that brings back hope
Youth who carried the 2014 Jubilee torch and Mass celebrated by Archbishop Cabrera, graces spread throughout Ecuador
Margarita Gómez-Lince - League of Families
May 20, 2021
In a small country of South America called Ecuador, in the city of Guayaquil, just like every year, the pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt, “Family of the Father, home for the world” took place on Saturday, May 8. It was the 43rd pilgrimage, with a virtual format for the second time, due to the pandemic. Even though we could not be at the Shrine in person, the Blessed Virgin made us feel her love and our hearts felt connected.
There were several months of enthusiastic preparations under the inspiration of this year’s motto: “Mary, light of hope” since she can give us light in these times of darkness and hope in the midst of trial. There is no doubt that the world is going through dark times, but she is the great signal. She works miracles!
We originally wanted to make a semi-present pilgrimage, that is, maintaining the virtual format of the previous year, but including physical presence according to the allowed capacity, a number of people invited from various parishes of the Archdiocese, as representatives of the people of God, of the Church. However, we had to change our plans due to the new wave of Covid that emerged in our country and for which a complete lockdown was decreed on weekends during the month of May.
What would happen to our semi-present pilgrimage on the second Saturday in May, as is tradition on the eve of Mother’s Day?
The entire program had to be moved up to be pre-recorded. The Holy Mass at the foot of the Shrine was presided by the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Guayaquil, Monsignor Luis Cabrera. Despite his busy schedule, the Blessed Mother opened doors and the program was recorded 10 days before. Great efforts were made, all the details were coordinated, and additional obstacles were overcome, all for the glory of God. Monsignor Cabrera had expressed a few days before that the Schoenstatt Shrine is his favorite place in Guayaquil.
The agenda for the pilgrimage was wonderful. It began at 5:00 a.m. with songs. At 5:15 a.m. there was a relay run with the Jubilee torch by the Boys’ and Girls’ Youth. This run of approximately 15 km. consisted of the runners passing the torch used in the race to the Original Shrine held in 2014 to each other. The youth chose this activity since the torch carries the fire present in their hearts and the light of hope. It began in the southern part of the city of Guayaquil, in a house located on Cuenca Street where the first Schoenstatt youth of Ecuador met in the 1960’s, and it ended in the National Shrine, giving a formal beginning to these heavenly moments that we experienced virtually during the vigil. The dawn of Saturday the 8th welcomed us with the prayer of the Holy Rosary, followed by the celebration of Mass and then the entrance of the Archbishop to the Shrine, representing all the virtual pilgrims. The Shrine of our Blessed Mother was adorned with beautiful flowers forming a beautiful garden at the feet of our Queen and her Son.
The Blessed Mother did not want to stay still in her throne of grace. After the virtual pilgrimage, the picture of the Pilgrim MTA, carried by Father Eduardo Auza and Sister Norma Vera, flew in a helicopter over Guayaquil’s skies for more than an hour, following a “route of health”, over all the hospitals and churches of the city, giving blessings along with Jesus to all his children who are sick because of the pandemic.
Thanks to the virtual world, the Blessed Mother opened the frontiers and gathered us with the faithful from different cities in the country and with the Schoenstatt Family from several other countries, most of them from Latin America.
The virtual transmission was made through the social networks of the Movement in Ecuador, but we also received the support from the Archdiocese of Guayaquil’s network, Mary’s Voice Radio station, RTS television channel, FIDES online and Santiago de Guayaquil Catholic University’s TV channel. Combining our strength, we were able to make thousands benefit from the graces of the National Shrine that, in its jubilee year for its 50 years of blessing, does great honor to its name: Family of the Father, Home for the World!
Fotos: Schoenstatt Ecuador