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ADMA | ASSOCIATION OF
MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS
ADMAonLine | Monthly Message: February 24th, 2010
| T Version
Mary helps us to grow in faith and
Our Lady accompanies
us like a Mother, and she invites us to set out on the pilgrimage
which is our life by putting our trust and love in God the creator,
aware of the fact that it is in faith that we discover the beauty
and the greatness of life.
In order to fulfill such goal we must devote ourselves to personal
prayer: through it we nurse our faith, contact with God and we
find the strength to advance along our spiritual jouney. It is
vital to have a prayer life during our day, as the latter enables
us to search for God, meet Him, to feed on Him and His Grace.
Personal prayer occurs in our heart. It is there that we must
look for God and listen to His voice. If we can let all noises
coming from the outside as well as from our ego die down, we
will be able to listen to His words full of light, to be aware
of His inspirations, and to be moved by His tenderness. At the
same time we can talk to God, in the knowledge that He listens
and understands us, like no one else could. Let's tell Him about
all our problems, all our needs and requests with the trust that
is typical of children. God always grants the wishes of those
who pray with faith without growing tired. During a hard day,
let's fill our heart with God. God is our rest, our medicine
and our strength. It is enough to repeat in our heart short invocations,
in order to kindle His presence in our heart. When He is present
we do everything well and we do it with love.
People loose their faith because they don't pray. Faith is like
a flower: the water that feeds such a flower is prayer. Mary
is the Mother who makes us grow, advises us, warns and encourages
us by saying: "Grow and rejoice in the Lord who has created
you. Rejoice of this wonderful plan of Creation and of Redemption
of which you are part. That way you will become a light for those
whose minds and hearts are blinded and who can't recognise God's
presence and love in their life.
"Love is the essence of God", it gives sense to creation
and history, it is the light that gives beauty and goodness to
every human being's existence. At the same time, love is God's
and all believers "style", as it characterises the
behaviour of the one who, by responding to God's love, makes
a gift of his own life to God and to his neighbour. In Jesus
Christ these two aspects form a perfect unity:He is Love incarnate.
Such love is fully revealed in the crucified Christ. By looking
at Him, we can confess like the apostle John: " We recognised
God's love for us and we believed it"(cfr 1 Gv 4,16; Enc.
Deus caritas est, 1).
Dear friends, if we think about the Saints, we recognise the
variety of their spiritual gifts, as well of their human characteristics.
Each person's life is a hymn to God's love! Today, the 21st of
January we remember in particular St John Bosco, founder of the
Salesian Family and patron saint of youth.
During this year dedicated to priests, I would like to invoke
His intercession, so that priests may always be teachers and
fathers for the youth, and so that by experiencing such pastoral
love, many young people may answer the call to give their life
to Christ and for the Gospel. May Mary Help of Christians, model
of love, obtain for us such graces." (Benedict XVI - Angelus
of the 31st January 2010).
Fr Pier Luigi Cameroni, Spiritual
A FLOWER WHO GREW IN THE IMMACULATE'S GARDEN
arrived at Valdocco's parish youth club in the autumn of 1854,
at the end of the deadly plague which had decimated the city
of Turin. He immediately befriended Michele Rua, Giovanni Cagliero,
Giovanni Bonetti, Giuseppe Bongiovanni, who used to walk with
him to school in the city centre. In all likelihood he did not
know anything about the "Salesian Association" which
Don Bosco had started mentioning to the youth in Jaunary of that
year.During the following spring he had an idea he mentioned
to Giuseppe Bongiovanni. In the parish youth club there were
some wonderful young people, as well as some who were less so
and behaved badly, and there were also young people who were
hurting, who had problems with their studies and who were home
each person tried to help them as much as possible, each in their
own way. But why couldn' t the most willing and able young people
join forces in a "secret society", in order to become
a group of little apostles for the benefit of the rest? Giuseppe
agreed and talked about it with others who liked the idea. It
was decided to name the group " the Immaculate's gathering".
Don Bosco gave his consent: they should give it a go and write
down regulations. From the minutes of the "Immaculate's
gathering" kept in the Salesian archive, we know that the
meetings were attended by ten members on a weekly basis: Michele
Rua (who was elected president), Domenico Savio, Giuseppe Bongiovanni
(who was elected secretary), Celestino Durando, Giovanni B. Francesia,
Giovanni Bonetti, Angelo Savio chierico, Giuseppe Rocchietti,
Giovanni Turchi, Luigi Marcellino, Giuseppe Reano, Francesco
was missing because he was recovering from a serious illness
and was living with his mother. The last clause of the rule which
was approved by all including Don Bosco stated: " All obstacles
will be overcome by a sincere, child-like, endless trust and
special tenderness for Mary. This will make us firm in our decisions
and towards ourselves, and loving with our neighbour, as well
as accurate in everything." The members of the Immaculate's
Gathering decided to look after two groups of young people, which
in the minutes' secret language were called "clients".
The first group
was formed by the "out of hand" students, those who
frequently used bad language and liked to have fights. Each member
would look after one boy in particular and behave as his "guardian
angel" for all the time that was required (Michele Magone
had a persevering "guardian angel"!). The second group
was made up of the newcomers. They helped them to spend the first
few days in joyful happiness, when they still didn't know anyone,
didn't know how to play, only spoke their local dialect and were
homesick. (Francesco Cerruti had Domenico Savio as a guardian
angel and spoke with admiration of their first meetings.)In the
minutes we can read about each single meeting with their "clients":
a moment of prayer, a few minutes of an uplifting reading, a
mutual urging to go to Confession and Communion.
those who seemed spiritually deaf and insensitive to be patient
and to trust in God, to be vigilant and kind towards those who
were willing to listen."
If we compare
the names of the members of the Immaculate's Gathering with the
first members of the "Pious Association", one has the
moving impression that "the Immaculate's Gathering"
was a "rehearsal" for the congregation that Don Bosco
was about to found. The latter was the small field where the
the first Salesian flowers sprouted.
Gathering" became the yeast for the parish youth club, which
transformed those ordinary young people into little apostles
through a simple formula: a weekly prayer meeting, the listening
of an uplifting reading, mutual urging to receive the sacraments,
a program for those who needed to be helped in their daily life,
such as a short talk regarding one's failures and successes of
the past few days. Don Bosco was very impressed and made a point
of having something similar in his newly founded Salesian Family,
which was to be the focus for future Salesian and priestly vocations.
In the four
pages of advice to Michele Rua who was on his way to founding
the first Salesian home outside Turin in Mirabello, Don Bosco
( in one of his best summaries of his educational system which
was always handed to all new Salesian directors from then onwards)
Don Bosco says the following: " Make sure you set up the
Immaculate's Gathering, however, you will only be a promoter
and not the director. Consider it as belonging to the youth."
In every Salesian work, a group of committed young people based
on the "Immaculate's Gathering" was the secret to encourage
Salesian and priestly vocations.It is important to tell young
people the story of the beginning of Don Bosco's Congregation,
of which young people were co-founders.
(Rua, Cagliero, Bonetti, Durando, Marcellino, Bongiovanni, Francesia,
Lazzero, Savio) were Domenico Savio's friends as well as members
of the Immaculate's Gathering, and twelve remained at Don Bosco's
side until his death. It is our hope that the memory of this
will help us to involve more and more young people in the apostolic
mission for the salvation of other young people.
FOR THE APOSTOLATE OF PRAYER - MARCH 2010
" So that the world economy may be run according to criteria
of justice and equality, keeping in mind the peoples' real needs,
in particular those of the poorest.."
Missionary Intention: "For the African churches, so that
they may be a sign and an instrument of reconciliation and justice
in every region and every continent."
Bishop's intention: "So that Lent may purify our hearts
from pride through prayer, fasting and good works, by making
us God's closer friends and more attentive towards those who
need our help."
Marian intention: "So that by standing at the foot of the
Cross we may entrust ourselves to Mary and consider Her as one
of our closest friends."
devoted to the spirituality of the Salesian Family - Rome 21-24th
we want to see Jesus!"
edition of the Days of Spirituality of the Salesian Family (Rome
21st -24th January 2010), based on the Christmas message for
2010 given by the Rector has renewed the commitment of the whole
Salesian Family in their task to gain new strength in their "sequela
Christi" and to bring the Gospel to the youth. Two Biblical
icons accompanied the moments of sharing and reflection of the
past few days: that of the disciples of Emmaus, where the evangelist
Luke shows us what it is like to meet Jesus. This should bring
us to ask ourselves: "What is my Emmaus? When and where
did the Lord Jesus become my travelling companion? When did I
recognised Him as the Risen one?"
It is only
when individuals, communities and groups share the experience
of the Risen one that the passion for a missionary evangelisation
towards the youth arises. The second icon is the picture by the
priest and artist Siger Koeder representing the merciful Father,
which was chosen by the Rector as a metaphor of Christmas 2010:
it presents Don Bosco as a teacher and as an evangeliser, whose
main message is to be a sign of the merciful and fatherly love
of God, who wants the salvation of his children and reconciliation
within the community of believers.
In this path of faith, Holy Mary is the role model for all believers.
"This is the way she is portrayed from the very start of
Luke's Gospel, who in the story of the Annunciation shows her
to be unconditionally open to God's will, even though the latter
did not coincide with her own and even though she did not understand
everything. (cf. Lc 1, 26-38; 2,19.50.51).
Jesus' own testimony, his mother's greatness is that of having
listened to the Word of God and having guarded it with love (cf.
Lc 11,28). This is her real maternity!This vision of Mary as
a model of faith and as the mother of believers also appears
is John's Gospel, who names her only twice, and as a "woman"
at the beginning of the wedding of Cana (Gv 2,1-11), and with
her own faith in her Son increasing the disciples' faith, and
in the end, at the foot of the cross (Gv 19,25-27), when the
beloved disciple is entrusted to Her as a mother. The greatness
of Mary is therefore her faith, and in this regard she is presented
to us as the role model to imitate and as the mother to welcome."
Chávez). And Mary is the Help of Christians especially
in our path of faith, by bringing Jesus to us and by letting
us get to know Him through her heart of Mother and believer.
presented in this article has as a source the experiences and
testimonies which are the expression of the apostolic richness
of the groups of the Salesian Family.In particular we remember
the initiative of the Salesians from Pila in Poland, which for
many years has been encouraging young people to go on pilgrimages
and evangelisation meetings both in the squares and in the streets,
by drawing its inspiration from Don Bosco's "autumn walks".
This experience, which began in 1991 in Jasna Gora, when John
Paul II gave young people a specific mandate: "to go and
preach", which involved thousands of people in a path of
was that of the couple Armando and Pina Bellocchi, a couple of
Salesian cooperators from Biancavilla (Sicily) with five children,
who are devoting their lives to bringing the Gospel to the youth
through the Salesian charisma as well as through music and theatre.
By both giving up a promising career and by putting first the
young people they were helping (often before their own family),
they have built an atmosphere of solidarity similar to that in
their own family, therefore creating a wonderful alliance between
parents and children, in order for all to collaborate to the
was well represented by at least thirty members from different
parts of Italy and of Sicily in particular, as well as from other
parts of the world. The "Good night" of Saturday 23d
of Jaunary was a special moment filled with grace, as it allowed
us to announce to the whole Salesian Family the celebration of
the VI International Congress of Mary help of Christians which
will take place in Poland, at the shrine of Czestochova from
the 3d until the 6th of August 2011.
Cameroni, promoter of spiritual activities, Mr Tullio Lucca,
President of the Primary ADMA, together with his wife Simonetta,
illustrated the meaning and importance of such initiative, as
a moment of communion and renewed apostolic commitment for the
whole Salesian Family, under the protection and with the help
of Mary. The Days of Spirituality of the Salesian Family took
place in the light of the motto "We want to see Jesus!",
and were simbolised by miming of "glasses", as Venerable
Pope John Paul II used to do. We think this has helped us to
see the Lord Jesus more clearly and from close up, and (with
Mary's help) to announce it to the young people of our time.
(Tullio, Simonetta, Alessandro, Laura and fr Pierluigi).
NEW ADMA GROUP. We had the joy of setting up
a new group made up of 3 people, the seed for many people who
will devote their energies and enthusiasm to spread the devotion
to the Eucharist and to Mary Help of Christians. The celebration
for the welcoming of such first members took place in the shrine
of the Virgen de la Candelaria on the 12th of December 2009.
It was presided by the parish priest P. Parroco Miguel Coquelet
SCV. It was followed by many believers and by a group of teenagers
who will make up the ADMA-JUVENIL in the future. (Sr. Carmela
Sánchez Robles FMA - Promoter for
On Sunday the 10th of January the aspiring ADMA
members from Capaci (PA) met in the "M.Mazzarello"
home for a day devoted to prayer, reflection and look back on
the past year. 23 memebers were present among whom were 8 couples.
The theme of the day was taken from a text written by Pope Benededict
XVI: " The spiritual man gets stronger through reason enlightened
by faith." During the time devoted to personal reflection
I approached one of the members in the corridor and asked for
his impressions. His name is F, a 54 year old manager who despite
attending such meeting only to please his wife, felt deeply involved
and could not explain why. He told me he is a believer but he's
not really practicing. As a child he was adopted and spoke fondly
of his adoptive parents. He has travelled a lot on business.
As we were speaking a lady told us there was a missionary who
was available for confessions( Fr Filippo Taormina, Missionary
brother of Mercy). I looked at F and asked him: "Shall we
go?" And he agreed, even though he hadn't gone to confession
for many years. Later, during the sermon he stood up and told
everyone he wanted to change his life. His wife burst into tears
and a round of applause from all present followed. It was a real
miracle! After the Holy Mass we had lunch and we felt the Lord's
and Mary's presence in a very tangible way. In a corner we found
a notebook where anyone could write about the impressions and
thoughts of the day or a resolution which could be a stimulus
Here are some
" As my
faith grows, I understood that it is by acting with truth and
love that we can find true peace.
" Even though man may grow old on the outside, on the inside
he renews himself day by day.
" If we let ourselves be filled with Christ's love we will
learn to see through His eyes everything that sorrounds us and
both man and the world will be full of harmony!
" As God gave us His love, so can I let other people get
to know about His love, with His help and with that of our mother
Mary, Mother of God and our Mother.
" In life we must be aware of the presence of evil and only
God can give us the strength we need. Let's entrust ourselves
to HIM. By praying we can be saved and we can also save the whole
humanity because God is love.
" I am very happy to have had such experience, as I have
been able to reflect and to grow.
" If we love God we have faith, love and we do His will,
so please increase in me the hope to love God much more than
I do now.
" I must not depend on material possessions as everything
will pass. Only God can free us from the inner emptiness which
sorrounds us. Only in God can we find true happiness.
" If I love God I must also love those around me.
" I thank God for the wonderful day. Today has been a wonderful
day for me.Thank you Jesus!Lord, give me the strengtht to share
in my life what I have received today.
" Today was a special day for me, a once in a lifetime experience.
Till now I can' t fully comprehend it. All I know is that I feel
calmer and safer and I feel something that draws me to the Church
and to God. Today was a special day and I want to keep trying
hard to be good and to grow in faith.I hope God will forgive
me for all the wrong I did in the past.
" Thanks to all of you
" Thank you Lord, because today you took away from my heart
all bad thoughts and all the bad things I have done to fill me
with Your Presence, You who have given me so much joy and strength.
One cannot describe the joy you can see on everyone's face, the
thankfullness for the gift of this day lived in the company of
Mary Help of Christians. We have touched salvation! (Sr. Francesca
Vicari, FMA - Promoter).
TORONTO - (CANADA)
Our Mary Help of Christians group in Toronto experienced another
year blessed by spiritual growth, sharing and training through
our monthly meetings and the days devoted to the Salesian Family.
Our Salesian Family Days began in 2008, following Fr Chavez'
indications regarding spiritual training for the different branches
of the Salesian Family, in order to promote both knowledge and
friendship. Our meeting include the Rosary, a moment of spiritual
training and sharing, then an uplifting reading and the reading
of the Word of God. Fr Occhio concludes every meeting with the
blessing of Mary Help of Christians. This year our aim was to
focus on a certain theme and discuss spiritually uplifting topics.This
change was welcomed by our members and many expressed their appreciation.
We will continue moving in this direction, as the Spirit guides
us. Fr Occhio Joseph SDB continues to be our promoter of spiritual
activities. He reviews all material we study during our meetings
and guides us on our spiritual journey. He is a true gift of
God and we pray he will have the strength and the health to continue
his work, despite his numerous commitments. This year we haven't
had any new members but on the 26th of January 2010 we celebrated
the Mass in honour of St Francis of Sales and we renewed the
solemn promise to our Mother. We pray Her to send us new members
as soon as possible, to protect us and guide us, so that we keep
growing in strength and numbers and spread the true devotion
and the love of Mary Help of Christians.
(Margaret Pupulin, ADMA President).
Here are some pictures of Don Bosco's
ADMA in Odxel, India-Panjim, taken during the celebration of
the day dedicated to children. We started the ADMA on the 31st
July 2009 with 11 members, which have now gone up to 14. (Fr.
Lobo Joaquim, SDB promoter)
On the February
2010 issue of the magazine "Mother of God", which comes
out monthly and was founded by blessed Giacomo Alberione and
is published by Paolini, a very important article regarding the
charisma of the Association of Mary Help of Christians can be
found. I am very fond of it as I am aware of how much my founder
owes to Don Bosco and to the Salesian family. (Fr Mariano Tadone,
ssp, the Magazine's editor).
invite all the groups of Spanish language, particularly those
of America, to make known and spread the Review of Mary Help
of Christians in the Spanish Edition.
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