Presenting themselves as a proposal for all the groups of the Salesian Family, the International Congresses of Mary Help of Christians recognise two charismatic aspects of the Salesian spirit in Eucharistic worship and devotion to Mary Help of Christians.
The first of these meetings was organised by Fr Egidio Viganò and took place in Turin in 1988, on the centenary of Don Bosco’s death.
Since then, seven more International Congresses have taken place.
In 1995, the city of Cochabamba in Bolivia hosted the Second International Congress of Mary Help of Christians, which was attended by more than 200 participants. Pierluigi Cameroni, Postulator General for the Causes of Saints and World Spiritual Animator of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA); the ADMA leaders of Bolivia; Fr Javier Ortiz, Provincial of Bolivia; Tullio Lucca, ADMA World President; and Bishop Tito Solari, SDB, Bishop Emeritus of Cochabamba.
The Third International Congress of Mary Help of Christians took place in Seville, Spain, in 1999. In 2003, Turin-Valdocco (Italy) hosted another Congress, this time on the centenary of the coronation of Mary Help of Christians.
In 2007, Mexico City, Mexico, hosted the 5th International Congress of Mary Help of Christians. This was a privileged opportunity to relaunch devotion to Mary Help of Christians. In his speech, the then Rector Major, Fr Pascual Chávez, recalled the importance of devotion to the Mother of God in the way it was promoted by the father of the young: “Mary was given to us as a powerful Help against evil in the fight for the salvation of the young,” he emphasised.
In 2011, the city of Czestochowa in Poland hosted the 6th International Congress of Mary Help of Christians.
The VII International Congress of Mary Help of Christians took place in Turin-Valdocco/Colle Don Bosco (Italy) in 2015, during the celebrations for the bicentenary of Don Bosco’s birth. The theme, “Hic domus mea, inde glória mea – From Mary’s house to our homes”, signalled the maternal presence of Mary, Mother of the Church and Help of Christians, and invited all participants to experience the beauty of being a family.
The year 2019 was marked by the 8th International Congress of Mary Help of Christians in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Under the theme, “With Mary, a believing woman”, this meeting, which marked the 150th anniversary of the foundation of ADMA, was an opportunity to profess, as children of Don Bosco, a filial and strong devotion to the Blessed Mother.
In 2024, Fatima in Portugal will host the 9th International Congress of Mary Help of Christians.