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: ASSOCIATION OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS
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Monthly Message : 24th ianuary 2016
Mary invites us to be peace
When we look at Mary Help of Christians we see her as a Mother who
carries her son Jesus with his arms outstretched, and gives him to us.
Jesus gives us his peace, and shows us the way to peace, the way to
holiness, and the way to heaven. The Holy Year of Mercy is a strong
invitation to us to consider and recognize the immense love that God
has for each of us. The Child with open arms that Mary gives us, is
a sign of the many graces that God has given us and continues to give
us. But often our hearts are closed. We live in fear and do not let
the love and peace of Jesus Christ take possession of our hearts and
reign in our lives. Living without God is living in darkness, not knowing
the love the Father has for us and his care for each one of us.
The Strenna given to us by the Rector Major is a call to live this year
by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the style of Don Bosco: "With
Jesus we journey together in an adventure of the Spirit." It is
an invitation to live 2016 as a year of journeying together, travelling
together the path we have been shown as we listen to the Holy Spirit
so that our life becomes light and salt to those we meet. Only the love
that is given to us by the Holy Spirit has a meaning that raises our
smallest actions towards the infinite and makes us witnesses of God's
presence in the world, for all those who live in darkness.
Fr Ángel Fernández Artime highlights some aspects: first,
the power of the Spirit who acts in freedom and knocks on the door of
every human being; then the experience of the journey that all must
undertake as they go through life; then the sense of adventure, because
often in life's journey - especially the inner spiritual journey - "there
are no certainties". Rather, we go forward moved by the awareness
that the Spirit will surprise us and lead us beyond our expectations.
The full text of his commentary on the Strenna is available on sdb.org.
This year's video can be seen on YouTube on ANSChannel. The text of
the presentation is available in Italian, Spanish and French at the
We entrust to Mary Help of Christiana the journey of the whole Salesian
Family and we ask you to be bearers of peace and builders of communion.
Tullio, President / Fr Pierluigi Cameroni SDB, Spiritual Animator
and like Mary. Rigenerated in his Mercy / Sr
Linda Pocher FMA
5. Not with blows but with mercy
Justice and Mercy
Every human heart is inhabited by two irrepressible desires, which at
first sight seem irreconcilable. There is, on the one hand, a deep thirst
for justice, or the desire that our rights be recognized and respected
and that everyone be given impartially what he deserves. On the other
hand, there is also a deep yearning for mercy, which is the desire to
be loved, forgiven and protected in our weakness. Tension can easily
arise between these two desires and the person, in order not to be torn
within themselves, is forced to make a choice and opt either for justice
or mercy. The problem however, as St Thomas notes, is that "mercy
without justice is the mother of dissolution" while "justice
without mercy is cruelty," with harmful consequences on the family
and social relationships. On the one hand it leads to permissiveness,
which usually goes hand in hand with various forms of emotional blackmail
and does not allow the person to mature in autonomy and to take responsibility.
On the other hand, extreme and uncompromising legalism demeans and humiliates
the person preventing them from being themselves, learning from their
mistakes and developing their own uniqueness.
In the Bull of Indiction of the Holy Year, Pope Francis does not fail
to address the issue. He links it closely with the heartfelt call to
conversion made to "those whose behaviour distances them from the
grace of God". "For their own good, I beg them to change their
lives. I ask them this in the name of the Son of God who, though rejecting
sin, never rejected the sinner."(MV19). In the Pope's words we
hear re-echoed the words of Jesus: "Those who are well have no
need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the
righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:17). Pope Francis says clearly:
"this does not mean that justice should be devalued or rendered
superfluous. On the contrary: anyone who makes a mistake must pay the
price. However, this is just the beginning of conversion, not its end,
because one begins to feel the tenderness and mercy of God. God does
not deny justice. He rather envelopes it and surpasses it with an even
greater event in which we experience love as the foundation of true
In his infinite pedagogical wisdom, in fact, God knows well that the
law is not enough to make his creatures mature in love and self-giving.
A commandment is not enough for us to learn to love and forgive - we
need to have received the gift of love and forgiveness freely given.
It is no mere coincidence that the Pharisees and the teachers of the
law, the experts on what is "right", were the fiercest opponents
of Jesus. It was to them, the people who objected to his familiarity
with sinners, that he told the parables of mercy (Luke 15). The first
step, then, is for us to reconcile justice and mercy within ourselves,
and the way to do this is in prayer. Humbly and with an open heart we
ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten the places in our lives where there
is tension between justice and mercy. In family or community life, at
work or in the Christian community, where do I tend to be legalistic?
Where am I too permissive?
Not with blows
Every Christian educator must be able to harmonize justice and mercy
as they are harmonized in God. Even Don Bosco had to learn this. He
tells us about his spontaneous reaction in his dream at the age of nine
to the young people who were swearing: "On hearing these bad words,
I jumped immediately among them, using words and fists and to stop them."
Jesus told him to intervene "not with blows but with gentleness
and love" and to teach his companions the ugliness of sin and the
beauty of virtue." The words of Jesus did not produce immediately
the desired effect. John was confused and frightened to the point of
tears by that request which appeared "impossible".
And we should not think naively that when morning came, the words heard
in the dream and the symbolism of the wild animals turned into lambs
were suddenly clearly understood. Almost ten years later, in fact, in
1832 we see John, the enterprising founder of the Società dell'allegria
(the Joy Club), now thinking about entering the seminary, reacting the
way he did as a nine-year old in the dream, when he witnessed the injustice
committed by some arrogant companions against his friend Luigi Comollo.
"At this sight I felt the blood boil in my veins," he says.
The rest of the story is well known: John lost his head. He grabbed
a boy by the shoulders and used him as a human club to knock the others
to the ground. Comollo later remarked: "My friend, your strength
frightens me, but believe me, God did not give you that strength to
kill your companions. He wants us to love, to forgive one another and
to do good to those who harm us." John admired Comollo's gentleness
in correcting him and his ability to forgive his companions, and he
allowed himself to be helped by him to grow in obedience, meekness and
gentleness of manner.
Conforming our hearts to the heart of Jesus is a long journey. It requires
faith and patience on our part as creatures, and on the part of the
Creator. Led by the Holy Spirit and by Mary Help of Christians, Don
Bosco succeeded in becoming so gentle and so tenacious that those who
met him felt the love of God the Father radiating from his whole person.
In his "Letter on punishments", written to the Salesians in
1883, we find the famous phrase that sums up admirably his experience
as an educator: "Remember that education is a matter of the heart,
and that God alone is the master. We will not succeed in anything, unless
God teaches us the art, and gives us the keys into our hands. We must
learn to make ourselves loved, to instil in the young a sense of duty
and the holy fear of God, and then we will see with what admirable ease
we will open the doors of many hearts. They will join us in singing
the praises and blessings of the one who is our model, our way, our
example in everything, but especially in the education of youth."
And for Don Bosco, the sacrament of Confession was a privileged place
for education of the heart. In Confession he was able to help the boys
gradually to return to their true selves, to recognize their responsibility
and, at the same time, to experience the fatherly goodness of God and
his forgiveness, and to receive directly from God the strength to improve.
This was how wolves were turned into lambs!
We ask ourselves: in our educational activity, as parents or as consecrated
parents, do we help children and young people to approach Confession
I will give you a teacher
However, in the same letter, Don Bosco asks the question: "Does
this mean we should never use punishments?" In fact, God himself
"chose to compare himself to a vigilant rod: virga vigilans, to
keep us from sin, also though fear of punishment. We too can imitate
sparingly and prudently the way that God deals us with us in this effective
image. So we too can use the rod of punishment, but we do so with intelligence
and love, so that our punishment will be such as to make the young person
better." In fact, the entire Bible is full of the lightning of
"righteous anger", from that of Moses and the prophets who,
in the name of God, railed against the infidelity of the people, to
that of Jesus towards the dealers in the Temple. Some of the Fathers
of the Church, including St John Chrysostom, even argue that "one
who does not get angry when there is reason to do so, commits a sin."
Lactantius also writes that "grace cannot exist without anger"
because "anger itself is evidence of grace." The wrath of
God, however, is different from ours, since it is not an irrational
passion: "God is not dominated by anger, but controls it as he
pleases." In the Old Testament the wrath of God is one with his
zeal for the alliance and with his jealous love for the people of Israel,
to whom he is attached "as a young man marries a virgin" (Is
62.5) and by whom he is constantly betrayed.
As far as we are concerned, we must first recognize that anger is a
feeling and, as Pascal Ide writes, every feeling "is morally neutral,
or indeed, is psychologically good. Anger provides psychological energy
that reason alone cannot arouse. Anger occurs when there is injustice."
It becomes "a morally legitimate force when it is used in the service
of justice," in compliance with three conditions: 1) right intention;
2) right target; 3) proportionate response. In a word: at the centre
of our attention there must always be the true good of the other. This
is the compass that should guide us in speaking and in silence, in intervening
or suffering patiently. To give a few examples: the eldest son in the
parable (Luke 15.25 to 32) got angry because he felt unfairly treated.
However, he did not care about the salvation of his brother, but sought
only his own interests. He showed no love for either his father or his
brother, and so his anger was not at the service of justice. In the
parable of the merciless servant (Mt 18.23 to 35), we have a disproportionate
reaction: the servant threatened to throw his fellow-servant into prison
for the sake of a hundred denarii. Even though he had experienced mercy,
he was not able to act justly.
It is also important to know ourselves well. As the dictionary of spirituality
wisely says: "Those of a fiery temperament"- and this was
the case of Don Bosco! "are too ready to think that their anger
is justified. In general they would do well to draw inspiration from
the teaching of St. Francis de Sales, to be wary of their own judgment
and be more inclined to gentleness. There are others who are weak and
lack strength of character because they are fearful of responsibility.
They err on the side of human caution and are over-inclined to the soft
solution. It would be appropriate for them to choose to act strongly.
Both types should try to find the "golden mean" and to observe
it. This would avoid many unjustified outbursts of anger and many forms
of weakness that are too easily accepted."
"I will give you a teacher" Jesus said to John in the dream
at the age of nine. "Under her guidance you will become wise and
without her all wisdom is foolishness." In fact, justice and mercy
are beautifully harmonized in Mary. Although untouched by sin, she -
more than any other - is the refuge of sinners. In Psalm 84, all the
themes of our reflection are woven together in a beautiful prayer, in
which the psalmist asks God to give to the people mercy and faithfulness,
justice and salvation. A good spiritual exercise to unify these two
inescapable desires of our heart is to pray every day with the words
of this Psalm, knowing that they have already been fully realized in
Mary, and humbly asking God to realize that harmony in each of us.
TURIN - COUNCIL PRIMARY ADMA (PART TWO)
On Sunday 1 November 2015, the Solemnity of All Saints, members of the
Primary Council gathered with their families for a full day of sharing.
In the light and grace of the Congress of Mary Help of Christians, celebrated
last August in Turin, and reflecting on the experience shared in these
years, each one tried to answer these questions:
- What does it mean for me and for my family to be part of ADMA?
- What aspect do I think it is important to pay more attention to in
the life of the Association?
David: for us ADMA is the second great gift we have received from the
Salesian Family. Previously we had been animators for many years, then
we were able to enter as adults in this great family. We have become
part of a network that allows everyone to be involved according to their
Clare: we found confirmation of our Salesian vocation, through a public
commitment in the Salesian Family. It's something that we did not choose
but it happened to us, with the seal of Don Bosco and the creativity
of Mary. Typical of the things of God: not the way we thought, but much
better! It seems important to us as a group for the Salesian Family
to hold on to something that may be a bit lost, that is real and true
relationships, a sharing of hearts, a network of cordial relations,
a home that welcomes. In relations with the SDB and FMA maybe there's
a need to interact with mature adults, not only young people, or people
suffering from problems or individualism. We need to create occasions
when we support each other, trying sometimes to help not only in work
but also spiritually. We can give the consecrated persons our experience
and acceptance of ordinary everyday family life.
Fr Pierluigi: we need to pay more attention to rethinking the role and
the formation of the spiritual animators of ADMA groups. Don Bosco had
dreamed of a prophetic community of consecrated and lay people together,
sharing life and sharing responsibilities. ADMA was founded in Turin
and has been renewed from Turin - this is a good omen for everyone.
Sr. Marilena: I have been spiritual animator for 4 years and I have
found it a very beautiful reality that has enriched me a lot. It is
a pity if we cannot share this reality deeply with another consecrated
Walter: for us the key words of our way of life are: Our Lady, Eucharist,
the Rosary, Young people and Medjugorje. Every retreat is a kind of
refocussing and purifying of our objective in life. We have received
the great gift of profound human friendships in Christ. For the future,
I think as we go on it will be harder to maintain the warmth of relationships
between us. The higher our numbers the lower our level of friendship
will be. We must pay attention to this risk and seek the truth in depth.
And without fear! In the Bible the people of God were always fighting,
and it is the same with us because of the sin of each one of us.
Simonetta: in this we are helped a lot by the testimony of the saints
of the Salesian Family. We should learn from their example to take small
steps, with great humility.
Marianna: for me it is important to find mothers with whom I can share
the difficulties we have with our children, and to meet other families
with children that share a journey of faith.
Fr Pierluigi: the support young families give to children is also a
very important affective formation. In Youth Ministry it is a useful
educational process oriented towards different vocations.
Sergio: I believe that ADMA is a great help in the education of children,
and as a support in fidelity to our vocation as spouses, encouraging
not only feeling and emotion but also ongoing formation in obedience
to one another and to the Lord. Formation to emotion and relationships
with others is important.
Cecilia: In ADMA I have found true and sincere friends of the soul.
I have discovered Mary as a mother who helps us to grow in our availability.
I have received the grace of getting to know people who have gone before
us in holiness.
Rosanna: Mary has taught me to stop thinking "it's not up to me"
and replace it with "Yes, it is up to me" and at the same
time to offer to Mary my inability to do everything, not even one tenth
of what is to be done. I believe that the main task of ADMA in the Salesian
Family is precisely to teach us to pray, and the fundamental importance
of Eucharistic adoration, and also to see how difficult it is to accept
suffering, even for consecrated persons.
Seeing our children grow, and seeing the dreams of collaboration between
the various groups bear fruit gradually fills us with joy and emotion:
Mary sees our efforts and uses them to accomplish her plans and the
Glory of God, at times that are not up to us to decide.
BOURNEMOUTH (UNITED KINGDOM) - SECOND ADMA GROUP FOUNDED
The second group of ADMA in England was officially launched on 8 December
2015, Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the opening of the Year
of Mercy, with a solemn Mass concelebrated by Fr Darryl Jordan, Parish
Priest of the Parish of St. Thomas More; our national animator, Fr Francis
Preston, SDB; and Msgr. Ronald Hishom. More than fifty people were present,
including a Delegation from ADMA in London, represented by Mary and
We started our day with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, confessions,
Rosary, litanies and prayers to Mary Help of Christians. Mass followed
with the blessing of the statue of Mary Help of Christians and the conferral
of the Diploma of Erection and of Aggregation of the second group of
ADMA in the UK. It was in the Church of St Thomas More in London that
the first group of ADMA in England was started by Mother Eugenia Pantalleresco
more than 30 years ago. Our new group consists of 10 members from different
countries: England, Ireland, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mauritius. During
the Mass, Fr Francis preached on Mary Help of Christians, recalling
the beginning of Don Bosco's work on 8 December 1841 and the beginning
of the Year of Mercy. He encouraged all present to make known the love
that Mary our Mother and Help has for us. There was a time of celebration
I want to thank the priests Fr Darryl, Fr Francis, Fr Ron, as well as
Tim and Barry of the liturgy team. They have given us this opportunity
to celebrate and expand the Salesian Family in England. I thank especially
our Spiritual Animator Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, who brought the statue
of Mary Help of Christians from the Basilica of Turin through France
to England. He told us that Our Lady was happy to make the trip to our
family and that Our Lady loves us very much. We will bear in mind what
Mother Eugenia and Fr Pierluigi told us, that Mary Help of Christians
wanted a new home where she could bless England, and found this home
in a church dedicated to St. Thomas More, a martyr who defended the
family and the sacrament of marriage.
We hope and pray that St Dominic Savio, who saw the conversion of England
in a vision, will help us promote and increase the number of devotees
and especially love for the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Mary Help
of Christians in this part of the world.
Our sincere thanks to our president Mr Tullio Lucca and all the organizers
and groups of ADMA that helped and inspired us during the Congress to
strengthen our faith and love for Mary Help of Christians. Blessings
to each and every one of the members of ADMA in the world and to the
whole Salesian Family (Romy Rosario Powles, with his family).
TURIN - ADMA PRIMARY
As is the tradition, on 8 December, Feast of the Immaculate Conception,
the Salesian Family in Turin gathered at the Church of St. Francis of
Assisi to commemorate the beginning of the oratory, recalling the meeting
of Don Bosco and Bartholomew Garelli. The Eucharist was presided over
by Fr Stefano Mondin, ICP Delegate for Youth Ministry, while ADMA animated
the celebration. With that Hail Mary recited with the first boy, Don
Bosco entrusted to Mary all the young people of all his works
PORTO ALEGRE (BRAZIL) - SIXTH PROVINCIAL MEETING OF ADMA
The Salesian Province of Saint Pius X (Brazil - Porto Alegre) held its
Sixth Provincial Meeting of ADMA on 27 September 2015, at the Provincial
House of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Porto Alegre. The
event had as its theme "Mary Immaculate Help of Christians in the
mission of Don Bosco." It was attended by 75 members, coming from
the centres of Bage, Santa Rosa and Viamão (RS); Itajai, Joinville
and Massaranduba (SC); and Curitiba (PR). Among the participants were
the spiritual animators of Bagé, - Fr Juarez Testoni; Rio Grande
- Fr Tiago Rodrigues Lopes; and Joinville - Fr Severino Piccinini; Itajai
- Fr Márcio Lacoski; and also the provincial animator, Fr Tarcizio
The participants were helped through prayer to reflect on some attitudes
of Mary. Then there was the introduction of the participants and the
recitation of the Rosary, led by the members of the centre of Curitiba.
A rosary was formed on the ground with flowers while the Hail Mary was
being recited. Sister Claudete and Sister Marcia Koffermann presented
in a dynamic way the role of Mary, the Immaculate Help of Christians,
in the life of Don Bosco.
In the afternoon the Centres presented their activities and the work
carried out during 2015. This was followed by the celebration of the
Eucharist at which the Provincial Fr Asídio Deretti presided.
He encouraged all the participants to continue to work with courage
in the mission of the Salesian Family. He recalled the motto of the
last International Congress, "From the house of Mary to our homes."
The meeting ended with a friendly celebration. Thanks for the welcome
given by the Salesian Sisters of the provincial house of Santa Teresa,
and in particular, by the Provincial, Sister Maria Floriani.
MISSIONARY PRAYER INTENTION - JANUARY 2016
That the Lord may inspire and sustain our communities in welcoming and
caring for Christian refugees from the Middle East, who form part of
the large crowd of refugees in the region.
SAINT OF THE MONTH - JANUARY 2016
The Servant of God Fr Constantine Vendrame (1893-1957), was a zealous
missionary in the North East of India and great devotee of the Sacred
Heart. In his missionary notes he wrote: "Being able to trust means
walking along a closed road between two places: the absolute distrust
of oneself and unlimited confidence in God, without any conditions or
reservations. Being able to trust in the merciful love of God ... No
one is more needy and naked, no one more sick or hungry and thirsty,
than those who lack the knowledge and grace of God".
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ADMA HEADQUARTERS, Torino-Valdocco,
ADMA | Santuario Maria Ausiliatrice | Via Maria
Ausiliatrice 32 | 10152 TORINO-VALDOCCO | ITALIA
Tel.: 0039-011-5224216 / Fax.: 0039-011-52224213
THE President OF ADMA: Signor Tullio LUCCA |E-mail: Tullio.Lucca@gmail.com
Spiritual Animator of ADMA:
Don Pier Luigi CAMERONI /Casa Generalizia
SDB - Via della Pisana 1111 - ROMA
3401452349 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Websites: www.donbosco-torino.it |
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