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Schoenstatt
Apostolic Movement

Paraguay Shrine – a history of the Blessed Mother with the Guarani people

By: Arturo Zarratea

A wonderful story of love between the Blessed Virgin and her Paraguayan people marks the 40th anniversary of the National Schoenstatt Shrine in Paraguay.

“Tupãrenda” in the Guarani language means “God’s dwelling”.

Miracles exist in Schoenstatt, and we call them miracles of transformation. The sites of our Original Shrine and those of the daughter shrines are conquered by Schoenstatt’s family, by means of the capital of grace, the voluntary surrender of small sacrifices and the joys that stone by stone built them.
We do not believe in coincidences. Just as our Original Shrine was in the Schoenstatt Valley, which means “beautiful place”, the first shrine conquered in Paraguay exactly 40 years ago was built in a place that, before being acquired and conquered, already bore the name of “Tupãrenda”, which in the Guarani language means “God’s dwelling”. Was there a more appropriate name?

We can picture the Paraguayan pioneers together with the three priests who returned to re-found the movement, Father Antonio Cosp, the then Father Claudio Giménez – today Bishop Emeritus of Caacupé – and Father Nicolás Schwizer. We imagine those first families, conquered by the Blessed Mother’s love, visiting sites, praying, burying little medals looking for Her to be the one to decide the place of her future shrine, a shrine that did not yet exist in the country.

Foto: Schoenstatt Paraguay

An incredible landscape…

These pioneers arrived in the area of Itauguá, about 34 kilometers from Asunción, and were surprised by the landscape of the place, its hills, its stream with crystalline waters and the peace it transmitted. We imagine that upon hearing the name of the property, more than one of them must have said “this must be the place”.
In 1981 the first daughter shrine was built in Paraguay; the National Shrine of Tupãrenda stood magnificently for those who had dreamt so often of asking the Blessed Mother to establish herself in Guarani lands. The national motto of the movement in Paraguay also has a certain relationship with this place: “God’s country, heart of America”.

For those who do not have the grace of knowing Tuparenda, we can only tell them that this small piece of Schoenstatt abroad, where the Blessed Mother was established 40 years ago, is extremely special for Paraguay: it was the first Shrine, it is the place of pilgrimage for thousands of people on October 18th, and it is the precise place where many of the Paraguayan Schoenstatt members carried out the most intense exchange of hearts that exists, the Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother, and this makes it unforgettable.

Foto: Schoenstatt Paraguay

A day of much prayer and full of life

On Monday, October 18th, Masses were celebrated at different times, as scheduled and in Covid mode. The intention of the morning mass was for Health, presided by Father Oscar Saldívar, rector of the National Shrine of Tupãrenda. Later in the afternoon there was a celebration for the Youth, presided by Fathers Antonio Cosp, Pedro Kühlcke and Cristián Rodríguez. Finally, in the evening we were able to attend the Mass for the Family, presided by Father Martín Gómez Asensio and Father Oscar Saldívar.

Although this year the attendance to the celebration could not be massive, due to the pandemic, the whole Family of Paraguay was represented in the masses. At the end of the Masses, the enthusiastic attendees went on pilgrimage from the Holy Mary of the Trinity Church to the Shrine of Tupãrenda where the capital of grace that had been deposited during the entire novena was burned. Many spiritual offerings were offered to Mary and Jesus, so that Schoenstatt in Paraguay can fulfill its mission for the Church and society.

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