November 25, 2020

Ways of the Blessed Mother during the Pandemic in Poland

from Sister M. Damiana Czogała

During the pandemic, our work and our pastoral care in the Schoenstatt Apostolate of the Pilgrim MTA looks a little different. Requests arrive daily for prayers and for materials needed for independent work in the parish. In many parishes, the Pilgrim MTA still travels regularly among families. Members of the [Pilgrim MTA] circles participate monthly in a Eucharistic celebration in the parish churches offered for their intentions, and they send their “mail” for the capital of grace jar in the shrine of the MTA. Since we received no feedback about the meetings for our October “newsletter,” I encouraged the members of the group to write about their everyday life, sharing how they lived their faith during the time of the quarantine in the spring. From their testimonies:

♥  For many years the Pilgrim MTA has been visiting me monthly. In the last half year I especially entrusted to her my youngest son who was living with his girlfriend. I prayed to the Blessed Mother that they would decide to marry or to separate. On May 13, the day of our dear Lady of Fatima, and the day on which the Pilgrim MTA always visits me, my prayer was heard. The young woman moved out of our house and returned to her mother. Because of the coronavirus I did not receive the Pilgrim Mother on that thirteenth of May and I missed her very much. When I receive her again, I would like to personally thank Mary and Jesus. I can hardly wait until the Pilgrim Shrine returns. (B.J.)

♥  The difficult situations of the past months have left their mark in my heart. Staying at home all the time, the anxiety that accompanies each venture out, no possibility to attend Holy Mass in a church but only through the media… I need the true presence of Jesus Christ that I sense only when I am in a church, looking upon the altar and the tabernacle… In my need I asked the Lord to guide my actions and my steps so that I could participate every day in the celebration of the Eucharist.

“And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours.” (1 John 5:14-15)

 And he heard me!

I could attend Holy Mass! After Holy Mass in the morning I returned home happy, peaceful, and filled with strength to overcome difficulties. I brought the Savior in my heart to my family, and his blessing filled my day. Praying together with my family also helped me be calm. Each day I entrusted my family, parish, and home to the protection of the Blessed Mother, the Mother Thrice Admirable. I lived out of the motto “Nothing without you; Nothing without us” and threw my written note into the jar.  Through the Blessed Mother, I have learned to trust completely in God’s providence and to give each day to him. The time of quarantine was necessary. We could stop our never-ending coming and going and we could let go of unnecessary and sometimes necessary things.

I could reflect upon the emptiness and dismay of the people whose lives are not built on God. I saw people on the news who cried dismally and were hopeless. At the same time I saw priests who confidently went through the streets of the city carrying Jesus in the monstrance. I thank you, God, for your gifts, for your care for me and my loved ones. (M.O.)

♥  For some years I have been the coordinator of one of the many Pilgrim MTA circles in our parish. Because of the pandemic, the Pilgrim Mother remained in our house the entire month of April. On May 1, the Pilgrim Shrine was to travel again, but since no one was prepared to receive her, the Blessed Mother remained with our family.

It was determined that our son had been exposed at work to a person infected with the coronavirus. We were very worried about our health and also about an elderly person and a child. We went into quarantine and waited 6 days for the results of the test. We prayed to Mary the entire time. Our son received news from his colleagues at work about people who had tested positive. This increased our concern. But in spite of the anxiety and insecurity, we put all our trust in our God.

On Sunday morning, after participating in Holy Mass via the internet, the news came that our son was the only person who tested negative. I believe it was the Mother Thrice Admirable who interceded the grace of health for us.

Scarcely ten minutes after I shared the news that the test was negative, requests to receive a visit from Mary came from families of the circle. Then I thought: “Yes, Mary, you worked so wonderfully in my family. Now you want to give other families hope also!” We thank you, Mary, our Mother, for your kindness, love, care, and the confirmation that you remain with us always and help us. I’m writing this testimony as an act of gratitude that comes from a heart filled with love! (S. N.)