Maputo (Mozambique). In an atmosphere of great joy and enthusiasm, on 26 April 2024 in Infulene – Maputo, Provincials of the ten Provinces and Pre-provinces of the Conference of Africa and Madagascar (CIAM), Educating Communities of the realities of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, members of the Salesian Family, representatives of other religious congregations, benefactors, and other guests welcomed the Superior General of the FMA Institute, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, to celebrate the World Feast of Gratitude on the theme: “With Mary, guided by the ‘Dream’, we generate peace by taking care of our common home”.

The Educational Communities around the world prepared for the world event through a four-week itinerary, culminating in an in-depth study of the Beatitudes and by sending a photo of a seed typical of their own land, with the explanation of the significance for the population (blog).

The Archbishop of Maputo, Mons. João Carlos Nunes, presided at the Eucharistic Celebration, concelebrated by the Auxiliary Bishops Tonito Muananoa and Osório Citora, and by several priests, including Fr. Adolfo Sarmento, SDB, Superior of   Mary Help of Christians Preprovince (MOZ); and Fr. Alberto Buque, parish priest of the parish of Saint Francis of Assisi, to which the community in which the feast took place belongs. In concluding, he expressed gratitude for the choice of place and praised the mission carried out by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

In her greeting, Mother Chiara thanked the Mozambican Province for having welcomed with joy and enthusiasm the invitation to host the Feast and all those who collaborated in the organization. Mother recalled that, although it might seem inappropriate to celebrate a feast when the world and many FMA communities are suffering at this time, it is also a testimony of the good that triumphs over evil and that “Faith in the risen Jesus transforms our life into an Easter proclamation, giving us back the joy of communion. It is no coincidence that we are celebrating this very Salesian feast in full Easter time.”

The theme proposed by the Mozambican Province in response to the chapter resolution in the context of integral ecology, “invites us to live it as a hymn of praise, thanking God for all His gifts.” The logo of the Feast also recalls that Mary, in the dream at nine years of age, presents herself to John Bosco as the Teacher and Mother, “always ready to intervene, she accompanies us on our daily journey. She is a Mother who stands beside us; who does not lose sight of us and renews the promise she made to John, ‘Here is your field; here is where you must work’.”

The Mother concluded by saying, “The fact of being so many here, does us good and animates us to go forward. We are many here, and through the intercession of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello, we ask to participate passionately in the educational mission, giving our generous contribution with our resources, creating a network among us and with those who are interested in education.”

The Eucharistic Celebration was followed by a cultural moment animated by students of the FMA educative environments, with a narrative based on the dream at 9 years of Don Bosco, punctuated by songs, dances, poems, and dramatizations, expressions of the different cultural manifestations of the Country and the need to take care of the common Home.

In the afternoon, the cake was cut as a sign of communion among all the participants in this great event, and the manifestations of joy and gratitude for the gift and presence of Mother Chiara by the relatives of the FMA and the Groups of the Salesian Family: Salesian Cooperators, ADMA, FMA Past Pupils.

The Feast ended with group photos and a visit to an environment set up with gifts for Mother by the Provinces of CIAM, who wanted to concretize their gratitude by showing the beauty of the art of their respective countries and their affection towards the Superior of the Institute.

In turn, the FMA of the Mozambican Province of St. John Bosco, lay collaborators, and recipients of the mission, expressed their gratitude to Mother, the General Council, and the whole Institute for having chosen to celebrate the Feast “in the pearl of the Indian Ocean”.

In the following days, Mother Chiara continued her journey of knowledge of the realities of the country by visiting the works in the north of Mozambique – Pemba, Chiúre, Nampula – and then Inharrime, Tete, and Moatize, where with the contribution of all the Educating Communities of the world, the “gesture of solidarity” of the Feast will be realized: the construction of a reception center for preteens who do not have access to secondary school.

Video of the Feast

Photos: Flickr FMA


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