Rome (Italy). On 23 June 2024, during Sunday Mass, the parish priest of the parish of Sts. Antonio and Annibale Maria of Rome, Father Pasquale Albisinni, Rogationist, officially said farewell to the Community of the International Novitiate Sister Teresa Valsé Pantellini of Via Appia Nuova at its closing, and thanked the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians for their happy collaboration from the year 2008/2009 to today. Canonically erected in 2006, it will in fact close as a presence in Rome and will continue with a single Novitiate in Castelgandolfo

Present at the celebration were the Novices of the 2nd year who animated the singing and the readings; the Formator, Sister Maria Giovanna Mammarella; the Assistant, Sister Mercedes Benavent; and two Daughters of Mary Help of Christians who as Novices carried out their apostolate in the parish.

In his homily, commenting on the Gospel of the boat in the storm (Mk 5:34-31), Father Pasquale compared life – personal, community, family, parish – to a boat in the throes of a storm. “The Church is a boat on which the Lord took us through baptism and life is always in a storm, because it is always on the move: now a pain, now a misunderstanding, now a transfer like yours… is always a small storm. What makes us feel bad is the fear, the fear of dying”.

He then stressed two aspects: “Jesus is there in the boat – not in another boat, on yours and on the boat of life; He took you with Him and you took Him ‘as He is’. The Gospel in fact says, ‘They took him as he was’.  What does that mean? Maybe with His logic, maybe already asleep, maybe tired. But He’s in the boat with you, so there He is. And the second thing is that sometimes Jesus is asleep in the boat of life, because you have put His presence to sleep. It is dormant, like the Holy Spirit, is dormant in us since baptism. Therefore, it is necessary to awaken Him with the cry of help, with the exercise of hope, with prayer, with the sacraments, so that He may intervene and give peace to your heart, say to the waves, to the storm in your heart, ‘Silence, be calm’!”

Father Pasquale then recalled the names of almost 50 Novices who had passed through the parish in 16 years. Most are now Daughters of Mary Help of Christians who have served, with availability and joy, in catechesis and in the oratory, together with the previous Formator, Sister Antonella Terravecchia, and the other FMA of the Community. “It has been an immense grace to be able to build together the Kingdom of God in this lengthy time and to have created relationships that will remain over time, we are certain of this.”

At the end of the Eucharist, he unexpectedly called Sister Maria Giovanna and Sister Elisa Molinari, FMA of the first group of novices with whom the collaboration began in 2008, to give as a gift of gratitude a commemorative plaque and a gardenia plant, “the flowers of Saint Hannibal Mary of France,” who did not know Don Bosco personally, but corresponded with him.

“To the Novitiate of Via Appia Nuova in Rome, with infinite gratitude for the Kingdom of God built together in these long years” is the inscription on the plaque, which well expresses the journey together as a Church “for the Kingdom of God”, in the commitment to children and young people and parishioners, and mutual recognition for the fruitfulness of relationships, which will undoubtedly continue through prayer.


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