On Sunday, we start the novena of Mary Help of Christians. During these nine days of prayer, reflection, and spiritual renewal, we present to God, through the motherly intercession of Mary, so many needs of the young, of our Salesian Family, and of the world. We become more and more like the community of believers in the Cenacle, opening ourselves to the manifold gifts of the Spirit. There, in the midst of the Apostles and other disciples, we find Mary, Mother of the Church. We entrust ourselves and all our concerns to her. The novena of Mary Help of Christians prepares us for the great Solemnity on Tuesday, May 24.
For the past few years, throughout the provinces of the Salesian Family in Canada and the USA, we have made efforts to celebrate the Solemnity of St. John Bosco and the Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians together. The pandemic set back these efforts, however, we are moving in this direction again. Here are a few of the special celebrations being prepared.
For the northeast USA region of the Salesian Family (Boston to Washington), we will gather for the Mary Help of Christians Family Festival on Saturday, May 21, 12:00 through 6:00 pm EST at the Marian Shrine in Stony Point, NY. The day includes a skit to honor the 150th anniversary of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, talks, games, Adoration, confessions, Mass, a Rosary procession, and crowning of the image of the Blessed Mother. The celebrations will continue into the night with events for young adults. The preparation for this special day has truly been a collaborative effort of many groups of the Salesian Family. The full timetable is available in the May edition of Salesian Family Snippets.
This year, on Tuesday, May 24, two groups of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA) will be formally established, one at St. John Bosco Parish, Chicago, IL, and one at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Surrey, BC. ADMA was founded by Don Bosco as an association to promote devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Mary Help of Christians, the pillars he saw in his famous dream which brought peace to the Church. ADMA reminds us that love for Jesus in the Eucharist and for Mary, under the title of Help of Christians, are not just devotions but are essential elements of our Salesian spirituality. Thanks to Fr. Samson Antony, Fr. Richard Alejunas, and all involved in establishing these new groups of ADMA. I encourage every Salesian presence to consider how you might strengthen or initiate a local ADMA group.
The Salesian Family in Canada has organized a virtual Rosary every day in the month of May at 7:30 pm EST. Email Sr. Alphonsine Roy for the Zoom link. The Salesian Family in the central Canada region (around Toronto) will be joining the parishioners of St. Benedict Parish at 6:45 pm EST for a live Rosary in five languages, followed by the Eucharistic celebration and a little refreshment in the parish hall.
The Salesian Family in central Florida (around Tampa) will gather for a Mary Help of Christians Festival on Sunday, May 22, an annual event that includes a serenade to Mother Mary at 9:30 am EST, Mass at 10:00 am EST, a Rosary procession, crowning, and, of course, food and festivities by East Lake, concluding with the Blessing of Mary Help of Christians at 2:30 pm EST.
Whether at a regional gathering or local celebration, on Tuesday, May 24 or another day, the Salesian Family is expressing our filial love for Mary, the Immaculate Help of Christians, Mother of Jesus and our Mother.
Tomorrow, Friday, May 13, is the Feast of St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello. We pray especially for the FMA and the FMA past pupils. The Sisters are a living monument of gratitude to Mary Help of Christians. May God bless them during this anniversary year.
Fr. Tim Zak