- Bicentenary of Don Bosco’s Birth Held. Archbishop Moras Lauds work of Salesians
Bengaluru: The Salesian Congregation celebrates the birth bi-centenary of Saint John Bosco, popularly known as Don Bosco, said Dr Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bengaluru. Don Bosco was born on August 16, 1815, 200 years ago. The parish is dedicated to Don Bosco and the Salesian Congregation along with the parishioners and several others thank God for the occasion, the Archbishop added. He was the main celebrant at the con-celebrated festal High Mass at Don Bosco Church, Lingarajapuram, Bengaluru on Sunday.
“You are all very close to the parish and Don Bosco, being the parishioners,” said the Archbishop who is the Archbishop of Bengaluru for last 11 years. He reminded the congregation of the faithful to learn from the life of Don Bosco who lost his father when John was only two years. The little family was happy in spite of poverty until Francis Bosco died of a sudden attack of pneumonia. It was an uphill fight, now that the bread-winner was gone, but his mother Margaret took up the task bravely to provide for the household. As John grew up, he took up responsibility to extend whatever help possible at his tender age.
Those were terrible years of war and famine in Italy. John had to change his jobs to eke out a living to pursue his studies. His deepest desire and dream was to become a priest. He had no proper dress to go to seminary. He worked hard and got scholarships being the best in his studies and conduct. After his ordination, he asked his superiors to work for boys and girls in streets. Everyone kept aloof from those from the street as they were considered bad elements and who were into vices. Archbishop Moras who is president of Bishops’ Council of Karnataka said Don Bosco had such love for the youngsters and called them into his company and did whatever possible for them. Don Bosco gave his life for them. The Church declared Don Bosco as the saint of the youth.
Dr Moras said Salesians work for the youth and the downtrodden. They have many institutions in the State and in the city. They work for the street children to make them stand on their own legs. Quoting Pope John Paul II, the Archbishop said, “You are the Church and the future of the Church. The present generation gives life to the Church. Archbishop who celebrated Mass in three languages reiterated the Salesian Fathers and Sisters work for the youth, the abandoned and the needy not only in the Archdiocese but all over the world. He wondered what is the use of our life, if people do not have love of God and love for neighbours. On this auspicious occasion of the Parish feast, Don Bosco would ‘intercede for us’ and the prelate and shepherd of the Archdiocese wished all present God’s blessings.
Fr Anthony Mahendran, secretary to Archbishop, who preached a sermon in Tamil touched upon briefly Don Bosco’s early life. He also stressed on God’s generosity and kindness.
Fr Mahendran emphasizing the importance of spiritual aspect in everyone’s life said God gives wisdom and knowledge to His children. Those con-celebrated the Mass were Fr C M Jose, Parish Priest and Rector, Fr Mahendran, Fr Nicholas T, vice Rector, Administrator and Assit Parish Priest and Deacon Shino Joy. Fr Maria Anand, Assist Parish Priest was the coordinator of the programme. Deacon Paul Adahe, Br Xavier Raj and Br Veasli Bandya besides others helped in various ways.
Earlier, Archbishop Moras was given a rousing welcome in front of the church. Soon after the holy Mass, he blessed the food which was distributed for over 1500 poor children and people around. He also planted a sapling in the vicinity of the church. Saplings were distributed among people of the parish to mark the 200th birth day of Don Bosco.
After the evening Mass, a six-km long procession was taken out with the accompaniment of band set, singing and praying in different languages.
All the nine days of novena, prior to the feast, the preachers said many things about Don Bosco and about his life filled with obstacles throughout which never deterred and daunted Don Boscoto achieve his goals of life. The preachers included Fr Dr Stephen Alathara (Dy Secretary General – CCBI), Fr Dr Previnth Joe Tony sdb (Prof. KristuJyoti College), Fr Arokiadass sdb (Administrator, Don Bosco – Tirupattur), Fr Dr Thomas Anchukandam sdb (Director – Salesian Historiacal Institute – Rome), Fr Philip John Paul sdb (Administrator – Don Bosco – Davengere), Fr Dr Kannazhath Bobby sdb (Don Bosco Provincial House), Fr Dr Sequeira Dominic sdb (Parish Priest, Lourdu Nagara, Bengaluru), Fr A T James sdb (Parish Priest – Our Lady of Lourds Shrine – Chennai), Fr Dr Gilbert Ch sdb), Fr J Balraj (Parish Priest – Pius X Church – Kammanahalli, Bengaluru) Fr Dr Maria Soosai sdb (Rector, Don Bosco College – Dharmapuri) and Fr Dr Koyickal Jose sdb (Vice Provincial – Bengaluru).
Don Bosco, devoted himself wholly to the education, especially of the young of the less privileged sections of society. Caring for their material and spiritual needs with loving kindness as his motto, he reached out to thousands of youth in his life-time and earned for himself a special niche in the galaxy of educationists of all time. More than a century after his death, he continues to evoke awe in both ecclesiastical and educational circles for the novelty of his approach, the comprehensiveness of his method and dedication of his life, said F S Forbes.
Don Bosco did not talk or write much – he acted and his life and work became the model. His success hinged on the Preventive System of Education with its three vital components – Reason, Religion and Loving Kindness. The life of Don Bosco, so full of colour and drama definitely appeal to all irrespective of their age and occupation, creed or origin.
There are about 1800 Salesians carry on his work in 130 countries around the world. Inspired by the person of Don Bosco and following his preventive system of education they seek to make the young good and useful citizens and thus strive to usher in God’s Kingdom characterized by justice, peace, tolerance and joy.
God, it is said, sends the world saints when they are most needed-not men and women of “general holiness,” but specialized experts who fit into the pattern of the times and are capable of giving God’s tone to their century.
And so it was that on August 16, I8I5 when one era was closing in Europe with the exile of Napoleon and the Industrial Revolution was clanging another open, “a man was sent by God whose name was John.” He came to the scrubby stone cottage of Francis and Margaret Bosco on the hills of Becchi, at the foot of the Italian Alps. “A fine healthy baby,” the neighbors all agreed, “fit for the soil, to take his father’s place on the old homestead.” But no one went further than that in predicting the child’s future. Francis died only two years after John’s birth, leaving Margaret to raise three boys by herself. The rest is part of history today.