Doing missionary work in times of pandemic: the MTA is still present
Testimonials from university students in Mendoza, Argentina with their mission VIA
April 25 2021
Many pastoral activities have suffered great changes due to the pandemic, but the MTA continues visiting her children doing so with the same intensity as always.
VIA IESUM is a Schoenstatt mission in universities that takes place during the Holy Week in Mendoza, Argentina. It has been going on for ten uninterrupted years and during normal times it used to have around 160 missionaries from the region.
Its name, which means “The Way to Jesus”, is a reference to Jesus’ path during the Holy Week, the one he chose to travel so that we could all be saved. It is also the way we should travel if we want to reach Him.
During 2020, the pandemic also stirred these waters and we had to do some reinventing to keep the mission firm. Our mission had to become virtual with reflections for the missionaries and video calls to visit the places where the missions were going to be held.
The missions to be held in person again in 2021
We wanted to return to our mission in person for 2021. Due to precautions that had to be taken and protocols to be followed, we decided to have a mission with fewer people.
We had missionary cells that could work independently with a maximum capacity of 23 people each. Our goal was to reach a total of 80 missionaries, in four different facilities where we could carry on the missions.
Nevertheless, the new surge of the virus infections reached us just before the mission began and we had to change our plans. We transformed the mission into a spiritual retreat so that we could diminish contact and the possibility of any spread, we reduced the total amount of participants to 47, isolating the missionaries who may get infected as well as their close contacts.
We also redirected the spirituality of the mission to satisfy the new needs. We recognized our Blessed Mother’s clear voice in this; even though we had no idea how she wanted this VIA IESUM to be, we all concluded that it would be a learning experience.
The spiritual retreat was successful from the very beginning. The atmosphere felt wasw hat you feel when you finally reach a new place after going through great sacrifices to get there. We were aware that there were many who could not be present and that being there was a luxury and a gift. This made for a truly holy atmosphere where following Christ on his Way of the Cross became something natural, from the painful
prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane to the creative joy of the Resurrection.
Suddenly, they carried on with their mission in the streets
As the days went by, our MTA did not cease to surprise us. On the third day of the retreat, suddenly, there was the possibility of taking the mission to the streets. Through his mediation, Christ took the missionaries once more to the streets to bear witness of Him. This filled us with great joy, and we were finally able to see the people of that region again, talk to each one of them and bring the Mother’s presence to them. Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday became days filled with immense joy as we could experience God’s hand very closely.
After those intense days, having returned to our homes, we found that none of us had been infected during the mission, and that God had really summoned us and sustained
us during his Holy Week.
Now, more than ever, this phrase becomes true: “She is the Great Missionary. She will work Miracles.”
Translation by Maribel Acarón
Pictures: Universitary youth Mendoza, Argentina