With submissions by Fr. Provincial Tim Zak, SDB; Rosina Di Felice, Salesian Cooperator; and Chioma Okoye, Communications Director and CYM, Mary Help of Christians Center, Tampa, FL
Last week, we featured how three of our communities observed the feast of Mary Help of Christians early. This week, we're happy to share with you how two of our communities in Canada and one of our communities in the Eastern USA also celebrated Mother Mary!
St. Benedict Parish was blessed to have newly appointed Archbishop Francis Leo celebrate Mass for the feast of Mary Help of Christians. Archbishop Leo’s inspirational homily encouraged us to stay close to Mother Mary and ask for her intercession and help in our everyday challenges and struggles. She is the perfect model of faith, trusting in our Lord, and she is the ultimate disciple that leads us to her son Jesus Christ. At the reception following Mass on the feast of Mary Help of Christians, Salesian parish families and parishioners were delighted to greet and spend time with Archbishop Leo. Various members of the Salesian Family presented Archbishop Leo with Salesian tokens of welcome and appreciation.
Mary Help of Christians Tampa celebrated the Feast of Mary Help of Christians with their annual Family Festival on Sunday, May 21.
Everyone was welcomed at the outdoor altar with a few words about our Blessed Mother. These simple yet profound words helped in shifting our focus from the heat of the day to the true reason we were present: to honor our Blessed Mother and thank her for all she has done for us.
The choir led the congregation in a few hymns to Our Lady, which was followed by the blessing of the new Rosary walkway located adjacent to the outdoor altar.
Mass started with a procession of saints (parishioners of all ages dressed as saints symbolizing Mary as Queen of all Saints). The Mass was bilingual (said in both English by Fr. Franco Pinto, SDB, and Korean by Fr. Francis de Sales La, SDB.) Also present were the other Salesian priests of the Mary Help community who concelebrated the Mass.
Directly after Mass was the Rosary procession. Representatives from each ministry at Mary Help led a decade of the Rosary as well as processed the statue of Mary around the property to the final destination, at which she was crowned.
Other beautiful moments of the festival included the traditional Korean Alleluia and the testimonies to Mary’s powerful intercessory power during Mass, the blessing of Mary statues, and veneration of the new relics in the Church. The day concluded with a beautiful lakeside picnic.
Lastly, Fr. Franco emphasized these words from the Novena to Mary Help of Christians as he asked us to always remember how important and powerful Our Lady is: "God Himself turned to Mary in realizing His plan for the salvation of the world... God’s plan has never changed: the help of Christ has become the help of Christians."
Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us!
Salesian Family gathered together on the feast of Mary Help of Christians. On that day, 11 new members of ADMA made their commitment.