Some 200 youth from parishes all over the Lower Mainland worshipped, sang hymns and songs, joined in study sessions and a talent show, listened to speakers, and joined in discussions in preparation for the visit of the relics of St. John Bosco Oct. 8 to 10.
They were all at the Don Bosco Youth Centre in Surrey Sept. 18 for a whole-day "Don Bosco Among Us" youth symposium. The day was capped by Holy Mass.
The sessions were led by Father Dave Sajdak, SDB, who performed "Soul Man" and wowed the audience with his singing and dancing abilities in the tradition of the founder, Don Bosco (Father Bosco), of his religious order.
The letters SDB after Father Sajdak's name stand for "Society of Don Bosco." The Italian Don Bosco chose St. Francis de Sales as the patron of the congregation he founded, now one of the largest in the world, so its members are often called Salesians.
In the morning Father Sajdak discussed "Holiness is Happiness," and how we are all called to be holy. His afternoon talk, on "Don Bosco's Way to Youth Holiness," discussed how the saint used his talents to make the youth recognize their talents and use them for God's work.
After each session the youth divided into groups for discussions facilitated by members of Youth for Christ (YFC), who also led the day's registration, ice-breaker, and worship activities. Meals were prepared by a group led by Eric Coronado. They not only organized the symposium, but are planning the upcoming activities for the visit of the relics of Don Bosco.
"We are excited about this big event coming to our parish," said Coronado. "Having the youth here knowing more about our Salesian founder is a great way for them to know more about how they can be workers for God, the way Don Bosco was."
Most of the organizing committee are alumni of Don Bosco schools in the Philippines.
"Seeing the Salesians and the YFC working together in this effort is a wonderful testament to God's power of moving the youth to do his work. This is truly amazing," said Father Sajdak. "We hope to see more of these gatherings in the future."
Don Bosco's relics will be at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Surrey from Oct. 8 to 10. The relics will then move on to 17 other countries in East Asia.