Rome (Italy). On 5 August 2022, in Rome, the Community of Mary Help of Christians of the Generalate (RCG), with the Vicar General, Sister María del Rosario García Ribas, and the Councilors present, in communion with the whole Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, celebrated the 150th anniversary of the foundation of its Foundation.
Before Lauds and the Eucharistic Celebration, the Community gathered in the atrium of the house for the Angelus prayer and the entrustment to Mary composed for the 150th anniversary. As a symbolic gesture, the Animator, Sr. Carla Castellino, placed the key at the foot of the statue of Mary Help of Christians, given to Mother Chiara Cazzuola on 26 April 2022 by the Mayor and the City Council of Nizza Monferrato, a sign of the Honorary Citizenship conferred on the Institute.
The Eucharistic Celebration, presided by Fr. Giuseppe Ruta, Vicar of the Preprovince Mary Seat of Wisdom (UPS), was introduced by Sr. Maria Luisa Nicastro, Secretary General of the FMA Institute, who invited the assembly to unite themselves to the FMA of the five Continents who on the same day renew their ‘yes’ to the Covenant with God.
In the entrance procession, the Celebrant is preceded by the Animator, the Vicar General, and Sr. Maria Assunta Inoue Sumiko, Visiting Councilor, who accompany Sr. Maria My Hang Vu of Mary Help of Christians Province (VTN), in the renewal of her Biennial Vows.
During the days preceding the Celebration, the Community prepared with her for this significant moment of her journey, deepening and sharing the chosen readings (Is 63: 7-9; Col 3: 12-17, and Jn 15: 9-17). After the Liturgy of the Word, from the presbytery Sr. Maria pronounced the formula of renewal, in the hands of the Vicar General, Sr. María del Rosario García Ribas.
In his homily, Fr. Giuseppe, taking up Circular No. 1020, expresses the meaning of this day, “We are called, ‘from sunrise to sunset’, to give praise to God for the wonders He has accomplished in the history of humanity, in the history of the Institute, in our little history. In view of the ‘day without sunset’, when God will be all in all, we have a foretaste of the beauty of being together, to be praise to life, to God. (…) Today is the day of remembrance; indeed, it is a memorial in which what happened 150 years ago is repeated, because God continues to renew His covenant with us (…) In our promise, in our Vows, in our commitment, in the ability to give an answer with our responsibilities, the primacy is always of the One He sent who called us, loved us, chose us. Our feelings can only be those of Mary, expressed in the joyful explosion of the Magnificat, in that revolutionary song, because God is not absent in the history of our life. He is a God who intervenes with the power of His tenderness and His Love (…) We are called to be signs of God’s love for others, capable of taking care of one another (cf. Circ. 1020). This is possible only if an intimate and profound union is achieved with the One who is the Vine, of which we are the branches. We can love one another only if we remain in his love.” The celebrant ends the homily with the wish that we may be “happy women, in love with Jesus, passionate about the mission.”
After communion, the Magnificat in Vietnamese is accompanied by the choreography of some FMA who, with delicate and expressive gestures, convey the beauty and exultation of the generous handing over to the Lord of Sr. Maria My Hang. The solemn celebration ends with the hymn ‘Oh Qual Sorte’, a sign of communion and unity of the FMA Institute in the Salesian Charism.
The moment of fraternity and conviviality, experienced with the Councilors, is introduced by the Hymn and the dance of the 150th anniversary. Before cutting the cake, the Community offers Sr. Maria My Hang the gift of a song on the words of the Word of God chosen by her, “He is the vine, I am a branch; I will not separate myself from Him. I remain in Him, in His Love; He gives His life for me. My mission will be fruitful if I know how to love in this way my sisters and all people, through Him, with Him and in Him!” In the afternoon, the Exhibit of the Charism of the Generalate is opened to allow everyone to pause in silence, to pray, and to prolong their thanksgiving.
The day ends with a Rosary in the park of the Generalate, prayed together with some Sisters of Sacred Heart Community of St. John Bosco Province (IRO). The five mysteries are linked to the life and history of the FMA Institute: the history of salvation that God has guided and brought to completion for many young people and for each FMA; God’s call to joy; the presence of the Lord Jesus and Mary Help of Christians; the call to live the charity of Christ; the gift and call to holiness present in the Institute through witness and daily commitment. At each decade, some words are listened to of Saint Mary D. Mazzarello and Mother Chiara Cazzuola.
The festive day concludes with the prayer composed by Mother for the 150th anniversary and with the Good Night of Sr. Maria del Rosario, that seal a day under the sign of gratitude and joy in belonging to an Institute that belongs entirely to Mary.