Mary Help of Christians Day 2024

Marian Day 2024
Girl Rosary
A young girl walks
and prays the Rosary.
Photo by Fr. Tom Dunne, SDB

By Fr. Tom Dunne, SDB

(Ramsey, NJ – May 30) – On Saturday, May 25, the Salesian Family from the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic, and Miami (an ADMA member) celebrated a day in honor of Don Bosco’s Madonna at the Marian Shrine in Stony Point, NY. The Lord blessed our gathering with a beautiful day for all Salesian Family members to honor Mary, the Help of Christians. The theme of the day was that of the Rector Major’s Strenna: “The Dream That Makes You Dream.”

Approximately 180 of Don Bosco’s followers joined in a day of prayer, reflection, sharing, formation, and childlike fun. In the spirit of a family reunion, where Salesian Family members (of many official groups) joined with families connected with the Salesian presences, parishioners from Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Orange, NJ, the faithful devotees from our former parish on 12th St. in Manhattan, and those from the local area who wanted to honor Mary Help of Christians.

The day was spent celebrating Don Bosco’s inaugural dream at age nine, when he received the Lord’s call to serve the young most in need and to found a family of men and women who would seek holiness in a life of pastoral charity after the teaching and example of St. Francis de Sales. The sacrament of Reconciliation was an important part of the day.

After a short time getting to know one another, the assembly reflected on witness talks by Pat Sobel (Salesian Cooperator), Br. Pascal Mukuye, SDB, and Fr. Miguel Suarez, SDB. The pilgrims joined with the Shrine devotees in the Mass of Mary Help of Christians, which included the induction of two Salesian Cooperators from Newton, NJ, into the Salesian Family: Leonor R. Aquino and Eduardo T. Aquino.

The afternoon was spent enjoying a “street fair” in front of the Becchi House. In addition to carnival-style treats, family members of all ages took their turn with games that the young Don Bosco would have played at the time of our Lady’s appearance. It was good to see young and old taking up a few of Don Bosco’s tricks with his companions to gather them for his catechism lessons on Sunday mornings after Mass. A Don Bosco look-alike, pre-novice Nicholas Jandernoa, demonstrated juggling dressed in cassock and biretta. Those more adventurous tried out their Don Bosco “high wire” skills with mixed results. We were blessed to see the Becchi House, which had been vacant for so many years, come alive as an Oratory in the same spirit as when Don Bosco had his dream at age nine.

Confessions and a period of Eucharistic adoration started off the afternoon. The day came to a close with a Rosary procession and the crowning of the Our Lady of the Rosary statue by Br. Pascal Mukuye, SDB, and Novice Sr. Natalie Doummar. After a Good Night by Provincial Sr. Colleen Clair, FMA, and the Blessing of Mary Help of Christians by Provincial Fr. Dominic Tran, SDB, the whole Salesian Family sang the hymn “Immaculate Mary” looking up at the image of Mary, our Help, crowned as Queen of Heaven.

May 30, 2024 - 8:30am
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