Rome (Italy). On 1 February 2021, the Chapel of the Center of the Salesians of Don Bosco in Rome, held the celebration of the bestowal of the missionary crucifixes on seven Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and two Salesians of Don Bosco, presided over by the Rector Major, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime and concelebrated by the Councilor for the SDB Missions, Fr. Alfred Maravilla.
Present at the celebration were the Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Mother Yvonne Reungoat; the Vicar General, Sister Chiara Cazzuola; the General Councilor for the Missions, Sister Alaíde Deretti; Sister Maike Loes, collaborator of the Sector; Sister Bernarda Santamaria, Animator of Mary Help of Christians Community of the Generalate of Rome (RMC); and a representation of SDB and FMA, in compliance with the health regulations due to the pandemic.
The introduction to the Holy Mass, celebrated with the ritual of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, gave continuity to the gesture that this year takes place on a special occasion: “We are gathered here to celebrate and renew fidelity to the missionary dream of Don Bosco. With our thoughts we move to Valdocco, to the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, which has always been a place of blessing and departure for the many missionary expeditions.”
In his homily, the Rector Major, recalling “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2: 5), expressed the conviction that without the missionary heart of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello, who sent the first SDB and FMA a few years after the foundation of the two Congregations, there would not have been such a great expansion: “Only the missionary nature has given a global face to the FMA Institute and to the SDB Congregation, for the good of the young people of the world”. He then shared the personal experience as Provincial in Patagonia: “One of the most precious things I have experienced in my life was to walk those paths, those roads that the missionary Sisters and Brothers traveled in Tierra del Fuego.”
Subsequently, he blessed the missionary crucifixes and bestowed them on the two SDB missionaries present, of the 24 for this 151st expedition, while another 22 are in their own countries, waiting to leave for the mission land. Mother Yvonne Reungoat bestowed the crosses on the 7 new FMA missionaries, while two have already reached their destinations.
Before the final blessing, Mother thanked the Rector Major for the opportunity to celebrate this moment together in the significant place of Don Bosco’s passage in Rome, next to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. She concluded with a wish: “The Missionary spirit is an integral part of the charism, therefore I hope that many SDBs and many FMA will continue to listen to the call of the Lord, to respond to the needs of the poorest young people from all over the world. I hope it will be a total giving of life, to bring the presence of Jesus to the places where you are sent, on a path of reciprocity with the peoples to whom you are sent. ”
The new FMA missionaries continue their journey, preparing for discernment in view of their destination, with Missionary Formation at the Pontifical Urbanianum University of Rome, and specific formation for the mission ad gentes, accompanied by Sr. Alaide Deretti and the collaborators of the Missions Sector.
Photo: Flickr ANS