17 Jul 2019
Rector Major Writes to Salesian Family on ADMA’s 150th Anniversary
(ANS – Rome – July 12) – “Entrust, have trust, and smile!” is the title of a letter which Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime addressed to the Salesians and the whole Salesian Family on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA). Don Bosco inaugurated the Association on April 18, 1869, one year after the consecration of the basilica of Mary Help of Christians at Valdocco.
The Rector Major urges renewing the Marian dimension of the Salesian vocation, examining convictions, and making a careful evaluation of one’s own devotion to the Help of Christians as Salesians of Don Bosco, undoubtedly a useful proposal for the entire Salesian Family and making current the appeal that Fr. Egidio Viganò addressed in his time when he invited Salesians to “make a place for our Lady in our home.”
With the desire to make Mary Help of Christians ever more at home with us, a simple reflection is offered on Salesian attachment to the Eucharist and to Mary Help of Christians on the path followed in these 150 years since ADMA’s foundation, on the popular nature of the Salesian charism that was consigned over time as a treasure to be guarded, and on the path to embark upon “From the house of Mary to our own homes.”
The letter goes on to say that in harmony with this year’s strenna, it must be remembered that there is no way to sanctity without the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the keystone for the radical conversion of the heart to the love of God. Trust in Mary is a condition for living the baptismal grace and maturing it through the journey of faith, convinced that she takes us “by the hand to a meeting with her Son Jesus, the Son of God the Father.”
“Devotion to Mary Help of Christians was understood and promoted by Don Bosco precisely From the point of view of the help and the defense of the faith of the people of God, tempted by ideologies that removed the Christian sense of the meaning of life, and by many movements that attacked the faith and unity of the Church founded on the solid rock of Peter’s profession of faith.”
With ADMA, Don Bosco wished to offer Christians an itinerary of sanctification and apostolate that is simple and accessible to all, with the intent of defending and promoting people’s faith and enhancing the contents of popular religiosity.
In conclusion, Fr. Fernandez writes: “While we give thanks for these 150 years in the life of the Association of Mary Help of Christians, let us commit ourselves in fidelity to the charism of the holy founder of our Salesian Family, to allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit in a renewed evangelizing and educational zeal…. The essential aspect of this evangelizing zeal consists in the renewal of the Association and giving special attention to the family and to the new generations.”
Following these guidelines, the Salesian Family will remain faithful to the path traveled by Don Bosco, whose devotion to the Mother of the divine Savior characterized and strongly marked all his spirituality and pastoral activity.