Quito (Ecuador). On February 10, 2022, the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, presided over the Eucharistic Celebration for the 150th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the Chapel of the Spellman Bilingual Special Educational Unit in Quito.
After the Spiritual Exercises with the Provincial Councils of the Interamerica Region, at the Salesian Center of Spirituality and San Patricio Conferences in Quito, on February 10 the Rector Major began his visit to the SDB Sacred Heart of Jesus Province (ECU) with a first meeting with the members of the Salesian Family in Ecuador.
At the Eucharistic Celebration, concelebrated by the Provincial of the ECU Province, Fr. Francisco Sánchez, and by Msgr. Alfredo Espinoza, Archbishop of Quito, about 250 people were present: the Councils and representatives of the different branches of the Salesian Family – Salesian Cooperators, Damas Salesianas, Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), and others; the Provincial of the Sacred Heart Province (ECU), Sr. Cruz María Piña, the Animators and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of some FMA Communities, the SDB Directors, and a representation of students and teachers of the Educating Communities.
In his homily, Fr Ángel underlined how the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Foundation of the FMA Institute and the 120 years of educational-missionary presence of the FMA in Ecuador are “a time to be grateful for the existence of so many sisters who gave their lives until the end of their days, for the life of the laity who accompanied the mission in the works, for the former students who brought to the world what they received in the FMA Houses, for the good and humble people of the origins who made this charismatic reality possible today and here”. He recalled that celebrating an anniversary does not mean remaining nostalgic for the past, but taking the opportunity to continue to look to the future, without forgetting the humble origins from which one comes.
Don Bosco, who loved his sons/daughters, to love was his constant invitation. And to love Mother Mazzarello, the young peasant woman from Mornese learned to read and write for her sisters, was a woman capable of creating communion, of being the mother to her sisters and girls, of transmitting to them that they were truly her beloved daughters: “this is what fascinates her, who was not a doctor of the Church, but a woman of God capable of loving in practice, of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary”.
Finally, he invited the whole Salesian Family to be ‘alternative’, to live the faith in a profound way, to be people who transmit hope, antidote against self-referentiality, to live with an open heart, abandoned to the One who is the Only important One, the One “through whom we live, move and have our being”.
The Holy Mass was followed by a meeting with the Rector Major, on the theme “What the Rector Major expects from the Salesian Family today”, introduced by the words of the Provincial, Sr. Cruz María Piña. Fr. Ángel spoke in a simple and fraternal way of the significance of each member and group of the Salesian Family in Ecuador and on how to live and cultivate synodality as a “style of relationship, charity, and communion in the Lord Jesus”.
The meeting ended with a moment of artistic performances, in which students and teachers of some Salesian educational institutions of the FMA of Quito expressed, through speech, dance, and song, the joy of celebrating together the presence of Don Bosco among them, in the person of the Rector Major.