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Why is Don Bosco visiting us?

  • 16 August 2015 marks the bicentenary of the birth of St John Bosco
  • To prepare for this event, Fr Pascual Chavez, the Superior General of the Salesians of Don Bosco has sent Don Bosco's  relics on a world pilgrimage
  • The right hand, placed inside a reclining effigie of Don Bosco is visiting nearly all the countires of the world where the Salesian family ministers to the youth (132 countires)
  • The visit of the relic of Don Bosco is not just a Salesian event. Don Bosco is a canonised saint of the Church. So the visit is to the faithful around the world, and as such, has the approval and the blessing of the our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and the welcome of the local Bishops

What is a Relic?

  • A relic is any physical object associated with a saint
  • Relics also include the body or parts of the mortal remains of a saint, including the saints’ bones
  • Christians have long believed that the relics of saints can:
        - Help us to recognise God’s power in people’s lives
        - Inspire us to personal holiness and a more dedicated Christian life in imitation of Christ as the saints did
  • Relics in themselves do not have any spiritual or magical powers
  • The saints are our holy brothers and sisters in heaven. Their relics remind us that they can and do intercede for us before the throne of God, imploring, with us for God’s merciful grace and favour

Don Bosco’s Relics

  •  In 1929, in preparation for his beatification, and eventual canonisation, the body of Don Bosco was exhumed and placed in a glass case
  • After his beatification and canonisation this casket was placed in the Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians in Turin
  • In 2009, the bones and tissues of Don Bosco’s right hand and arm were removed under strict Church supervision and placed in a replica of Don Bosco’s body. This was enclosed in a large casket or urn
  • This casket or urn is transported by air, sea and road to the different places throughout the world


The Significance of the Pilgrimage of Don Bosco’s Relic

  • Pilgrimages have been part of all the great religions
  • Usually people go to holy places associated with their faith to pray. The pilgrimage of Don Bosco’s relics is a reverse pilgrimage. In this instance it is Don Bosco who is going to the people
  • Don Bosco is visiting the Church and the people of today, right where we live, work and pray
  • He is coming specially to the youth, young adults of our communities
  • Don Bosco comes to us in an expression of solidarity with us today
  • The memory of his visit hopefully will uplift, encourage and bring healing to us and to our young people

 The Pilgrimage of Don Bosco’s Relic through Southern Africa

  •  RSA 01-03 July Robertsham Parish, Johannesburg Cathedral, Ennerdale Parish, Bosco Centre
  • Swaziland 04-06 July Swaziland: Manzini & Malkerns
  • Lesotho 07-09 July Lesotho: Maputsoe, Maseru
  • RSA 10-15 July Salesian Institute, Lansdowne, Delft, Hanover Park, Westridge
  • Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi 16-31 July

Some Significant Dates

1815: John Bosco born on 15 August in the village of Morialdo, North of Turin, Italy.
1835: John Bosco enters the seminary at Chieri.
1841: John Bosco Ordained priest on 5 June.
1841,8 December: Don Bosco meets Bartholomew Garelli and begins to minister to street youth in Turin.
1846: Don Bosco establishes his “Oratory” (Youth Centre) in Valdocco, Turin.
1859: 18 December, Don Bosco establishes the Salesian Congregation with 18 young men.
1872: On 05 August, Don Bosco co-founds with St Maria Mazzarello, the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians (The Salesian Sisters).
1875: 11 November, Don Bosco sends his first missionaries to Argentina.
1876: 09 May, Don Bosco founds the Salesian Cooperators
1888: Don Bosco dies on 31 January.
1896: The first Salesians arrive in Cape Town, South Africa.
1929: Pope Pius IX beatifies Don Bosco on 03 June
1934: Pope Pius Canonises Don Bosco as a saint on 01 April (Easter Sunday).