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: ASSOCIATION OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS
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Monthly Message : 24th october 2016
encourages us to make sure that prayer is life
Don Bosco founded the Association
of Mary Help of Christians because he was amazed and surprised by the
innumerable graces and miracles that people attributed to the intercession
of the Help of Christians: "Every corner, every brick of this sacred
edifice is reminiscent of a benefit, a grace obtained by this august
Queen of Heaven." Mary is our help: we need to pray to her, to
invoke her and to call on her mediation and patronage.
A typical characteristic of a member of ADMA is the ability to recognize
the graces received through the intercession of Mary Help of Christians,
of Don Bosco, and of the saints and blesseds of the Salesian Family
and to know how to give thanks, to report favours received, and to give
an offering towards Salesian works. The true devotees of Mary Help of
Christians are able to recognize the signs of her presence and her love,
and for this they invoke her and thank her with a pure and open heart
Mary urges us to draw inspiration for our earthly life from her example.
Her life was a web of joy and pain, of silence and an immense faith
and trust in her Heavenly Father. Her whole life reminds us that nothing
happens by accident: neither pain, nor joy, nor suffering, nor love.
They are all graces given by God to lead us to eternal life. Mary teaches
us to love and pray in Jesus and with Jesus, that is, to pray in the
silence of our own soul and not only with our lips. We can love and
pray even with the smallest gesture made in the name of her Son, such
as patience, mercy, acceptance of pain and sacrifices made for others.
Mary urges us to live our prayer in union with God, in harmony with
him, so that all prayer may be life. Only then will our hearts be filled
with peace and joy, we will experience God as a close friend and talk
with him as someone we know, enjoying familiarity with him and knowing
that he is alive in our hearts. Mary wants our prayer to be a face-to-face
conversation with God, talking to Jesus and listening to Jesus. When
the prayer of our lips enters the heart and the mind, then we become
witnesses that we cannot live without God. We are created in his image,
and we cannot live without Him. God comes to our level, he draws us
out of darkness and tells us: "Look, you're wrong, come back, I'm
here as a merciful Father, I am here as your hope, your peace, your
joy, and you will not find joy apart from the joy I give you."
Let us make a decision to live in profound communion with God and to
prefer our friendship with him to any other good. Mary is with us and
We extend a special greeting to the new Rector of the Basilica of Mary
Help of Christians, Fr Cristian Besso, whom we in the Primary ADMA Council
have already had occasion to meet. We wish him all the best in his mission
and assure him of our support and prayer. Article 9 of our Rules says.
"The Association of Mary Help of Christians is vitally united to
the Shrine of Valdocco in Turin. We can truly say that Mary not only
intervened in the construction of the Basilica, according to the testimony
of Don Bosco, but from there she extended her patronage worldwide. For
that reason the Association is called to remain united to this holy
place." For this charismatic and historic bond we wish to grow
in communion and collaboration with the Rector of the Basilica and the
whole pastoral community of the Shrine
Tullio, President / Fr Pierluigi Cameroni SDB, Spiritual Animator
programme: Amoris Laetitia
2. The situation
of the family and the challenges facing families
Silvio Roggia, SDB
Quoting John Paul II,
Pope Francis begins the second chapter of Amoris Laetitia saying that
we do well to focus on concrete realities, since "the call and
the demands of the Spirit resound in the events of history",
and through these "the Church can also be guided to a more profound
understanding of the inexhaustible mystery of marriage and the family".
Libera nos Domine
With a realistic look,
the Pope and the Synod Fathers touched on the great challenges that
the family is facing in today's world. Seeing them one after the other
they look like the sorrowful litany of requests for help that we used
to recite in Latin when I was a child on rogation days, early in the
morning when priest and people went in procession through the fields
and vineyards praying: "A fulgure et tempestate .... Libera nos
Domine!" (from lightning and tempest, deliver us Lord!).
There is an exaggerated individualism that distorts family ties. The
pace of modern life, stress, social organization and work, and other
cultural factors endanger the very possibility of permanent choices.
Genuine freedom is confused with the idea that everyone can decide
as they please. The theological ideal of marriage is too abstract,
almost artificially constructed, and so far removed from the actual
situation and the real possibilities of families that marriage seems
no longer desirable and attractive, but quite the opposite. Emotional
relationships have become like what happens to objects and the environment
- everything has become disposable, to be used and then thrown away,
wasted and broken. We live in a culture that encourages young people
not to start a family, because they have few possibilities for the
future. Marital crises are frequently met abruptly without the courage
needed for patience, evaluation, mutual forgiveness, reconciliation
and even sacrifice. The consumer society may also dissuade people
from having children just to maintain their freedom and their way
of life. There is a general feeling of helplessness in the face of
the socio-economic reality that often ends up crushing families. The
sexual exploitation of children constitutes one of the most scandalous
and perverse realities of today's society. Migration is another sign
of the times to be faced and understood with all its consequences
for family life. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are serious threats
to families all over the world. Families are often sick because of
the enormous anxiety they face. From all this ... deliver us, Lord!
Having our feet firmly on earth does not in any way stop us from looking
up and seeing into the far distance. At the end of this second chapter,
Pope Francis quote the bishops of Colombia saying forcefully that
despite these situations in which families live today we have every
reason to hope, and to transform life through the power of love.
The situations that concern us are challenges. We should not be trapped
into wasting our energy in doleful laments, but rather seek new forms
of missionary creativity. In every situation that presents itself,
"the Church is conscious of the need to offer a word of truth
The great values of marriage and the Christian family
correspond to a yearning that is part and parcel of human existence."
If we see any number of problems, these should be, as the Bishops
of Colombia have said, a summons to "revive our hope and to make
it the source of prophetic visions, transformative actions and creative
forms of charity". (AL57)
The wisdom hidden in the
There is a reading in
the breviary in which St. Augustine sixteen centuries ago chided the
faithful of Hippo when they lamented the 'good old days' and complained
of the troubles of their own age. Every time has its challenges and
its gifts and our time is the best time we have to give the best of
ourselves, since it is the only time available to us. But from the
past we can learn not to be frightened or discouraged in our day.
Since we have already rewritten the litanies in the preceding paragraphs,
we may as well stay on the same wavelength and take a look at that
long litany of names that begins the Gospel of Matthew, which presents
the family tree right down to "Joseph the husband of Mary, of
whom was born Jesus who is called Christ "(Mt 1:16). It is a
concentration of history in the most concise possible form: each generation
enclosed in a simple name.
Yet those names say a lot. They reveal dangerous curves, radiant moments
but also dark nights among the ancestors of the family of Nazareth,
in which God chose to be born and grow.
It is not necessary to browse through the history of each of them.
We shall take only two verses, 5 and 6, because they relate to a well-known
and particularly important link in this chain, namely David.
"Salmon was the father of Booz by Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed
by Ruth, and Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of
King David. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah."
This is a beautiful account of the past of the family of Jesus because
it reveals the ups and downs of the family history of each of us.
Rahab is the prostitute of Jericho who facilitated the entry of the
Israelites into the Promised Land (the second chapter of the book
of Joshua). Ruth is a foreigner who migrated to the territory of Israel
from Moab, beyond the Dead Sea, because of famine, and she was the
grandmother of David. As for Solomon, it is not easy to forget the
circumstances of his birth. David fell in love with Bathsheba as he
spied on her while she was bathing, and he orchestrates things from
bad to worse, even to the killing of Uriah her husband in order to
cover up the adultery that he, the king, had committed (2 Samuel,
The Word of God! Certainly. Our history as it is: that is where God
came to pitch his tent, to become flesh, so that it becomes the history
"Every person is a sacred history". This is one of the great
books of Jean Vanier, founder of the l'Arche communities, a man who
experienced the suffering of millions of families around the world.
Every one of our stories embodies the same mystery of death and resurrection
that is in the whole history of mankind, depicted without any omissions
in the history from Adam to the marriage of the Lamb with the new
Jerusalem, with which the last page of the Bible concludes.
Was the story of Mary from Nazareth to the Cenacle, with the station
that has the weight of an endless AMEN under the cross (Stabat Mater!),
any less demanding, any less rooted in difficult times? It is heartening
to see that the beginning of Jesus' ministry coincides with a family
story that starts right from the day of the wedding, and it is Mary,
in a country village 14 km from her home, who transformed a critical
moment into what happened "in Cana of Galilee, the beginning
of the signs performed by Jesus; He revealed his glory, and his disciples
believed in him "(Jn 2:11).
It is equally encouraging to note that the beginnings of the family
of the Church, with Mary as mother of John and the others, as related
by Luke in the first chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, was not
all rosy. We read of persecutions, the fraud of Ananias and Sapphira,
the problems associated with the growth of the community, where "the
Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were
being neglected in the daily distribution of food." (Acts 6:
1), and the dispersal after the stoning of Stephen ... These were
the days of Pentecost, but they were not immune from the strain that
we have already seen, with which we are dealing today and which will
be part of our pilgrimage in this valley of tears for ever and ever.
We listen again to what Pope Francis says:
If we see any number of problems, these should be, as the Bishops
of Colombia have said, a summons to "revive our hope and to make
it the source of prophetic visions, transformative actions and creative
forms of charity". (AL57).
The kairos of Marian devotions
KAIROS is one of the most
precious words of the Gospel. It is Greek for a favourable moment,
the fulfilment of the promises, the 'day of salvation'. We hear it
at the reading of the Mass that opens the Lenten journey. But it is
the same word that is used to denote spring or autumn. It is the word
in New Testament Greek for 'season'.
3 November 1846 was the season or kairos for Don Bosco to return to
Turin after a long convalescence following the disease that had almost
brought him to the grave and from which the prayers of his boys had
saved him. He came all the way on foot (33 km) together with his mother,
Margaret, whom he has asked to come to act as a mother to his boys.
Margaret was a member of the confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows
in Castelnuovo. The president was the mother of Joseph Cafasso, the
holy priest four years older than Don Bosco who guided him in everything.
Let's put together the pieces of this mosaic. John Bosco grew up at
Becchi learning to pray to Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of
Sorrows, in the early part of his life, marked by suffering: the death
of his father, the poverty that often amounted to misery, having to
leave home for three years because of misunderstandings with his brother
Anthony. Our Lady, the Mother of sorrows, was the constant presence
that gave him strength to continue in that little house at the Becchi.
She was the one who taught him to 'make himself humble, strong and
robust', in preparation for a future that was to be no less challenging
than what he had already experienced in his childhood.
As a teenager at Chieri John learned to trust unreservedly the 'Madonna
delle Grazie', Our Lady of Grace whom his dear friend Comollo taught
him to love. Among the graces he received - and for which we in the
whole Salesian Family are immensely grateful to Mary - there was the
grace of being able to say yes to his vocation and enter the seminary.
It was not something that could be taken for granted for a young man
living in Chieri at that time. The 'kairos' was resolutely determined,
according to Don Bosco himself, on the ninth day of the novena to
know 'what he should to do with his life', the novena that he and
Comollo had just made at the altar of Our Lady of Grace in the Cathedral
Here they are now, John and Margaret, arriving on foot at Valdocco.
His mother consoled herself jokingly when they entered the Pinardi
House and she saw the empty room: "At the Becchi I was busy every
day putting things in order, cleaning the furniture and washing the
dishes. Here I will be able rest a lot more!" Just ten minutes
away from Valdocco there is the Shrine of the Consolata. The first
statue of Mary that Don Bosco brought to Valdocco was a papier maché
statue of Our Lady of Consolation. Mary was the source of all consolation
because she was the one who more than any other received the Spirit
who is the Consoler. She was the 'Consolata', the one consoled. Again,
there was perfect harmony between the presence of Mary through this
devotion and the season of life that Don Bosco was going through.
Don Bosco and Mamma Margaret will soon become the family of hundreds
of orphans. They will be the source of consolation and comfort for
many children who have lost the warmth of a home.
If we allow ourselves to be accompanied by Mary, who knows how to
be close to us in the right way at each new stage of life, as only
mothers know, every season or kairos is perfect and tailor made for
us and for those around us. Every season offers us an opportunity
to grow in love. And if the form it takes is that of the cross let
us not lose courage. Nobody understands the cross better than she
does, and no one better than she can make it become the most precious
kairos of all, where 'there is no greater love'.
Seeds ... to be opened
" I will try to take
seriously the invitation of Pope Francis not to fall into the trap
of wearing myself out moaning in my defence when confronted with contradictions
and problems. It is possible to call the difficulties by name, and
together they release in us the energy of the hope of translating
them into prophetic dreams, and imaginative acts of charity just as
he himself is doing in leading the Church.
" We are at the time of year when we remember our dead with all
the saints. I will try to re-read with the eyes of mercy and praise
the story of my family, and revisit my family tree: the roots of the
past as far as I can go, and also the ramifications of this in my
relationships in the present. All this is sacred history, as is the
story of every person.
" With gratitude I will retrace the Marian devotions that accompanied
the seasons of my life. This could result in an amazing discovery
of how Mary was the hand of Providence at every 'kairos' I have ever
experienced. And if I look forward, her presence will undoubtedly
become an invitation to liberate the energies of hope in us.
of Mother Teresa for the family
Heavenly Father, you
have given us the model of life in the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Help us, O Loving Father, to make our family another Nazareth where
love, peace and joy reign.
May it be deeply contemplative, intensely Eucharistic, revived with
Help us to stay together in joy and sorrow in family prayer.
Teach us to see Jesus in the members of our families,
especially in their distressing disguise.
May the Eucharistic heart of Jesus make our hearts humble like his
and help us to carry out our family duties in a holy way.
May we love one another as God loves each one of us,
more and more each day, and forgive each other's faults as you forgive
Help us, O Loving Father, to take whatever you give and give whatever
you take with a big smile.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, cause of our joy, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us. Holy Guardian Angels, be always with us, guide
and protect us. Amen.
of Mother Teresa of Calcutta composed in 1994, World Year of the Family
The new version of the
ADMA website http://www.admadonbosco.org/ was inaugurated on 12 September
With more attractive graphics, a different organization of the content
and some new sections, it offers visitors more ample opportunities
of information, communication and formation.
Thanks to all who contributed to the restructuring of our website.
COACALCO (MEXICO) - YOUTH
On 13 and 14 August, the youth group of ADMA of Coacalco Salesian
Youth Centre (Mexico) held a retreat on the theme "Mary Help
of Christians, Mother of Mercy". It was attended by about 30
young people aged 16-21 from the surrounding villages. They left with
great satisfaction and with a resolve to be merciful like Mary, with
the sole purpose of coming to Jesus.
GUARUJA, BRAZIL - NEW
On 13 September 2016, Fr Natale Vitali, Councillor for the American
Southern Cone Region, welcomed the members of the first group of the
Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), in the city of Guaruja.
INDIA - THE SALESIAN FAMILY
MEETS THE WORLD DELEGATES
New Delhi - September 2016 - On 15 September, the Delegate of the
Rector Major for the Salesian Family, Fr Eusebio Muñoz, the
World Delegate of the Salesian Cooperators, Fr Giuseppe Casti, and
the World Delegate for the Volunteers of Don Bosco, Fr Joan Lluís
Playa, visited the Province of New Delhi (INN), meeting and animating
the representatives of the various groups of the Salesian Family in
LUBUMBASHI - CONGO
"In September we had our formation meeting on Amoris Laetitia.
The members had a discussion on the family in today's world. We decided
to share on the exhortation of Pope Francis each month. We encourage
young people to discover the joy of family life with Mary Help of
Christians. We visit schools and Salesian parishes to spread the devotion
to Mary Help of Christians and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
God bless all members of ADMA in the world. We remain united in Mary
Help of Christians. (Fr Albert KABUGE).
Missionary Intention That
all the Salesians of Don Bosco may rediscover the joy and responsibility
Witness of holiness
Fr Rosario Stroscio, his
religious superior, concludes the announcement of the death of the
Servant of God Fr Francesco Convertini (1898-1976), a missionary in
India, by saying: "Those who knew Fr Francesco, always remember
with love the advice and exhortations he used to give in confession.
His voice was very weak and yet full of ardour: "Let us love
souls, let us work only for souls ... Let us draw close to the people
... Let us deal with them in such a way that the people will know
that we love them...." His whole life was a wonderful testimony
of a fruitful priestly ministry and missionary work. We can summarize
it in a simple expression: "To win souls for Christ there is
no more powerful way than that of goodness and love! '"
INFO ADMA -
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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: email@example.com
Websites: www.donbosco-torino.it |
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