Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Relic of Don Bosco to Visit Toronto, Canada

In the tradition of pilgrimage, the relics of St. John Bosco are being carried into the towns and villages, neighborhoods and centers where the Gospel is announced among the young and the poor today. This pilgrim journey through 130 nations began on January 31, 2009, the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the Salesian Congregation. It prepares us for the 2010 celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Don Bosco’s birth near Turin, Italy on August 16, 1815.

The relics of Don Bosco have been recomposed from the urn that contained his remains since 1929 when the body was exhumed for his beatification and canonization. The bones and tissues of the right hand and arm have been taken and placed within a wax replica of St. John Bosco's body, whic in turn is enclosed in a large urn.

The urn was constructed specially for this pilgrimage. It is composed of a large glass box in which the wax replica is placed, and easily viewed. The box is mounted atop a large wood and metal cart. Among the urn's decorations are the words, "Da mihi animas, ceatera tolle," which translates to, "Give me souls, take away the rest," one of Don Bosco's many quotes that guided his ministry from its earliest stages through today. Images of young faces also surround the urn, as well as maps showing where the Salesian Family is present today. Finally, the years 1815 and 2015 are places near the base, serving as a reminder of the purpose of this Relic Pilgrimage: in 2015, the Salesian Family, and the Church as a whole, will celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Don Bosco's birth in 1815.

The urn weighs 820 kilograms (over 1,800 pounds!). The glass box, containing the relic, is 253 centimeters long (almost 100 inches), 108.3 centimeters wide (over 40 inches), and 132 centimeters tall (over 50 inches). The full urn is tranported via two specially designed and built trucks.

In September 2010, Don Bosco's relics will arrive in the United States of America from Mexico. The pilgrimage through the USA will begin on September 11, in California, where Don Bosco's sons began their work in the United States. After several stops in California, the relic will travel to the West Bank of New Orleans, Louisiana, on September 19, 2010. From there, it will go to St. Petersburg, Belle Glade, and Miami, Florida. From Florida, the relic will travel to Washington, DC, where it will be visible at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The relic will then visit New York for several days, including a stop at the Salesians' Marian Shrine for a large Youth Rally and another at St. Patrick's Cathedral. From NY, the relic will travel to Chicago, from where it will prepare to cross yet another international border into Canada! The Relic will visit Toronto (St. Benedict Parish - Oct 5, 2010), Montreal, and Surrey, before it departs for the Far East on October 10, 2010.

We invite you to browse the official website for more information about the Relic's visit to the United States of America and Canada.

Maybe you are asking yourself "Why do Catholics venerate relics anyway? Is there any basis in the Bible for this tradition? Are relics just superstion?" To read more about the meaning and importance of relics in our Catholic tradtion, please click here.

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