OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS
LETTER OF THE RECTOR MAJOR
THE BASILICA OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS
Dear Rectors of Salesian Communities,
Sisters and Brothers of the Salesian Family,
Friends and Benefactors of the Work of the Salesians,
An affectionate greeting to
I wish you the gifts of Peace
and Joy that flow from the Risen Lord Jesus Christ at Easter,
and I implore the blessing and the gift of the Spirit for each
one of you, your Provinces, your Communities, and for all your
families. As you see from the date of this letter, I am writing
to you at the beginning of the salesian month of Mary, the month
of Mary Help of Christians, which we traditionally begin on the
24th of April and conclude with the solemn Feast of Mary Help
of Christians on the 24th of May.
Don Bosco used to say about
his mission and about his Congregation: "The Madonna has done everything."
In his life he always
cultivated a deep love for Our Lady, a love that profoundly shaped
his life according to Mary's virtues, especially abandonment
to the will of God. As a sign of gratitude to Mary, Don Bosco
wanted to build a Sanctuary that would be an expression of the
love of the whole Salesian Family for the Mother of God..
way the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians was built and solemnly
consecrated on 9 June 1868.
In those years (1872) also in honour of Mary,
Don Bosco with St Mary Domenica Mazzarello, began the Institute
of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians which in his mind
would be a living Monument to the Virgin Help of Christians.
When Don Bosco set about building the Basilica, there were, as
serious financial problems. To Fr Angelo Savio, who said to him:
Bosco, the safe is empty, we can't begin the building of the
He replied: "You
just begin with the foundations. We have to leave something to
On 9 June 1868 when, at the
end of the solemn consecration of the Basilica, many Bishops
and distinguished persons congratulated him on the achievement,
Don Bosco replied with a simple comment but one full of faith:
my own I put in nothing. Aedificavit sibi domum Maria". Mary built her own house. "Every
brick, every decoration is a sign of a grace from her."
(BM IX, 247).
My dear friends, I wanted to
recall Don Bosco's way of acting and of seeing things in order
to invite you to contribute through your generosity to an enterprise
that will certainly be very demanding nowadays, that of a substantial
restoration of the Basilica. I am sure that Don Bosco would do
the same thing, inviting you to honour Mary and to ensure her
protection for our communities, our families, ourselves.
pressing work is in regard to the major cupola of the Basilica,
both in connection with the outer covering and the restoration
of the interior. This will also involve the Chapel of Don Bosco,
that of St Joseph and the whole Sanctuary area, including the
small cupola. Other work will also
be done in the side chapels of the Sacred Heart, St Francis of
Sales and St Mary Domenica Mazzarello.
As you can imagine the work
will be very expensive. This is why we are asking for your help.
It would be wonderful if each Salesian Province, each local community,
each group of the Salesian Family, in the first place the Salesian
Cooperators and ADMA, were to show their involvement in giving
fresh splendour to the "House that Mary built for herself".
As the Successor of Don Bosco,
I invite you to make of this act of generosity a really spiritual
experience, once again entrusting your life to Mary Help of Christians
confiding to Her the requests closest to your heart. She will
certainly show you how close she is and give you her help in
answer to your prayers.
Thank you my dear Brothers
and Sisters. May the Lord Jesus obtain for you the grace to contemplate
the face of Mary, in this month of hers, and to learn from her,
Our Mother and the Help of Christians, the best way to accept
and to live the Word of GodMy affectionate blessing on you all.
Pascual Chávez Villanueva, Rector Major
The Offerings for the Basilica of Mary
Help of Christians in Turin-Valdocco:
1) By Bank Credit Transfer to:
Salesiano San Francesco Di Sales - Basilica Maria Ausiliatrice
Banca SANPAOLO IMI - Agenzia 5 - TORINO - IBAN -
IT19 - H010-2501-0051-0000-0011-876
2) By Post Office Account to:
Direzione Opere Don Bosco - Via
Maria Ausiliatrice 32 - 10152 TORINO
- Ccp n.
214106 - Please specify the purpose as:"Restauration
of the Basilica"