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Rome, 14 August 2021.
Dearest Sisters,
An affectionate greeting to all and each one of you in particular. Surely we have all
celebrated August 5th
with joy and gratitude, the feast of the foundation of our dear Institute and we
have thus begun the third year of preparation for the Jubilee of 2022.
On this journey of remembrance and gratitude for all the Lord has accomplished in our
charismatic history, but also projected towards the future, that is of hope for the future, the discrete
and ever actual presence of our Patron St. Joseph is felt. And even more so in the Year dedicated to
him in which we invoke him with faith and trust because we find in him a great protector and
intercessor With a Father’s heart (Patris corde – Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis).
Thus, let us continue to invoke him with the heart of daughters, praying especially for the
realization of General Chapter XXIV, for the vocational, apostolic, and missionary fruitfulness of
our Institute, as well as for all the children, young people, and the people entrusted to our educating
communities.
Today, I would like to share with you a simple reflection on St. Joseph and the Initial
Proclamation. As we know, during recent years the Missions Sector, in synergy with the SDB
Missions Sector, has undertaken a journey of understanding and study on the Initial Proclamation of
Christ.
In Patris corde, Pope Francis highlights that “after the long and tiring journey from
Nazareth to Bethlehem, (Joseph) saw the Messiah being born in a stable because ‘there was no
room for them’ (Lk 2: 7). He witnessed the adoration of the shepherds (cf. Lk 2: 8-20) and of the Magi
(cf. Mt 2: 1-12), who respectively represented the people of Israel and the pagan peoples.”
Joseph is the man of silence of whom the only ‘word’ we know is his witness of life, that is,
his being, his actions, the things he did and lived in regard to Mary and the Child.
From the Gospel of Luke (chap. 2) we know that the shepherds had a vision of an angel and
received the proclamation of “a great joy”, the news of the birth “in the city of David”, of “a savior,
who is Christ the Lord”. The angel also indicated a sign to them, “you will find an infant wrapped
in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
Luke clearly indicates that Joseph was present at the birth of Jesus, “… and found Mary and
Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.” If on the one hand, we have the testimony of Joseph’s
life, on the other hand we have in Joseph a witness of what happens to the child. “When they saw
this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were
amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on
them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard
and seen, just as it had been told to them.”
Joseph, together with Mary, was a witness of this manifestation of Jesus. He was a witness
of the encounter of the shepherds with the Child. And like Mary, surely he too kept all these things,
reflecting on them in his heart.
Even in silence, Joseph participates in the meeting of the shepherds with Jesus, of the
meeting of the Magi with Jesus, as Matthew recounts; and also in the meeting of Simeon and of
Anna in the temple “When the days were completed for their purification,” and they brought Jesus
“to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.”
It seems important to take up again and reflect on what Benedict XVI wrote in the
Encyclical Deus Caritas Est (n. 1), and then re-proposed by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium (n.
2
7), “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an
event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”
This is the secret of the Initial Proclamation…an encounter! It is not illumined words, long
discourses, pastoral strategies, or our programs that bring people to encounter Jesus. All this is
good, is important, is necessary, and helps, but it can also dampen the desire to meet Him and let
oneself be met by Him who gives meaning to life and who is the only one able to fill the human
heart with joy, hope, and serenity in daily life!
The Initial Proclamation is and will always be the communication of an experience of faith,
the communication of a personal encounter with Christ who transforms our life and brings us to
share this immense joy with those beside us and also with those who live beyond our
geographical and existential borders.
“This initial proclamation is called ‘initial’ not because it exists at the beginning and can
then be forgotten or replaced by other more important things. It is initial in a qualitative sense
because it is the principal proclamation, the one which we must hear again and again in different
ways, the one which we must announce one way or another….” (EG 164)
The Initial Proclamation “has a central and irreplaceable role, since it introduces ‘into the
mystery of the love of God, who invites to enter into a personal relationship with Himself in Christ
and opens the way to conversion.” (RM 44) It is the ‘good news’… that all peoples and cultures
have the right to know. It is the good news that our world needs so much.
Meanwhile, we cannot speak of the Initial Proclamation without reminding ourselves that to
communicate the joy of the Gospel we need “evangelizers with the Spirit”, that is, women and men
open to the action of the Spirit who allow themselves to be transformed into “heralds of the
greatness of God”, who proclaim “the newness of the Gospel with boldness (parrhesía) in every
time and place, even when it meets with opposition. Jesus wants evangelizers who proclaim the
good news not only with words, but above all by a life transfigured by God’s presence.” (EG 259)
Dearest sisters, looking at the figure of Saint Joseph who witnessed various encounters with
Jesus and the encounter of the Child with different categories of people, I would like to invite each
of us “to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting Him
encounter us; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.” (EG 3)
As FMA, whose life is a continuous response to the mandate “I entrust them to you”, may
each of us guided by the Spirit, live her missionary being with more joy and creativity, becoming a
credible witness of God’s love for young people, making her own history an initial proclamation
that reaches everyone, in every time and place, in the mission entrusted by the Lord, living her ‘fiat’
with generosity with the attitude of ‘I’ll go’, in the dynamic of ‘going out’, with the educational-
missionary passion of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello.
Dear sisters, best wishes for the Solemnity of Mary Assumed into Heaven and Don Bosco’s
206th
anniversary!
With affection,
in communion of prayer,
Sr. Alaide Deretti
Councilor for the Missions

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Messaggio della Consigliera per le Missioni_14 august 2021 eng

  • 1. 1 Rome, 14 August 2021. Dearest Sisters, An affectionate greeting to all and each one of you in particular. Surely we have all celebrated August 5th with joy and gratitude, the feast of the foundation of our dear Institute and we have thus begun the third year of preparation for the Jubilee of 2022. On this journey of remembrance and gratitude for all the Lord has accomplished in our charismatic history, but also projected towards the future, that is of hope for the future, the discrete and ever actual presence of our Patron St. Joseph is felt. And even more so in the Year dedicated to him in which we invoke him with faith and trust because we find in him a great protector and intercessor With a Father’s heart (Patris corde – Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis). Thus, let us continue to invoke him with the heart of daughters, praying especially for the realization of General Chapter XXIV, for the vocational, apostolic, and missionary fruitfulness of our Institute, as well as for all the children, young people, and the people entrusted to our educating communities. Today, I would like to share with you a simple reflection on St. Joseph and the Initial Proclamation. As we know, during recent years the Missions Sector, in synergy with the SDB Missions Sector, has undertaken a journey of understanding and study on the Initial Proclamation of Christ. In Patris corde, Pope Francis highlights that “after the long and tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, (Joseph) saw the Messiah being born in a stable because ‘there was no room for them’ (Lk 2: 7). He witnessed the adoration of the shepherds (cf. Lk 2: 8-20) and of the Magi (cf. Mt 2: 1-12), who respectively represented the people of Israel and the pagan peoples.” Joseph is the man of silence of whom the only ‘word’ we know is his witness of life, that is, his being, his actions, the things he did and lived in regard to Mary and the Child. From the Gospel of Luke (chap. 2) we know that the shepherds had a vision of an angel and received the proclamation of “a great joy”, the news of the birth “in the city of David”, of “a savior, who is Christ the Lord”. The angel also indicated a sign to them, “you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Luke clearly indicates that Joseph was present at the birth of Jesus, “… and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.” If on the one hand, we have the testimony of Joseph’s life, on the other hand we have in Joseph a witness of what happens to the child. “When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.” Joseph, together with Mary, was a witness of this manifestation of Jesus. He was a witness of the encounter of the shepherds with the Child. And like Mary, surely he too kept all these things, reflecting on them in his heart. Even in silence, Joseph participates in the meeting of the shepherds with Jesus, of the meeting of the Magi with Jesus, as Matthew recounts; and also in the meeting of Simeon and of Anna in the temple “When the days were completed for their purification,” and they brought Jesus “to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.” It seems important to take up again and reflect on what Benedict XVI wrote in the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est (n. 1), and then re-proposed by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium (n.
  • 2. 2 7), “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” This is the secret of the Initial Proclamation…an encounter! It is not illumined words, long discourses, pastoral strategies, or our programs that bring people to encounter Jesus. All this is good, is important, is necessary, and helps, but it can also dampen the desire to meet Him and let oneself be met by Him who gives meaning to life and who is the only one able to fill the human heart with joy, hope, and serenity in daily life! The Initial Proclamation is and will always be the communication of an experience of faith, the communication of a personal encounter with Christ who transforms our life and brings us to share this immense joy with those beside us and also with those who live beyond our geographical and existential borders. “This initial proclamation is called ‘initial’ not because it exists at the beginning and can then be forgotten or replaced by other more important things. It is initial in a qualitative sense because it is the principal proclamation, the one which we must hear again and again in different ways, the one which we must announce one way or another….” (EG 164) The Initial Proclamation “has a central and irreplaceable role, since it introduces ‘into the mystery of the love of God, who invites to enter into a personal relationship with Himself in Christ and opens the way to conversion.” (RM 44) It is the ‘good news’… that all peoples and cultures have the right to know. It is the good news that our world needs so much. Meanwhile, we cannot speak of the Initial Proclamation without reminding ourselves that to communicate the joy of the Gospel we need “evangelizers with the Spirit”, that is, women and men open to the action of the Spirit who allow themselves to be transformed into “heralds of the greatness of God”, who proclaim “the newness of the Gospel with boldness (parrhesía) in every time and place, even when it meets with opposition. Jesus wants evangelizers who proclaim the good news not only with words, but above all by a life transfigured by God’s presence.” (EG 259) Dearest sisters, looking at the figure of Saint Joseph who witnessed various encounters with Jesus and the encounter of the Child with different categories of people, I would like to invite each of us “to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting Him encounter us; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.” (EG 3) As FMA, whose life is a continuous response to the mandate “I entrust them to you”, may each of us guided by the Spirit, live her missionary being with more joy and creativity, becoming a credible witness of God’s love for young people, making her own history an initial proclamation that reaches everyone, in every time and place, in the mission entrusted by the Lord, living her ‘fiat’ with generosity with the attitude of ‘I’ll go’, in the dynamic of ‘going out’, with the educational- missionary passion of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello. Dear sisters, best wishes for the Solemnity of Mary Assumed into Heaven and Don Bosco’s 206th anniversary! With affection, in communion of prayer, Sr. Alaide Deretti Councilor for the Missions