Holy Week Encounter in Loeches, Madrid (Spain), April 12-16, 2017.
My name is FERNANDO GARCÍA LINARES and I was born in TOLEDO in 1969 on the feast day of St. Bartholomew in August . I met the HOME OF THE MOTHER when I was 14 years old and studied in the “EL GRIECO” High School where FR. RAFAEL ALONSO, founder of the HOME taught history class. That is where providence wanted us to meet, he as a teacher and myself as a student. His desire to do apostolate and to never giving up trying to conquer as many souls as possible for the Lord really caught my attention. That is when I began to form part of the “GIFT THAT THE LORD WISHES TO GIVE TO HIS MOTHER.” It was taking its first steps and with a small group of young people when this movement began. I grew up there, received my formation there, and it was there that I met the woman who is now my wife: SAGRARIO. I got married there and had my three children: TERESA, FERNANDO, and ENRIQUE. We spent our life there with all its comings and goings…
Since I have had the “spiritual” use of reason, I have always participated in each and every Home of the Mother Holy Week Encounters, until they began in Priego (Spain). We stopped going for about 11 years due to the fact that we were helping a priest with his parishes (he had many), so that he could reach all of them and take the message of Holy Week to them.
This last Encounter took place in Loeches (Madrid) in the Dominican Convent that the Home of the Mother now spiritually and physically “occupies” for the most important [liturgical] celebration because of its [large] capacity and [ideal] location. I don’t know how many of us were there, but I can say that it is the one where the most people have participated: children, youth, adults, Servant Sisters, Brothers and Priests. It was also one of the most international ones. There were people from Mexico, Switzerland, Germany, France, Ireland, the United States, Uruguay, Ecuador… Once again the protagonist was Our Lady and Our Mother, who we accompanied during her sufferings throughout the Passion and in her joy at the Resurrection.
Essentially, the Encounters haven’t really changed from when we had them at Rielves, Vioño, and Priego, but you can see that the seeds planted there are giving a lot of good fruit. In the first Encounters, we were just a few childish young people, although very enthusiastic, and one priest making enormous efforts to help us become men and women for eternity. Now there are priests, Sisters, Brothers, married couples, young people, children…
We have always had a subject that we spoke about, because the formation of its members is very important for the Home of the Mother. This year we studied the Encyclical Letter, Veritatis Splendor, by St. John Paul II. Fr. Felix and Fr. Jose Luis gave us talks to try to shed some light on the Encyclical. The bishop of Alcalá de Henares, Msgr. Juan Antonio Reig Pla, honored us with his talk during the Encounter on Holy Saturday. I went with Fr. Felix to pick him up and he told us on the way that he was tired due to the “rhythm” of the Holy Week services, etc. He had gone to no less than 10 processions the day before, and despite everything, he wanted to be with the Home of the Mother, enlightening and accompanying us, and giving us his blessing.
What most impressed me about the Encounter was to see so many people that I hadn’t seen for a long time – young people, families with all their children, Servant Brothers and Sisters – and it seemed like we had known each other forever, as if we had seen each other recently. It truly is like that thanks to the communion of saints and prayer, and to the effort that everyone made to be in the HOME and to live the Holy Week to the fullest. As well as that, there was the effort of a few seeking the common good: this or that Servant Sister or Brother in the kitchen, with the pots and pans, with the young people, with the not so young people; this or that lay person doing things for others, doing whatever was necessary (cooking, inventing a song, washing dishes, sweeping)... I don’t want to name them, because God sees each one of them - trying to help out in the Encounter and giving it the HOME style. It is that way of doing things that has been forged, and that is still being forged: working all together. With prayer and sacrifice, each person does what they can and how they can, and being able to do something brings the satisfaction that fills one’s heart. “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” - St. Augustine