Significantly, the Rector Major sends this message from the Basilica of the Sacro Cuore of Rome, before the altar of the Help of Christians, recalling how it was here that Don Bosco received confirmation of his mission carried out under the guidance and protection of Mary.
Finally, he announced the publication of a letter on the occasion of this anniversary and spoke of the celebration of the VIII International Congress of Mary Help of Christians, to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 17 to 10 November this year.
The following is the text of the message of the Rector Major:
My dear brothers and sisters of the Salesian Family throughout the world, receive my affectionate greeting on this Palm Sunday. I greet you today because on Holy Thursday, in four days, the 150th anniversary of the foundation of what we now call the "Association of Mary Help of Christians" will be celebrated which at the time was the Archconfraternity of Mary Help of Christians.
In the foundation document, one reads a text by our beloved Father Don Bosco.
"In the church dedicated to Mary Help of Christians in Turin and with the authorization of the Reverend Archbishop of Turin, the Association of devotees who intend to promote the glory of the divine Mother of the Savior is canonically constituted, to merit your protection, in life and in particular at the moment of death. There are two means offered as special means: extend the devotion to the Blessed Virgin and the veneration to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament".
We read it in the document of Catholic readings that communicate this message, because it is an occasion to say that what we are celebrating is something beautiful. Although what I have just read to you is the beginning of the letter that I am going to render public for the whole Salesian Family, today I just want you to get a greeting from the altar of this site, the altar of Mary Help of Christians in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
The altar that I like to call "Don Bosco's tears and sobs", because in this place Don Bosco had that manifestation of what his life was, entirely accompanied, without doubt, by the Lord who has always guided him with the unique and special protection of the Mother.
Because "She did everything", as Don Bosco used to say. My words of today are congratulations for these 150 important years for the whole Salesian world, for our Salesian Family, for the 800 legally constituted groups of our "ADMA" Association.
And it is an invitation to fulfill what Don Bosco proposed: extend devotion to our Mother Mary Help of Christians, with the certainty that with the Eucharist and with Her, our Mother, we have these two great pillars that personally support our life, the Salesian Family and the Church.
I take this opportunity to remind the whole Salesian Family that, under the guidance of the association of Mary Help of Christians, we shall celebrate at the end of the year, in the last part, the World Marian Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Mary will be proposed as a model of faith for all of you, dear brothers and sisters.
My affectionate greeting, my words of encouragement and my prayer before our Mother Help of Christians, for all of you, for our Congregations, Institutes, Families and Communities.
See you soon!