The Blessed Mother gathered 8,000 children in her house. The Schoenstatt Shrine, Tabor of Freedom, in the Archdiocese of Belo Horizonte, in the State of Minas Gerais, celebrated its 16th anniversary on May 19th and it was a great celebration!
Early in the morning, before 8:00 a.m., the first buses arrived and the house of the Blessed Mother was filled. In front of the Shrine, there was a long queue, and none of the more than 8,000 pilgrims wanted to miss at least a few minutes in front of the Blessed Mother’s picture. Many can only visit once a year, so that tears often express their feelings when they come to the Shrine and contemplate the Blessed Mother. They spontaneously pray to her and to her Son Jesus. Many simply say: “Mother, here I am! I have come to thank you for all that you have given me”.
A day of prayer
The program includes moments of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, reflections on a “new beginning in the Holy Spirit”, the prayer of the Rosary and others. It is a day of prayer! In the square around the Shrine there are several tents where you can buy food and religious objects. A large team of volunteers is responsible for the organization. They help for more than a week so that everything goes well on this day. The couple Cornelius José Van Wijk and Maria da Gloria B. from the Family League explains why they are investing so much: “It is a joy to see how many people come to the Blessed Mother’s Shrine and seek comfort with her”.
The joy of serving many people in the growth of faith.
Sister Adriane Maria A. Barbosa works with the Schoenstatt Movement not only in the 22 cities of the Archdiocese, but also in other dioceses that are up to 400 km away from Belo Horizonte, where she lives. The joy with which people express their love for the Shrine compensates all their efforts: “It is a gift of God’s loving Providence to serve the mission of the Shrine, the Tabor of freedom. Although the distances are enormous, the openness of the people of Minas Gerais makes one happy and their faith is expressed in moving testimonies”.
The shrine, a school of education
Walmor Oliveira de Andrade, Archbishop of Belo Horizonte and President of the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference, is the main celebrant of Holy Mass: “I am filled with holy pride because this is the 15th time that I am here to celebrate this anniversary,” he says. In his homily, he refers to the Blessed Mother as educator of the Shrine: “This is not just another place to visit, but a place of education, a school of spirituality, a school where we come to proclaim the Word of God. May we all be good disciples of this school, disciples who help the world to find the way to God’s love”.
The joy of striving to be Mary
In this “Schoenstatt School”, Sister Adriane Maria and two other sisters realized their vocation. It is my desire to be a living image of Mary, “if I want to pass on the teachings of our Father and Founder, Father Joseph Kentenich, if I can listen to and support so many people whom Divine Providence sends to me.
The grace of being a Sister of Mary is the most important thing for me, and I try to show it through my joy and my daily selfless commitment”.
At the end of the celebration, the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt will be crowned Queen and President of the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference. Then everyone, happy with the graces received, will return home and the members of the Schoenstatt Family will feel strengthened in their mission to help Brazil become a Tabor, Holy Marian Land.