50 YEARS VICTORIA PATRIS SHRINE
July 8, 1973 – 2023
La Victoria, Dominican Republic
– Part One –
With great joy, gratitude, and spiritual efforts, the Schoenstatt Family in the Dominican Republic prepared and celebrated the presence and work of the Blessed Mother for 50 years, from her throne of grace in La Victoria, DR.
Deeds of Love
We prepared ourselves, in our smallness, to offer the best of each one of us to show our Mother “with deeds” that we really love her, and we are grateful for all the blessings showered on us during these past 50 years. The Holy Spirit inspired us to have a spiritual preparation beginning four years before the great jubilee to deepen the richness that the Blessed Mother gives us from her throne of graces: the graces of Home, Interior Transformation, and Apostolic Mission. The last year of the quadrennium was dedicated to the spiritual conquest of our jubilee gift, a Royal Scepter.
Scepter for the Queen
Each month we chose a part of the Scepter. The entire Schoenstatt Family participated in this preparation and received a monthly reflection on the chosen part as motivation for their group meetings and choice of their striving for the month.
– The parts were: The Lily,
– the Father Eye Symbol with the Diamond,
– the Shrine, the Royal Palm, the word GRATIA – symbol of gratitude,
– the Ring of Faithfulness with the Ruby – symbolizing the offering of crosses and prayers,
– and the letters VP symbolizing Victoria Patris,
– the name and mission of our National Shrine, specifically, the Grace Victoria Patris.
Copies of the scepter placed in the Shrine were made and these copies went on pilgrimage to the home shrines of the Schoenstatt Family. In this way, they could closely experience the joy of having the scepter in their hands.
In addition, in this spiritual preparation, we had a novena of weeks until the Saturday before the jubilee. Each Saturday was assigned to one of the Branches of the Movement including the priests and the sisters. It consisted of a Rosary at dawn, starting in front of the Parish Church and walking to the shrine. At the shrine, part of its 50-year history was read and it ended with Holy Mass.
Another thing that was part of the preparation for the jubilee was the monthly broadcasting of videos by members of the different branches of the Movement speaking about the shrine and the jubilee graces.
Along with this last year of spiritual preparation was also the physical preparation of the shrine and its surroundings. A new sidewalk and road were constructed with the help of generous benefactors who collaborated in many ways for this great jubilee celebration and thus proclaiming to the world the victories of the Father.
The jubilee year was inspired by the Motto:
Mother, with jubilee joy, we give you the scepter,
and from the shrine,
we proclaim to the world the Victory of the Father!
The official celebration took place on Sunday, July 9, but on July 8, the actual day of the jubilee, the jubilee celebration began in the shrine with the song – “The jubilee is here, rejoice, rejoice…” at 7:00 am with Holy Mass celebrated by Father Neftali of the Priests’ Federation.
The vigil evening program included video presentations viewed by more than 200 people. The first video gave a short view into the Shrine Construction and Reconstruction History. The second video were witnesses of those who were from the first generation of Schoenstatters in the Dominican Republic and their experience of the shrine. Out MTA was serenaded by different groups including the aspirants of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary and a choir directed by Sr. Mariluisa.
After the program we went to the shrine – since the rain had passed, we were surprised with fireworks that filled the night with color and joy to all those present. The bells of the shrine joyfully proclaimed that we have a jubilee. We celebrate and give thanks for 50 years of blessings with which the Blessed Mother has blessed her children and our people.
This was followed by refreshments which were gratefully enjoyed by all. We lit candles along the path from the Father Memorial to the Shrine and Retreat House.
With a third video we recalled the opening of the jubilee year in 2022. One year has passed – many people have passed through this holy place. A lovely rendition of the song: Una Salve was sung by Josefina Silva. Sr. M. Lucia explained the spiritual striving connected with the scepter prepared by the Sisters and the Schoenstatt family.
A summary video was played combining the presentations that the branches of the Schoenstatt family made available monthly.