Fatumaca, Timor-Leste 22 November 2022 -- The Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA) of the TLS Vice-Province held its 3rd National Congress on November 18 to 20, 2022 at the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Fatumaca. The congress focused on the theme “LIKE MARY WE WALK WITH JESUS.”
On the first day of the meeting, the current president delegate of ADMA in the TLS Vice-Province, Fr Manuel Da Silva Ximenes, SDB welcomed all the participants at the place during his introductory remarks, then Sr Lucrécia, FMA (In Charge of Salesian Family), gave a short message.
During these three days of congress there were sessions of talks. The first speaker was Sr Esmeralda Soares, FMA. She presented a conference on the strenna of the Rector Major. Inspired by the strenna, the speaker then reminded the participants to do everything with love nothing through constraint. These three days of congress must be the opportune time to energize ourselves for the mission we are going to do in our life as a member of the association, stressed the speaker.
Then Fr. Apolinário Neto, SDB developed the topic of the “Salesian Family Charter.” The conference was all about the Charismatic Identity of the Salesian Family. The speaker then requested the participants to nurture their love and the sense of belongingness to the Salesian Family with the three commitments mainly: Unity, Belongingness and Family, rooted in the Love of God and neighbour.
The third speaker was Fr. Provincial (Fr Anacleto Pires, SDB) who discussed the topic of ADMA’s Identity and Mission. Fr Provincial then asked them to the promote the devotion of Mary in their daily lives through their words and actions. As they have promised themselves in the association, the speaker reminded them to put into practice all the requirements and promises they made during their acceptance into the association.
During these three days of congress, aside from the formative sessions they had, there were also moments of solitude in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Animated Rosary and Masses for each day’s liturgy that brought all the participants closer to God and committed them for the mission given as faithful members of ADMA. There was also sharing in the groups where each member shared their uplifting stories as a member of the association. They inspired and enriched each other through those beautiful sharings. There were also moments for entertainment and dance presentations to animate each other to make to congress more cheerful and lively.
During the congress, there was also the election for the New Structure of Leadership for 2022-2026. The event was attended by 350 members of ADMA and among them 52 members with a right to vote for the New Structure of Leadership. In the election, the favour falls on:
1. Mr. João Brito Gusmão Ximenes (President),
2. Mrs. Maria Lourdes Sousa (Vice-President),
3. Mrs. Ana Mafalda S. da Costa (Secretary) and,
4. Mr. Domingos Belo (Treasurer).
At the end of the congress, there were also oath taking for the New Structure of Leadership for the period of 2022-2026. Among the participants, there were also 106 members who made their promise and receive the medals as a permanent member of ADMA. On the last day of congress, the Mass was celebrated by Fr. Provincial with some concelebrating priests, among them Fr. Andres Calleja SDB, Fr. Isaías Bonifácio, SDB, and Fr. Manuel Ximenes, SDB.
The National delegate of ADMA in the country, Fr. Manuel Ximenes, SDB and Sr. Brígida de Sousa, FMA, have been working tirelessly before and during the congress.
We thank Mrs. Maria Fátima Belo and her team who has led the association over the past 5 years and we congratulate Mr. João and his team for a fruitful apostolate in the mission entrusted to them.
Let us continue to pray for the old and new members of ADMA so that Mary Help of Christians, our Mother, continue to guide them and always protect them under her mantle as Don Bosco would remind us all the time.