In 2019 the Primary ADMA of Turin celebrated its 150th anniversary. What does this anniversary mean?
Celebrating 150 years for any group is a cause for celebration and joy. Not all associations or groups come to celebrate it. But above all, ADMA today is much more than it was 150 years ago: it is truly a widespread reality on the five continents, with 817 local ADMA groups and a total of over 100,000 members around the world.
Local groups are rejuvenating and revitalizing. ADMA today is a growing and expanding association. Growing inward and outward: it grows in spirituality, with two pillars: devotion to Mary Help of Christians and to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. And it also grows outwardly, because it grows in solidarity and ministry.
How are local groups behaving in times of a pandemic?
We are all experiencing the pandemic ... What strikes me positively is that ADMA did not stand by and watch. She was quick to get to work and worked in two directions, like the movement of the heart, systole and diastole. First, it intensified prayer: the groups developed new creative moments, or at least new ways of continuing to pray and meet. This was a movement fundamentally to heal the relationship with Mary and with Jesus.
And then it didn't stay still in the houses: it went out to meet the needs of many people. There have been countless solidarity initiatives, food collections for needy families, economic collections for the poor, aid of all kinds, production of masks, help to the elderly by bringing them food, free transfer of the sick from one place to another ... All this, in many associations, since the very beginning of the pandemic.
A large number of solidarity initiatives, concrete, generous, which reminded us of Mary when, after the announcement of the angel Gabriel, she departed to help her cousin Elizabeth. In this pandemic, ADMA was and is the Visitation.
What is the importance of ADMA today?
Today, the Association has a very big challenge. To revive the Marian dimension in the whole Salesian Family. This is what the Rector Major said in the penultimate letter he wrote on the occasion of the 150th anniversary. The Salesian Family is a Marian family and cannot be understood without the presence of Mary.
Don Bosco bequeathed to us the devotion to the Help of Christians. As children and friends of Don Bosco, we are invited to promote and spread devotion to the Help of Christians. It is a huge challenge to be able to respond to this Marian devotion today.
The complete interview, by the Social Communication Office of the Salesians of Spain, is available on the ANS website in Spanish.