A priest talking and playing with the poor youth around the town, well, it is not so common and judged sound still today! We can only imagine the hostile looks Don Bosco must have attracted in the nineteenth century Italy.
For this reason, further in the years to come, he encouraged everyone in the oratory and those seeking advice from him to invoke the Help of Mary. For this reason, the main Basilica, the first church for the oratory built by Don Bosco in Turin, is dedicated to Her. For this reason, the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians is a special moment for the Salesian family.
The occasion to celebrate it for the community of Sacred Heart in Battersea happened to be on the Vigil of the Ascension of the Lord, on the 27th. And the Sunday Gospel for the Mass was another significant reminder of the special guide God has given us in Mary.
As Fr Gerry told during the homily, in a time when fear and grief appear to fill the world by so many evil acts, we are called to stay, to keep strong, and to bear witness of a Love bigger than everything human beings are capable of. At the Wedding at Cana, Mary set the example: She is present, She sees the missing, She turns to Our Lord for help. Since the beginning, up until the end - the end on the Cross - Mary doesn’t give up hope, she doesn’t surrender to hate or anger. She is there, always will be there.
The whole Mass was an invitation to look once again, with particular devotion, at the loving Mother Jesus entrusted us. Then, at the Creed, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians – the female order set by Don Bosco and Mary Mazzarello – renewed their vows. It is a real treasure when the community can praise a variety of the different members of the family: from the religious, to the volunteers, the students and the educators. And the Salesians Sisters of Battersea, with their continuous dedication, are a bright sign of the marvelous works of Our Lady.
We were delighted a group of young people accompanied the service with joyful singing. And, from the States, we have received the visit of Fr Jim Heuser SDB, who concelebrated Mass.
The celebration couldn’t be complete without a special offering to Our Lady, whose motherly appearance is depicted in the statue close to the altar. A procession, led by some of the children who received their First Holy Communion just last weekend, concluded the Mass. Fr David rededicated the Parish to Our Lady, and the community sang together the Salve Regina, while the children offered a beautiful crown of roses.
In the spirit of communion and sharing of the Salesians, the celebration ended with refreshments in the Parish Hall.