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ADMA :  ASSOCIATION OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS    
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|   Monthly Message : 24th september 2017      

Mary invites us not to cease praying

In all her appeals, Mary reminds us and encourages us to make prayer the secret of our encounter with God. To become men and women of prayer it is not primarily a matter of saying many prayers but having a living relationship with God, in vital communion with him, breathing his presence, walking always in accordance with his will. Prayer is not so much something we do as a way of being.
Prayer has to be cultivated and desired. It must be sought: "O God, you are my God, at dawn I seek you, my soul thirsts for you." There is a need for precise moments of prayer: in the morning, in the evening, in the family Rosary and Mass at least on Sunday. This will make it easier for personal prayer to arise spontaneously during the course of the day. An effort is needed at first because we are not used to it, but when it comes to meeting God, when we begin to experience God, it becomes easier: then prayer becomes a joy. When we reach this encounter with God, we become men and women of love and peace, passionate witnesses who speak to people of God ... If we have met him, then we can help others to meet God by our lives, our testimony and our example.
Through prayer we meet God and with Mary's help we can stop not only the wars in the world, but also wars in hearts, in families, and wars against so many ideologies. Today, materialism, consumerism, and relativism are attacks through which Satan wants to destroy life, family, and coexistence among peoples. He wants to destroy God, to cut God off from society, from people's hearts, from young people, families, schools, parishes, and so on. Truly, Our Lady is a teacher of prayer and an expert guide in holiness. Mary is with us. She guides us and exhorts us not to stop praying.
Thanks also to prayer, there is a growing sense of belonging to the Association of Mary Help of Christians, which leads members to witness to their membership, becoming available to serve in the Association with a spirit of gratitude and generosity. The maturity of members and groups can be seen in their ability to give strong testimony of their faith and love for Our Lady. The Association is impressive for the growth and the accompaniment of groups of families and committed young people. Mary blesses her Association, she guides and accompanies it in surprising ways and with great spiritual dynamism. The participation of SDB and FMA in ADMA formative and spiritual programmes is a sign of our common belonging to the Salesian Family. This is seen concretely in our growing together in the complementarity of vocations.
We ask for a special remembrance in prayer for the election and discernment of the new Council of ADMA Primaria to be held in Turin during the Marian Day on 15 Octobe

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

In keeping with the Rector Major's Strenna for 2018
"Sir, give me this water" (Jn 4:15)

LET US CULTIVATE THE ART OF LISTENING AND ACCOMPANIMENT.

We want to develop this theme from a spiritual-educational perspective: how to live and promote the spiritual journey of the members of ADMA, making use of the presentation of the text of the Introduction to the Devoted Life of Saint Francis of Sales, with the guidance of Fr Gianni Ghiglione, SDB, an expert on Saint Francis of Sales.

1. What is Philothea or Introduction to the Devout Life? / by Gianni Ghiglione

In August 1608 Saint Francis of Sales published a book written in a hurry to meet an urgent request of Fr Fourier, his spiritual director, "a learned and devout person who felt such a book would be useful for many others." This was the Philothea or Introduction to the Devout Life.
The work received an extraordinary and enthusiastic welcome. "Monsignor, the book that you are publishing has captivated, enthused and enchanted me so much that I have neither tongue nor pen to express the affection I have for you, in gratitude for the great and singular service you give to Divine Goodness" (Archbishop of Vienna).
"The writings and the works of the saint were so highly esteemed that booksellers could not keep them in sufficient quantity to meet the demand. Among the many commendations of the booksellers, there was one that said they had never seen a book as useful for the salvation of souls as the Introduction to the Devout Life. "
Chantal speaks of this book as "a book dictated by the Holy Spirit," and St. Vincent de Paul in the first Regulations for the Conferences of Charity prescribes the daily reading of a chapter. When people saw Francis they exclaimed, "There is the great Francis of Geneva, who wrote the Introduction to the Devout Life!"
Already during the life of Francis, there were over forty reprints and editions. Since then, experts today say that there are over 1300 editions, translated into all the languages of the world! And the story continues!
"It is in the character and genius, but above all in the heart of Francis de Sales, that we have to look for the real origin and the remote preparation of the Introduction to Devoted Life or Philothea." So, it is a book that comes from a distance.

Origin of the Introduction to the Devout Life

Francis was a man of great knowledge and inflamed with charity and zeal. He felt the need to share with others the spiritual gifts God had given him in abundance. His heart was moved in pity on seeing many souls "capable of God, satisfying themselves with a lot less", because no authoritative voice responded to their call for help: "Who will make us see the true good?"
All the situations and circumstances in which Francis lived his life can be considered as the immediate cause of the composition of the Introduction to the Devout Life.
Certainly, his stay in Paris in 1602 had a special influence. The "Madame Acarie Circle" was attended by people like Berulle, Gallemand, Beaucousin, Duval and Olier. It was a true spirituality school that had wide influence in France. The works of St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross were read. It was thanks to them that the Reformed Carmel was soon to be introduced in France. The Apostle of the Chablais came into contact with these eminent people.
It was through contact with this spiritual world that he came to feel the lack of a text that summarized in a concise and practical way the principles of the interior life and facilitated its application for people of all social classes. It is true that everything could be found in Sacred Scripture, but it was like gold in the rough state. It needed someone to extract it, to get rid of all impurities, melt it, polish it ... It was a necessity and so from that year 1602, Francis began to put together the first materials that would later form the book.
It should be noted that in 1604 Bishop Francis met the Baroness de Chantal and with her began an exchange of letters. He did the same with other ladies like Ms. Brulart, Mme de Villers and others. In the letters Francis sent them there were not only rules of spiritual direction applied to the needs of each one. There was also a number of documents that were to be passed between them. These writings are all found in the Introduction to the Devout Life. They include the practices of piety to be made in the morning, a rule for the day, various considerations on the perfection of Christian life, humility, sweetness, widowhood, but especially on meditation and prayer. It is in these principles, matured in the mind and heart of the author and successfully applied in the lives of various people, that the first draft of our book to be sought.

The form and style of the Introduction

Francis had not only sound doctrine, but also the art of explaining and developing his thoughts, and then the ability to get in intimate relationship with his readers, capturing them, convincing them, and appealing to their emotions. Francis was able to include all the spiritual needs of the society of his time. He wanted his book to be accessible to all. He tried to make the language simple and attractive, but also persuasive. His aim was to appeal to all people in order to make them familiar with the duties of Christian life and to indicate the precise means to be used.
The first characteristic of the book is therefore its universality. At that time, it was believed that a holy life was not possible except in the cloister or, if one had to live in the world, by breaking all ties with society and living a separate life. Francis, on the other hand, claims that everyone can reach holiness, even those who live in the world without having to retire to a monastery! This was an absolute novelty for those times.
It was also necessary to make virtue attractive. This was easy for Francis because of his kindness of heart which naturally led him to be all things to all people so as to win over all. Perhaps this is the most important aspect. It would have been useless to offer Christians an ideal of perfection without inspiring in them the desire to accomplish it. He presents virtue in its natural colours, in its pure and divine form, and he is able to make virtue loved.
His teaching is essentially practical. Francis does not limit himself to stating the principles. He spells out the consequences and gives practical examples. This way of proceeding means that the reader does not use up all his energies in trying to understand, but is able to concentrate the energies of his will in choosing what he knows to be good. The will, then, chooses what is good and directs all its efforts into doing it. The writing takes on a tone of persuasion. It is almost as if you can see him and hear him addressing the privileged souls he had present while writing these pages.

The style is marked by:

Clarity: There is constant clarity and it looks even clearer if you compare this book with the ascetic works of contemporaries or with other treatises about devotion.
The use of images that are born from the subject itself. The beautiful natural ways they appear are one of the main attractions of the book.
Friendliness is the dominant note. The images are presented with tenderness and gentleness. "Heart speaks to heart." The author opens his loving soul and, through the sweet tyranny of love, demands from the reader a return of affection. This tenderness is not inspired by profane motives. It is the fire of charity that animates the writer and gives his book a supernatural and irresistible charm.
There is music written in the Introduction and there is music sung in the life of Francis!

Conclusion: In 1876, at a meeting of Rectors and Chapter members, Don Bosco said that "it was necessary for the Salesians to get to know better the life and works of St Francis of Sales, at least the Philothea!" He would address the same invitation today to all the members of the great Salesian Family.
I leave you with a short passage written by Andrew Ravier, a great scholar of the works of Francis, which summarizes in a certain way the essential invitation of the Philothea, which we are beginning to study. "Whoever you are, in the city or in the countryside, in the factory or in the office, whether you are young or not so young, married or not, free or ... in prison, no matter what! The essential thing is that you have the desire to live according to the Gospel, take the commitment of your baptism seriously, be a true child of God! This book is about to fill your heart, as Jesus once said: "I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance!" And you, thanks to your baptism and your faith, are you not already risen with him, through him and in him? For Francis de Sales, Christian life is Easter every day!"
o Get the text of the Introduction to the Devout Life and start reading a few pages here and there to get a taste of Francis's style and language. The adjectives and adverbs make all the difference, so pay attention! Happy reading!

ADMA CHRONICLE

ADAM FAMILIES - RETREAT IN VALLE D'AOSTA
In the first three weeks of August, a retreat was held in Val d'Ayas in the Valle d'Aosta region for three groups of families connected to the primary ADMA in Valdocco, Turin.
Each group has an average of 150 participants, who filled every available space in the Don Bosco Alpine Village, using also some neighbouring houses in order to accommodate everyone. The way these days were organized was the result of several years of experience, with a step forward every time the initiative was held.
The older children of the families and some other young people (high school or university students) were trained during the year with the guidance of some more experienced leaders to take care of the large group of the younger ones. These were divided into three groups: pre-school, elementary school and junior high school. Parents can then entrust their children to the group leaders, and together they offer a rich formative experience for leaders and young people alike.
Parents can then devote their days to listening, to prayer, silence, and sharing. This year's theme was the beatitude of the heart - joyful, ardent, open, and pure - with the light that comes also from the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima. Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, World Animator of ADMA, led the way. One of the most beautiful and enriching aspects of this experience was the sharing of life between families. This included moments of deep sharing of their experience of faith and the help they gave each other in meeting the needs of everyday life (meals, cleaning, etc.).
During the second week, there was the very welcome presence of twenty-four ADMA friends from Spain who wanted to share in this journey, considering the possibility of similar programmes in their own country.
Finally, there was the significant participation by some Salesians and FMAs who shared and animated the experience, manifesting the wealth of faith and Salesian spirituality shared between lay and consecrated persons.
The Association of Mary Help of Christians - ADMA - of Valdocco, Turin is composed of families that share the challenges and difficulties of every other family today and find in the Eucharist and in their entrustment to Mary Help of Christians a great strength for their growth in Christian family life. Several of the families have three, four or even more children, and the communion that is created between them and with which they are now beginning the journey of married life becomes a beautiful school of life, which supports and accompanies those who, for various reasons, find themselves in difficulty.

NEW ADMA COUNCIL IN SALVADOR
The election of the new National Council of ADMA in Salvador took place in Ciudadela Don Bosco, in the presence of the national delegate, Father René Torres, and the members of the various groups. The following were elected: President: Luis Franco; Vice-President: Sonia Carrillo; Treasurer: Catalina Ascencio; Secretary: Wilfredo Figueroa; First Councillor: Jorge Mena; and Second Councillor: Griselda Sánchez. Congratulations to the new council. May Mary Help of Christians guide you. We thank the outgoing council for their work and their dedication to our beloved association.

SPAIN - CANONICAL CORONATION OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS AT ALGECIRAS
(ANS - Algeciras) - The "Canonical Coronation of Mary Help of Christians" took place on 1 July last, in the María Cristina Park of Algeciras, during a solemn Eucharistic celebration celebrated by Bishop Rafael Zornoza Boy of Cadiz and Ceuta.
The Salesian Congregation sees in this a reward for the many months of hard work spent in obtaining approval from the diocese. The Congregation wishes to thank all those who have made possible the continual growth of this devotion for over 100 years.
The mayor José Ignacio Landaluce Calleja participated in the Honorary Committee, symbolically chaired by King Felipe VI, and also comprising the ecclesiastical authorities of Gibraltar and Algeciras and representatives of various Religious Congregations and Institutions.
Fr José Antonio Perdigones, Rector of Salesian House of Algeciras, said that the coronation is "no doubt an acknowledgment to all the Salesians who fostered the devotion of this city to this particular Marian title".
One of the requirements for Canonical Coronation is that a specific Marian devotion be particularly widespread among the population; for this "the city of Algeciras is responsible since it honours Mary Help of Christians not only on 24 May but throughout the year!" said Fr Perdigones.
The members of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA) obviously enjoyed this event and the local ADMA President Juana González called it "a precious gift".
The Mayor also congratulated the Salesians for the beauty of the celebration, saying that it was "a historic moment for the whole city of Algeciras, when tourists and the inhabitants of neighbouring towns walked down the street accompanying the newly crowned statue of Mary Help of Christians."
The function was attended by numerous representatives of the various Salesian Centres of the Province of Mary Help of Christians (SMX). The function was followed by a solemn procession led by the Provincial, Ft Cristóbal López,
Finally, on the evening of 3 July, the parish of Mary Help of Christians and St Isidore celebrated a thank-you mass, during which a mosaic by the Artist Joaquín Soriano commemorating the Canonical Coronation was blessed.

BOURNEMOUTH (ENGLAND)
The monthly commemoration of Our Lady Help of Christians took place, with the visit of our Salesian priests, Fr Hugh, the national delegate, and the former delegate, Fr Francis Preston. Our thanks go to Fr Darryl for his support of ADMA in the parish of St Thomas.
A thousand thanks for all we have received with prayers, adoration, confession, and Mass. God bless all those who made this day beautiful.

On Sunday, 20 August 20, the Lord called Fr Janusz Zdolski, spiritual animator of ADMA in the Pila Province (Poland). We entrust him to the maternal intercession of Mary Help of Christians to whom he had great devotion.

On 23 August 2017, Fr Adriano Bregolin (1948-2017) died suddenly. From 2003 to 2014 he was Vicar of the Rector Major and in charge of the Salesian Family. We share the grief and prayer of suffrage for Fr Adriano who always accompanied ADMA with interest and support. May Mary Help of Christians and Don Bosco welcome him to the Father's house.

To our dear helper in Valdocco,
Our Mother who watches over her children from the Celestial Throne,
protect us on our journey;
Mother, from Your Infinite Heart, give us the Grace of Love;
Mother from above, forgive our pettiness today;
Mother of yesterday, today and the future,
We pray that a little of Your Light may shine in all of us;
Now and forever. Amen!
(Gregorio Fontana - August 22, 2017)


       
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   ADMA HEADQUARTERS, Torino-Valdocco, ITALIA:
   ADMA | Santuario Maria Ausiliatrice | Via Maria Ausiliatrice 32 | 10152 TORINO-VALDOCCO | ITALIA
    Tel.: 0039-011-5224216 / Fax.: 0039-011-52224213 |
E-mail: adma.torino@tiscali.it 
   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
                                  Cell 3401452349 |
E-mail: pcameroni@sdb.org
                       Websites: www.donbosco-torino.it     |    www.admadonbosco.org



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