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Apostolic Movement

As of today, March 5, 2023, the current rector of the Original Schoenstatt Shrine will leave his position after four years of mission. Father Pablo Javier Pol is Argentinean, belongs to the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Fathers and since 2019 has been responsible for the administrative and pastoral life of the Original Shrine as rector.

Original Shrine
P. Pablo Pol

Throughout these last years, Father Pablo Pol has lived many experiences in and around the Shrine. At the conclusion of his assignment, he tells us what his experience has been like and what he takes with him especially after this time of mission.

What was it like for you to be rector of our International Center, which is the heart of the Movement?

My experience was excellent. To be next to the Original Shrine and to see what is happening around it is always very powerful, very beautiful. The most impressive thing, above all, is to see how the Shrine impacts people’s lives. For example, the excitement of those who arrive for the first time, from far away, from other countries, who have always heard about [the Shrine]; the manner in which they arrive is very touching, the Shrine really causes a strong impression. So, to be able to see what the Original Shrine means in a concrete way in the lives of so many people was the most important thing for me. It has made a deep impression on me.

Is there any experience over the years that has touched you the most? Which one and why?

A great moment that happened about three and a half years ago -I remember it with special dedication and affection- was when we were able to include the Shrine in a network of Shrines that the Pope chose for praying the Rosary all over the world. We were included along with other large centers. I believe that this gave the Original Shrine a dimension that perhaps was not so present before, that it is a Shrine open to all, an international Shrine.

It was a beautiful experience, when we saw the Pope pray and we prayed together here [from Schoenstatt], and our MTA appeared in the footage on Vatican television.

And another very nice thing in this work was the contact with the people who are around the Shrine, the sacristy team, the team of the international Sisters [of Mary] who are working around the Shrine, to whom I am very grateful.

You were in charge of the Original Shrine during the most critical period of the pandemic. What was that period like? What did this period mean for your mission?

I think the period of the pandemic was, without a doubt, the most important of these years. And since God brings good things out of everything that happens, I believe that the Original Shrine has become even more present in the home of Schoenstatters all over the world. A great achievement is that it is now quickly accessible at people’s homes, with the Mass broadcast on the internet every day in different languages. In the past – I think – people had to come here, now the Shrine has gone to the people. And this is really wonderful. The feedback we have received has always been great, it was really a beautiful experience. It was a great achievement and I think it was very providential how the Blessed Mother reached everyone from the Original Shrine.

After leaving this task, what is the most special thing about your life and your mission?

This experience, which I carried out with great pleasure, made me grow in my love for the Shrine, it made me grow, above all, in understanding the importance and the vital centrality of the Shrine for us, and I continue to grow in this experience. And in this sense, I think there is still a lot of work to do. I believe that Father Ignacio [Camacho], as the new rector, may be able to develop things that I have not been able to do. The Shrine continues to grow and continues to be a vital center, a source of life for the Schoenstatt Family throughout the world and – this is how we want it to be – also for the Church. These years have taught me that the Shrine belongs to the Blessed Mother and that she really carries us forward, far beyond our limits, in spite of and with our limitations. That is why I think it has been a wonderful experience.

Rector Original Shrine
Fr. Ignacio Camacho

*Fr. Ignacio Camacho, from Chile, will be the new Rector as of today, March 5, 2023. Father Alexandre Awi Mello will preside the inauguration Mass at 4:00 pm (German time), which will be transmitted by the webcam of the Original Shrine.

LIVE! Webcam of the original shrine

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