These are difficult times, for the whole of humanity, variously affected, but united by the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has affected and mobilized the Salesian world on par with all civil and religious communities. More than 50 Salesians have died of the disease, schools closed, efforts made to offer distance learning, help people without food in the poorest countries, offer the total protection reserved for children without families and without homes, pastoral activities have been reinvented in their form... Wherever possible, there has been a mobilization of young people from oratories and schools to create health facilities, training to prevent contagion…
All this vast effort has risen to the altar of the Help of Christians over a day unlike tradition, but at the same time the closest to the current historical and spiritual moment. In Italy this was also the first Sunday of reopening of the churches for the celebrations of the people, a turning point - which we hope is positive according to human logic and that we can truly hope for according to faith in God the Father – in facing the pandemic.
The theme of trust in God is rebuilt when "we touch the precariousness of the human condition, we discover treasures contained in clay pots," said Fr Á.F. Artime.
Almost to complement this reflection, the words of the archbishop of Turin, Msgr. Cesare Nosiglia, who underlined how Mary also observed everything that happened and preserved it as the will of the Lord: "She, too, could not understand the meaning of what happened to Jesus, but she trusted what God was also doing through her."
No desperate faces, but many pleading yes in the faithful who attended the basilica and courtyards of Valdocco on this day. Many confessions, with tears sometimes freed; but also a lot of hope, linked to recognizing in Mary the woman who shared human pain and who helped overcome it in the sacrifice of the Son.
The evening Rosary, with contributions from Rome and Central America, to indicate the universality of the Salesian Family, with Mother Yvonne Reungoat, Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians first, was certainly a more than symbolic passage, almost a common thread, for the future of this celebration, which this time had to give up the "big and beautiful procession", as the representatives of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA) who completed the last decade of the Rosary said.
But this did not impede the statue of the Mother who helps her children being carried to the door connecting the temple and the city.