Rome (Italy). On 7 May 2023, Mary Help of Christians Community of the Generalate (RCG), celebrated the Feast of Gratitude in the presence of Mother Chiara Cazzuola, who returned from Colombia after the World Feast.

The day began with Morning Prayers and later on, with the Eucharist presided over by Fr. Rafael Bejarano and concelebrated by Fr. Emiro Cepeda, Colombian Salesians of Don Bosco. In his homily, Fr. Rafael asked the question of the Apostle Thomas (Jn 14: 1-12), “how can we know the way?”, pointing out that the answer can be found in the first reading, which tells us that the early Church instituted the diaconate to take care of widows, therefore of the most vulnerable people. “As the Salesian Family, we were born from the commitment of our Founders to promote active citizenship, to walk in the Church with a gaze of mercy especially towards the poorest, to multiply love. We thank the Lord for our history, for the many sisters and brothers who have testified to love, and for Mother Chiara who has the task of keeping the Charism alive”, he concluded. The Eucharistic celebration was enhanced by the dance of the Magnificat by a group of sisters, an expression of community gratitude.

Present at lunch with the Community, in addition to Mother and the five Sisters of the General Council here, were the two concelebrating Salesians, the Rector of the nearby Sacred Heart Community of St. John Bosco Province (IRO), two Colombian FMA of the Pre-province Mary Mother of the Church (RMC), and three Colombian lay people representing the Salesian Family. At the blessing of the table, flowers and fruits of the rich and colorful Colombian land were presented. “The fruits represent our community, the life that grows, fecundity and hope in every context, to be true generators of peace”.

The Feast continued in the afternoon in the theater hall of the Generalate, with the viewing of an animated film set in the great nation that Mother Chiara was able to get to know and visit and with the intense moment of prayer prepared by the Sisters of Colombia, taking up the theme of the World Feast: “To be generators of peace with Mary”.

Also present to share the moment were the Sisters of Sacred Heart Community, the Superior and the Rome Community of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary of Blessed Luigi Variara, and a volunteer from the Blessed’s lay movement.

“Peace is the task of all people of good will who believe in truth, justice, love, and freedom. But believers, underlines Pacem in Terris, cannot give up being ‘a spark of light, a center of love, a life-giving leaven in the mass’. Today we too dream of generating a culture of peace. Therefore, dearest Mother, we want the celebration to continue, no longer from Colombia to the world, but with the world gathered in this house” was explained in the introduction of the brief celebration with which we wanted to underline the sense of belonging of the Sisters, the enthusiasm in living the da mihi animas, with local challenges, gratitude for the gift of fraternity lived in a special way in a multicultural community like that of the Generalate.

After having received an orchid as a gift from the Community, a plant reminiscent of Colombia, Mother Chiara thanked for the preparation and realization of this moment and, recalling the World Feast, she said, “Each of us felt involved in this exercise to be generators of peace, which is what the Lord is asking of us at this moment, in the Church and in the world. Thank you for your daily presence and right here I remember Pope Francis (October 22, 2021), when he thanked the Community for its mission of support and hospitality. (…) This is a house with doors and windows always open… and above all, it is the house of all the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the world. The world is here.”

She concluded by saying, “Thank you to each of you for what is in the Institute, for being there, for your fidelity, for your life. Thank you to each one for what is in the Salesian Family, because we have such a beautiful spirituality. I was saying this to the Groups I met in Colombia that each of us lives the Charism without stealing something from the other, but by completing this beautiful design. Don Bosco called it the sketch, where there is the color of each Group of the SF, and there is the color where each of us is, and then there are the student Sisters of other Congregations, who are not just passing through in this community, we totally feel them as sisters and daughters. (…)

Then I wish you a good continuation of this exercise. Some of you have said that peace building is an ongoing exercise. And it’s true; it begins in our heart and continues; it doesn’t end, it multiplies. The Feast ends, we continue our journey and this exercise of patiently building peace in everyday gestures”.


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