Rome (Italy). “Do whatever He tells you”, the 24th General Chapter of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians opens on 17 September 2021, at the Generalate of Mary Help of Christians, in Rome.
The XXIV General Chapter is a cenacle of charismatic vitality, an expression of the “time of God”, a time of listening, and of courageous choices to “do whatever He tells you” in the heart of contemporaneity.
The Eucharistic Celebration presided over by the Rector Major emeritus Fr. Pascual Chávez Villanueva, is animated by the Interprovincial Conference of Africa and Madagascar (CIAM). African songs and dances express the joy of celebration and encounter as in Cana in Galilee.
In his homily, Fr. Pascual encourages the assembly to live this time of grace in docility to the Holy Spirit. “He is the witness of Jesus and it is He who makes us witnesses of Christ. May He be the main protagonist of this event of grace so that the Chapter may be a true charismatic Pentecost”.
The official opening of the inauguration continues with the celebratory moment of the entrance of the flags. The Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians is currently present on five continents, in 97 countries. The flags express the sense of universality, diversity, and richness of each country. There are the colors of the cultures, the faces of the people with whom the educational and charismatic mission is shared. All the Educating Communities are represented which await from the Chapter reflection, light to awaken the original freshness and the vocational fruitfulness of the FMA Institute.
The Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat gives the Welcome. She retraces the journey and the processes carried out for the preparation for GC XXIV, underlines trust in God’s times, and the fabric that is being woven in the heart of contemporaneity to be, in the diversity of contexts and environments, generative communities of life and hope.
“Today we are here, all together representing our different and complex realities of the five continents. The profound communion between us constitutes a strength and is an evident prophetic sign.
Generativity is the mission of Mary who desired, generated, and guided the Institute throughout its history and who, 150 years after its foundation, continues to generate it so that it may be in the Church and in the world, what it should be for and with young people. Mary is actively present and continues to walk with all of us, as she did in a surprising way in the life of our Founders.
We hope to live a true experience of fruitful encounter with new seeds of life to start again from here, regenerated with passion and enthusiasm to generate new life in our communities and in the educational mission.”
Cardinal João BRAZ de AVIZ, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, shares with the assembly the profound admiration aroused by the work carried out as an Institute in preparation for the General Chapter, valuing the charismatic richness of the Institute and committing itself to be in the Church a concrete sign of synodality at the service of the poorest. He then indicates some steps to carry out the synodal journey such as fraternal life in community, listening and dialogue, fraternity, openness to other charisms, authority-service, obedience to Jesus, ecclesial life.
The Rector Major Emeritus, Fr. Pascual Chávez Villanueva, reads the message of Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, who solicits trust in God and openness to the Holy Spirit. He encourages us to live this experience in listening to the Word and in discernment, to respond as consecrated women, Daughters of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello, revitalizing the Salesian charism with courageous and daring choices for the good of young people, especially the poorest and most needy, carrying out together the da mihi animas coetera tolle and the I entrust them to you with creative fidelity.
Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, Moderator of GC XXIV, announces that due to the Pandemic, Councilors will read the messages from some groups of the Salesian Family (Past Pupils, Salesian Cooperators, ADMA, VDB) and of the Youth of the Salesian Youth Movement.
Mother thus officially declared opened the XXIV General Chapter of the FMA.
Mary is present and accompanies us as she did in a surprising way in the life of the Founders and in the history of the FMA Institute. Accompanied by her, the Chapter members enter the Chapter experience as a time of the Holy Spirit, who will nourish in all and in the Educating Communities a new missionary impulse to travel the path of holiness and creative fidelity to the Salesian charism.