- Fr Titus Zeman, SDB, will be beatified on 30 September 2017
(ANS - Vatican City) -
The Venerable Servant of God Titus Zeman, Salesian priest from Slovakia,
killed in hatred of the faith at 54 years of age (born Vajnory, 4
January 1915, died Bratislava 8 January 1969), will be beatified on
30 September 2017 in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.
He was the first of ten children of a peasant family who also acted
as sacristans. As a child, Titus was always sick but at the age of
10 he was healed suddenly through the intercession of Mary Most Holy.
To the surprise of everyone, he promised her that he would be her
son forever, and that he would become a Salesian priest. He achieved
this dream in 1927 after overcoming the opposition of his family,
parish priest and director of the Salesian work of atín
for two years. He displayed the same determination all through his
life. Titus Zeman became a novice in 1931, made his temporary profession
in 1932, perpetual profession in 1938 and was ordained priest in 1940.
In 1946 when the communist regime in post-war Czechoslovakia began
to persecute the Church, Fr Titus was dismissed from the school where
he was teaching because he defended the symbol of the crucifix. He
escaped providentially the "Night of the Barbarians" (April
13-14, 1950) and the deportation of the religious because he was working
in a diocesan parish. He then asked himself what he could do to enable
clerics to reach the goal of priesthood. He decided then, despite
the suffering involved, to accompany them across the Iron Curtain
to Turin where the Rector Major, Fr Ricaldone, welcomed him and blessed
the group. After two successful crossings in the summer and autumn
of 1950, the expedition failed in April 1951.
Fr Titus Zeman then faced a week of torture between capture and arrest
(9-16 April 1951). He spent a further 10 months in detention before
trial. He was heavily tortured until his trial on 20-22 February 1952.
Another 12 years of detention followed (1952-1964). Then after almost
five years in freedom when he was constantly followed, spied upon
and persecuted (1964-1969), Fr Zeman was branded "m.u.k.l."
or "Man destined for elimination" and had to undergo a hard
life in prison and forced labour camps.
He was forced to do manual work with radioactive uranium without any
protection. He spent many months in solitary confinement. He was poorly
treated despite increasing cardiac, pulmonary and neurological impairment.
He was unrecognizable when he returned home on 10 March 1964, and
went through a period of intense suffering. This included spiritual
suffering by being banned from the public practice of his priestly
ministry. He died on 8 January 1969 from a triple heart-attack after
being treated as an "experimental guinea pig". He was acknowledged
as a martyr at the time of his death. Even the spies present at the
funeral spoke of him in the records as a martyr who suffered for the
In the same year 1969, while communism was still in full force, a
review process declared that his condemnation of espionage and high
treason was not legitimate. In 1991, the rehabilitation process acknowledged
definitively that he was innocent. Fr Zeman's testimony is the incarnation
of Jesus' vocational call and the pastoral preference for children
and young people, especially for young Salesian confreres, a preference
that was to manifest itself, as in Don Bosco, in a true passion seeking
their good. He put all his energy, all his strength, all his life
into a spirit of sacrifice and offering: "Even if I lost my life,
I would not consider it wasted, knowing that at least one of those
I had helped became a priest my place".
of the National Congress of Mary Help of Christians
in Cochabamba, Bolivia, 29 April - 1 May 2017
o The Virgin Mary was always present in the life of St. John Bosco,
thanks to Mamma Margherita, who inculcated love and devotion to Our
Lady in prayer and daily life. From the beginning, she was the centre
of all his work: "She did it all".
o Mary is the cornerstone of the Salesian Family, an inspirational
presence, mother, teacher, and model to follow in service and hospitality,
helping us to guide our lives according to God's will.
o Mary is a Eucharistic woman who leads us to Jesus, so we are a Eucharistic
and Marian group.
Challenges and commitments:
1. To improve our human, spiritual, and missionary formation.
2. To cultivate a sense of belonging.
3. To strengthen the family spirit.
4. To give priority to accompaniment in the Association.
5. To grow in the style of complementarity and collaboration between
the vocation to marriage and the vocation to consecrated life, priestly
and missionary life.
6. To find new ways and strategies for renewing and strengthening
the Association in accordance with the needs of the situation.
7. To start ADMA Youth and help it to grow in hospitality and collaboration
in family ministry.
8. To start ADMA Families involving the families of the members of
9. To see the family as a place of God's tenderness and a place of
10. To make communication between the members and the centres of the
Association more fluid.
11. To set up local, regional and national councils to improve the
organization of the Association.
12. To regularize the canonical erection and aggregation to ADMA Primary
at the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Valdocco, to complete
their membership of the Association and the Salesian Family.
13. To get to know the life of the Saints, Blessed, Venerable and
Servants of God of the Salesian Family, to imitate their virtues and
ask for their intercession with prayer. (Getting to know the life
of one each year).
Écija (Spain) - Tenth Provincial Assembly of the Seville area
On April 30, we celebrated the Tenth Provincial Assembly of ADMA in
the Seville area in the house of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians
in Écija. The organizing group worked hard for everything to
go well. We had very intimate moments with Mary Help of Christians
and her Son Jesus. The Salesian atmosphere was palpable everywhere
and the participants had a very positive impression of the event.
About 1000 people filled the College Chapel and other areas destined
for this purpose. The day began with Mass presided by Cardinal Carlos
Amigo Vallejo, Archbishop Emeritus of Seville. He spoke of his affection
and friendship for the whole Salesian Family. In his homily, he often
highlighted the intercession of Mary Help of Christians: "Most
Holy Virgin Mary, pray for me" as we often sing in the hymn in
her honour. The Mass was concelebrated by the Provincial Fr Cristóbal
López and several Salesian priests who had come to accompany
the different associations.
The formation session had a new format this year - a spiritual interview
with the cardinal, who gently, profoundly and humorously answered
the questions of the delegate for the Salesian Family, Fr Alejandro
Guevara, SDB. The cardinal spoke strongly and clearly: "The groups
of Mary Help of Christians are to be heard and loved." Of course,
his words gave joy to the faithful gathered there. In short, this
was a unique opportunity to renew our sense of belonging to ADMA,
promoting the Salesian and Spiritual identity of the members and bringing
us once more to the feet of Mary, Help of our Family.
Conakry (Guinea Conakry)
- the first ADMA group
On 21 May 2017, the parish Anne-Marie Javouhey de Nongo-Conakry held
an important event for the Salesian Family: the first commitment of
the members of the Association of Mary Help of Christians. The event
took place during a celebration presided over by Fr Denis Soro, Delegate
of the Salesians of Don Bosco in Guinea, Senegal and Mali.
In the afternoon, a fraternal meal was offered to the associates.
It was a time of fraternity with the Salesian community, Salesian
Cooperators, and some parishioners. The Salesian Family Conakry celebrated
On 24 May, Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians, the ADMA group in
Cotonou had the joy of welcoming new members who pledged to support
the Salesian work with prayer and attendance at Salesian Family meetings.
Kabgayi - (Rwanda) - First
On 24 May 2017, Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians, 30 aspirants
of ADMA expressed their commitment to join the Association during
a Mass presided over by the Provincial Fr Camiel Swertvagher. This
is a beautiful group of well-prepared men and women who carry out
their apostolate in the spirit of ADMA. We thank the Lord and the
Help of Christians that our dream of launching this branch of the
Salesian Family in the Great Lakes Province has been realized. Now
some thirty men and women are preparing to join the Association next
year. - (Fr Pierre Célestin NGOBOKA, SDB V,ice-Provincial AGL
and ADMA Animator)
Porto Novo (Benin)
The various Eucharistic celebrations of Sunday 28 May in the parish
of St Francis Xavier in Porto Novo marked the parish celebration of
the feast of Mary Help of Christians for ADMA and for the whole parish
community. During the Masses at 7.00 and 8.00 a.m. some of the faithful
received their medals and became full members of ADMA. The Parish
Priest, Fr Jean Aurelien Lemondo, urged the whole community to have
a special devotion to Mary Help of Christians with prayer and daily
gestures that testify to our Christian identity.
We ask Mary, Star of Evangelization, Mother of love and Good Counsel
to pray that Salesian work may be more fruitful. May she guide the
steps of all mothers in the education of their children.
ADMA Primary - Pilgrimage
On 2-3 June 2017, a group of families, young people and older members
from ADMA Primary, accompanied by Fr Gianni Ghiglione, went on a pilgrimage
to Annecy (France) "In the footsteps of Saint Francis of Sales".
In a pleasant climate of friendship, we were able to appreciate the
beauty of the place and get to know better the figure of this great
saint, born in 1567, and chosen by Don Bosco as a model for his Salesians
to imitate his lifestyle and pastoral zeal.
By re-reading some passages from the Introduction to the Devout Life,
Fr. Gianni emphasized in particular the need to develop charity and
mercy in families and religious communities, cultivating gentleness
and patience and avoiding anger and complaining. It is important to
remember that God looks at the heart and does not reward according
to the level of office held, but according to the love and humility
put into exercising it. May St Francis of Sales and Don Bosco accompany
us on our journey and, in the knowledge that earthly evils are very
little compared to eternal goods, encourage us to spend our lives
with generosity! (Damiani Andrea).
Sicily - Twelfth Regional
The Twelfth ADMA Regional Pilgrimage of Sicily took place on Sunday
4 June 2017.
Two special moments marked the encounter: the first in the Salesian
House of Barcelona at Pozzo di Gotto, where 370 participants assembled
from twelve groups from Adrano, Barcelona, Calatabiano, Canicattì,
Catania, Capaci, Gela, Messina, Marsala Palermo , Floridia, and San
Cataldo with the Provincial Fr Pippo Ruta and the FMA Provincial,
Sr Maria Pisciotta. The theme of pilgrimage "From the House of
Mary to our Homes" was presented by Sr M\aria, showing how good
Christians live their relationships in the family and with others
in a spirit of fraternity, forgiveness and welcome.
The second significant moment was in the afternoon when we went in
procession to the Shrine of Our Lady of Tindari, reciting the Holy
Rosary and singing hymns to Mary.
The Eucharistic Celebration presided over by the Provincial and concelebrated
by Fr Angelo Grasso, regional animator, concluded this day of grace.
- (Giuseppe Auteri and Regional Council).
ADMA Primary - Pilgrimage
On Sunday 25 June 25, the senior ADMA made its annual pilgrimage to
the Shrine of Our Lady of Oropa. We enjoyed the beauty of the landscape,
the richness of the faith of many generations, the joy of the fraternal