Cascais (Portugal). On 22 and 23 June 2024, at the Externato O. L. of the Rosary in Cascais, Portugal, the National Assembly of the Province of Our Lady of Fatima (POR) was held on the theme “From prayer to mission: a life-giving presence”, with the participation of 37 Daughters of Mary Help of Christians from all the Salesian presences in the Country.

From the beginning, the rhythm of work was guided by the Word of God, the Gospel of Mark, which placed the participants on the Sea of Galilee at sunset, when the wind raged trying to destroy everything, while Jesus slept tranquilly at the stern of the boat. The fury of nature tested the faith of the disciples. The reaction of Jesus, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” (Mk 4:35-41).

The scenario of a dynamic image in which the struggles of evil challenge the faith, hope, and courage of the disciples of yesterday and today is at the basis of the reflection. The morning was dedicated to reflecting on one’s own life and actions, in dialogue with the Teacher, in a confrontation with reality and the challenges that the mission presents.

Strengthened and determined to continue the journey beyond time and adverse forces, and always in the direction indicated by the FMA Institute in a phase of analysis and study of the application of the guidelines of General Chapter XXIV, the Assembly continued by studying in-depth the summaries of the Communities’ responses along two very clear guidelines of work: what has already been done in the three years since GC XXIV and what has not yet materialized. This work will culminate in the presentation of the most urgent issues, which will then be the subject of another phase of more in-depth study at the level of Inter-Provincial Conferences early next year.

On the basis of this work, the outline of the Provincial Project has been drawn up, which will serve as a basis for next year’s local projects.

The Assembly ended with a presentation of the life of the Province in terms of numbers and reorganization of educative presences. This is the final message that the participants took home when they returned to the Provinces:

On the Sea of Galilee, in the presence of Jesus, in the midst of a storm that seems to swallow all our energies, we are not alone because the Teacher has promised and never fails in His promise. His Word is effective and true. Let us trust! Let us go forward in hope! (this is the theme of the next pastoral year). Let us walk in hope and joy, attentive to the ‘yes’ to the ‘signs of the times’.

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