Italy – Feast of Mary Help of Christians: the Rector Major Emphasises “Mary’s Welcoming Nature”

27 May 2024

(ANS – Rome) – Keeping up the promise he made on 17 December 2023, when he took possession of the diaconate of Santa Maria Ausiliatrice on Via Tuscolana assigned to him by Pope Francis, the Rector Major of the Salesians and Titular Archbishop of Ursona, Cardinal Ángel Fernández Artime, celebrated the Feast of Mary Help of Christians 2024 in the church he is responsible for.

The celebration was attended by the Salesians from the “Pio XI” community, which animates the extensive work associated with the basilica, starting with the parish priest, Fr Valerio Baresi. Numerous Salesians from the various houses of the Sons of Don Bosco active in Rome, along with other representatives from the various units of the local Salesian Family, the civil authorities, and especially numerous young people and faithful from the area which is strongly marked by the Salesian presence, also participated.

In his message eagerly and anxiously awaited by all, the Rector Major centred his homily on Mary’s ability to welcome: “Mary is a welcoming Woman and Mother,” he noted, illustrating in detail how she lived out this welcoming nature in many dimensions: welcoming Jesus and welcoming others; welcoming in the womb and with the heart, mind, and will; a welcoming that can multiply gifts and fruits for those in need; welcoming God and His plans in her life and her projects.

In his reflection, the 10th Successor of Don Bosco highlighted other characteristics of Mary, emphasising her ability to be both mother and disciple of Jesus: as a mother, always devoted and caring towards her only Son; as a disciple, capable of following Jesus herself.

The Rector Major concluded his homily by pointing out the attitudes of welcoming, care-giving, and humility of Our Lady to all the faithful and invited everyone to imitate them, always cultivating filial trust towards the Help of Christians who never tires of aiding her children.

Reflecting on the role of mothers in education, the Archbishop of Ursona made a final appeal to the parents present: “Nurture generosity, faith, and prayer in the family… Because what you do not do, the society and the politicians will never do.”

After the celebration, which was richly animated and meticulously organised from a liturgical and musical perspective, the traditional procession of Mary Help of Christians through the streets of the neighbourhood took place. This moment of religious and social festivity was also accompanied by a performance from the musical band that marched along and witnessed a large popular participation.

The day of celebration concluded with the solemn blessing of Mary Help of Christians upon returning back to the Salesian house.

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