This Monday, January 9, we had a beautiful moment of prayer in the Shrine and a fraternal lunch with twenty Schoenstatt diocesan priests and friends of Schoenstatt in Guayaquil.

20 priests

It was very family-like. Four Sisters, five Schoenstatt Fathers and ten couples from the Family Movement accompanied them. These are their “godparents”: they pray for our priests and accompany them during the year. They visit them in their parishes and towns, bringing them the warmth of the Schoenstatt Family to which they belong. They believe it is important to personally hold the hand of each priest, going even to the most distant and challenging areas. This Christmas, for example, we gave them a basket and a scarf, in addition to a letter inviting them to attend this luncheon.

20 priests

Adoration in the Shrine

The priests arrived early to worship in the Shrine, which was very beautiful. After the community prayer led by Father Pablo Gajardo, superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers in Ecuador, we served the typical New Year’s dish of this city in our Retreat House: turkey with stuffing. More importantly, we enjoyed sharing.  We were able to listen to each other, which is sometimes a luxury when we have very different missions.

20 sacerdotes diocesanos

Fraternity manifested itself and was abundantly felt. The lay sponsors prepared the meeting, taking great care in creating a beautiful atmosphere. Before the initial toast, Sister Maria Auxiliadora emphasized that the meeting concretely reflects the impulse of Pope Francis in Totum Amoris est: the great value of our fraternity. And she offered to pass on to the priests the international outline that the Pentecost Congress gave to all Schoenstatters.

The Sisters prepared a simple gift for each one, with a pen that said “Father for my own“. Father José Luis Correa sent greetings from Costa Rica. And Cristian Castelblanco, a member of the Family League, stood out with a humorous presentation, allowing each diocesan priest to briefly tell where he lives and what he prays for.

The priests highlighted as main intentions the need for more priestly vocations, the welfare of young and older priests, and the conversion of violent people so that there may be peace. This was especially requested by those who are serving in rough neighborhoods, such as Socio Vivienda, Guasmo, Bastión Popular, Mapasingue. Many face drug problems and poverty among their people. Among our diocesan priests is the rector of the seminary and several seminary educators, the rector of the Jesus of Mercy Shrine and many parish priests from the most varied areas.

It was an encounter of great joy, after a pandemic that prevented us from getting together

It was an encounter of great joy, after a pandemic that prevented us from getting together. Monsignor Luis Gerardo Cabrera, Archbishop of Guayaquil and president of our Episcopal Conference, sent a message that was delivered a minute before the conclusion of the event and the priests were very happy to hear it.

A special greeting to the Schoenstatt community and to each one of the priests who support and who benefit from this spirituality. May the Lord continue to bless them abundantly and may they, along with the Blessed Mother, continue to announce the Good News of life and salvation!

In a time that is eager and lacking in vocations, what a joy it was to meet at a family lunch, 30 consecrated men and women and several families. May Jesus continue to persistently call new Peters, Pauls, Marys, to consecrate themselves to His Kingdom.