Macerata (Italy). On 3 September 2022 in Macerata, Italy, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Roman Province of St. John Bosco (IRO) opened the Community of Our Lady of Loreto, included in the project of a new Educational Pastoral reality in collaboration with the Salesians of Don Bosco and the laity.
Present at this day of celebration were the Vicar General of the FMA Institute, Sr. María del Rosario García Ribas; the Provincial of the IRO Province, Sr. Gabriella Garofoli; the Novices of the International Novitiates of Rome and Castelgandolfo; numerous FMA from different Houses of the Province, welcomed by the Provincial of the Salesian Sacred Heart Circumscription of Central Italy, Fr. Stefano Aspurati; by the Director of the Macerata Work, Fr. Francesco Paolo Galante; and by various Salesians and members of the Salesian Family, who have dreamed and desired this new reality for some time.
In fact, since 2015, the IRO Province has been working to give a sign of the future and hope and a concrete response to the desire for collaboration and sharing with the Salesians of Don Bosco and with the whole Salesian Family of the Marches. We wondered about the possible new forms that an Educational Community would have to take to welcome the new wine that the Lord still wants to give today to a territory and to a youth wounded in a different way than in the past.
The desire was gradually concretized with the choice to give life to an Educative Pastoral Community formed by adults and young people, religious and laity, men and women, to offer to the young a Family in which to grow in a culture of Communion and of Gift, within an experience of Salesian Spirituality.
Still missing was the stable presence of an FMA Community, concretized on 3 September 2022, in the 150th Anniversary of Foundation of the FMA Institute.
The Eucharistic Celebration, center of the day, was presided over by the Bishop of Macerata, Msgr. Nazzareno Marconi, who in his homily underlined with simplicity and fraternity, the importance of being a presence that gives life in order to open the doors to a future to be built together in joy, surrounded by the Spirit who makes possible even what appears to be impossible.
At the end of the Celebration, the SDB Provincial gave the FMA Provincial the keys of the House who in turn gave them to the new Community Animator. As Sr. Gabriella highlighted, the doors will always be open to whomever knocked and wished to enter.
Together with these, the Community received the Educative Pastoral Project of the Work and two icons depicting Our Lady of Loreto to whom it is entrusted, and Our Lady of Mercy, protector of the city.
Sr. María del Rosario García Ribas then greeted and thanked all those present in the name of Mother General, Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, on a visit to India on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of FMA presence, and reiterated that “with this courageous opening, the Roman Province ‘St. John Bosco’ wishes to underline its desire to continue to respond to the profound expectations of young people, in order to make concrete the desire to be a presence among them, to accompany them by always generating life, like Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello”.
At the conclusion of the celebration, everyone was invited to go inside to participate in the blessing and inauguration of the section of the building owned by the Salesians called “Villa Verde”, renovated following the damage caused by the last earthquake, and to visit the rooms destined for the new community. The Chapel was much appreciated for the care and simplicity with which it was prepared, that in its structure already makes us imagine the beauty of daily prayer in common.
The dinner lived in fraternity concluded the experience of a day that is only the beginning of an adventure desired for a long time and still to be written by Sr. Ilaria Balducci, Community Animator, and by Sr. Adele Brugnoni and Sr. Franceschina Giancola, by the SDB Confreres, and the entire Educating Community that will be accompanied by the word ‘TOGETHER’, the only possible road to create the new Salesian Pastoral experience of the Macerata Work.
A layman of Macerata, close to the Salesian World, wrote to the Provincial that evening to thank her:
“A very beautiful day, an emotional time, full of hope and beauty, lived with joy. Thanks to you, for your choice, and to the entire Salesian Family for this great gift made to our land. This shows that the Lord is present and continues to send workers for His harvest.
Sown in the furrows of the history of the hope and joy of the Risen Christ who is in your heart, visible on your joyful, smiling, welcoming faces, and open to relationship. May the Holy Spirit illumine the way for you. May Mary Help of Christians and St. John Bosco guide your journey. We are close to you; we will pray to the Lord so that the seeds may sprout and bring much fruit”.