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17/11/2014 - RMG - "We will remain in Patagonia as long as the congregation exists."
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(ANS - Rome) - "You can be sure that we will remain in Patagonia as long as the congregation exists." These were the words of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, at the closure of the 23rd General Chapter of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. The Chapter ended on Saturday 15 November at the General House of the Institute. The final document of the Chapter is entitled: "Widen Your Glance" and has the subtitle: "With the young, missionaries of joy and hope."

"Being for young people today a home that evangelizes" was the guiding theme of the Chapter of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. It lasted eight weeks and involved the Sisters in an experience of fraternal life, study and reflection, prayer and  listening, which led to the final document.

In his homily at the closing Mass, Fr A.F. Artime said: “My dear Sisters I can imagine the intense emotion you have experienced duing this General Chapter. Indeed, 'were not your hearts burning within you’ during these days? You have had a very demanding and tiring time. I am sure you have often ‘kept one eye on earth and ten on heaven’ as Blessed Maddalena Morano used to say. Surely, with an open heart, you welcomed the interior movements of the Spirit, and you have 'widened your glance’ to recognize the most authentic and urget needs of society and of a generation that is changing', as Pope Francis asked of you. You, and all of us in the Salesian Family, have to thank the Lord and our Blessed Mother for so many graces from God."

Referring to the importance of the Chapter document and the need to live it in practice, the Rector Major said: "'Little children, let us love, not in word or speech but in truth and action,” says the first letter of John. Hence we need not only nice words and well-worded documents ... but life! We must give our life every day. Our convictions must be translated into real beliefs and choices, with actions that can be seen as deeds of witness that can be touched by hand. This is what it means to love and then to live, because 'anyone who does not love remains in death.'"

Before the final blessing, the Rector Major referred to the fact that three times already Pope Francis has urged us "not to forget Patagonia": once to the Salesians (on 31 March during the 27th General Chapter), and twice to the FMA on 8 November. The Rector Major added, "You can be sure that we will remain in Patagonia as long as the congregation exists." His assertion was confirmed by eighteen communities of Salesians, fifteen communities of the FMA, and another eight works managed by lay people who share responsibility for the Salesian mission, plus all the other works of the Salesian Family on behalf of the most needy in the land of Patagonia.

Published 17/11/2014

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