0
0
0
s2smodern

In recent times, we have been facing a major challenge: how to reach the variety of pupils from the three schools we have in Portugal, from both the regular and technical education. The former model of a weekend for each class, led us to a strict selection of which pupils could be part of the activities, generating discomfort to the pastoral ministers and the pupils themselves. Unintentionally, we were creating some kind of elite among the pupils, and those farthest from God had no activity to participate in. Therefore, a big question rose up: what to do to reach more pupils, in so different relations with God? After a period of discernment, we found consolation on making a pilgrimage where pupils from the three schools and from both high school and technical education could participate.

Pilgrimage? Where to?

When the Society of Jesus arrived in Portugal, and the College in Coimbra was founded, some fields were given to support pupils who couldn’t afford it. In those lands was the Shrine of Our Lady of Lapa (Our Lady of the Rock, roughly translated), which quickly became a place for pilgrimage. This shrine and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia (Spain) were, in those times, the two most important sanctuaries of the Iberian Peninsula.

Between October 4th and 7th a group of two hundred pupils with a group of animators (Alumnae, Teachers, School Personnel and Parents) set out to thank so great good received, and to put under the protection of Our Lady the year to begin. The spiritual background for these days was based in the year motto: “Above all, Thank you. More in deeds than in words”. This was our way of praying the contemplation to gain love.

It filled us with consolation to see God acting in our pupils, to see how they found meaning to walk through their hard times, and how the spirit of aid was always present. In these days, we witnessed true miracles, which were the focus of the Thanksgiving Eucharist once arrived to the Shrine.

Without any doubt, this is a way to reach the pupils we couldn’t get with the reflection weekends. The joy that overruns the halls of the three schools is testimony to this paschal meeting we had on our way to Our Lady of Lapa.

0
0
0
s2smodern