Thursday, July 29, 2010

Honduras: Don Bosco always present

The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

On Monday 26 July coming from Managua, Nicaragua, Don Bosco’s casket arrived in Tegucigalpa. Landing at the International Airport of Toncontín, it was welcomed by a guard of honour from the Salesian schools and accompanied on its journey.

Religious, civil and military Authorities, Salesian pupils and past-pupils took part in the welcoming ceremony for the saint of youth. Placed on a mobile platform, the casket began its journey accompanied by Bishop Luis Alfonso Santos Villeda SDB bishop of the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copan, by Fr Luis Corral, Provincial of Central America (CAM), and by the Provincial of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) Sr Sandra Yela.

From the airport the casket went to the parish of Mary Help of Christians among the hills of Comayaguela, a twin city of Tegucigalpa, where Bishop Santos presided at Mass.

Next morning Tuesday 27 July, Don Bosco’s casket made its triumphal entry into the Saint Michael the Archangel Institute in Tegucigalpa, where it was welcomed by hundreds of pupils from various Salesian Institutes; here with hymns and songs the young people accompanied the Mass celebrated by the Salesian Archbishop Oscar Julio Vian Morales, of Los Altos Quetzaltenango-Totonicapán and concelebrated by Bishop Santos and various Salesian priests.

Early in the afternoon the casket was taken to the city Cathedral, filled with thousands of the faithful, are ready to stay in prayer close to Don Bosco. After being among them for three hours the casket was taken to the church of the “San Miguel” Institute where there was Mass for the local Salesian Family. During the Mass at which Archbishop Vian presided, three Salesians-Cooperators made their promise.

At the end of the Mass the young people expressed their joy and affection for Don Bosco and then there was a prayer vigil with hymns until mid-night.

Yesterday, 28 July, the relics of Don Bosco went to the Mary Help of Christians Institute and then to the Basilica of Our Lady of Supaya, Patron of the country, where Mass was said. The pilgrimage now passes to El Salvador.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

St. John Bosco's Relics now in Honduras

The following comes from the Zenit site:

Now in Honduras, soon to be in El Salvador, the relics of St. John Bosco are being taken to communities throughout Central America.

The year 2015 will mark the 200th anniversary of John Bosco's birth, and his relics have been on tour since June as part of the celebration. St. John Bosco is the founder of the Salesians and well-known for his work with youth.

A glass urn with a life-size statue of the saint contains the relics: bones from his right hand and forearm. The statue is a model of the one in the Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians in Turin, Italy, where the remains of the saint rest.

Salesian Father Tadeusz Rozmus reflected that the right hand of this saint is significant because with it he "blessed, wrote the [Salesian] constitutions, the Catholic letters and absolved sins."

The saint's relics are in Honduras until Wednesday, when they will travel to El Salvador.

The urn was already in Costa Rica and was also taken to Nicaragua. There, President Daniel Ortega and Cardinal Miguel Obando Bravo, retired archbishop of Managua, participated in a ceremony with the relics.

The relics will be in Mexico from Aug. 4 to Sept. 11, and from there go to the United States. In Mexico, the relics will be taken to 30 cities.

Don Bosco's relics were blessed on April 25 in Turin by the Salesian superior-general, Mexican Father Pascual Chávez Villanueva. During their five-year pilgrimage, they will be taken to some 130 countries.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Don Bosco's Relic arrives in Costa Rica

The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

Early in the afternoon of 20 July, Don Bosco’s casket arrived at the “Tobías Bolaños” aeroport in San José, Costa Rica; waiting for it was a large crowd of students, in the uniforms of the Salesian institutes and many people waving welcoming banners.

A long procession of vehicles then accompanied to casket to the “La Sabana” Park, where Don Bosco was officially welcomed by the Minister of Education, Dr. Leonardo Garnier, who underlined the importance of Don Bosco, as the patron of technical education and the model for every kind of formation.

Then the casket was taken to the Mary Help of Christians Sixth Form College of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians where the arrival was greeted with great joy and the sports hall was not big enough to accommodate all the youngsters who wanted to be near the saint. The FMA were the first to have the privilege of approaching the casket and venerating Don Bosco.

Then the crowd filed past and all wanted to touch the casket with a handerchief or some other object to receive a blessing. Not even the rain was able to dampen the youthful enthusiasm and silence the songs and prayers to Don Bosco which were the dominant notes of the festive occasion.

At 18.30 the casket was taken to the Institute of the “Colegio Don Bosco”, in the “El Zapote” district. Here inside the school chapel Mass was said by Bishop Guillermo Loría Garita of San Isidro de El General.

During the night there was a prayer vigil in the Salesian Institute led by the young people and which featured their prayers, hymns, joy and enthusiasm all in honour of Don Bosco.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Panama – Great procession for the Patron of the city

The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

On Sunday 18 July, at the end of Mass celebrated in the Basilica of Don Bosco in Panama City thousands of people took part in a procession of the Patron Saint of the city. The celebration which started from the Basilica, also ended there.

18 July was a day never to be forgotten for the people of Panama. Midway through the mornng the casket of the relic of Don Bosco was carried into the Basilica dedicated to the Patron of the city, Saint John Bosco. However, before it entered the church the casket stopped at the festive oratory at the side of the Basilica, where the children were waiting. By a curious coincidence, ther meeting which even more significant: on Sunday in Panama they were celebrating childrens’ day. The little artists began their performances and one can imagine how at ease Don Bosco would have felt in their company on this occasion.

At midday there was the solemn Mass at which Fr Luis Corral, Provincial of Central America presided and at which a number of Salesian priests concelebrated. In spite of the huge size of the church not everyone managed to get in. When the Mass was over, the people were able to express their affection for Don Bosco as they were able to approach his casket and have direct contact with the saint who is so much loved in this country.

In the afternoon at 16.00, the procession began: thousands of the faithful accompanied Don Bosco’s casket with hymns and prayers, in a triumphal procession through the streets of the city, and those who were not on the streets gazed down from the windows and balconies many taking photographs. Finally the procession returned to the Basilica, where there was a firework display as a sign of joy and general satisfaction.

At midnight, in a solemn ceremony, the casket was changed. Now Don Bosco’s relics will continue their journey in Central America in a heavier and more elaborately decorated casket.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Haiti – Don Bosco, a presence and a source of hope

The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

On Thursday 8 July on its way from the Dominican Republic, Don Bosco’s casket arrived in Haiti. The Provincial of the Antilles (ANT), Fr Víctor Pichardo, solemnly handed it over to Fr Ducange Sylvain, Superior of the “Blessed Philip Rinaldi” Vice Province of Haiti.

Don Bosco arrived in Haiti six months after the earthquake devastated the country, and was welcomed by a people full of life, of joy, of hope, in spite of all the difficulties of the recent months.

Emphasising the importance of the presence of Don Bosco’s casket in Haiti, especially for the young, Fr Sylvain said: “My dear friends we are here to welcome to our country the relics of Saint John Bosco. It is a great joy for the Salesians and the Salesian Family to savour this moment, a dream which today has finally become reality. With Don Bosco, you too are all welcome to this country so beautiful and so loved, where Don Bosco has been at work since 1935, with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and since 1936 with the Salesians.”

Addressing Don Bosco he said: “You are here in this Haiti so terribly wounded, exploited, humiliated abandoned by her own children; this Haiti which seemed to collapse, but which little by little is picking herself up thanks to the efforts of those who love her only because they love God and their neighbour.” Referring to the words of the Rector Major Fr Pascual Chávez, who was in Haiti between 12 and 15 February Fr Sylvain renewed the appeal: “Haiti must be born again”.

Presiding at the welcoming ceremony was Archbishop Louis Kebreau SDB, Metropolitan Archbishop of Cap-Haïtien and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Haiti.

The presence of Don Bosco’s relics in Haiti, which will end on 17 July, is a sign that is meant to nourish the hope and the faith of the people and above all of the young. The Salesian Family has been preparing spiritually for the arrival of the casket since 29 June, organising in every community a novena in honour of Saint John Bosco.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Relic of Don Bosco Heads for Haiti

The following comes fromt the Salesian News Agency:

At the end of the very intense pilgrimage in the Dominican Republic, Don Bosco’s casket has arrived at the frontier with Haiti. Don Bosco’s relics, which have already been enthusiastically received by many Salesian communties in south and central America, come to Haiti as it continues to try to cope with the effects of the earthquake on 12 January.

Th casket spent its last days in the Dominican Republic visiting Salesian centres in the region of Cibao, where it was admired by thousands of people especially children and young people from Salesian centres in the north of the country. At Jarabacoa, the most important centre of the Salesians in the Antilles (ANT), with two formation houses, a school, a parish, a retreat centre and other social activities, the people flocked to the Salesian centres to see the casket and to spend some time in prayer close to it. Then it was the turn of the technical and agricultural school in La Vega, and Moca, near the sanctuary dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus where the charism of Don Bosco has been warmly welcomed over the years that the Salesians have spent in this central region of the Dominican Republic.

For the last two days the casket was at Santiago de los Caballeros, where in addition to being taken to the Salesian house in the city, it was on display for the faithful inside the Cathedral. On Wednesday 7 July, the final day in the “Saint John Bosco” Province of the Antilles, it was venerated by hundreds of people gathered at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Salesian house in the city of Mao. Yesterday morning, 8 July it set out on its way to Haiti.

Fr Hiram Santiago, President of the Central Commission for the visit accompanied the casket as it was transferred to the Salesians in the neighbouring Haiti. The first community to be visited in the country struck by the earthquake will be Fort-Liberté, about 200 kilometres from Port-au-Prince, the epicentre of the quake.