned is Bishop Nicolas Nadji Bab, who belongs to the Schoenstatt Federation of Diocesan Priests. He is responsible for the diocese of Laï, in the African country of Chad.

Nicolas Bab got to know the Schoenstatt Movement through the Swiss Father Alois Baumberger, who worked for many years in the diocese of Pala, in southern Chad.

His course brothers are priests of the dioceses of Pala, Moundou, Sarh and Laï. They were present in Schoenstatt in 2019 for the centenary celebration of the Hoerde journey.

Pedro Paulo Weizenmann, from Brazil

Pedro Paulo with his parents in Schoenstatt

Among the lay people who will participate in the Assembly is young Pedro Paulo Weizenmann. He will work in the Secretariat of the Synod, as a volunteer, where he has been collaborating for some time. Pedro Paulo was part of the Schoenstatt Boys' Youth at the Shrine of Vila Mariana, São Paulo, Brazil, for many years. With a family that has been part of the Schoenstatt Movement for many years, he actively participates in the Movements's missionary works, forums, and groups in his diocese.

Pedro Paulo took the first image of the Pilgrim MTA to Harvard University, in the United States, where he studied. He also took the MTA on his internship at the UN in 2019.

Let us pray for all participants in the Synod

In total, 363 voting members will participate in the Assembly. There are 85 women, 54 of whom have voting rights. Let us accompany them all with prayers and offerings to the Capital of Grace, that this may be a Pentecostal periof in the life of the universal Church.

El apostolado de los Padres de Schoenstatt en el Santuario Nacional de Chile

The Apostolate of the Schoenstatt Fathers in the National Shrine of Chile

In Chile, July 16 is a holiday. This is because it is the date dedicated to the patroness of the nation, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Chilean Church celebrates its mother and patroness, and behind the scenes of all the festivities we find a Schoenstatt community: the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Fathers.

Since 1966, 57 years ago, the Institute has been responsible for the pastoral life of the National Shrine of Maipú. It is a handpicked location, "the land where the history of Chile was founded with a fraternal embrace" (Pope Francis¹).

More than a Shrine, a historical site for the nation

"We have the central altar, which is a very large part and where the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is. We can go up and be very close to her," says Father Marcelo.

Maipú is a municipality located in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago. It was there where the independence of Chile was gained in 1818. The Shrine emerges as a pledge of gratitude from those who fought and obtained freedom for the country.

Ignacio Torrealba writes in the magazine Vinculo (No. 187, December 2004):

"The history of the National Shrine of Maipú, filled with important incidents, and with a spiritual and patrimonial richness that runs through all our republican life, is perhaps one of the most important references to discover our identity. Besides that, the idea of creating a vital center for Marian evangelization in Chile is closely linked to the history of Schoenstatt in our country.

The temple was born from a solemn pledge by the Liberation Army to build a temple to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the place where the decisive battle for our independence was fought. A vow that was sealed with the historical embrace of April 5th in Maipú, forever linking this place to the history of God with our people".

Fr. Aravena: "We, as priests, are at the service of the people who come in search of God. It is a very beautiful and impressive basilica, with light effects, shadows, lines, structures, very interesting".

For us it is very natural to speak of Mary

Father Marcelo Aravena Gutiérrez, current rector of the National Shrine, states: "In the Shrine we have daily masses, confessions every day, a lot of conversation and spiritual accompaniment. People come here looking for this encounter with God, and the Schoenstatt Fathers are always there to welcome, chat, guide and encourage the pilgrims who sometimes arrive very tired, troubled, sad, or discouraged. Or they also come to give thanks and express gratitude".

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Patroness of Chile

Father Marcelo was recently appointed as rector of the Shrine by the Cardinal Archbishop of Santiago, Monsignor Celestino Aós Braco, and has already assumed his post. He says that he receives this responsibility with humility and great joy: "We Schoenstatt Fathers are aware that Mary, as the first disciple of the Lord, is the evangelizer of the people par excellence. She is the bearer of Christ for us, but she also leads us to Him - Mary is the safe, quick, and very vital way. That is why we think that in a Marian Shrine like this one, with all its national symbolism, it is of great benefit for the whole Catholic Church to turn to Mary. For us, Marian priests, it is very natural to speak of Mary, to present Mary as the way that leads us to the Lord."

Take on the project, but make sure it's a national and popular Shrine

Inside the basilica there are side altars dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacred Heart, and saints of the Chilean Church, such as Father Alberto Hurtado, Saint Teresa of the Andes, Blessed Laura Vicuña and others.

In the 1960s, "the Cardinal of Santiago, Bishop Raúl Silva Henríquez, asked the Schoenstatt Fathers to assume the responsibility of pastoral work, with the awareness that the Shrine should be the national symbol of the faith of the Chilean Catholic people and promote peace and unity in the country," Father Marcelo points out.

Father Joaquín Alliende, the first rector of Maipú, took these concerns to Father Joseph Kentenich, who advised: "Assume the project, but make sure that it is 'a national and popular Shrine'". Since then, the Institute has been responsible for the devotional temple, which received a visit from Pope Francis in 2018.

Asked how to reconcile two different charisms, Schoenstatt and the Carmel, Father Marcelo explains that this happens organically. "To the extent that we bring our people to the heart of Mary, she brings us to the heart of her son. And to the extent that we learn to look at the Lord with Mary's eyes, we are enabling that vital encounter with Our Lord. And this happens naturally and easily."

[1] Address of  the Holy Father Pope Francis, National Shrine of Maipú, Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Logomarca do Festival MTA

On the Road to WYD: One Way to Make a Contribution

Much expectation, anxiety and many projects have been part of the day-to-day routine of the Schoenstatt Family of Portugal during these last months. All of it in preparation to offer the best to the thousands of young people who will participate in the World Youth Day (WYD) with Pope Francis.

In addition to the spiritual preparation, the Movement is looking for financial resources to cover the different activities that will take place in Lisbon on July 31.

What activities will take place?

On that date the MTA Festival will be held, which is an international meeting of the Schoenstatt Youth - Girls' Youth and Boys' Youth. The event will take place in the Lisbon Shrine and the program will include a Mass, a procession with the MTA image and a celebration full of surprises at the Shrine square.

Furthermore, between August 1st and 4th, many young WYD pilgrims from different countries are expected at the Shrine. More than 3,000 people are estimated to be visiting the Shrine.

MTA Festival Spirituality Team

"We want to provide a place prepared to make Schoenstatt's spirituality and our history known by offering a space where everyone can experience the three graces of the Shrine. Because of the proximity to Bethlehem, where the WYD Park of Forgiveness will be located, we expect to have many visitors," explains the organizing team.

*The "Park of Forgiveness" is the place where pilgrims will be able to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation in one of the 150 confessionals that will be available.*

How to contribute?

Festival logistics team

Der Leiter der Schönstattbewegung in Portugal, Pater Lorenzo Lütjens, bittet im Namen der Schönstattfamilie um einen finanziellen Beitrag von 12 Euro.

The director of the Schoenstatt Movement in Portugal, Father Lorenzo Lütjens, is making a request on behalf of the Schoenstatt Family: a financial contribution of 12 Euros.

The donation will be used to cover the expenses of the festival and the reception area during the week of WYD, such as:

  • Equipment rental (stage and sound)
  • Rest areas
  • Toilets
  • Decoration
  • Other materials

To help, visit the Schoenstatt in Portugal web page and get more details: