by Sister M. Paula Van Thienen
During Holy Week this year, over 300 young men and women gathered at our Schoenstatt Shrine in Querétaro, Mexico, for a national encounter before heading out on a week-long mission. This was the first time the Schoenstatt Mexico Luz de Maria missions could take place once more at the national level after the pandemic. The joy of this new beginning was visible all around!
After a day of activities, preparation, and adoration followed by a short night of rest, the missionaries set out early in the morning for this year’s destination: Pinal de Amoles, a town about three hours away.
LIFE AT THE MISSIONS
The day of arrival was Palm Sunday. All the missionaries gathered at the town square for the Palm Sunday Mass with the parishioners of Pinal de Amoles. After a beautiful liturgy, everyone set out to their respective posts. The missionaries were divided into groups of ten: five young men and five young women, including a male and a female leader. Each team set out on a different direction, to the various communities that inhabit the vast and mountainous area of Pinal de Amoles. Some set out in pick-up trucks, others had to finish the journey by foot or even accompanied by a donkey!
During the week, each group of missionaries would set out each morning to visit the homes of those who lived in their community, bringing them an image of the Pilgrim Mother. In the afternoons, they offered activities for children, youth, and women, followed by a Communion service. A young man in each group had also been trained as a liturgist to celebrate the Holy Week services. This made it possible for those in far-off communities to have an experience of Holy Week near their own homes; something for which they expressed their gratitude again and again!
a “TRUCK” with a mission
In addition to the missionary team at each community, a couple of teams made up of a Schoenstatt Father, a Schoenstatt Sister, a doctor, the two mission leaders and a couple of drivers made up the “Fratecamioneta”. These groups were responsible for the care of the missionaries. As Fratecamioneta, we would stay at a central location in Pinal de Amoles and set out each day in pick-up trucks to visit the various communities in which the groups of missionaries were staying. In this way, we could accompany their apostolate, make sure they had drinkable water, bring medical help in case someone was sick, and offer any support the missionaries might need. As far as possible, we also joined in their activities and celebrations.
An unforgettable Holy Week!
The week was intense, but beautiful – certainly an unforgettable Holy Week! The people in Pinal de Amoles expressed their gratitude and joy again and again. But the missionaries received just as much, if not more. As Father Kentenich said,
“I served, and my reward was peace.”