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(ANS – San Paolo) – The Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) have been honoured for their services by the San Paolo local authorities. The special event was held on 25 May at the “Corazón de Jesús” College in the City and was attended by over 300 people.
Councillor Floriano Pesaro presided and with him at the top table were Fr Edson Castilho Donizetti and Sr Vilma Santoro Bertini, Superiors of the Provinces of the Salesians and of the Daughters of the Mary Help of Christians in San Paolo. Among those present were also Mr José Pio Tamassia Santos, representing the Salesian Past Pupils; Mrs Sandra Carbonari Fernandes, for the FMA Past Pupils; and Mr Serafin Salgado Alvarez, from the Association of the Salesians-Cooperators.
In his opening address the Councillor praised the Salesians and the FMA,: “‘The Lord has placed us on this earth of other people.’ These words express exactly the Salesian spirit of cooperation. Working together, doing one’s best for the common good, putting at the centre human development as the basic duty of every citizen is the mission which the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians have given as their contribution to our society for its development.”
Fr Castilho Donizetti explained Don Bosco’s ideas about education: “Don Bosco did not make us for mediocrity, no! Don Bosco is a father who set our sights high. He used to say: ‘in education the Salesian Family has to be in the vanguard’, in the lead to make a better society. As members of a large family we want to create strong communion around a shared mission.”
Sr. Maria Dirce Martins Ferreira spoke about the courage Mother Mazzarello demonstrated in starting the work of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in South America. “In 1877, five years after the founding of our Congregation, Mother Mazzarello sent to Uruguay a first group of six Sisters, aged between 17 and 25. The good seed planted in Mornese, sown in this fertile soil began to germinate. Today there are the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Brazil where we arrived in 1892 to begin our mission here.”
Then the Band of the “Don Bosco Itaquera” Social Centre played the National Anthem which was followed by performances by the dancers from the Mother Mazzarello School and the Choir of the “Santa Teresita” Institute. In addition in the Great Hall an exhibition was set up by the Museum of the History of the Salesians in Brazil and by the Past Pupils.
Finally Fr Castilho Donizetti and Sr Martins Ferreira, representing all the religious of both Provinces, were each given a commemorative shield, and the Superiors of all the houses in the two Provinces were also honoured.