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|   Monthly Message : 24th dicember 2016      

Mary leads us to a simple life

We have started a new liturgical year with the season of Advent which prepares us for Christmas. It is a time of grace, a favourable time to put our hearts in an attitude of expectation and hope, refocussing our lives on what is essential. God became man in the poverty and simplicity of a crib. Mary guides us and accompanies us in the way of holiness inviting us, by her own example and that of the family of Nazareth, to live a simple life, finding God in the little things of every day, living in his presence and listening to his Word, and in an attitude of thanksgiving for everything he gives us.
Christmas is the time of gifts, but Jesus reminds us that he is the true gift of the Father to us, so that our life, like his, may be a gift to others in love, bearing witness to the goodness of God with total generosity and lack of self-interest.
The experience in November of Fr Pierluigi with members of the Secretariat of the Salesian Family in the metings for the formation of the delegates of the East Asia-Australia Salesian Family (v chronicle) was a great opportunity to grow in the sense of belonging to the Salesian Family and to present the identity and the path of ADMA to more than 160 members of the Salesian Family who took part, including some SDB and FMA. We give thanks for the path along which Mary Help of Christians has led us in the past few years to commit ourselves in all our groups to grow in the sense of belonging to the Salesian Family, to get to know and live our identity as members of ADMA in the light of the Regulations, of the Commentary and the formation process proposed monthly in ADMAonline. We witness with joy our love for Jesus in the Eucharist and Mary Help of Christians, with the apostolic heart of Don Bosco.
May the Child Jesus renew our hearts and fill them with his grace! May Mary Help of Christians defend us from evil and sin! May St. Joseph watch over our families and our groups in peace and simplicity!
Happy Christmas and a fruitful New Year 2017!

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

Formation programme: Amoris Laetitia / Fr Silvio Roggia SDB

4. Love in marriage

In his encyclical on the Joy of Love, Pope Francis chose as a love- song the words of Paul in his first letter to the Christians in Corinth. It was a 'family-community' with many problems - including very serious trouble in terms of family relationships. Nevertheless, Paul believed they were capable of love, a love that never ends. This means that it is possible for everyone to be transformed in love, in Corinth or anywhere else, in any era. And in our day nobody believes that more than Pope Francis!
It's good for us to sing this love-song with Pope Francis. In his pastoral wisdom, he knows how to put together the height and depth of the mystery: Deus Caritas Est: God is Love... nothing less! In our day-to-day pilgrimage along the path of love in family life, three words need to be used: 'Please', 'Thank you', 'Sorry'... (AL 133). But be careful: this is not a song on the radio to distract us when we are in the queue at the traffic lights. We need to devote our best time to it, without haste, letting these pages enlarge our hearts little by little, warming it with the joy of love. Take one verse at a time and don't try to sing it all in one breath! This chapter has 54 pages in the Italian edition (published by the Paulines). It is the longest of the nine chapters of Amoris Laetitia. This shows how important it is for the Pope.
Here we limit ourselves to the leitmotiv of the hymn, to charity as interpreted by Pope Francis. Four phrases say it all. "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things."

Love bears all things

All things! Love and all things go so well together that when we look for something less than all, love is not found. St Paul sums up the heart of charity in these four phrases. They remind us of the eight beatitudes in Matthew 5.3 - 10 that sum up the whole of the Gospel.
It starts from '????? ??????', which is translated as "bears or forgives all things". "Love coexists with imperfection. It "bears all things" and can hold its peace before the limitations of the loved one. (AL 113). Pope Francis begins with the way we talk to each other.
"Married couples joined by love speak well of each other; they try to show their spouse's good side, not their weakness and faults. In any event, they keep silent rather than speak ill of them. This is not merely a way of acting in front of others; it springs from an interior attitude." (AL 113)
The inner attitude that is behind this first way of loving all thigs is the starting point. Without it we cannot go on to the other three steps.
The agreement with the first two beatitudes is very clear if we go beyond the surface of the words as they sound in our translations. Those who are not poor and do not know how to suffer (Blessed are those who mourn) cannot go further on the path of the Kingdom of God. When we accept our limits ('before God we are all poor' as Mother Teresa used to say) and recognize that we are 'humus', that we are so much part of humanity and for this reason so loved, then our heart opens to compassion for the limits of others. Being able to weep together opens the way to consolation, in which the absolute specialist is the Holy Spirit.
It takes a great mind to be able to make room for our poverty and the poverty of others. The first thing St Paul says about charity is that it expands: ????? ??????????. That word ?????????? needs to be translated right: it means to enlarge, to become 'macro', to make room and to take time: "Charity is patient". (1 Cor 13.4).
Patience takes root when I recognize that other people also have a right to live in this world, just as they are. It does not matter if they hold me back, if they unsettle my plans, or annoy me by the way they act or think, or if they are not everything I want them to be. Love always has an aspect of deep compassion that leads to accepting the other person as part of this world, even when he or she acts differently than I would like. (AL 92).
We start from the cradle, where our poverty is almost absolute and where we depend on other people's compassion for everything - the same situation that will be repeated at the end of life. The cradle introduces us from the early days of life to the first beatitude that opens the way to the Kingdom of God. The fact of the manger in a stable in Bethlehem makes the message all the more clear and universal. The kingdom of heaven is accessible only by the door of poverty.
The family is the cradle of life and love starting with the poverty of spirit, by which we learn to relate to one another with the "bears all things" of charity.
Mary and Joseph are reliable guides if we want to start off on the right foot to make the family the cradle of life and love. In other things we are now much more experienced, but in terms of evangelical poverty, which opens the heart to the love that bears all things, no one knows better or does it better than they do.
Ò During this month we should make St Paul's hymn to charity our rule of life. (1 Cor 13.1 to 13). The braver ones among us might even memorize these 13 verses so as to have them with us forever.

Love believes all things:

Trust, have confidence and smile.
This slogan become familiar through the ADMA shirts for World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow. It's like a training program. The more you practise it the more you grow in confidence.
Trust is the oxygen of love.
Basic trust recognizes God's light shining beyond the darkness, like an ember glowing beneath the ash. This trust enables a relationship to be free. It means we do not have to control the other person, to follow their every step lest they escape our grip. Love trusts, it sets free, it does not try to control, possess and dominate everything. (AL 114-115)
Trust is the most effective way to learn to be faithful. In Lumen Fidei, another encyclical written jointly by Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, being 'faithful' befits God as much as us (LF 10). "Man is faithful when he believes in God and his promises; God is faithful when he grants to man what he has promised". He is faithful and has trust in us.
If "bears all things" needs to be enlarged, so too the exercise of trust in God and neighbour expands the heart. It enables us to embrace his will, as we pray in the Our Father, and to do so to the extent we see exemplified in the first joyful mystery in Nazareth and the first sorrowful mystery in Gethsemane.
Believing is not a yes or no that can be turned on by pressing a switch: It is a workout that makes us grow day by day, until we desire only what pleases God, hungering and thirsting as in the fourth beatitude.
When we trust, our horizon widens. Mary's little dream of family life with Joseph, the village carpenter, is overtaken by the dream of God, that does not exclude Nazareth, or the carpenter's shop, or the humble house in that unknown village of Galilee. Everything becomes part of a greater love, 'sicut in caelo, et in terra' (on earth as in heaven). Interestingly, in the original text both in Greek and in Latin, heaven is mentioned before earth. God is the first to trust and he raises us to that measure of greatness if we on our part say 'yes'.
Pope Francis assures us that the same dynamic also applies in the home. If our love 'believes all things', we begin to discover and share the greatness that everyone carries inside: a family marked by loving trust, come what may, helps its members to be themselves. (AL 115).

Seeds to be opened...

" Loves bears all things:
How do I speak of my family members? How do I speak to each of them? Do the three words that Francis insists on - 'please, thank you, sorry' (AL 133) - form part of my everyday vocabulary?

" Love believes all things
How much confidence do I show in the relationships I have with my family? When do I trust and have confidence in the Lord and in Mary?


On 22 October we celebrated the annual joint meeting of ADMA Councils from the area of Central Madrid. We started with Morning Prayer in the chapel of the martyrs at the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Atocha, and the Eucharist celebrated by Fr Samuel Segura, Vicar of our Province of St James the Greater.
We continued all morning working on the proposed themes. We were accompanied by Fr José Antonio Hernandez, Provincial Delegate for the Salesian Family. 25 local councils participated. We thank Mary Help of Christians who brings us together to keep walking at her side. On 9 November as ADMA we attended the Mass and procession of Our Lady of Almudena, patron of Madrid, with our future cardinal Archbishop Carlos Osoro. (Blanco Somozo Gloria).

On 22 October 2016, the Association of Mary Help of Christians in the Philippines celebrated its 34th National Congress in the parish of San Ildefonso in Makati City. This year, the theme was: "At the school of Mary, Mother of Mercy".
The Parish Priest Fr Antonio Molavin SDB welcomed the participants and gave a brief history of the parish. The Mass was presided over by Fr Remo Bati, SDB, Provincial Animator. At the end, before the final blessing, fourteen new members were received into the association.

On the Feast of All Saints forty young people, two priests and three young families met for a three-day retreat. It was a perfect combination of youth and family ministry sharing together in depth for three days… choosing to smile… looking for peace of heart... putting ourselves at the service of others and asking for wisdom. We started purposefully and kept up the attitude of joy in order to understand and share the unconditional love and mercy of the Lord. # Admacè #stayhappy #affidaconfidaesorridi (Elena Scavino).

The National Assembly of ADMA of East Timor took place on 12 and 13 November 2016 in Baucau. 105 members took part. The purpose of the Assembly was to elect a new National Council for the 2016-2021 period.
The assembly began with the celebration of Holy Mass at which the Provincial Fr Apolinario Neto presided and Fr Manuel da Silva Ximenes, SDB (ADMA National Animator) and Fr Inocencio Diamantino, (Animator Dili) concelebrated. There were some FMA present, including Sr Alma Castagna, FMA Provincial, Sr Brigida Sousa (Dili), Sr Evangelina Xavier (Laga), Sr Jacinta Gusmão (Baucau) and Sr Teresa do Carmo (Kailako-Maliana).
Some of the talks were on the ADMA Rules, in order to encourage the members to live the identity of a member of ADMA as well as a member of the Church and of the Salesian Family, working for the growth of families and young people in today's world. A very strong word for ADMA is to live as a Christian family and as Salesian Family, by developing a personal plan of life to practise in family life. "The family lives together, prays together and eats together", is the key to the family's life. "The family brings each one to God and brings God to each one."
Fr Manuel da Silva Ximenes explained the process for the election of the new council in East Timor, with the decision to split the province into two regions (West and East) and the need for two vice-presidents, two secretaries and two treasurers.
Those elected are: President Maria Fatima Belo; vice-presidents Juvita Lemos (Dili / West) and Lidia (Ftaumaca / East); Secretaries: João de Brito (Laga / East) and Beatriz de Sousa (Dili / West); Treasurers: Rosa Maria Ornai (Dili / West) and Tomas (lospalos / East).
The following day Bishop Basilio do Nascimento of Baucau presided at the concluding Mass. In his homily he asked ADMA to create a spirit of solidarity among members, to live with responsibility and work tirelessly according to the Salesian charism for the kingdom of God as committed members of the Church.

After the establishment of the Secretariat for the Salesian Family, as a result of the 27th General Chapter, the central team planned formation sessions in all seven regions for the Delegates of the Salesians for the Salesian Family. In the East Asia-Oceania region three meetings of three days each were organized in South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines.

First meeting - Korea - Seoul - 15 to 17 November
The first meeting took place in Seoul 15-17 November and was attended by over 40 people - 31 Salesians, 2 SDB novices, 6 FMA and 2 diocesan priests who are Salesian Cooperators - from Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and Mongolia. Three provincials were present: Fr Stephen Yang from Korea, Fr Lanfranco Fedrigotti from China and Fr Mario Yamanouchi from Japan.
Almost all the members of the World Secretariat for the Salesian Family were present: Fr Eusebio Muñoz, Delegate of the Rector Major; Fr Giuseppe Casti, World Delegate for the Salesian Cooperators; Fr Joan Lluis Playa, Central Assistant for the Volunteers of Don Bosco and the Volunteers with Don Bosco; and Fr Pier Luigi Cameroni, Spiritual Animator of the Association of Mary Help of Christians. The synergy and interaction between them provided a good model for animation at provincial level.

The objectives of these sessions were:

o Passing on the full reality of the Salesian Family in the world;
o Study some basic texts for the Salesian Family in order to revitalize it;
o Identify the operational objectives needed to build the Salesian Family in each Province;
o Promote greater synergy between provinces at the level of Salesian Family.
The focus of the meeting was to listen to the testimonies of lay collaborators in the Salesian mission and members of the Salesian Family. At the conclusion of the meeting each Province took on the task of working on a PLAN OF ACTION for the Salesian Family (2016-2019), with a specific focus on four points:

1. A solid structure in each province, with the Delegate, Provincial Advisory Body ("Consulta"), Provincial Feast of the Salesian Family and shared formation of the various groups;
2. Formation at all levels;
3. Accompanying individuals and groups;
4. Mature responsibility of the laity.

Second Session: Vietnam - K'Long - 20 to 22 November
The second formation session of the delegates of the Salesian Family was held at the Salesian Spirituality Centre of K'Long, Vietnam, from 20 to 22 November. There were about 60 participants, most of them from Vietnam (18 SDBs, including the Provincial, Fr Joseph Nguyen Quang; 2 FMA, 3 VDB, 10 Salesian Cooperators and 1 past pupil), 5 SDB from Thailand, 3 SDB and 2 FMA from Cambodia, 1 SDB and 1 past pupil from Myanmar and 1 SDB from Japan. It is important to mention the presence of Naomi Bertola, World Coordinator of the Cooperators, and Olga Krizova, World Head of the Volunteers of Don Bosco.

Third Session: Philippines - Cebu - 25 to 27 November
The third session was held at the Retreat House of Cebu-Pasil. It was attended by delegates from South Philippines (FIS), North Philippines (FIN), Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands (PGS) and Indonesia-East Timor (ITM). Among the 40 participants were 25 SDBs, including the two Provincials Fr Paul Bicomong from Northern Philippines and Fr Godofredo Atienza from southern Philippines, 4 FMA, 4 Salesian Cooperators, 1 past pupil and 1 VDB.
ADMA has a significant presence in the Philippines and East Timor and some groups are well underway in Japan, Korea and China. These meetings were a great opportunity to present ADMA in its new guise. There was great interest and desire for the growth of this group of the Salesian Family where it was already present and to start it in other areas, especially in Salesian parishes. They also emphasized the great challenge of family and growing responsibilities of the vocation of the laity especially in the guidance of the local groups. Thanks to all the Salesian communities who welcomed us with great attention, interest and availability.

Spain - Opening of the cause of canonization of Carmen Nebot Soldán,
a devotee of Mary Help of Christians and a member of ADMA

The Ordinary General Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Spain has given its approval for the opening of the cause of canonization of the Servant of God Carmen Nebot Soldán from the Diocese of Huelva. She was a mother who had a deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Virgin Mary under the title of Help of Christians. She was called to heaven on 24 March 2007 at La Palma del Condado and since then her reputation for holiness has not stopped growing.
Carmela, as she was known, was born in La Palma del Condado (Huelva) on 23 April 1933. Coming from a Christian family, she soon got involved in the activities of the parish. In 1958 she married Tomas Salvador Noguera Cepeda. They had six children, who were raised in the faith. Their daughter is now a nun of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross and one of their sons, named Juan Bosco, is the lay director of the Salesian College in La Palma del Condado.
Her immense charity was lived in a profound experience of the Christian faith. She belonged to the Vivencias de Fe group, a school of the Gospel and of prayer. She participated assiduously in the life of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA). Not surprisingly, therefore, she felt a special love for Don Bosco's Madonna as part of her Salesian spirituality.
From her writings we know that she was a woman who had established a true intimacy with God through prayer. Her trust in the Lord was also reflected in times of suffering: "the life of the Christian is a struggle that lasts a lifetime", "simple and humble prayer unites us to God and gives us strength". Her Christian life grew in the home through her work as a housewife, in a spirit of sacrifice and generous service, strengthening the domestic Church which is the family. But her testimony went beyond the house. She was a catechist and had a great love for the poor and the sick, to whom she showed great charity.
"It should be emphasized that she was a married woman and a member of ADMA," said Fr Pier Luigi Cameroni, Postulator General for the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Family. For ADMA she is the confirmation of a path to holiness and apostolate that today is renewed and lived with special attention to the family."

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