Portugal – 9th International Congress of Mary Help of Christians in Fatima

20 March 2024

(ANS – Lisbon) – From 29 August to 1 September 2024, Fatima will host the 9th International Congress of Mary Help of Christians. The main aim of this Congress is to get to know, further explore and spread  devotion to Mary Help of Christians. A press conference was held on 15 March, in Lisbon, also involving the Provincial of Portugal, Fr Tarcízio Morais, to present the event. Further relevant information about this important event of the Salesian Family was offered there. 

The International Congresses of Mary Help of Christians are events organised by the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA) for all the groups of the Salesian Family, who find in Mary the Mother and Teacher of all vocations.

The theme chosen for the 9th International Congress of Mary Help of Christians, «I will give you a Teacher!, recalls Don Bosco's Childhood Dream, whose Bicentenary the Salesian Family is celebrating this year.

These meetings, which are usually held every four years, are a very important occasion for everyone. Therefore, all groups of the Salesian Family are called to participate in this important occasion of unity and devotion. The organisation of this congress in Portugal is a unique event that is experienced by all members of the Salesian Family as a moment of grace.

Registration for the International Congress of Mary Help of Christians is already underway and can be done individually or in groups using the forms available on the congress website. To date, around 500 participants have registered, both individuals and groups of the Salesian Family from various countries; around 70% are lay people, 19% religious men and women and 9% priests.

The formation process designed as preparation for the Congress will seek to explore the dream at nine years of age and will be divided into five topics and 10 stages. The first topic in the dream is, of course, the Oratory mission: here the educational charism and the Preventive System as a path to holiness will be analysed. The second topic underlines the mystery of life as vocation and mission, something that is inside every human being, but bigger than the human being. In these stages peoplewill be invited to reflect on the question of faith, vocational discernment, spiritual struggle and Christian life.

The third topic calls for reflection on the experience of God as presence and mystery - an experience that involves the themes of encounter and proclamation, conversion and faith, contemplation and action, liturgy and apostolate. The fourth topic presents the style of the Salesian charism: loving-kindness. The aim will be to promote a pedagogy of love, totally inspired by God's charity, and therefore a relational style characterised by humility and gentleness, benevolence and affability. The last topic will provide an opportunity to discuss the feminine and maternal face of the Church, in the whole of God's plan.

The Congress will be attended by Fr Stefano Martoglio, Vicar of the Rector Major, and Mother Chiara Cazzuola, Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Also taking part will be the Auxiliary Bishop of Donetsk, Ukraine, Maksym Ryabukha, SDB, who will give his testimony to the participants of the Congress on what it means to live the dream of Don Bosco in the midst of a community at war, and who, on the last evening, will preside over the rosary and the procession to the Shrine of Fatima.

Among the speakers the following are expected: Fr Andrea Bozzolo, SDB, Rector Magnificus of the  Pontifical Salesian University (UPS) in Rome; Spanish biblical scholar Fr Juan José Bartolomé, SDB;  specialist in Systematic Theology, Sr Adriana Silva Castillo, FMA; and psychologist and psychotherapist Maria Rita Scrimieri, Salesian Cooperator, Founder and Coordinator of the "Work of the Living Tabernacles" Study Centre.

As far as the programme is concerned, the highlight will be the opening celebration, which will be held on the first day of the Congress. There will also be visits to the sites in Fatima and various talks by academics and devotees of Mary Help of Christians from all over the world, who will discuss and reflect on the legacy and influence of this figure so central to the history of the Catholic Church and the lives of the faithful.

For more information, please visit: https://mariaauxiliadora2024.pt/en 


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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