Dear Salesian Family members all over the world, and those who receive this message, I greet you from Valdocco on this day, 24 May.
On this great feast of Mary Help of Christians, To say “Valdocco” means to remember Mary Help of Christians, Don Bosco’s Madonna.
It means to recall Don Bosco, Father and Teacher of Youth It means to think of young people, in this house, in this courtyard, the school of youthful holiness.
Let me briefly refer to some aspects that can be food for thought during this great feast. In the first place, I want to invite you not to just celebrate the Feast of Mary Help of Christians, as we normally do, But to deepen the Marian dimension of our life, Which is something that really touches our hearts and our way of educating young people in the world.
I say this because, for us to speak of Mary Help of Christians is more than just talking about a devotion. We may have a particular devotion or may not. But for us, Mary Help of Christians is the Marian dimension of our vocation. It is a feeling of having a mother, a certainty that she accompanies our pastoral work, a strong conviction as Don Bosco used to say: “It is she who does it all and continues to do everything.”
At the same time I want to share with you something that is dear to my heart: My dear confreres in all the world, I want to recall what I said at the end of the General Chapter, Which was said by our late Rector Major, Fr. Juan Vecchi: “It is the young people who can save us, Salesians.” That is, they are the ones who will keep us in form and steadfast in our vocation, along with the grace of God, no doubt.
Moving around the world, in different continents, one can see when the provinces and houses are full of young people, and when it is not so. In the first case, it is bubbling with life and it speaks of a future and of hope. In the second case, we have to start worrying. I tell you this in order to connect it to another desire, deep in my heart, which I am sharing with you as a brother:
My dear Salesians, my dear members of the Salesian Family,
Our primary mission is not administration. We are not born to be managers. We are educators of the young above all else. We are born to share our life with them, to accompany them on their journey of life, Preparing them for life and leading them to an encounter with Jesus.
I say this because at times I ask myself with the same concern as Don Bosco once asked: “In Valdocco, where are my Salesians?”
I cannot subscribe to this kind of a feeling, that perhaps at times we are so busy about administration, So busy about managing so many things, That others should be the ones to be concerned or whom we shall delegate in order to be with young people, boys and girls.
Let me conclude. On this feast of Mary Help of Christians, I ask Mary to really accompany us, That she sustain the heart of the good shepherd in us, And give us that enthusiasm and passion for education, always wanting to reach out to young people, boys and girls.
To seek their good, taking the help of many lay animators who truly feel called to carry on the same mission together with us. But it should never happen that administration and other occupations keep us away from the young. I am reminding you of this in the name of Don Bosco, and I say this to all with true affection and profound conviction.
Dear confreres, Happy Feast of Mary Help of Christians!
See you soon!