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Schoenstatt
Apostolic Movement

MTA Festival: Sending forth of the Schoenstatt Family to WYD

By: Karen Bueno

Great encounters await the Schoenstatt Youth as part of WYD, World Youth Day, in Portugal. Boys and girls will have their international branch meetings: Girls’ Youth and Boys’ Youth, and they will also go on pilgrimage to Fatima. The last big international event of the Movement will be the MTA Festival, on July 31st, which will be held in Lisbon as a sending forth to WYD.

Several people are involved in the organization of this event. Mrs. Carolina Sottomayor, from the Institute of Our Lady of Schoenstatt and advisor of the Girls’ Youth, Margarida Alvadia, representative of the Girls’ Youth, Bernardo Rocha e Melo, seminarian and advisor of the Boys’ Youth and Bernardo Carpinteiro, representative of the Boys’ Youth, are members of the central commission.

What will the MTA Festival be within the scope of WYD?

The commission explains that the MTA Festival is an international encounter with all the Schoenstatt Youth who have come to Lisbon to experience with great enthusiasm WYD 2023. But many others will participate besides them.

“The MTA Festival welcomes, besides the youth from all over the world, the entire Portuguese Schoenstatt Family. After the youth meetings, we want the Festival to be a family experience, a time of sharing and camaraderie. We want to celebrate the Covenant of Love, to know the history of Schoenstatt in Portugal through the three great graces of the Shrine – sheltering, inner transformation, and apostolic zeal – and to follow the example of the Blessed Mother by going together in haste to WYD23”, said the members of the commission.

It will be a place of encounter, sharing and prayer

The central commission’s desire is to create a space of spirituality and enthusiasm, so that the Schoenstatt Youth will become captivated at WYD.

“With the MTA Festival we want to offer the youth and the Schoenstatt Family a space for encounter, sharing and prayer. Through examples that are near and dear to the Shrine of Lisbon, we seek to transmit these testimonies so that they may inspire the youth to fully and joyfully embrace the mission to which we are called: to be apostles of Christ for a New World, following the example of the Blessed Mother, and to inspire the generations that live the Catholic faith as a mission,” they tell us.

What will be the main activities of the Festival?

The MTA Festival will have three distinct moments:

1) A Procession: the Blessed Mother goes out from the Shrine to call new allies. With Her, they will walk side by side through the streets of the city to the site where the Mass will take place.

2) Celebration of the Eucharist: In this Mass, with the sea as a background, the sending forth to WYD will take place, as the Portuguese navigators were sent to conquer the New World. “Marked by the spirit of Pentecost, we want to ignite the hearts of the youth with the fire and the missionary spirit of the MTA to conquer the whole world with Her”, declare the members of the central commission. The celebration will be presided by Father Alexandre Awi, President of the General Presidium of the Schoenstatt Movement.

3) Entertainment: A sound and light program telling the story of so many who, with the strength of the Covenant, gave themselves to God hand in hand with the MTA.

A milestone that will remain forever in the history of the Church in Portugal

Margarida Alvadia affirms that the preparation of the Festival has been a challenging mission, but a source of considerable learning. They rely on the enthusiastic help of a fantastic team. There are more than 40 Portuguese youth in the organization, several volunteers from Latin America and several couples from the Movement.

The preparation was marked by several prayer experiences while gathered together in the Shrine, emphasizing the moment when everyone wrote their names on the “heart of the Blessed Mother” and placed them behind her image.

“It has been a very beautiful road to travel, with many joys and challenges, but above all it has been a road of discovery and self-formation, always accompanied by the Blessed Mother. We are very excited to host World Youth Day in our country, a milestone that will remain forever in the history of the Church in Portugal. It will undoubtedly be a moment of great joy and an opportunity to take Schoenstatt to the youth of the whole world,” commented Margarida.

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