The experience of the Spiritual Exercises of families animated by the Association of Mary Help of Christians (Primary ADMA) of Turin, this year sees numerous families carve out a few days in one of the Salesian centers in Valdocco, Colle Don Bosco, Avigliana, Cumiana and Saint Oyenne in June-July 2021. The pandemic has changed the way we all come together in the Alpine setting of Pracharbon, but has not diminished the desire to meet with a new heart and new rules.
Three-days retreats proposed to pray, reflect and share, to put oneself in the school of St. Joseph of which the 150th anniversary of the proclamation as Patron of the Universal Church is celebrated. So what better occasion to return once again to the school of Nazareth and to abide spiritually with the Holy Family to become “holy families”?
Contemplating St. Joseph and his silent and chaste life in the spiritual exercises fits perfectly with the spirituality of ADMA, which keeps its gaze fixed on Jesus and Mary and intends to make them present in the homes of its members, to be able to admire, love and serve them. It is in this perspective and with this aim that the condition experienced by families participating in retreats finds its full meaning: a framework of “family of families”, intergenerational, which is found in full force with the young and with older people to listen to the catechesis of the priests, while the animators deal with the children with dedication in a reciprocal and enveloping exchange.
Each day of exercises is then marked by moments of personal reflection, as a couple and finally in small groups – always in compliance with current pandemic regulations. Furthermore, the retreat day revolves around Eucharistic Adoration, the Rosary and Mass, as well as the possibility of personal confession: all while the children, in addition to playing, make videos to testify the moments lived and the catechesis heard by their animators.
In this virtuous circle, the choice of the figure of Saint Joseph, Father in obedience, acceptance and welcome, is certainly the testimony of all the people and families who in this pandemic time have known how to love in a discreet and silent way, but no less present.