Nizza Monferrato (Italy). On 24 May 2024, in the courtyard of the Institute “Our Lady of Grace” of Nizza Monferrato, Asti, of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Mary Help of Christians Province (IPI), a festive community gathered around Mary Help of Christians on the day dedicated to her.

They are the children of the Kindergarten and Primary School not only of the Institute, but of other schools in the city, with parents, grandparents, and also with the presence of the Mayor and the priest who presides over the celebration, Fr. Giacinto Ramian. To increase the joy, there is also the sun, after so much rain and cloudy skies.

The children arrive with a flower in hand, situated at the foot of Mary Help of Christians that is on the cart, ready for the evening procession. Sister Lucia Bugnano, FMA, with the Coordinator of the School, Elena Pantani, the teachers, and educators, had prepared for a long time and with great commitment the procession that winds its way in the courtyards of the Institute amid songs and prayers.

“Let the children come to me” and the song of the Hail Mary marks the path with the different stages, which recall the life of Mary and her experience of faith and love. Each stage is associated a mystery of the Rosary proposed by a pupil of the Primary School and a symbol brought by a child of the Kindergarten. The Annunciation is depicted with a heart, the heart of Mary that is open to the will of the Father; the visit to Elizabeth with the sandals of the journey; the birth of Jesus with a blue bow; the flight to Egypt with a migrant’s backpack; the presentation in the temple with a lit candle.

The small statue of Mary Help of Christians is carried with great attention and love by four children of the Kindergarten, who alternate with those of the Primary School. The carrier is child-friendly and the four bearers attract everyone’s attention to the elegant damask red cape prepared for the occasion.

Preceding the statue of Our Lady, are the First Communion children wearing their white tunics. They are followed by children who carry the symbols of the various mysteries. After them are the various groups of children and classes of pupils accompanied by teachers and many parents and family members who came to this first edition of the children’s procession.

The long procession, escorted by the “vigilant grandparents”, then enters the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Grace and the eight bearers form a crown to Mary Help of Christians. After a few words about Mary, Fr. Giacinto blessed the children and the medals, then distributed them to each one. Even the little ones on strollers receive it, happy to hear that Mary protects, helps, consoles, and is always close in times of suffering and joy.

The celebration ends amid singing, applause, the joy of children and adults for having honored Mary in such a charming and dear Feast.

In the evening, after a storm that does not allow the procession at 9:PM to take place, we hear comments: “Truly, the Mother of Jesus prefers children”; “this year, Mary Help of Christians surrounded herself with children and families;” “She has a predilection for those who are little!”.

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