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Schoenstatt
Apostolic Movement

Fr. Ignacio Camacho, new rector of the Original Shrine

By: Karen Bueno / Brazil

The Schoenstatt Family and the pilgrims welcome a new rector of the Original Shrine. Father Ignacio Camacho, a Chilean from the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Fathers, was appointed to this task by the Bishop of the Diocese of Trier, Monsignor Stephan Ackermann. He will be responsible for the pastoral and administrative life of Schoenstatt’s international center, its Original Shrine, for the next three years.

On Sunday, March 5, Father Alexandre Awi Mello presided at Holy Mass and handed over the key to the Original Shrine to the new rector. In his homily, Fr. Alexandre emphasized that “Schoenstatt is not a Movement that has a Shrine, but rather a Shrine (a network of Shrines) around which a Movement has developed. The first step is the Shrine, then comes the Movement”.

Returning to the origin and mission of this central place for the Work, in light of the gospel of Tabor, Fr. Alexandre also mentions: “The Rector of the Original Shrine (and all those who collaborate with him) have the same mission as the Shrine: to be Tabor for the entire world”.

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new rector
P. Alexandre Awi Mello reads the nomination signed by Archbishop Ackermann

Father Ignacio was born in Chile in 1972 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2004. In his priestly ministry he worked with the Schoenstatt Movement, especially with youth and families, mainly in Chile and Mexico. Between 2012 and 2019 he lived in Schoenstatt, serving as general treasurer for his community of priests. A few months ago, he returned to Schoenstatt as a member of the General Direction of the Schoenstatt Fathers.

Below we share an interview with the new rector, talking about his hopes, dreams, and projects for the coming years.

Father Ignacio, what is the task of the Rector of the Original Shrine?

I think it is the task of being able to serve the life that surrounds the Shrine. We say that without the life of the Covenant the Shrine does not work, so we must be concerned about welcoming and promoting the life of all those who come here: those who visit regularly, and also those who come as pilgrims. In recent times an immense horizon has opened up, which consists of live transmissions – I believe that to be able to develop all this is the main task.

In addition, his duties also include paying attention to the practical aspects, so that everything is working: organizing the Masses, looking for those who can preside at them, thinking about what the Shrine can offer to all those who are connected to it.

Another aspect is to coordinate with all the teams that are here in Schoenstatt, such as the Pilgrims’ Center, the Schoenstatt Family from Germany and so many other things that revolve around the Shrine.

In your vision, what are the main challenges of the Original Shrine in these times?

Considering that we are living in a post-pandemic period, we notice that the comeback is somewhat slow. This is certainly experienced in many pilgrimage centers. So, I think this is a challenge, bringing the flow of pilgrimages to the Shrine back to normal. And another important task is to invite everyone to come physically to the Shrine from different parts of the world.

new rector
P. Ignacio Camacho new rector of the original shrine

How was it for you to receive this appointment, what is your feeling?

This is yet another of the surprises that God and the Blessed Mother have sent me recently. At first, I did not see myself there [in this task], then I saw, after praying about it, that it was for the best. I embrace it with joy, but also with fear and trepidation, so to speak, because the Shrine is a place full of life, but it is also a special place where many groups gather, which need to be coordinated properly, also hoping to find the best way for all of us to work together for the life of the Shrine.

What is your greatest desire for the Shrine in the coming years?

That it becomes increasingly – although it already is by definition – the center of the Schoenstatt Family’s life. That we can find the best way to serve the pilgrims. That the Shrine be open physically and from a distance to everyone. That we continue to look for ways to make everything that happens in the Shrine reach people everywhere. In 2023 it will be ten years since the Original Shrine was handed over to the Movement; it is a gift that we cannot keep just for ourselves, for those who come here, for the members of the communities, for the Schoenstatt Family…. It is a gift that needs to continue being given. And in this sense, my great desire is that we can continue to grow along with the Shrine’s life, that it can be open to everyone and that everyone can visit it.

new rector
Fr. Alexandre Awi Mello, Fr. Pablo Pol and Fr. Ignacio Camacho at the Original Shrine

 

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