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|   Monthly Message : 24th may 2016      

Mary invites us to return to God and to prayer

In her motherly concern Mary sees how we are often in sin and living in sin. We are in sin, and often do not realize it. We make excuses and say that what is sin is not sin, and this is even worse. God wants our happiness now and in eternity and what robs us of the joy of life and the hope of heaven is sin, especially when justified and widespread. If we are in sin and if we have sinful habits, we have to come out of sin through conversion, by means of confession and also with the resolution not to sin again. We must become aware that living in sin is living in misery and evil and the first step to be taken is confession.
Our Lady is with us. She walks with us to invite us and to guide us, warning us that if we sin we are living in sadness and we are lost, not only in soul but also in body. She urges us to return to God and to prayer, so that we may be happy on earth and later in eternity. Our Lady does not want us to be sad. She desires our happiness. Unfortunately, today modern man focuses on himself: me, me, me. Our Lady calls us insistently to put God first in our lives."
Life is short, we should make use of this time to do good, for in doing good to others, we do good also to ourselves. We must be faithful to prayer because prayer leads us to be holier, better and closer to God. There is a secret and this secret is prayer that brings us closer to God and to Our Lady. We try to live good lives and bear witness to what is good and to pass on good to others, and this good is peace, serenity, joy and hope. All is well when we are with God.
We must show by the example of our lives that we are children of Mary, and that we are her joy. But to be her joy we must return to prayer, return to God, so that happiness and joy may reign on this earth. Let us take Mary as our model and imitate her and look to her always. In every moment of her life Mary had hope and courage, even when she stood beneath the Cross at the death of her Son. She sought out the apostles who had fled, desperate and afraid. She brought them to pray together until the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. Now Our Lady calls on us to pray for a new Pentecost for the people of today who are tired, exhausted, lost, desperate and sick, not only spiritually, but physically. They are confused by the many ideologies that are leading them on the wrong path.
As at Valdocco let us gather around Mary Help of Christians, sheltering under her protection, and become courageous witnesses of the Gospel. In our Association let us live a true Pentecost. Let us make our groups and our families small cenacles where we listen to the Word and remain joined in constant prayer, united in praying the rosary.
We promise each member and each group of ADMA a special remembrance on the feast of our Mother and Help on 24 May.

Lucca Tullio, President / Fr Pierluigi Cameroni SDB, Spiritual Animator

With Mary and like Mary. Rigenerated in his Mercy
Sr Linda Pocher FMA

9. The mercy of God is extended through our works

Rediscovering the works of mercy

It is the desire of Pope Francis, that, in this Holy Year, Christians may rediscover the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, to awaken their conscience that is too often "asleep in front of the drama of poverty, and to enter more and more into the heart of the Gospel, where the poor are the privileged recipients of divine mercy." We must not think that this is difficult work, requiring a lot of time or particular financial means. Rather it is a matter of very simple daily gestures that everyone can afford. Of these concrete gestures of love, the Lord Jesus has given us the first example and, in his preaching, he even offered us a "list" of works, so that "we can know whether or not we are living as His disciples" (Cf. Mt 25,31). At the end of our lives we will be judged on these works: "whether we have fed the hungry and given drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger and clothed the naked, or spent time with the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-45). Moreover, we will be asked if we have helped others to escape the doubt that causes them to fall into despair and which is often a source of loneliness; if we have helped to overcome the ignorance in which millions of people live, especially children deprived of the necessary means to free them from the bonds of poverty; if we have been close to the lonely and afflicted; if we have forgiven those who have offended us and have rejected all forms of anger and hate that lead to violence; if we have had the kind of patience God shows, who is so patient with us; and if we have commended our brothers and sisters to the Lord in prayer. In each of these "little ones," Christ himself is present. His flesh becomes visible in the flesh of the tortured, the crushed, the scourged, the malnourished, and the exiled … to be acknowledged, touched, and cared for by us. "(MV 15).
To meet poor people and those who are suffering, you don't need to go far away. They live in a suburb that is not geographical, but existential, as the Pope often says. First, then, you need to open your eyes, to recognize Jesus abandoned in a family or in a family member left to themselves; in the immigrant who comes to the door or waits outside the supermarket asking for alms; in the neighbour who is unemployed and finds it hard to make ends meet; in the troublesome boy who is picked on by everyone and is not helped by anyone; in the couple whose marriage is in difficulty; or in the parish priest, overloaded with work and worry, and frustrated at the lack of success in his pastoral ministry. "How many uncertain and painful situations there are in the world today! … Let us not fall into humiliating indifference or a monotonous routine that prevents us from discovering what is new! Let us ward off destructive cynicism! Let us open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognize that we are compelled to heed their cry for help! … May their cry become our own, and together may we break down the barriers of indifference that too often reign supreme and mask our hypocrisy and egoism! "(MV 15).
I should take time for an "eye test": do my eyes recognize the presence of Jesus in the poor, suffering and abandoned?

Love in deeds, not in words

In his apostolic exhortation on love in the family, commenting on the celebration of Charity of St. Paul (1 Cor 13), the Pope writes that "Paul wants to stress that love is more than a mere feeling. Rather, it should be understood along the lines of the Hebrew verb "to love"; it is "to do good". As Saint Ignatius of Loyola said, "Love is shown more by deeds than by words". It thus shows its fruitfulness and allows us to experience the happiness of giving, the nobility and grandeur of spending ourselves unstintingly, without asking to be repaid, purely for the pleasure of giving and serving."(Amoris Laetitia 94). The moment we open our eyes to contemplate God's mercy toward us and to recognize the presence of Jesus awaiting us in the least and the poorest of our brothers and sisters, then we also begin to feel growing in us the desire to love not "in word or speech but in truth and action" (1 Jn 3:18). And if we follow this good desire, that is inspired by God, with a firm decision of the will never to flinch in the face of those who are waiting for our help, then the habit of charity will gradually grow in us: love of neighbour will bring happiness here on earth, even if it means sacrifice, and we will have a great reward in heaven!
This must have been the experience of Mary. Although the gospels do not speak of it in detail, her life was certainly dotted with a multitude of small and great acts of charity. We see her care for her family of origin, as when she hurried to assist her cousin Elizabeth in her time of pregnancy. On that occasion the Virgin opened her heart to sing her Magnificat, revealing that she was aware of being an instrument of God's mercy that "is for those who fear him from generation to generation" (Lk 1, 50). We can imagine also her tender care as mother and wife towards Jesus and Joseph during those happy years in Nazareth. Like every woman in a family she fed, clothed and consoled them. These are little things, which, however, leave their mark in the future life of the children. In the privacy of domestic life they instil a way of life which is the foundation of a better future, a more careful and caring society. How can we fail to recognize the hand of his mother in the gentleness of Jesus? Can we not recognize Mary in the woman who makes bread, mixing a little yeast in "three measures of flour" (Luke 13:21)? When we think of the Master who bends down to wash the feet of his disciples (John 13) do we not think also of Mary's hands as she washed and dried the little feet of Jesus every day with patience and love?
But Mary's charity did not stop in the home. The episode of the wedding at Cana gives us a clue. Mary's eyes were wide open to recognize the needs of her neighbours and she was always ready to help, or, where necessary, to invite Jesus to intervene. We must not forget, in fact, that intercessory prayer is also a work of mercy! Mary was well accustomed to taking care of others. It was natural, therefore, that Jesus should entrust the Church to her right from its birth. The disciples who were lost and frightened, still weak in faith, were born again by the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost and through the motherly care of Mary. The same is true for us today. We are entrusted to the womb of Mary and of the Church, where we are protected and nourished by the Word and the Eucharist, till we reach the fullness of conformity to Christ, which is the fullness of charity.
The example of Jesus and Mary opens the way for us and shows us that it is possible to make mercy the pivot of our lives. This is what St Paul meant when he writes that we are saved "by grace" and "through faith". Good works, and works of mercy that make us active participants of the action of God on behalf of the poor and the suffering, do not come from us. They are a gift from God. "It is the gift of God - not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life." (Eph 2.8-10). The works of mercy are ready for each of us. They are already at hand in the events of our daily lives: it is only a matter of putting them into practice!
I should ask myself: what works of mercy are at hand for me at this moment of my life? Am I able to seize the opportunities to do them, or do I let myself be baulked by laziness, indifference or bad habits?

Persevere in love, even at the cost of sacrifice

Mamma Margaret, the saintly mother of Don Bosco, walked all her life in the footsteps of Mary. Like Mary, Margaret littered her life with small and great acts of charity towards her loved ones and towards all. At the age of 24 she accepted the marriage proposal of a young widower, Francis Bosco, which meant taking care of a paralyzed mother-in-law and little Antonio, Francis's son by the former marriage. When her husband died, only five years later, she found himself in poverty, alone, with three children and her mother-in-law. Despite the dramatic situation, Margaret was for her children the living presence of Mary: a tender mother, a careful and firm educator, with a resolute will and great practical sense, especially skilled in the art of introducing her children to a right relationship with God the Father, provident creator and merciful God. The extreme poverty in which she found herself did not stop her from coming to the rescue of those who were even poorer. In the evening she used to leave a bowl of soup on the window sill, so that any poor tramp who happened to be wandering the neighbourhood could relieve his hunger. and she never refused a bit of polenta to those who came knocking on her door.

Her life reached a turning point in 1846, when Don Bosco asked her to come to Valdocco, to "be a mother" to the children of the Oratory. She was then 58 years old and living like a queen at the Becchi with her other two sons and her grandchildren. Margaret agreed, convinced that her son's request represented the Lord's will for her. When she reached Valdocco she was met with a poor bare house, many mouths to be fed, many hearts that needed consoling and a pile of linen to be mended. With the outbreak of the revolutions in 1848, the boys of the Oratory wanted nothing else but to play at war. Don Bosco played along and, to prevent them from getting injured, he invited to the Oratory a friend, who had been a soldier, asking him to form a miniature regiment among the boys that they could practise military manoeuvres. One Sunday afternoon, however, the army ended up in Mamma Margaret's garden. The boys destroyed everything. The poor woman could not believe her eyes. This was the last straw.
That night, after the boys have gone to bed, Margaret remained as usual in the kitchen tidying the linen, while Don Bosco sat at the table mending shoes. At one point, the mother broke down and asked John to let her go back to the Becchi: "I am a poor old woman," she said. "I work from morning to night work for these boys and now they have destroyed everything on me." Don Bosco did not tell a joke to cheer her up. He said nothing but simply made a gesture, pointing to the crucifix hanging on the wall. Margaret understood and, at that moment, her motherhood expanded like that of Mary at the foot of the cross. She bowed her head on the bundle of socks with holes in them and the torn shirts, and carried on sewing. She never again asked to go back to the Becchi. She spent her last years among those rough noisy boys who needed a mother. She would raise her eyes every now and then to the crucifix to find strength, and she continued to follow the teachings of her simple and profound faith, her practical common sense and her motherly kindness and goodness.

If we want to love like Jesus and Mary, it is normal to expect both roses and thorns. The poor whom we treat as our neighbours do not live up to our expectations and this is part of their poverty. However, the experience of ingratitude, of apparent failure, of sacrifices made in vain, can gradually expand our hearts, till they become filled with the patience and mercy of God.

I should ask myself: am I able to persevere in love, even when it requires sacrifice of me?


Rome - First seminar on promoting the causes of beatification and canonization of the Salesian Family.
A special seminar: a Grace to share - Salesian Holiness: "We contemplate and recognize the action of the Spirit who works wonders"
The first seminar for the promotion of the cause of beatification and canonization in the Salesian Family, took place at the Salesianum in Rome from 6 to 10 April. There were over 120 participants (among them also a large group of lay people) from all continents.
The course - coordinated by the Postulator General, Fr Pierluigi Cameroni - turned out to be rich in content and full of food for thought for the participants: one of the objectives of the seminar was precisely to enhance appreciation of the spiritual, pastoral and educational heritage of Salesian holiness. Many aspects of holiness were highlighted by the speakers: Cardinal Angelo Amato (Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints) spoke about the pastoral and spiritual importance of saints in the Church. Monsignor Sarno (an Official of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints) examined the subject of the miracle from the aspects of science and theology. Other experts spoke on many themes that met with great interest.
The sharing of some experiences of promotion of the causes of beatification was also enriching. Some examples of miracles were presented (also by other postulators including those of the Dominicans and Capuchins).
It was a real moment of fraternity among the participants. Notable - and at the same time "typically Salesian" - were the presence and participation of Mother Yvonne and the Rector Major Fr Angel. The latter invited all to travel together in the adventure of the Spirit in the company of our saints. He urged the participants to get to know and make known these champions of faith and charity, praying to them and asking them to pray for us, and especially to imitate them in wanting to be saints.
The group work and exchange of experiences and initiatives among the various participants were also an encouragement. The seminar was a beautiful moment of worthwhile sharing that enabled everyone to return home with a collection of rich experiences.
The figure of the saint was outlined as one who faithfully walks the streets of this world, sometimes in the dark, because he himself is the light. The saint is one who deals with the ordinary things of life with love (which means the will to do good rather than to feel good) and with stubbornness in doing the will of God despite whatever difficulties there might be, and always choosing hope The real miracle is therefore not (only) an illness that is healed inexplicably, but a heart that is changed, demonstrating the greatness and power of divine grace.
I am writing this on the journey back home. I have a window seat and - since the plane is flying above the clouds - I have a fresh look at the sky, meditating on the "communion of saints". I smile as I think about the many fine figures of holiness in heaven, especially in light of the many beautiful challenges - for a personal inner change - that emerged during the seminar.
(Alessio Sodano, a member ADMA who participated in the seminar)

The 10th Pilgrimage Regional of ADMA took place on Sunday 17 April 2016 in the town of Adrano where there is a Shrine dedicated to Mary Help of Christians with a precious statue of Our Lady donated by Blessed Michael Rua, first successor of Don Bosco.
The Centres involved were: Adrano, Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, Calatabiano, Canicatti, Capaci, Casteltermini, Catania San Francesco, Catania Maria Ausiliatrice, Catania Canalicchio, Floridia, Gela, Marsala, Messina, Misilmeri, Modica Alta, Palagonia, Palermo, San Cataldo and Syracuse, with a total of 470 Members.
After the greetings of the Regional President, Joseph Auteri, the day began with the prayer "Mary, Mother of Mercy and Tenderness", led by the Provincial Animator Sr Carmelina Cappello. Next was a talk given by the Salesian Provincial, Fr Pippo Ruta, on Mary's Mercy, inspired by the work of Don Bosco "The Wonders of the Mother of God" and in light of the ADMA Rules. This was followed by a welcome word of greeting from Archbishop Gristina of Catania.
In the afternoon the Rector of the Shrine with the local ADMA group, organized a moment of prayer with the recitation of the Holy Rosary on the main street of Adrano, carrying in procession, after an interval of 13 years, the statue of Mary Help of Christians from the Shrine to the Mother Church of Adrano. At the end Mass was celebrated with the Provincial animator Fr Angelo Grasso presiding.
At the end of Mass, the groups carried the statue of Our Lady back to the Shrine, waving blue and white handkerchiefs in honour of Mary Help of Christians. A fireworks display followed. We all returned home enriched and happy, ever more conscious of having a Mother who loves us so much! (Joseph Auteri, Regional President).

On 24 April 2016 the members of ADMA in the Philippines had a meeting of the Provincial Council at the St John Bosco Hall, Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati City. The Council meeting was attended by representatives of 13 chapters from the Metro Manila district, Pasay, Laguna and Pampanga. This is the annual meeting of all the members of local councils, when there are reports on the situation of each group, the most important activities, and the situation of the members. In addition, the National President, Mrs. Maria Juniper Maliglig, presented an update regarding ADMA in the Philippines.
This was also an opportunity to commemorate and celebrate the 147th anniversary of the foundation of ADMA and to remember during Holy Mass the sick members and those who have died. Fr Nestor Impelido, SDB, Provincial Animator, presided at the Mass. After Mass the members renewed their commitment to ADMA.

The World Spiritual Animator of ADMA and Postulator General for the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Congregation, Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, was welcomed on April 25 to the Salesian Province of Campo Grande and the Salesian Mission of Mato Grosso. The purpose of his visit was to get to know the history and the missionary identity of this province and to meet 11 ADMA groups and other groups of the Salesian Family.
He was met at the airport in Campo Grande by the local presidents of ADMA, and a group of Salesian post-novices accompanied by the Vice-Provincial Fr Adalberto Alves de Jesus and the Rector of the post-novitiate, Fr Elias Roberto.
Fr Cameroni will visit Campo Grande, Cuiabá, Bar Herons, Meruri, Araguaiana, Poxoréu and Primavera do Leste.

The charism of the Servants of Mary of Refuge, a Congregation of the Servite Family, is a gift of the Spirit to the Church to be shared with the laity in their family life, work, relationships, social and pastoral commitment. Through them also, the charism, begun by Mother M. Elisa and the first sisters, is renewed and is spreading further and further, going out to new spaces for sharing and evangelization in the ecclesial and social situation where they find themelves. There are many lay people belonging to the Association of Our Lady of Sorrows in its renewed form in the spirit of Vatican II. ON 3 March 2014 the Association of Our Lady of Sorrows received the approval of the Congregation for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life as a Work of the Congregation and from 31 March to 3 April 2016 they celebrated the Second International Gathering of the Association in Rovigo, electing the new council. Their internationality was an achievement ... now the commitment is to strengthen and consolidate ... In communion with you that the Virgin Mother be recognized, loved and praised! (Sr Maria Grazia Comparini, Assistant General).

Missionary Intention
For the Salesian communities throughout Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands) that the common prayer of the Rosary may bring the joy of the Gospel to our young people and lay collaborators wherever we are.

Testimony of Salesian holiness
We remember the Servant of God Fr Carlo Crespi (1891-1982), a missionary in Ecuador. He imitated Christ in his preferential love for the poor, in drawing near to the little ones, in his concern for sinners, and in disregard for himself, always with great humility, reflected in the simplicity of his actions. In a letter of 1929 he wrote: "Rev. Fr Ricaldone, I am ready for work, for sacrifice, for everything: every day, however, the Lord shows me the tenderness of his love and guides me to sacrifice. Would that I could respond and work always for his glory. "

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   THE President OF ADMA: Signor Tullio LUCCA |E-mail:  Tullio.Lucca@gmail.com   
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