Rome (Italy). On 16 December 2023, in Rome, at the Generalate of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Representatives of Associations and Groups of the Salesian Family, the World Confederation of Mornese FMA Past Pupils, and VIDES, in presence and online, expressed Christmas greetings to the Superior General, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, and to the General Councilors of the FMA Institute.

Together with Mother and other Councilors, present in the Chapter Room were also Sister Leslye Sandigo, Councilor for the Salesian Family Sector who introduced the encounter; Sister Gabriela Patiño Osorio, Delegate of the World Confederation Mornese FMA Past Pupils; Sister Runita Borja, Councilor for the Youth Ministry Sector; the Delegate of Mornese ONLUS, Sister Laura Anastasia; and a Salesian Cooperator representing all the laity.

Connected online were the Presidents of the ADMA Associations, FMA Past Pupils, Salesian Cooperators, VIDES, and members of the Councils, about sixty in all, who together addressed a wish interspersed with Christmas carols. The red thread was the bell, which at Christmas resounds in the air announcing Jesus who, “who punctually arrives every year”. A message not always welcomed and often silenced by the many other news reports.

 “We should be the real Christmas bells. We should be heard among the many bells that ring these days, because we go to that grotto and we understand it is there our life is given to us by that Baby who asks us to be the bells… Bells that courageously proclaim peace; bells that shake consciences; bells that ring out life.”

Addressing Mother, the greeting ended as follows: “Yes, we believe, Mother Chiara, that this Christmas asks us to be bells. Big or small as they may be, together they will be able to make themselves heard, and to make a melody heard that many people need to listen to again.”

Those present then gave Mother on behalf of all, a metal bell containing a contribution for her gestures of solidarity, asking her for help “to make it resound” in favor of the many situations of need.

Mother thanked and, emphasizing the anniversary of Gaudete Sunday said, “Although the events of our existence seem so tragic, we are called to keep our hearts open to hope, trusting in God who makes Himself present by choosing the appearance of a small and humble Child so we would not feel alone. ‘Be joyful always, pray unceasingly, in everything give thanks’ (1Thes 5:16). Saint Paul had appealed to the joy that the Thessalonians felt despite the hostilities, because they had accepted his Gospel message. Now he urges them to never let it fail, even after the first enthusiasm.”

She concluded by inviting everyone “to welcome Jesus with simplicity and joy, invoking the gift of peace for suffering humanity, for peoples at war, for all the poor of the earth, for those who seek the Lord even without knowing it,” and to learn, like the Magi, “that even in the darkest nights a star shines. And the star is Jesus, who illumines our life. Only in this way is it still truly Christmas!”

In the family atmosphere that distinguishes this simple and heartfelt encounter, the Councilors presented themselves and addressed a spontaneous greeting to everyone.



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