| ASSOCIATION OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS
MARY, WOMAN OF THE FUTURE, SHOWS US THE PATH
Mary is represented as the good soil that has accepted, nourished and makes the seed of the Word sprout. To be entrusted to Her it means to be educated to discover the depths of life, overcoming the spiritual superficiality that dries up every gift and every grace that come from above; it means to become strong against the sharp thorns that creep into the human heart with the deceiving passions and bad desires, that chock every good seed; it means to become every day more a good and fertile soil that generates fruits. Mary turns us into lovers of what has a certain value, of what lasts forever. She makes us builders of eternity from this earthly life, creators of an immortal life.
Mary invites us and calls our attention to abandon the wrong paths and start walking along the way of life that is Jesus Christ, The Risen Lord that transforms us from darkness to life, from death to life, from slavery to freedom. Together with Mary we are experiencing the same moments of the life of Saul Of Tarsus, that was dazzled on the way to Damascus.
We often walk along the ways of death, paths without any way out, roads full of dangers, ways without goals: we are like blind men who do not know where they are heading to. " I know your doings: you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot ! But since you are lukewarm, that is you are neither cold or hot, I am about to vomit you from my mouth. You say: " I am rich, I have become wealthy, I do not need anything", but you do not recognize to be an unhappy man, a miserable, a poor blind and naked man.
I advice you to buy from me some gold purified by the fire, in order to turn rich, to cover yourself with white robes and hide the shamefulness of you nakedness, to acquire some eyewash to spray your eyes and gain back your sight. I admonish and punish all those whom I love. Make yourself then zealous and change your life" (Ap. 3,15-19). Mary leads us and helps us to live the Word of God, making it possible for us to start the way of our sanctification.
Certainly, the Word of God is demanding: "As a matter of fact the Word of God is alive, efficacious and sharper than any doubled edged sword; it penetrates till the point of division between the soul and the spirit, of the joints and the bone marrow and scrutinizes the feelings and thoughts oaf the heart. (EB.4,12). It is a radical word without exceptions, that requires us to put God at the first place and as the only Lord of our life. The word of God continuously separates us from our human way of seeing things in order to put us on the proper way of God.: "Because our thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways" (Is. 55,8).
In order to be able to carry fruit it is necessary to "cut", "to prune": " you are clean due to the word that you have heard". Only in this way we can become alive persons, persons that have resurrected; only in this way we are really what we are supposed to be, otherwise we are "dead persons." Mary helps us to seriously consider the Word of God:
OF SPIRITUALITY OF THE SALESIAN FAMILY
Our Association (with more than 30 members) also this year took part to the XXVII DAYS OF SPIRITUALITY of the Salesian Family, an annual gathering of the representative groups of the family started by Don Bosco, and that took place in Rome from 22 to 25 of January.
Besides the first four original groups, The Salesians, The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Salesian Cooperators and ADMA, founded by Don Bosco himself, were present the members of the other 22 groups of this "great movement of persons at the service of the youth", as Fr. Pascual Chavez, Rector Major of the Salesians, underlines very often. He does this as a successor of Don Bosco, father and center of unity of the Salesian Family.
Three new groups have been recognized during this event and in the same occasion: Cancao Nova, a lay apostolate of international structure devoted to evangelization, in a special way through the means of communication. Born in 1978 from a group of 12 boys guided by a Salesian father, Fr. Jonas Abib, "the disciples", or Secular Institute Don Bosco, a public ecclesial association, male and female born in India in 1973 from the inspiration of the Salesian Father Joseph D'Souza. The disciples while getting inspired by the Gospel's episode of the mission that Jesus gave to the 72 disciples, are devoted to the spreading of the Gospel, to the teaching of catechism, to the attention of the sick and at the service of the poor. The congregation of the Sisters of Saint Michael the Archangel, also called "Michaelite Sisters" was founded, at the end of the XIX century by Blessed Fr. Bronislao Marchewicz and by the Servant of God Mother Anne Kaworek. The heart of the meditation of these days is the Strenna, a message that every year the Rector Majors, while continuing the tradition started by Don Bosco, gives to the members of the Salesian Family. This year strenna is really dedicated to the Salesian Family: "Let us strive to make the Salesian Family a movement of persons for the salvation of the youth".
The atmosphere of these days has been particularly charismatic, due also to the strong presence of the Rector Major, who already at the "good nigh" of the first day, while commenting on the video of the strenna, with a strong emotion was saying:" I am so proud to be a Salesian, and in a special way to belong to the Salesian Family"..
The Rector Major introduced in such a way his message to the representation of the different groups of the Salesian Family, a message in which he also mentioned the " the need to start from the Spirituality to build a communion having in view the mission". Together with the Rector Major, we must remember the endeavour and the animation of Fr. Adriano Bregolin, Vicar of the Rector Major and animator of the Salesian Family.
Father Juan Josè Bartolomè, has enriched the sharing guiding the members to the proper reading of the Bible, while viewing the Salesian sensitivity, of the parable of the mustard seed, evangelical icon recalled by the Rector Major in explaining the Strenna. " Born from the grace of God, the Salesian Family will be grace of God for the youth, if we live recognizing him - and therefore grateful, that in his life God is present fulfilling his salvation "like the small mustard seed". To live as a Family, the common Salesian vocation is the prove to have understood the mysteries of the kingdom and to be able to see ourselves as final purpose of the gift of God."
The giving to the different groups of the Charter of Communion of the Salesian family, not a new document, but worthy of constant attention, was done in a shared manner by Mr. Roberto Lorenzini, of the Association of the Salesian Cooperators, Fr. Pierluigi Cameroni, Salesian and Spiritual Animator of ADMA and Sr. Carmela Santoro, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians. Together they highlighted that as Don Bosco, docile to the action of God, was at the origin of the Salesian Family and becoming the driving motor of that charisma that, adjusting to the different styles, necessities, cultures and different times, has inspired various ecclesiastical realities.
The many groups of the Salesian Family are called to build a mutual understanding and respect, starting from the contemplation of the image of Trinity, model of every Communion. Two testimonies were shared as a concrete example of communion. Located at San Severo, a small city in the province of Foggia, and in the North-East of Italy, the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the Cooperators, work together collaborating with the social and diocesan realities in the first case and with projects focused on the youth in the second. In the afternoon they had meetings and shared groups. Divided into groups the 330 participants were invited, taking into consideration the points discussed in the morning, to evaluate and consider the ecclesial and charismatic dimension of the Salesian Family, while trying to pinpoint new sources in order to grow in communion. The day of the 23 of the month, was concluded with a joyous evening around the IX Successor of Don Bosco, Fr. Pascual Chavez.
Reungoat, The Superior of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, offered to the participants
the Good Night thought, with a Marian explanation ( we share
The successor of Don Bosco, in his presentation, invited the Salesian Family " to acquire a new mentality, to change system, to think of itself and act always as a Movement", a change that signifies three things: "An intense spirit of communion", "union of hearts", besides the addition of a spirit of communion with a convinced will of synergy" and "a unity of purposes" and with a mature ability to work on line". In the evening of the 24th, all the participants went to Genzano Roma. Here they watched the musical on Don Bosco " Let's go boys!" sponsored by the Salesian Family of Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta and brought to the scenes by the Stage company "L'Alfa e l'Omega de Joanne Bosco".
Two of the appointments that characterized the last Day of Spirituality of the Salesian Family, Sunday January 25: the Sunday Eucharist, presided by the Rector Major and the conclusion done in the main Hall of the Salesianum. Fr. Chavez, while commenting on the readings of the third Sunday of the ordinary time, explained to those present the necessity of conversion and believe as it is requested by Jesus in the Gospel reading.
The 18 young boys that followed Don Bosco in the establishing of the Salesian Congregation are like the first four Apostles that answered the call from Jesus: "This is what Don Bosco is expecting from the spiritual and apostolic family: a gesture similar to that of this group of boys who gathered in his room on the 18th of December 1859, 150 years ago, decided to leave aside their own dreams and plans to turn into their own his plan: the salvation of youth. They, as well, after having left everything, followed him". Later , during the assembly, the respresentation of the Salesian Family shared the conclusions and the suggestions that emerged from the group discussions. Three are the attitudes to which the groups of the Salesian Family are supposed to follow: greatness of the heart, acceptance of the diversity and to walk together towards a shared goal.
A shared formation has been called for, a formation that takes into consideration the Salesian spirituality, the ethic problems, the social and political question. Different are the initiatives and the fields of action presented with the idea to bring them to completion.
Fr. Chavez while giving back to groups of the Salesian Family the conclusions and the suggestions forwarded in the hall, shared a dream: to open near our work in Cremisan, Israel, a center of international formation for the Salesian Family, run with the collaboration of the different groups. A second desire, presented by the Rector Major, and for which he has promised his commitment so that he might be concretized, is that to reach a certain official recognition of the Salesian Family by the Holy See. In order to bring this to realization it is necessary to write down a "Charter of the Salesian Family" that shows with clarity its identity.
For this reason the Rector Major reminded how necessary it is that the "Salesian Wood may be flooded with the blood of the martyrs, the sweat of fatigue and the tears of suffering". "Don Bosco is a "father that has generated sons that continue also today his charismatic and spiritual formation", was explained by the Rector Major without fear of comparing Don Bosco to the patriarchs of the Old Testament, because he is a carrier of a certain faith and innumerable blessings.
The saint from Turin is not only a founder in the juridical and historical point of view, the four original groups of the Salesian Family belong to him: the Salesians, the Daughters of Mary help of Christians ( together with S.Mary Mazzarello), the Salesian Cooperators, and the Association of Mary Help of Christians (The Rector Major, speculating through the historical researches of Fr. Peter Braido, has strongly underlined that Don Bosco founded ADMA) - but also in the theological sense: carrier of a charisma that changes and diversifies in the various groups of the Salesian Family. Don Bosco is also a forerunner of a way of sanctity that was covered by men and women, religious and lay people, adult and young, and bishops. The assembly was concluded on the festive notes of a song "We are Salesians" taken from the play "Let's go, boys" very much appreciated the previous evening by the participants of the days of the Salesian Family.
The Spirituality days were for us a strong experience of communion and of sharing, during which we have lived a family spirit that transmitted to us the joyous sensation to feel at " home", among friends and brothers. We have touched with our hands what is the meaning to belong to the Salesian Family, a united family, composed up today by 26 groups, where each one of them expresses his Salesian charisma in his own way.
Our own family is like a tree from which so many branches spread around, a tree born from a seed planted 150 years ago, from the heart of our loved father San John Bosco, then grown,"watered down with the blood of martyrs and flown through with the tears and sweat of our forehead". Our mission now is that of producing fruit among our groups, so that the tree may become a wood, that is the Salesian Family may become a large movement of persons for the salvation of youth". We have been enriched then by the gathering of the members of the various groups of the Salesian Family and by the moments of sharing and dialogue of our personal experiences. The fact of knowing so many people that witness with their life an intense love for the youth, has given us joy and serenity. It made clear to us that we are not alone or forgotten.
During these "Days" the whole Salesian Family gathered around our dear Rector Major Fr. Pascual Chavez Villanueva ,who had for each one of us a smile, a gesture of attention and of acceptance. He spoke to us as a father to his children, as Don Bosco would have done to his sons and boys: his words were enlightening, with particular simplicity and spontaneity, and were able to infuse in us enthusiasm for the mission presented with the 2009 Strenna. He was able to transmit to us the pride to belong to the Salesian Family and, at the same time, he opened our heart to accept our differences. As members of ADMA we could not but be happy by the fact that the Rector Major wanted in a particular manner remark in front of everybody, in his final speech,that our Association was founded by Don Bosco. From this Rome experience we carry home so much enthusiasm and the desire to carry on "the great news" that was given also to us: we are a Family! And when we are a Family we have a great desire to go to heaven all together. (Alessandro e Laura ADMA, Nave - Brescia).
This is an experience that every time recharges us. We come home with an enthusiasm full of ideas to be put into practice. This fact struck me: the scattered seed cannot go forgotten! These things required patience, constancy, the care and the love of the peasant in order to turn this into a tree full of fruits and healthy. The Salesian Family is composed of 26 member groups, already recognized and others that are awaiting to be added: that is the fruit of work of so many Salesians that were able to take care of the soil entrusted to them.
When we talk with
the people that make up these groups it becomes a real spiritual
enrichment.. The Rector Major is an example of responsibility
towards those who have been entrusted to him: the attention,
the sensibility that shows to everybody and to each one of us,
his vitality, represent the strength of the Salesian charisma
and they encourage us to face the duties that wait for us. These
fruits depend from us as well! Therefore, let's go on: we are
Salesians! (Giusy - ADMA Prioritaria President).