Rome (Italy) On 18 December 2022, at the FMA Generalate in Rome, the Communities of Rome of the Preprovince Mary Mother of the Church (RMC), expressed their Christmas greetings to Mother General, Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, and to the General Council.

“Sentinel, how much is left of the night?” is the sentence with which the visualized prayer began, with some scenes of Christmas taken from the film about Mother Mazzarello, “Brunches of a strong land”, which was followed by the gift of a song, performed in the Auditorium by all the FMA of the Communities of the Preprovince:  Mother Angela Vespa, St. Mary D. Mazzarello, Mother Ersilia Canta, and Sr. Teresa Valsè Pantellini who also brought greetings from the Community of Saint Paul VI of Concesio, Brescia.

The Superior of the Preprovince, Maria Del Carmen Canales, introduced the greetings by presenting to the new General Council ‘the numbers’ of the Communities, characterized by the presence of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians from all over the world, and the pastoral activity in the parishes, in the university, within the Church sector, and with other collaborations in the area.

The heart of the greeting was the song “God with us, Emmanuel” by the Gen Verde group, with a significant introduction, “And so it was that tenderness found a voice, meek, to spread sweetness, and a great heart to envelop it with love and a pure gaze, to give a smile and two hard-working hands, to build hope… It had the immense breath of the sky and the taste of the earth; it was a home for men and a cradle for those who are reborn in amazement”.

After giving ‘homemade’ gifts from the communities, the General Councilors introduced themselves and offered a song in turn.

Finally, Mother addressed her wishes by recalling the figure of Saint Joseph. “I like to underline the discretion of this young man. … He accepted a challenge from God, not an easy one. He saw all his dreams, all his plans fall apart in a single moment, but he remained discreet in the mystery, he listened to what Mary told him. And even if doubt tormented him, he still chose the path of love. Already in this way, he is truly a great person, but when God bursts into his life with a dream, Joseph does not linger and this availability, this attention to God’s voice, this lively participation in His Mystery and in His plan, makes him close to us. He is a person who then totally entrusted himself and trusted in God. Don Bosco chose him as the first patron of the Institute in the Constitutions of 1885, for his docility, for his silence, for his custody of the interior life and for the generosity with which he responded to God and cared for us. We wish you a Christmas lived like this, with the attitude of Joseph, who adores the Mystery, is willing to welcome it into his life, and responds generously. The Lord still entrusts us with His Son. He calls us to guard Him, to show Him, and to give Him”.

The evening concluded with a time of fraternity and sharing of supper, in the simplicity and joy of being together.

On 19 December 2022, the small and humble town of Bethlehem was the setting for the greetings of the Novices of the International Novitiates Mary Help of Christians of Castel Gandolfo (Rome) and Sr. Teresa Valsè Pantellini of Rome – Via Appia, of the Roman Province of St. John Bosco (IRO).

“Bethlehem, in Hebrew the house of bread; in Arabic strangely and curiously, the house of meat. In Bethlehem everything is small and weak; only those who have the spirit of shepherds can open themselves to the gift. Bethlehem is open to the humble and to seekers of truth; only those who have the spirit of the Magi can kneel down to adore.” These are some of the phrases, also pronounced in the various languages of origin and alternated with songs and gestures, such as the construction of a ‘house’, a house of bread, meat, gifts through which the Novices creatively expressed their wishes.

Mother Chiara, thanking for the profound texts that became prayers, in her greetings shared, “You said that we can be stars on the path of others and I believe that the meaning of Christmas is precisely this; welcoming Jesus means becoming stars that illumine the journey of the people who are close to us and also of those far away. … Christmas is like this. It is renewed in our lives to the extent that we welcome it, because the Lord calls us every day. Christmas is a Mystery that touches the daily routine. We see that the mystery of the incarnation is what holds up our life, our faith, our salvation, and is renewed every day in the smallness of the routine. I think our Christmas can be this: believing in the Lord, entrusting ourselves to Him, welcoming Him, and then becoming stars that light up the path of others and that are a generous gift for everyone.”

After singing together and the mutual exchange of gifts, the evening continued with a moment of conviviality with Mother and the Councilors, precious time and an opportunity to get to know the two Novitiate Communities.