Preparations are continuing for the 9th International Congress of Mary Help of Christians, whose theme, “I will give you the Teacher”, alludes to the 200th anniversary of St John Bosco’s “Nine Year Dream”. The meeting will take place in Fatima from 29 August to 1 September 2024. Registration opens in September.
During the World Consultation of the Salesian Family, which took place in Turin from 19 to 23 May, the theme of the IX International Congress of Mary Help of Christians was officially presented: “I will give you the Teacher”, which will mark the celebration of the 200th anniversary of St John Bosco’s “Nine Year Dream”.
The Salesians of Portugal are organising the IX International Congress of Mary Help of Christians, promoted by the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), together with the Secretariat of the Salesian Family and the Salesian Family of Argentina.
Registration will be open from 24 September on the website of the IX Congress, where information on the cost of participation will be updated shortly.
The initiative – which took place for the first time on the centenary of Don Bosco’s death in 1988 in Italy, at the Congregation’s motherhouse in Valdocco, Turin – aims to deepen devotion to Mary Help of Christians within Salesian spirituality.
Since then Bolivia (Cochabamba, 1995); Spain (Seville, 1999); Italy (Valdocco, 2003, on the occasion of the centenary of the coronation of Mary Help of Christians); Mexico (Mexico City, 2007); Poland (Czestochowa, 2011); Italy (Valdocco and Colle Don Bosco, on the bicentenary of Don Bosco’s birth in 2015) and Argentina (Buenos Aires, 2019, on the 150th anniversary of the foundation of ADMA) have hosted the world event.
Devotion to Mary is a fundamental element of the Salesian charism and mission. The Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, emphasised this at the closing of the 2019 Congress in Buenos Aires.
“We must always be more Marian, more and more of Mary,” he said. “Without Mary, we are not the sons and daughters that Don Bosco dreamed of. We may be something else, but not what Don Bosco dreamed of. We have a duty to proclaim and propose Jesus and his Mother, Mary, without fear or shame. In our journey, Mary cannot be a decorative element: she is essential. Without her, our education and pastoral work will be empty, poor and inconsistent. Let’s make a more explicit proclamation of Jesus and have more Mary on our lips.”
“In Mary, John gained a Mother and a Teacher in the order of grace. Her task is to introduce him to and accompany him in the authentic obedience of the Faith, in a ‘discipline of the Faith’ which, contrary to the common sentiment of modern times, achieves the highest freedom and the greatest fruitfulness,” the Rector Major added.
The year 2024 will mark the 200th anniversary of the “Nine Year Dream”, a dream that the Salesian Family has always considered a fundamental reference point for the meaning, style and development of the Salesian mission in the world. Starting in July, the Association, which has more than 100,000 members in 50 countries, will be offering a preparation course for the Fatima Congress on its website www.admadonbosco.org/adma-on-line.