Brazil lives a year dedicated to João Luiz Pozzobon
God uses small instruments to accomplish great works
You, without a doubt, know the image above. Nowadays, she has taken a break from her pilgrimages; but, on other ordinary days, it is possible to find her in several places of the world: she visits the bakery on the corner and the big industries, she is in prisons and hospitals, she is next to the bed of Pope Francis and has passed through the hands of other world leaders, she has already climbed to the top of Mount Everest, she has passed through the wall of China, and recently arrived at Indonesia... The Pilgrim Mother does not stop!
In 1950, on September 10th, the first Pilgrim MTA image was sent out from the Shrine. It all began in southern Brazil, in the city of Santa Maria, and gained worldwide repercussion thanks to the missionary heart of the Servant of God, João Luiz Pozzobon.
With gratitude, under the light of this jubilee, Brazil is currently living the “João Pozzobon Year”. It’s a nationwide initiative of the Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement. From north to south, everyone is united under the motto: “I understood the mission and because of it, I gave myself completely,” a phrase from the spiritual testament of John Pozzobon. Many initiatives have arisen to celebrate this year, such as songs, symbols, and study groups. Currently, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Movement is adapting to make the best of this year of grace.
Model of sanctity
The National Director of the Movement in Brazil, Fr. Vandemir J. Meister, says that “God wants to give us, for this year, the image of a man who lived in his time a daily sanctity that is proposed as an example for the whole Church”. And he adds: “This year is the jubilee of a divine initiative in which João Luiz Pozzobon is at the center, without being the center. It is an historical time that proves the fecundity of this ministry, where Jesus and Mary are at the center.
Currently, the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign reaches all continents. About 200,000 Pilgrim images are on pilgrimage in more than 100 countries. In Brazil alone, 16 million Brazilians receive the visit of the Pilgrim Mother every month, this number includes many who are not Catholic and represents 13.6% of the Catholics in this homeland.
For Sister M. Rosequiel Fávero, advisor of the Campaign in the South and Northeast regions of the country, “the Schoenstatt Family in Brazil and in the world, can no longer imagine themselves without the Pilgrim Mother and without João Luiz Pozzobon. He is the subject of congresses, symposiums, and retreats; he is studied by lay theologians and priests; and, if God permits, he will soon be the first Brazilian Schoenstatt member to be raised to the honor of the altars”.
In times of pandemic
The isolation did not prevent several aspirations linked to the “Pozzobon Year” from happening. The Secretariat of Santa Maria has prepared a series of videos with educational materials for the families and groups of the Campaign. In some cities, missionaries and families collect food and cleaning materials, recalling the social work of Deacon João.
“In this João Pozzobon Year , we ask that his zeal and faith in the mission also inspire and impel us to continue to be firm in the evangelization of our Brazilian families. May we, like João Pozzobon, embrace the cause of the Campaign and give everything, just as he did”, says Sr. Ana Maria Lima, adviser for the North, Southeast and Paraná regions.
Text: Karen Bueno
Pictures: Poliane Bôsco / Karen Bueno