(Rome Italy). On October 14, 2018 the Church celebrated the Canonization of Pope Paul VI, which took place in the heart of the Synod of Bishops on Youth, faith and vocational discernment. A significant coincidence because Paul VI always paid particular attention to the world of youth, capturing the values they bear along with their uncertainties and fragility. In Sydney, in December 1970, the young Paul VI, inviting them to have courage reminds them that the “Church knows the values you carry”.

A Pope who knew how to understand modernity; open to the questions and anxieties of today’s humanity, placing himself in humble and sincere dialogue with everyone. A life lived in the light of Christ, in an intense love for his Church and for every person saved by the blood of Christ.

“I will call myself Paul”, and all thought of the Apostle of the Gentiles, the great missionary who had brought the Christian faith to the pagan West. Paganism was returning, and a new Paul was really needed. Immediately afterwards he said that the Second Vatican Council would continue, resuming work on September 29th.

This was the greatest commitment, in which Paul VI gave all his strength and intelligence. He presided over the Council with a delicate and firm hand in the second, third, fourth, and last sessions, until its closure, celebrated on December 8, 1965.

Throughout his life, Paul VI always showed a strong affection for the Salesian Family. In 1950, Monsignor Montini directed the organization of the Holy Year and, precisely in that year, on 25 March, Dominic Savio was beatified and canonized three years later, and in 1951 Maria Domenica Mazzarello was canonized. These were important ecclesial events, to which Monsignor Montini watched with intense participation, penetrating their high educational and pastoral value.

In the vast Archdiocese of Milan Msgr. Montini contributed to expanding and strengthening the Salesian work, supporting it in all circumstances. The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians were present in Milan and the province, in fact, with a multiplicity of small and large works, thriving with vitality and religious fervor. The contacts with Salesian circles became frequent, both on the occasion of pastoral visits or for the administration of Confirmation, and for the annual appointment of 31 January, the Feast of St. John Bosco, which for the Archbishop was an entirely Salesian day. In the morning he celebrated Holy Mass for male youth gathered in the parish of St. Augustine; in the afternoon he participated at the entertainment and presided at the award ceremony of the students of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the provincial house in via Bonvesin de la Riva. In his speeches there was a harmony of spirits, the climate of family intimacy, and the spiritual depth of these encounters.

Today, it is the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians who “safeguard” the memory of Paul VI. The FMA community in Concesio (Brescia) has for years been holding the keys that allow visitors to access and learn about the house where John Battista Montini was born on 26 September 1897 and about his spirituality.

From the extraordinary audience of Paul VI for the centenary of the Institute – 5 July 1972

“Dearest daughters in Christ,

The celebration of such an important date for the life of your Institute can not be limited to the simple retrospective view of a luminous past. We must also look at the future. Will your Congregation respond to the appeal of the Church in the tormented hour that turns? By what means will it ensure that the ancient vitality of the robust stock, planted by your holy Founders, continues to flourish in all its fullness? To these questions, children, there is only one answer, which, as the extraordinary fruitfulness of the past explains, thus infallibly assures your Institute of its vitality for the future: holiness.

This means for you to ensure the primacy of the interior life in the midst of all your educational, charitable and missionary activities, without ever fearing that your apostolic dynamism will diminish or you may be prevented from dedicating yourselves to the service of others. It means loving prayer, poverty, the spirit of sacrifice, the cross. It also means your special commitment to reproduce in your life of piety and apostolate the examples of the adoring and operative love of Mary Most Holy.

O how we would like to preserve in all its primitive freshness this markedly Marian character, which everywhere is the unmistakable note of the spirituality of the daughters of Mary Help of Christians. You have the privilege of belonging to a religious family that is belongs entirely to Mary and owes everything to Mary. Is not your Institute the living monument that Don Bosco wanted to erect to the Madonna, as a sign of his undying gratitude for the benefits received from her? Yes, daughters, for as long as you learn at the school of Mary how to direct everything to Christ her Divine Son, as long as you keep your gaze fixed on her – who is God’s masterpiece, the model and ideal of every consecrated life, the support of every apostolic heroism – the source of generosity and of dedication, of interiority and of fervor, of holiness and grace, which has made of you such precious collaborators of Our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls, will never dry up in your Institute.

Here is what the Church expects of you. Do not disappoint its expectations, but respond to them beyond all its hopes”.


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