LETTER OF RECTOR MAJOR - Fr. EGIDIO VIGANO'
Fr EGIDIO VIGANÒ:
ACT OF ENTRUSTMENT OF THE CONGREGATION
TO MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS, MOTHER OF THE CHURCH
ASC 309 July-September 1983
LETTER OF THE RECTOR MAJOR
Father Egidio VIGANÒACT OF ENTRUSTMENT OF THE
CONGREGATIONTO MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS,
MOTHER OF THE CHURCH
A News items:
1. Death of
Father Renato Ziggiotti.
Beatification of Bishop Luigi Versiglia and Father Callisto Caravario.
B Act of Entrustment of the
Congregation to Mary Help of Christians, Mother of the Church.
On the threshold of a new phase in
the life of the Congregation - The significance of this religious act - In the
trusted hands of Mary Help of Christians we prepare to enter the Third
Millennium - Courageous missionaries for the young - Educating for sanctity -
Why the term entrustment? - Confidence and hope.
C AppendixRome, 31 May 1983
events call for mention in this my three-monthly letter to you: the death at
Albare (Verona) on 19 April of our saintly Rector Major emeritus and 5th
Successor of Don Bosco, Father Renato Ziggiotti; and the beatification of
Bishop Luigi Versiglia and Father Caravario, proclaimed by Pope John Paul II at
St Peter's on 15 May.
will be duly commemorated by me in a mortuary letter in a
very short time; but I also wish to pay a brief homage to him here, as we
recall his twelve years as Superior General that marked the close of a
difficult and unique period in the history of our Congregation. After a lengthy
period of leadership as rector, provincial, prefect-general of studies and
vicar of the Rector Major, it fell to his lot to guide our Family to the close
of a cultural era that embraced the immediate aftermath of the Second World War
and the proximate preparation for Vatican II; this latter stage was already
experiencing the dawn of a new epoch with all its contestations and misunderstandings
that foreshadowed the events, the tensions and the upsets of 1968.
guidance of the Congregation Father Renato Ziggiotti always displayed a deep
understanding of the permanent values of the salesian vocation. In a time of
disruption he was a source of unity for confreres and communities; when so many
looked to the future rather than the past, he insisted on the knowledge and
love of our Founder Don Bosco as an indispensable frame of reference for our
journey into the future; in a time of doubts and identity-searching, his life
testified to his deep and determined convictions, his spirit of sacrifice and
unflagging dedication, his indestructible sense of God, his filial devotion to
Mary, his deep and enthusiastic concern for the young, for vocations, for
formation, his humility (that bade him relinquish the helm to others), his
never-failing cheerfulness and happiness. Father Ziggiotti was indeed a true
witness to the permanent values of the salesian vocation.
God for having given us a confrere of such sterling character and stature,
whose docility to the Spirit of the Lord enabled him to guide the Congregation
along the path of unity and fidelity and thus prepare it to meet head-on the
pressing exigencies of a new era.
beatification of our first two missionary martyrs
has added to the Salesian
Family a valuable new ecclesial dimension. This was evidenced by the profound
and inspired homily of the Holy Father and also by the learned, well-documented
and stirring address by Archbishop Antonio Javiere, Secretary of the Sacred
Congregation for Catholic Education, during the solemn commemoration of the two
Blessed Martyrs held in the great hall of our Pontifical University. The
beatification has given proof of a further basic dimension in the holiness of
Don Bosco's sons: they now see martyrdom as a goal that is intrinsic to the
spirit of da mihi animas
(which Don Bosco defines as a "martyrdom
of charity and sacrifice for the good of others").
Founder frequently insists that "the first step to be taken by anyone who
wishes to follow God is to deny himself, take up his cross and follow his
In a letter
to all his salesians in 1867 Don Bosco, who seldom found it necessary to
explain his thoughts, added one of his rare clarifications: "In other
words, a member of our Society does this when he expends all his energies in
the sacred ministry, in instructing, or in other priestly work - to the point
of death, even a violent death, in prison or exile, through fire, water or the
shedding of their blood the two martyrs sealed their love of predilection for
the young. As the Holy Father said, "It is always for his witnessing to
the faith that a martyr is put to death. This can also be verified by a moral
action that finds in the faith its principle and raison d'etre
. In such
a case there is an implicit and indirect witnessing to the faith which is no
less real (indeed in a certain sense it is more complete) insofar as it has its
origin in the very fruits of the faith, i.e., its works of charity".
on in his homily the Holy Father places an extraordinary prophetic importance
on the martyrdom of our two confreres: he says, "The martyrdom of the two
bears the same relationship to the foundations of the Chinese
Church as Peter's martyrdom bore to the founding of the Church of Rome.
must understand the testimony of their love and service as a sign of the deep
harmony between the Gospel and the highest values of the culture and
spirituality of China. In such a witness as they gave one cannot separate the
sacrifice offered to God and the self-donation made to the people and the Church
And so the
Holy Father expresses the hope that the joyous beatification ceremony should
create, strengthen and further a fruitful dialogue between the Gospel and
Chinese culture, all to the advantage of that vast nation.
is that we now feel a close ecclesial bonding not only to our missionary
commitment in general and to Project Africa
in particular, but also to
the Church's expectations regarding continental China. My dear confreres, we
must be convinced that the Lord is asking far more from us than what we are
actually doing according to the limited resources at our disposal. Indeed this
is really the case, for God always engages us in his work beyond the extent of
our resources. And it is fitting that this should be so, for we must feel that
we are really in his hands, supported by his power and urged on by his Spirit
so that we may participate ever more actively in this hour of the Church's
expansion. And our participation will grow and grow, provided we resist the
temptation to cocoon ourselves within our present achievements and become
immersed in petty calculations of our resources. Our calling bids us have a
practicfal confidence in the efficacy of the risen Christ and his mother, to be
convinced that our spiritual Family originated in magnanimity and was nourished
by an interior strength from on high. We have our Founder's encouraging words,
"Let your work be without limit".
Albera used quote St Francis of Sales: "Let us entrust ourselves to Mary's
protection, let us set our hands to mighty things;
if we love her
ardently, she will obtain for us all we desire".
Our salesian vocation has had a century of experience that bids us set our
hands to mighty things.
It is on
this very matter of our special entrustment to Mary Help of Christians that I
offer you a few thoughts in view of our increasing future commitments.Act of Entrustment of the
Congregationto Mary Help of Christians,
Mother of the Church
respects one could say that the forthcoming General Chapter will mark the end
of the process of postconciliar identification required of us by the Church and
demanded by the new cultural era that coincides with the preparation for the
Third Millennium of the Church. As was always the case with our Congregation's
origins, there must be the clear and indispensable intervention of Mary in all
that we initiate.On the threshold of a new phase
in the life of the Congregation.
Chapter's task of completing the text of the Constitutions and Regulations,
besides being a point of arrival (as I pointed out when convoking GC22),
will be above all an authoritative revitalizing of our salesian vocation in the
Church: "GC22 should lay the foundations of a more intensely genuine
Salesianity" in confreres and local communities and in big-hearted
apostolic responses at provincial and world level. We hear in our hearts the
grand words of our salesian forebears, "Set your hands to mighty
we can only do this if we have entrusted ourselves to the protection of our
Mother as did our Father, Don Bosco. Thus it seems to me opportune (and several
confreres have requested me to do so) to invite you all, on the occasion of the
forthcoming General Chapter, to make a solemn Act of Entrustment of the whole
Congregation to Mary Help of Christians, Mother of the Church.
spiritual retreat that precedes the official opening of the Chapter will
conclude on Saturday 14 January 1984, and the capitulars in the name of the
provincial communities and representing all the confreres of the whole
Congregation, will make a special Act of Entrustment to Mary. I invite the
local communities and all individual confreres to unite themselves with this
Act by making it in every house. Each provincial with his council should work
out the best way to prepare for and carry out this ceremony in each and every
local community. We should make a fitting preparation for this event and
endeavor to appreciate its spiritual and salesian impact: we are turning to
Mary to help us revitalize our salesian vocation on the threshold (as the Pope
calls it) of the Advent of the Third Millennium.The significance of this
purports to be a gesture of faith and hope. We make it in a context of future
planning, for GC22 is more than a projected point of arrival: it is base-camp
marking a point of departure - to workf harder, to aim higher, to forge ahead.
first place our Act of Entrustment to Mary Help of Christians will be very much
a community affair,
involving the Congregation insofar as it is a
worldwide community and a single communion of souls with one identical spirit
and mission in all provinces and houses. This great gathering we intend to
confide to the motherly guardianship of Mary, to her care, to the undertakings
she is concerned with, to her powerful intercession, to her maternal competence
for leading all to Christ. May Mary, "to whom we owe everything",
help us grow in unity and increase our fidelity to our Founder by our opportune
adaptation to the multiplicity of modern situations.
very nature this community act implies that the Act of Entrustment be also a
of each confrere. Each salesian must experience within himself
the will to abandon himself with confidence to a person so trustworthy, a
mother so influential in the divine economy of salvation.
entrust our Congregation and everyone of its members to Mary: with her we form
a living part of the Church of whom she is Mother, Help, and Model; with her we
share generously in the Church's mission in the world, particularly among the
young; she will help us as we work together with updated efficiency to witness
to and build up the Kingdom of Christ and God among the young.
trusting submission carries with it a clearer and more conscious vision of our
special sacramental and religious consecration. It will thus help us increase
our fidelity. There is a very real relationship and a practical linkage between
our Christian and religious life and the ecclesial function of Mary, and in our
Act of Entrustment we mean to consider this more constantly and attentively,
appreciate its beauty, and carry out its mission. She will teach us to achieve
daily in its varied ways that resume of our salesian spirituality so well
summarized in the prayer we frecite to Mary Help of Christians each morning
after our meditation. This prayer has a great significance for us. When we
recite it we place ourselves under the motherly protection of Mary, we entrust
ourselves to her and ask for the gift of fidelity, renewing our self-oblation
to the Lord in our commitment to the youth apostolate, from which derives our
vital and practical method of holiness.
prayer referred to is the one that should be recited in all provinces and
houses; its official text is printed in the appendix to this letter.)
of Entrustment to Mary is also a pledge to increase our attitude of sonship,
which is what Christian life is all about: we are sons of God; and also sons of
Mary, Mother of the Christ-God. Our sonship implies a genuine relationship of
spiritual kinship, a life-giving relationship of grace, that guides our freedom
to increase in Gospel obedience - "through Mary to Christ; we are sons in
Christ the Son".
entrust ourselves to Mary, to belong more consciously to her, does not in any
way lessen our freedom; rather does it assert that true area of freedom we
have very specially chosen - our family environment so favorable for achieving
Christian maturity and the proper development of self respect.
saints have even spoken of slavery to Mary; they do not mean to lessen or take
away our free initiative, but to stress incisively the sense of total belonging
(as is so well expressed in John Paul II's Totus tuus)
that becomes love
in its plenitude and an affirmation of sanctified freedom. For many years in
our novitiates and houses of formation the practice of this total abandonment
to Mary was presented as optional, but in practice was almost universally
accepted as quite the ordinary thing to do.
Our Father and Founder Don Bosco used suggest a declaration of
sonship to Mary to help us towards a greatfer awareness and enthusiasm in entrusting
ourselves to our heavenly Mother. In 1869 he wrote for the Catholic Readings
a small pamphlet for the Association of Devotees of Mary Help of
Christians recently founded by him. In the booklet he proposed an Act of
filial acceptance of the Blessed Virgin as mother.
The formula he used for this act was a prayer of entrustment that
directed the person's attention and petition to Jesus Christ, "first
principle and ultimate goal"; in his testament from the cross Jesus willed
"to the Apostle St John the qualification and title of son of his mother
Mary". Then Don Bosco's prayer directs the devotee's request directly to
Mary, that he "may belong to her" as a son, "possess her as a
mother". In fact, the suppliant "entrusts" himself to her
kindness, "chooses her" for his mother and begs her "to
receive" him. He "makes a total and irrevocable donation of his whole
self" to her; he "places himself completely" in her hands,
trusting in her "motherly protection".
prayer formula proposed by Don Bosco expresses admirably the real significance
of the gesture of entrustment, and also its basic requirements and commitments.
It is an act of faith that renews the baptismal awareness of sonship. The
formula itself is a witness to Don Bosco's ecclesial insight and has proved
eminently suitable for later development along the lines of postconciliar
pledge of sonship propagated by our Founder emphasizes the devotee's free
approval and solicitude for Mary's special function as mother, his trusting
submission to her, his filial willingness to be guided, his sureness of
receiving adequate help, and his Marian devotion that directs him totally to
Christ in order to live better and more fully the riches of his mystery.
and contents of this Marian text composed by Don Bosco suggest af natural
connection between the act of filiation and the distinctive name he gave to his
sisters, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians,
whom he wished to
show an exemplary filial trust in the Help of Christians. In article 4 of the
renewed FMA Constitutions we read, "We are a religious family that belongs
completely to Mary.
Don Bosco desires that we be a living monument
his gratitude to the Help of Christians and asks that we be the expression of
his gratefulness throughout the ages. We are aware of Mary's presence
our lives, and we entrust ourselves totally to her".In the trusted hands of Mary Help
of Christians we prepare to enter the third millennium
Bosco's devotion to Mary was perfected in the apostolic contemplation of her as
the Help of Christian people and Mother of the Church in the varying events of
history throughout the centuries.
in the mission of the People of God gives pride of place to the youth
apostolate, and thus highlights in Mary her motherly concern for the young, the
cultural problems of education, the care of vocations, her apostolic
sensitivity for the planning of a new society and a more dedicated Christian
ourselves in the hands of Mary Help of Christians and Mother of the Church,
requires that we be loyal friends of the Pope and his bishops, attentive to their
magisterium and pastoral guidance, seeing them as qualified mediators between
Christ the Head and his Body the Church; it demands that we be sensitive to the
needs of the universal and local Church, that our collaboration be energetic,
generous and practical, and that for this purpose we have updated and
reformulated our criteria regarding identity and communion.
of Entrustment should bring down on the Congregation Mary's special help in our
renewal of this important characteristic of particular lofyalty to the Pope and
the bishops: it is Don Bosco's legacy to us and in these times it has need of
sincere and selfless witness. Our spiritual and pastoral life must evince a
genuine esteem for the peculiar charism of discernment in our shepherds; we
must refer to it continually and attentively; after all, our pastors are
appointed by Christ and helped by his Spirit to guide the People of God through
the difficult situations that belong to human progress. We must ask the Help
of Christians to assist the Congregation in strengthening and developing this
important ecclesial principle.
trusting abandonment to Mary also requires that we intensify a virtue of which
she is a shining model and an inexhaustible source − I refer to kindness,
that fine quality of the heart, that joyous simplicity, that
"systematized kindliness" that is a sort of fourth vow for us, and
which our Founder very fittingly meant to be included in our name
"salesian". It constitutes a special style and pastoral criterion that
must permeate all our apostolic activity, our way of living in community, our
dialogue, the adaptability of our approach, our friendly attitude. Thus it is
not enough that we love our young people: we are moved to cultivate a
spirituality that makes us loved by them - in a word that splendid and fruitful
that Don Bosco called the Preventive System.
has urged us to revitalize this invaluable heritage. Mary will help us to live
it ever more intensely as a praxis that promotes and harmonizes all the
elements of our salesian spirit.
Furthermore, under Mary's motherly protection, we shall be conscious of her
insistent invitation: as Mother of the pilgrim Church she urges us to labor
to build up the Father's Kingdom of Christ.
We shall ponder anew and sound the depths
of our rich and distinctive spirit of da mihi animas
which makes us see
God from a unique point of vifew; Don Bosco translates this into a practical way
of life that demands a program of total self-donation and is admirably
expressed on the salesian escutcheon, Work
Let us be
confident that Mary, who was the inspiration of our salesian work, will help us
imitate the virtues of Don Bosco and redouble our efforts as an expression of
our apostolic zeal and religious asceticism that make our lives a daily
sacrifice offered to God for the salvation of man.Courageous missionaries for the
People make their pilgrim way through history, Mary's zealous concern is shown
by her intrepid help in the conflict between good and evil; she makes it
convincingly clear that the Catholic Church is the" seed and the beginning
of the Kingdom of Christ and God", sent to announce it and set it up among
that the title Help of Christians
refers to times of great difficulties
and trials, public perils, serious problems for the faith, and significant
battles for the social freedom of believers. In his booklet on The marvels
of the Mother of God under the title of Help of Christians,
writes that devotion to Mary as our Help, and Mother of the Church, means
"invoking her rather for grave and imminent perils threatening the
faithful than for private needs. Today (Don Bosco continues) it is the same
Catholic Church that is being assaulted - in her functions, her sacred
institutions, her head, her teaching, her discipline. She is attacked because
she is the Catholic Church, the cradle of truth, the teacher fof all the
entrust ourselves to Mary Help of Christians, Mother of the Church, we must
evince the courage and constancy of prophets and peaceful champions: such was
Don Bosco in the midst of the insecurities and complexities of his times. He
did not see the Help of Christians as a militant Madonna; she was no religious
camouflage for political ideologies. Nor was she a kind of substitute for fear
and non-involvement. Mary stood for deep practical and urgent concern in man's
affairs - even to the point of risk. In every situation our faith must be
courageous, our love creative and our patience persevering, so that we become
indomitable defenders and announcers of the Gospel truths, and faithful and
indefatigable collaborators of the Pope and his pastors.
Collect of the new liturgy of Mary Help of Christians' feast expresses very
well the courage and combativeness that our entrustment to her should develop
in us: "Grant O Lord that your Church may always have the strength to
in patience and love
all her interior and exterior trials
so that she may reveal to the world the mystery of Christ".
strength is the power of the Holy Spirit
so often stressed by Scripture
and the Liturgy. It is a spiritual energy, at first sight imperceptible, humble
and almost hidden - but very real and utterly invincible, fearless of all
enemies and inspiring the courage to announce the Gospel and bring it to
fruition in all situations. What matters is that we be aware of the Holy Spirit
dwelling within us and live in union with him. It is from this interior life
that we derive the daring and constancy born of patience
able to face and overcome
all kinds of diffficulties; from it too we draw
increased creativity and adaptability for pastoral action that will overcome
not only any obstacles, not only disputes arising from ill-treatment or
arrogance, but all interior and exterior trials.
Indeed these days the
Church is troubled by quite a few interior trials
of an ideological and
disciplinary nature that weaken her identity and are capable of causing
deviations in her total fidelity to the mission of Christ on earth. Still, as
the Pope said at Fatima, "No sin in the world can ever over come
ourselves with confidence to Mary means that we guarantee to battle daily
against all spiritual superficiality that deprives us of the power of the
that we make every effort to display in religious harmony with
its pastors the most explicit loyalty to the unique and often not understood
pastoral mission of the Catholic Church: to this must our lives be dedicated
with perseverance; for this must we labor untiringly; to this must we give
courageous witness; for this must we fight the battle of the Gospel.Educating for sanctity
we commit ourselves to Mary so that we may achieve more thoroughly and efficaciously
our pedagogical services to the young. Mary, Mother of divine grace,
Don Bosco to become the great modern prophet in training the young for
It was my good fortune in early
April to be with five hundred young French pilgrims who were visiting our
salesian "holy places". As they meditated and prayed they proclaimed
the Becchi hill as the mount of the youthful beatitudes.
perceptive and accurate definition of our distinctive charisma.
Mary's inspiration we salesians have a daring and pressing commitment in the
Church: to proclaim to tfhe People of God the Gospel-call to the young,
appealing to them to live lives of practical holiness. We must be able to do
more than show this is possible: by our pedagogy we must produce living
witnesses of youthful holiness as did Don Bosco with Dominic Savio and so many
other young people at Valdocco.
entrust ourselves to Mary that she will intercede and obtain for us a deeper
understanding and a practical application of the solid principles of that
"sacred pedagogy" which our Founder employed to produce the
educative surroundings and the spiritual atmosphere of the Oratory Apostolate.
mission and primary responsibility demand that we spread within the Church an
inspirational spirituality for the young; indeed by our heritage we have the
exacting task of educating for sanctity,
or in other words announcing
the Gospel to today's young people and helping them grow in the mystery of
Christ and in the life of his Holy Spirit. This task of ours is sublime and far
from easy; it demands spiritual depth, sensitivity to the future, harmony with
the Holy Spirit and a convinced sense of communion; we must share in the hopes
of our pilgrim Church which has renewed her holiness and dedication in
preparation for the third millennium of its active leavening of man through the
centuries. The world has an urgent need for this inspirational spirituality of
ours, and we must never be numbered among those lacking in enthusiasm or
competence in proclaiming and practicing it according to updated and genuine
pedagogical principles .
exactly our specific mission. Let us then commit ourselves in confidence to the
Help of Christians in the certainty that our gesture is consummately salesian.Why the term ENTRUSTMENT?
Vatican II we used to speak of an "act of consecration to Mary".
However, the Council has since clarified the true theological significance of
the term consecration
(although current usage of this word still
includes meanings that are less theologically correct). From Vatican II the
Church has used the term with greater precision.
To describe better our relationship with Mary, our patroness and collaborator
with Christ for the Kingdom, Pope John Paul II has preferred the word
- which includes our affection,
self-oblation, willing service, our filiation, "free servitude",
trust and reliance.
on 8 December 1981, in the basilica of St Mary Major, Rome, the Holy Father commemorated
the 1550th anniversary of the Council of Ephesus and solemnly
"entrusted" the entire human race to the holy and powerful Mother of
well ask what difference there is between an act of consecration
and an act
The terminology has been changed because of a deeper
understanding of the two concepts. Vatican II saw consecration
act performed by God, a force that comes from him and seals a divine design
assigned by him to one who is called; a person is consecrated
through the Church.
When the Council speaks of people making a response to their consecration it
prefers the expression "they made a total offering
of their lives
to the service of God" (mancipaverunt),
and that "they have
committed themselves within the Church by self-oblation" (sui ipsius
speaking of rediscovering the values of perpetual profession, we already
discussed this particular aspect:
by our religious profession we offer
ourselves, and God through the
Church consecrates us.
It is enough to consider what happens in the
sacramental consecration of Baptism (and for that matter, Confirmation and Holy
Orders) to understand this difference in the two forces or impulses: one
descends (the consecration) and the other ascends (the self-oblation). St Cyril
of Jerusalem says, "You were consecrated when you received the sign of the
Holy Spirit". Then he adds, "Christ was not anointed with oil or any
other material unguents, but the Father anointed him with the Holy Spirit...
who is called 'the oil of gladness' because it is he who is the author of
do well to have very clear ideas about this theological view of consecration
coming from God, and self-oblation, self-offering, self-entrustment,
comes from ourselves. Consecration is achieved by God through his Church and
belongs essentially to Baptism, Confirmation and diaconal and priestly Orders;
and also to religious profession, which is deeply rooted in baptismal
consecration expressed in its plenitude and characterized in a special way
by an imprint or seal of the Holy Spirit in the act of self-oblation when
commitment is made to the evangelical counsels.
Fathers of the Church justly call the Holy Spirit the Seal,
him the Father anointed Christ at his baptism,
and after him anoints and signs all Christians.
other hand the Act of Entrustment to Mary
made by us who are already
consecrated in religion by the Holy Spirit means that we aim to foster, defend
and develop our genuine Christian, religious and apostolic consecration with
further enlightenment and new awareness. It is not a mere superficial and
transitory act of devotion, but a confirmation and revitalizing of all our
baptismal and salesian commitment.
of Entrustment adds nothing to our actual consecration, but it renews it,
elucidates it, guarantees it and increases the fruitfulness of what already
exists; it brings to light our consecration's hidden bonds with Mary, Spouse of
the Holy Spirit and Mother of the Church. She does indeed exercise a
subordinate saving role in the world
and so we have confidence in the motherly help she gives to Christians. The
consecration effected by the Holy Spirit has links with Mary that derive from
the very economy of our redemption; it is in this divine economy itself that
Mary is associated with Christ as the new Eve to the new Adam; "the Church
does not hesitate to make open profession of this subordinate role of Mary,
and it constantly experiences and recommends it to the earnest attention of
the faithful, so that they may be encouraged by this motherly help and may
strengthen their bonds with Christ the Mediator and Redeemer".
fail seriously if we allowed ourselves to be ignorant or neglectful of such a
very real Marian relationship.
fsonship is bonded also to the motherhood of Mary as "type of the
and the Act
of Entrustment we make highlights our distinctive filial awareness of this.
we become mature and daring witnesses, and our courage is joined to the
strength of Mary, full of the grace of the Spirit;
our Act of Entrustment serves to intensify what is demanded of us in this
service of Holy Orders
is also linked with Mary, "Mother of the
Eternal High Priest of the New Covenant, Queen of Apostles, and Help of
presbyters in their ministry".
By our religious
we commit ourselves to the sequela Christi,
united to Mary, "Mother of the Eternal High Priest of the Christ's first
and closest disciple, whose life constitutes a rule of conduct for all"
and proclaims in a special way
its transcendent values.
our own salesian vocation
with its distinctive spirit and its mission
is historically associated with Mary; as our Founder says, she is its
inspiration, mistress and guide. Our Act of Entrustment thus recognizes her
motherly intervention and looks to her continued and active presence.
our Act of Entrustment recognizes and confirms all the profound and vital bonds
that unite us with Mary, as christians, as religious and as salesians. With
full awareness we proclaim our close relationship with her, we perfect the very
consecration by which we have been signed by the Holy Spirit with fthe seal of
Christ, we are more fully aware of our spiritual bonds and the grace of our
christianity and Salesianity; we aim at a more sensitive union and a more
enlightened fidelity. We are sons who grow and attain a greater maturity of
mind that enables our relationship with our Mother to become more personal and
conscious, and hence more stable and profound.Confidence and hope
confreres, our solemn Act of Entrustment to Mary Help of Christians, Mother of
the Church, is replete with significance and vision. It will make us more
deeply aware of salvation-history, reinvigorate our lively fidelity to our
salesian vocation, put our immediate future into Mary's motherly hands. It will
help us to solve and overcome with God's help the problems and difficulties
that belong to this hurtling period of history; stir us to generous efforts in
apostolic initiatives; and above all deepen our sonship in the Spirit, our interior
life, contemplation, prayer, asceticism, brotherly charity, reconciliation,
appreciation of the values of suffering, and indeed improve the whole spiritual
and pastoral environment of the community.
trusting abandonment to Mary we shall make "continual progress in faith,
hope and charity, and seek out and follow the divine will in all things".
Help of Christians, Mother of the Church, Inspiration and Guide of the Salesian
Family, with motherly insight you fathom the hearts of all our confreres, you
enlighten and safeguard their apostolic consecration; you understand and
further the educational and pastoral apostolate confided to them; you look
with sympathy on their limitations, weaknesses and sufferings; you love the
young people entrusted to each one of thefm as a gift of predilection; we beg
you, Holy Virgin Mother of God, powerful helper of the Pope, the bishops and
all their co-workers, place under your special patronage this humble and
hardworking Society of St Francis of Sales; with filial confidence we solemnly
confide ourselves to you; and you who instructed Don Bosco, teach us to imitate
all his virtues.
prayerful attitude, dear confreres, let us prepare ourselves for the
forthcoming General Chapter that is so important for the future of our
Congregation and all the Salesian Family.
With sincerest greetings in the
Father EGIDIO VIGANRector Major
C - APPENDIXThe salesian's daily prayer to
Mary Help of Christians
Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin, Help of Christians, Mother of the Church,
foundress and support of our Congregation,
we place ourselves under your motherly protection,
and faithful to our salesian vocation
we promise to work always for the greater glory of God and the salvation
With trust in your intercession
we pray for the Church,
for our Congregation and the Salesian Family, for the young, especially
those most in need, and for all men redeemed by Christ.
You were Don Bosco's teacher;
show us how to imitate his virtues,
especially his union with God,
his purity, humility and poverty,
his love for work and for temperance,
his kindness and his whole-hearted service of others,
his loyalty to the Pope and to the bishops of the Church.
Grant, O Mary Hfelp of Christians,
that we may serve God with fidelity and generosity until death.
Help us to come at last to the endless joy of life together
in our Father's home in heaven. Amen.
John Bosco: Il cristiano guidato alia verit ed alia civilt secondo lo spirito di S. Vincenzo de' Paoli,
1848, p. 139.
of St John Bosco (ed. by Ceria): SEI 1955, vol.
I, p. 464.
, 16-17 May 1983.
MB XIII 288.
circular letters to salesians. Turin, 1965. p. 286.
Const. 42, 49.
Pope's invitation to youth for the Holy Year: in appendix.
for instance, also the formula for our religious profession; v.
LG 44: the religious
= passive); by God (a Deo)
is understood; v. Schema Constitution is Dogmaticae de Ecclesia
; Modi V
- Caput VI, De Religiosis,
p. 7, Resp. ad 24.
ASC 295, p. 18 at
St Cyril: Catechesis
III 1-3, PG 33,
John VI 27; Acts X 38.
2 Cor I 22; Eph I 13; IV 30.