Search
Close this search box.

Schoenstatt
Apostolic Movement

Paraguay: Fire of my homeland, your mission in my heart. 25 years of the Schoenstatt Family Missions apostolate.

By: Arturo Zarratea and Father Cristian Rodríguez.

It has been 25 years since the first group of Schoenstatt couples from Paraguay went out “into the world” with the objective of taking the Blessed Mother Thrice Admirable to the farthest corners of their country, and that is how the Schoenstatt Family Missions were born. Since then, families accompanied by the Girls’ Youth along with the Boys’ Youth lived an experience that they will never forget: going out on mission as a family.

It would be impossible for us today to count the number of kilometers traveled on foot to reach the homes, as only God would know the number of prayers that were offered during all these years with the residents of the areas where the missionaries arrived with a smile carrying the Blessed Mother, our “Tupasy” as she is known in the Guarani language.

Fire of my Homeland, your mission in my heart

Although the coronavirus pandemic interrupted this mission, 2022 became the year of renewal, that restart which is so necessary sometimes in our everyday life in order to carry on with greater strength. With the motto “Fire of my Nation, your mission in my heart” some 1,200 missionaries, including families and younger members up to 25 years of age, covered the streets of 10 towns in the region of Paraguarí and its remote communities full of Schoenstatt spirit and the Pilgrim MTA.

The popular faith of the Paraguayans is extraordinary

Paraguay

This is how the Blessed Mother reached small towns and remote villages of Acahay, Bernardino Caballero, Pirayu, La Colmena, Tebicuarymi, San Roque González, Paraguarí, Ybycuí, Quiindy and Ybytumí.  The average number of missionaries in each one of these towns was 110 individuals, which implied an extraordinary effort by those responsible for logistics, spirituality, meeting with the youth, meeting with couples, the “huge birthday party” with all the local children, who in turn filled the dusty roads with color and joy.

After a two-year interruption, these were the first missions for many of the participants. They tell us that their emotions were overwhelming. The extraordinary faith shared by the humblest Paraguayans is truly an example that could be witnessed by those who dared to live the Gospel as families committed to the Church and the country.

Paraguay

The following is a letter of gratitude written by Father Cristián Rodríguez, adviser of the Schoenstatt Family Missions in Paraguay

There are things that cannot be expressed in words, but which are perceived deep inside one’s inner self. There are things that cannot be explained at first sight. One of them is God’s action in the lives of those who experienced going on mission.

In 1997 a group of couples and young people full of enthusiasm decided to step out of their comfort zone to take Jesus and Mary to all the corners of our country. The multiplying effect of this initiative is hard to measure. Today, 25 years later, we want to thank God and the Blessed Mother for their loyalty; we want to thank each couple, each young person, each child who was the protagonist of this story.

Each anniversary encourages us to look back and joyfully discover the road we have traveled.  I invite you to continue looking deeper into our history, to be surprised by the actions of God and the Blessed Mother. I invite you to slow down, to contemplate what we have lived so as not to get lost in the details but rather focus on what is important.

Let us continue to proclaim the Gospel, never by ourselves, God sends us together to reap what He has already sown in hearts (Lk 10:1.12).

We were able to reach many towns and villages thanks to our joint efforts, to our sacrifice, to our commitment to unity. Today, 25 years later, we are called to continue to proclaim the Gospel; to be recognized for our love “By this they will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:15). Today we are grateful for the sacrifices that made us grow as a missionary family.

These 25 years have been an opportunity to say: Thank you! Thank you for creating family in every town, thank you for offering family as a gift, thank you for putting aside your own interests to focus on others, making our missions something so unique, that they generate the necessary conditions for the Gospel to penetrate our hearts.

How many wayside shrines have been left along the way these past years. Contemplating them fills us with an inner joy that is born of the spirit and helps us to proclaim that every sacrifice was worthwhile. So many wayside shrines where those who see them on a daily basis receive Mary’s warm smile, who offers them protection and hope from her shrine. How many people have felt listened to during these 25 years by visitors who only came to share their time bringing a small image that, when you look at it, touches the deepest part of your heart without even realizing it.

How many pains, losses, sufferings, were endured by those missionaries who put aside their personal interests to place themselves at the service of people they did not know, but who needed God. How many joys, hopes, consolations and testimonies were enhanced throughout these 25 years of mission.

Thanks to so many couples who, with their example as a family, encouraged young people to dream and build a better home than the one they were given. Thanks to so many young people who unknowingly were the hope for couples who were in need of their dreams, their dedication and their ideals.

In our jubilee year we want to thank God, we want to thank each person who in one way or another made it possible for us to celebrate our 25th anniversary today. We want to thank each advisor who has been guiding this journey, each council that participated in the missions, each leader, each priest, each sister.

Thank you for making it possible for God to reach many homes and towns. Thank you for taking Schoenstatt to different parts of the country.

Share

with your loved ones

Related articles that may interest you