With great joy and gratitude, the Schoenstatt Family of the Dominican Republic celebrated the 50th anniversary of the presence of the Blessed Mother in the “Victoria Patris” (Victory of the Father) Shrine.
After a four-year spiritual preparation, the official celebration began with a vigil on Saturday, July 8, 2023.
The program of the vigil included video presentations, testimonies, and songs. After the presentations, the guests were surprised by fireworks that filled the night with colorful lights. At that same moment, the bell of the shrine joyfully announced that the jubilee day had arrived.
THE LONG-AWAITED DAY
Sunday, July 9, dawned with rain, but this did not dampen the hearts of the pilgrims who came not only from the surrounding area but also from New York, Miami, and Costa Rica.
At the beginning of the celebration, the shrine’s history was presented. Afterward, the image of the Mother Thrice Admirable left the shrine to meet her children and, carried on strong shoulders, “walked” among the pilgrims.
Representatives of the different branches of the Movement (Families, Mothers and Married Women, Young Men and Women) led the way for the Queen with their banners, to the rhythm of drums and trumpets.
At the end of the procession, the image of our Victoria Patris Queen greeted and blessed her people while the notes of our National Anthem were intoned, followed by joyful songs and dances.
Lunch – donated by the federal government – was served to all present. The entertainment during the meal included a mariachi band, testimonies from members of the Schoenstatt Family of the founding generation, songs, a presentation of an acrostic with the words ‘THANK YOU, MOTHER,’ as well as dances presented by the Schoenstatt Girls and Young Women and the students of the dance team of the John Paul II Polytechnical School.
At 2:20 p.m., the festive program continued with the central and solemn part of the day: the jubilee holy Mass. The Mass can be viewed at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/live/MwGXE-lYxdE?feature=share
The main celebrant was the Metropolitan Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Monsignor Francisco Ozoria. He was accompanied by ten other priests: the auxiliary bishop, Monsignor José Amable, Vicar of the pastoral zone to which our parish of La Victoria belongs; Father José Luis Correa, Schoenstatt Father; Father Marcelino of the Schoenstatt Priests Federation; and other diocesan priests.
The choir contributed to the solemnity of the liturgy, and, during the offertory, a scepter was offered to the Blessed Mother as a jubilee gift from the Schoenstatt Family of the Dominican Republic. Monsignor Ozoria recited the prayer for the presentation of the scepter, and Father Marcelino placed it in the hands of the Queen by attaching it to the frame of the image. During this solemn moment, the Sisters of Mary sang, “Hold the Scepter in Your Hand.”
In his homily, the Archbishop highlighted the blessing that this shrine has been for the catholic church in the Dominican Republic, especially for the archdiocese. Referring to the readings of the Mass, he pointed out how the Lord uses the small ones to manifest his glory and power. The almighty King chooses a donkey for his triumphal entry into Jerusalem; to enter into our human reality, he uses the little handmaid of Nazareth, Mary. From our small shrine, the Lord comes again to bless his people, to show us his love and mercy.
Monsignor Ozoria also expressed his gratitude to the Schoenstatt Movement, especially the Sisters of Mary, for their service to the Church. Monsignor Amable expressed his gratitude for having the Schoenstatt Shrine in his vicariate, for the service of the Sisters, and for the hospitality they give to the groups of the vicariate when they use the retreat center for their activities. Father José Luis Correa expressed his joy and gratitude for having been able to participate in the celebration as representative of the continental coordination of the Movement for Latin America.
After the final blessing, the bishops entered the shrine to thank the Blessed Mother.
It was a happy and touching ending when the pilgrims, who had come from far and near, wanted to say goodbye to the Blessed Mother before boarding their buses to return home. The choir ‘la Cantina’ animated this moment with jubilee songs as a sign of farewell and reiterated our gratitude to the Blessed Mother and the Triune God.
We Owe Everything to Her
The jubilee celebration was inspired by the words:
We owe everything to her!
We owe everything to her: the shrine, our houses, the streams of life that have moved the hearts of all those who have consecrated themselves to her in the covenant of love during the past 50 years.
From the hand of our father and founder, Fr. Joseph Kentenich, and in loyalty to his great mission and the mission of the Blessed Mother from her shrine, we can affirm:
With hope and joy, confident of victory, we go with Mary into the new times – into the next 50 years!