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.