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Apostolic Movement

Schoenstatt present at the International Meeting of Rectors of Shrines

By: Fr. Ignacio Camacho

Between November 9 and 11, the Second Meeting of Rectors and Collaborators of Shrines was held in the Vatican, convened by the Dicastery for Evangelization.

It is worth mentioning that as a result of the changes that have been made in the structure of the Church, this dicastery gained great importance. So much so, that its prefect is directly the Pope.
The first meeting of Rectors had been held in November 2018. And this second meeting was postponed due to the pandemic.

Present as representatives of Schoenstatt were Father Marcelo Cervi, rector of the Matri Ecclesiae Shrine in Belmonte, and Father Ignacio Camacho, rector of the Original Shrine in Schoenstatt. Mario and Liliana Gentile, a lay couple from the Belmonte Shrine Council, also participated.

Prayer and the Jubilee of 2025 in focus

The Meeting is right on the way to the Jubilee of 2025 and was titled: The Shrine, House of Prayer. Therefore, the vast majority of the talks were related to this topic.

The main topics worked on were: Intercessory Prayer, The Welcome and Farewell of Pilgrims, the Sinner’s Prayer, How to Pray with Music and Singing, Prayer in Art, Popular Prayer and Prayer in International Shrines. In addition to a presentation by the pro-prefect of the Section for Fundamental Issues of Evangelization in the World, Bishop Rino Fisichella presented on “The Shrine towards the Jubilee of Hope”.

Mario and Liliana Gentile, Fr. Marcelo Cervi and Fr. Ignacio Camacho.

Representatives of Shrines from all continents

We were between 800 and 900 participants, the vast majority from Italy and the rest of Europe. But representatives of Shrines from all continents were also present. Large and well-known shrines and small shrines. Shrines more than 10 centuries old and Shrines with less than two years of existence.

It was an enriching experience in its content and in experiencing a living and diverse Church, where faith is expressed in infinite ways. Where our Shrines are also called to contribute with their richness.

“The meeting was worth it. It was an experience of prayer, study and internationality. We saw the strength of shrines today and their capacity to be places of encounter with God, of evangelization,” said Father Marcelo Cervi.

High point: the audience with Pope Francis

Without a doubt, a high point of this meeting was the audience with Pope Francis. The Pope asked us that pilgrims can especially experience that they are consoled when they visit a Shrine. Experience the closeness, compassion and mercy of God. That experience involves Mary’s motherhood!

The Holy Father also mentioned the importance that in the Shrines all those who seek God’s mercy can receive forgiveness and deeply experience that they are forgiven.

When he spoke of the Shrine as a place of prayer (the next year of preparation for the Jubilee is dedicated to prayer) he focused on the recitation of the Rosary and especially on adoration, emphasizing the importance of the personal and deep encounter with the Lord.

The Pope told us that we go to the Shrine to look at the future with hope. May the pilgrim, upon coming home, return with the experience of having been heard and welcomed, with a concrete sign of hope.

He ended by saying: “I accompany you with my blessing and I ask you to remember to pray for me from your Shrines.”


*Original text in Spanish, translation: Raul Rivera


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