On this occasion there naturally comes to mind the scene described by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. After the Ascension of the Lord, they were gathered together awaiting the effusion of the Spirit: “With one heart all these [the Apostles] joined constantly in prayer together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers” (1:14).That is how I like the think of the Salesian Family, made up of apostles gathered around Mary, skilled in the Spirit, who teaches us how to wait for Him, welcome Him and allow ourselves to be guided by Him.
Our times seem to us complicated and difficult. But when were the times ever easy? We can say rather that the difficult times are the times of Mary, the strong woman, the woman of tested faith, the caring mother and courageous guide. Don Bosco had an intuition of this when in times that were calamitous and fraught with difficulties and obstacles for the Church, he recommended devotion to the Auxilium Christianorum as the anchor of salvation for believers and the source of spiritual life for his boys, and for their educators.
The Holy Father Benedict, with a happy intuition reminds us of this today as he presents the Virgin Mary Help of Christians as the mother to invoke so that the Church in China may overcome the demanding challenges that it is facing: reconciliation and unity for a divided Community, overcoming the humiliating controls by the government and the concession of true freedom of religion. The Pope asks Chinese Catholics to entrust themselves to Her, the Help of Christians venerated at the sanctuary of Sheshan, near Shanghai, and invites Catholics throughout the world to be united on the 24 May each year in a day of prayer for the Church in China.
“Dear Pastors and all the faithful, the date 24 May […] is dedicated to the liturgical memorial of Our Lady, Help of Christians, who is venerated with great devotion at the Marian Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai.
I would like that date to be kept by you as a day of prayer for the Church in China. I encourage you to celebrate it by renewing your communion of faith in Jesus our Lord and of faithfulness to the Pope, and by praying that the unity among you may become ever deeper and more visible […]
On that same day, the Catholics of the whole world – in particular those who are of Chinese origin – will demonstrate their fraternal solidarity and solicitude for you, asking the Lord of history for the gift of perseverance in witness […]” 
The Sanctuary of Sheshan (Zose’ in the dialect of Shanghai) is close to the heart of the Salesian Family. Devotion to Mary Help of Christians grew there, one might say, contemporaneously with the development of the same devotion at Valdocco. It was on 1 March 1868 that the first modest chapel-oratory was opened on the top of the hill of Sheshan, just when Don Bosco announced for the following 9 June the opening of the church he had built in Turin. And while the growing number of graces obtained through the intercession of Mary Help of Christians was being recorded in Valdocco, popular pilgrimages began at Sheshan in the month of May and especially on the 24th, which in the following years attracted as many as 10,000-15,000 faithful. So the Chinese faithful too enjoyed the powerful intercession of the Virgin Help of Christians from the beginning of their expressions of faith and veneration at the small sanctuary dedicated to Her, as Don Bosco himself noted when he referred to graces received there in May1869:
The name of Mary Help of Christians now gloriously resounds even in the most distant countries. China is one of these. It would seem that God wants to draw the whole world to Himself by means of the miracles worked on behalf of unbelievers through the intercession of his divine Mother...
On 24 May 1871 the building began at Sheshan of a new large sanctuary, in fulfilment of a vow made the previous year by the Superior of the Mission, if the Virgin Help of Christians were to protect the mission from the attacks of the Taiping armed rebels.
In 1924 at Shanghai the First Synod of the Chinese Church was held. Among the Synod Fathers was also the Vicar Apostolic of Shiuchow, Bishop Luigi Versiglia. The Synod, held at the wishes of the Pope and promoted by the first Apostolic Delegate in China, Bishop Celso Costantini, promised to be the opening of a new era , launching the process of the transition from being mission territory to the building up of a real local Church. At the birth of the Chinese Church presided Mary who was invoked by the Synod Fathers under the title of Help of Christians, at the conclusion of the prayer for the consecration of China.
The first Salesians who arrived in Shanghai in 1924 and the boys from the St Joseph Hospice were to go the Sanctuary of Sheshan in pilgrimage, or for the retreat, as the cleric Callisto Caravario described in his letters to his mother. It is there too that the youngsters, the clerics and the Superiors will go as refugees to Shanghai during the war, in the golden age of Salesian work in China.  To the Virgin of Sheshan with hope and profound faith the Chinese Salesians condemned to long hard years in prison and re-education through work will turn their gaze...
According to the chronicles of the FMA in China, on 18 May 1947 the whole community of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Shanghai, sisters, postulants, aspirants, daughters of Mary and youngsters 60 people in all, crammed in a truck will take part in a splendid event for Church and for the Diocese: the crowning of the Help of Christians at Zo Ze (She Shan).
With the same faith with which Don Bosco attributed everything to Mary Help of Christians, and accepting the humble observation of Fr Luigi Versiglia who reminded his missionaries that “without Mary Help of Christians we Salesians are nothing,” we entrust to Her this land dreamed of and yearned for by our Father.