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Schoenstatt
Apostolic Movement

The unprecedented Family Missions on the island of Formentera

By: Patricia Navas

Formentera is sun, beautiful beaches, pubs, parties… But it is also hard work, perseverance, struggle… This is the reality, complex as life itself, that the Schoenstatt Family from Schoenstatt Pozuelo/Spain has encountered. A group of 30 people have traveled to this Spanish island to experience the Family Missions – an unprecedented Holy Week mission.

The idea was the brainchild of a couple from the Schoenstatt Family Movement of Madrid who have a second residence in Formentera and earnestly wished to share their great treasure with the people of the island: their faith in Jesus and their love for the Blessed Mother.

Formentera is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea. Together with Ibiza and other islets, it is part of the sub-archipelago of the Balearic Islands. Administratively it is a municipality and has about 3,000 inhabitants (Photos: Carlos Montero)

23 images of the Pilgrim Mother visit the island

This couple, Carlos Montero and Paloma García, began motivating other families, young people, priests, consecrated persons from different parts of Spain to participate in the missions. They also attracted local people, especially the parish priest of San Francisco de Formentera.

In fact, they had been evangelizing for years at their summer retreat, especially through images of the Pilgrim MTA. Today there are 23 images visiting the houses on the island.

Not (exactly) a vacation

This year they launched the initiative of Family Missions on the island. Thus, they visited several homes and businesses carrying the Pilgrim Mother image, praying with the people and sharing motivational messages.

“It seems that they go on vacation and stir people’s hearts”, says Carlos Montero, while summarizing with enthusiasm all that they have experienced in the last few days.

With intense preliminary preparations involving coordination, logistics and, above all, prayer, they made it to Holy Week.

During those days they carried out different activities in the school that belongs to the diocese, in the nursing home, in the parish, on the streets, at the beach, in the pubs….

They also went to the houses, knocking on doors and inviting the neighbors to pray together and to participate in the church activities.

As brothers and sisters

“The families have opened their hearts to us,” Carlos explains. You have deep conversations, and we see each other as friends, as brothers and sisters”.

Some people rediscover their faith, go to confession after a long time, return to Mass, get involved in the warm embrace of the community…

The group has also participated in the parish’s Holy Week activities, getting involved with the congregations and participating in the liturgies that celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Hugs and tears

One of the most striking encounters of the mission took place in a square where the hippie movement’s descendants are usually found in situations of social alienation.

The group approached them and, after talking about the weather, they proceeded to share their picnic and talk about more personal matters.

One of them, with a dog he called after the name of hell’s gatekeeper, began to weep from the emotion of feeling welcomed and embraced.

A little girl gave him her prayer booklet and a missionary cross, which he placed on his neck. Later he showed up at the church to pray.

The mission goes on

The missionaries want to maintain their involvement with Formentera. Some will carry out various evangelization activities in the coming months. They have also committed themselves to be present during Holy Week for the next three years.

Among them they will share a logbook in which they will write down their experiences and the intentions for which they will pray together.

All of this will take place while each one carries out his or her mission at home, with their family, at work, in their own parish.

“There were people who found it strange to go on mission to Formentera – Carlos says – but there was a pre-existing bond: we have a debt with an island that has given us so much pleasure and we believe that this parish also deserves to be helped”.

Information from es.aleteia.org

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