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.

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