Vatican City - May 2021 - On 1 May, at the Madonna del Soccorso in the Gregorian Chapel of the Vatican Basilica, Holy Father Francis presided over the recitation of the Holy Rosary that opened the prayer marathon on the theme “From the whole Church the prayer to God went up unceasingly. (Acts 12,5)” to invoke the end of the pandemic. The initiative, born at the Pope's wish, is promoted by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization and involves thirty Marian shrines from all over the world; each, for each day of the month of May, traditionally the Marian month, will lead the prayer of the Rosary for the whole Church. On May 31, Pope Francis will lead the recitation of the Rosary in the Vatican Gardens at the end of the prayer marathon.
Vatican City - April 2021 – Again this year, the celebration of Easter was marked by the restrictions of the pandemic. However, in the most solemn liturgy of the year, in a still half-empty St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis exhorted not to lose hope and to have faith in rebirth. After the Mass, the Pontiff gave the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing. In his message, there was a strong appeal to share vaccines with the poorest countries, to remove restrictions on religious freedom and to put an end to too many wars and violence. A strong message, under the banner of peace and hope. A theme, that of hope, which the Holy Father had already invoked during the Via Crucis on Friday 2 April: a Via Crucis with the meditations and prayers of the little ones, to whom the Pope's caress reached.
Vatican City - March 28, 2021 - Pope Francis presided over the solemn liturgical celebration of Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter's Basilica. During the homily, Pope Francis invited the faithful to raise their gaze to the cross to receive the grace of amazement during this Holy Week. "Let us start over from amazement. Let us gaze upon Jesus on the cross and say to him: “Lord, how much you love me! How precious I am to you!” Let us be amazed by Jesus so that we can start living again, for the grandeur of life lies not in possessions and promotions, but in realizing that we are loved. This is the grandeur of life: discovering that we are loved. And the grandeur of life lies precisely in the beauty of love. In the crucified Jesus, we see God humiliated, the Almighty dismissed and discarded. And with the grace of amazement we come to realize that in welcoming the dismissed and discarded, in drawing close to those ill-treated by life, we are loving Jesus. For that is where He is: in the least of our brothers and sisters, in the rejected and discarded, in those whom our self-righteous culture condemns.”
March is traditionally the month dedicated to Saint Joseph, husband of Mary. Let's explore some aspects of the Saint, which can be an inspiration for everyone's life.
(ANS - Baghdad) - A journey to bring hope to an entire people; a journey to the roots of the Abrahamic religions; a journey to reaffirm the value of brotherhood among all peoples: there are many readings that can be given to Pope Francis' trip to Iraq. A little more than three days, but which will remain engraved in the history of the country, of the pontificate of Pope Francis and in his personal life. As he said while greeting the crowd at the "Franso Hariri" stadium in Erbil: "Iraq will always remain with me, in my heart".
Iraq - March 2021 - Pope Francis' 33rd international trip, this last to Iraq which has just ended, a land from which the Pontiff's heart will never stray far. The Journey, under the banner of the Gospel motto "You are all brothers", began on March 5th. It was a long-desired pilgrimage, to embrace a people who have suffered enormously, but who have also developed a great desire for redemption and a future of peace. There were many significant moments of this historic visit: the meeting with the great ayatollah al Sistani in Najaf, the prayer against the war in Mosul, the embrace of the Christians of the Nineveh plain and, of course, the Mass in Erbil in the stadium Hariri. “Salam, salam, salam! God bless you all! God bless Iraq”: with these words, Pope Francis greeted Iraq and the many faithful who welcomed him.
Siria – The challenge to be both a good Salesian and a happy Salesian
(ANS - Aleppo) - Andrew Mulumba Chishimba is a 25-year-old Salesian in formation, a native of Zambia, but since last September he has begun his missionary service in the community of Aleppo, Syria. Today he shares his experience and the challenge and lessons learned so far with ANS.
Belgium – In search of the power of vulnerability together with young people
(ANS – Heverlee) – On April 28th, 2021, 20 educators and teachers from the Don Bosco community from Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium encountered for an online formation program: “Discovering the power of vulnerability together with young people”. An initiative from “Don Bosco Bildungsforum” (AUS), “Don Bosco Vorming & Animatie” (BEN) and “Jugendpastoralinstitut Don Bosco” (GER).
Great Britain – “Don’t forget the fun - it's holy!”
(ANS – London) – Play is sacred and essential at all ages. It is the place where we waste time, explore and forget the past and the future. That is why it revives the soul, brings perspective and tops up humour. Play with others whether in sport or in hobbies puts everyone on the same level as human beings. It is a holy thing to do.
MESSAGES OF THE RECTOR MAJOR
TOTA PULCHRA ES MARIA (YOU ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL, O MARY)
Something very great is happening when, after two thousand years of human history, we continue to feel today, perhaps more than ever, that She, His Mother, is our Mother also.