Preparation for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Mission of the Servant Brothers of the Home of the Mother in Macael, Almería (Spain), October 2013.
To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the arrival of the beautiful statue of the Our Lady of the Rosary, the parish priest of Macael, Father Oscar, invited Fr. Felix and the Servant Brothers to attend the septinario (seven-day preparation) for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, celebrated on October 7th.
Each evening there was Rosary, Confessions and Holy Mass to help prepare the faithful to worthily celebrate the feast of the patroness of the parish with an “Andaluz” Marian procession.
The Septinario began with a great start with an offering of food and supplies for the poor. Despite the economic crisis in the town, it was positive to see how the town generously donated the best they had for Our Lady, as Fr. Felix said in his homily. Father also preached about how our devotion shouldn’t only be sentimental, but that we should learn from Her, imitating the way in which she followed Jesus.
Throughout the week, there were also encounters with the youth. In the first encounter Brother Ben shared his conversion story and stressed the importance of looking for a personal encounter with the Lord, letting him be the center of our lives and not letting sports and bad friends enslave us. Father Felix proposed the question: “Who is Jesus Christ for me?” One boy responded, “A friend.” We were reflecting that the typical boy has a poster of Cristiano Ronaldo o Messi on their wall, but where is Jesus? The one that gave me eternal life?
The following night Brother Brian shared his testimony focusing on the importance of Confession. We also discussed: “Who is Mary for me?” One responded that she is “my mother.” Fr. Felix added that from the foot of the cross, Jesus was not worried about His mother, but rather worried for his flock, as He entrusted His Mother to be Our Mother, with her motherly protection and leading Her children to Her Son.
We were also able to visit the Residence Home for the elderly and sick. One morning they had the opportunity to receive the sacraments of Confession, Annointing of the Sick, and the Holy Eucharist in the Mass. Sister Rosi was encouraging them to go to confession before Mass, singing songs to Our Lady. At first it seemed many were timid to go to confession, but the more we sang to Our Lady, the more their hearts began to change and they began to get in line for confession, to free themselves from their sins. Blessed be God!
In the homilies, Fr. Felix reflected on a document of Blessed John Paul II on the Rosary. The soon to be canonized pope said that the “Blessed Virgin prayed the Rosary.” Through the life of Our Lady she was the first to meditate on the life of Her son, from the Annunciation to the cross, as she “kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2: 51).
For the final day of the procession, Our Lady was beautifully decorated with white flowers and roses, ready to be led out for the procession. The town celebrates this day with great devotion, as it is very family orientated. Before the Mass a group of boys made a commitment to live more intensely their Christian life and Fr. Oscar gave them each a cross. His Excellency Bishop Adolfo Gonzalez Montes was there to preside the Mass along with other priests of the diocese of Almeria. After the solemn Mass, the band started to play jubilantly for Our Lady. At least 40 people carried the statue through the streets of Macael, as Fr. Oscar led the songs. The people accompanied the procession with shouts of: “VIVA LA VIRGEN DEL ROSARIO! VIVA LA MADRE DE DIOS, VIVA CRISTO REY!” (Long live Our Lady of the Rosary! Long live the Mother of God! Long live Christ the King!)