Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the day that we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and to the Church. This Thursday we celebrate the feast of Mary Help of Christians. This was, in a very special way, Don Bosco’s Madonna. This had been a special devotion of Don Bosco from his first “dream” that he had at the age of nine in which a beautiful lady encouraged his voca-tion to be a friend of young people.
Late, in 1862, Don Bosco dreamed about the battles the Church would face. In his dream, the Pope anchors the “ship” of the Church between two pillars, one with a statue of Mary Help of Christians and the other with a large Eucharistic Host. In June of 1868 Don Bosco dedicated a huge church in Turin that he had built to honor Mary Help of Christians, the mother church of the Salesians. This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of this grand basilica. The tradition of this devotion goes back to 1571, when the whole of Christendom was saved by Mary, the Help of Christians, when Catholics throughout Europe prayed the Rosary for deliverance from the Turks. The great battle of Lepanto occurred on October 7th, 1571 which was a huge Christian victory. In 1573 Pope Pius V instituted the feast in thanksgiving. One of the most interesting things I saw on my visit to Turin, Italy, a few years back was not only the great beauty of Don Bosco’s Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, but the simplicity of the statue of Mary that Don Bosco had in his first little chapel in the Pinardi shed at the beginning of his work. It was only a couple feet high made of paper mache. Certainly Don Bosco prayed many hours before that very image for the success of his work with kids and the Salesians. So great was his devotion to Mary under this title that he named the Salesian Sisters the “Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.” The Gospel reading for the Feast Day is John’s account of the wedding feast at Cana in which Mary noticed that they had run out of wine, and was determined to make it known to her Son. That’s why we often pray through the intercession of Mary – we know that she has great influence over her Son. When we place our greatest needs before Mary the Help of Christians, then we will see what miracles are! God bless!
Following the WORD OF GOD
Created: July 23, 2004 St. Rosalie Catholic Church