Welcome to Negros, St. John Bosco!

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010


MONDAY afternoon found me on board a Ceres bus to Victorias. With me were Don Bosco – Victorias ’85 batch mates Alan Aboyo and Clayton del Castillo. Being family men, the three of us are busy-bodies but, despite the long commute, who among the true-blue Bosconians can pass up the opportunity of paying homage to the relic of our patron saint, St. John Bosco?

We could have joined the concelebrated mass at the Bacolod cathedral in honor of his relic last Sunday. However, Victorias is Don Bosco’s home and the Bosconians’ heartland in Negros. It is incumbent upon us that we pay homage to Don Bosco in OUR own home – that is, in Don Bosco–Victorias, the school which St. John Bosco built (with not just a little help, of course, from Victorias Milling Company).

The emotions of Bosconians during this historic event can be summed up in the text message sent to me last Sunday by Fr. Brodie Segovia, rector of Don Bosco- Victorias: “The relic of St. John Bosco arrives today. I feel like a child expecting his father after a long while. WELCOME HOME, DON BOSCO!”

The visit of Don Bosco’s relic to Negros is part of the worldwide pilgrimage in preparation for the celebration of his 200th birth anniversary on August 16, 2015. A resin replica of the body of St. John Bosco, the relic contains the saint’s right hand in a sealed case and inserted at the chest of the sculpture.

Fr. Pascual Chavez SDB, the Rector Major of the Salesians, had directed the worldwide pilgrimage hoping “to renew the desire to know and love the Father and Teacher of Youth and reignite the passion and mission for the young in preparation for the bicentenary celebration of St. John Bosco’s birth on August 16, 2015.”

Don Bosco’s global pilgrimage began in April 2009, in time for the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB). The Salesians continued Don Bosco’s apostolic work for the youth all over the world after the saint died in January 31, 1888, a date commemorated in the almost 3,000 Don Bosco institutions worldwide as Don Bosco Day.

Incidentally, the Salesian congregation is considered the third largest missionary organization in the world today. Don Bosco-Victorias is the first Salesian school constructed in the Philippines in 1952. (No ‘boos’ from Don Bosco-Tarlac, please. Your school was just ‘taken-over’ by the Salesians in 1951.)

***

Today, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Don Bosco’s relic will visit the Kabankalan Cathedral. Herein is the full itinerary of the Philippine pilgrimage from December 5 to January 15.

Negros: Dec 5 - Bacolod City Cathedral & St. John Bosco Parish-Mambucal, Murcia; Dec 6-7 - Don Bosco-Victorias; Dec 8 - Kabankalan Cathedral; Dec 9-11 - St. Louis School-Don Bosco & Dumaguete Cathedral, Negros Oriental.

Cebu: Dec 12 - Our Lady of Lourdes-Punta Princesa; Dec 13-16 - Don Bosco Technology Center; Dec 17 - Don Bosco Boys’ Home-Liloan; Dec 18 – Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral & Don Bosco Youth Center-Pasil; Dec 20-23 - Don Bosco Formation Center-Talisay City.

Metro Manila I: Dec 23 - St. John Bosco Parish-Makati; Dec 24-26 - San Ildefonso Parish- Makati; Dec 26-27 - Don Bosco Youth Center-Tondo.

Southern Luzon: Dec 28-29 - Legazpi City Cathedral; Dec 30 - Tuloy sa Don Bosco-
Alabang; Dec 31 to Jan 1 - St. John Bosco Parish-Sta. Rosa, Laguna; Jan 2-3 - San Pablo Cathedral-Laguna; Jan 3-5 - Don Bosco College-Canlubang, Laguna.

Metro Manila II: Jan 5-6 - Don Bosco Technical Institute-Makati; Jan 6-8 - Don Bosco Technical College-Mandaluyong.

Central Luzon: Jan 8-10 - Don Bosco Training Center-San Jose City, San Jose Cathedral; Jan 10-12 - Don Bosco Technical Institute-Tarlac, San Sebastian Cathedral-Tarlac; Jan 12-14 - Don Bosco Academy-Mabalacat, San Fernando Cathedral-Pampanga; Jan 14-15 - Shrine of Mary Help of Christians-Paranaque.

From the Philippines, the pilgrim relic will proceed to Vietnam and other countries of the East Asia-Oceania region.

***

Don Bosco’s relic deserves veneration, as it is the mortal evidence of the existence of a man who was blessed by God in a special way to touch the lives of God’s children, even after his death.

Don Bosco’s example of caring for and educating the young and his teachings in leading the youth closer to God and to Mama Mary live on until now, almost two centuries after his death. His ideals and his holiness, which are forever etched in the hearts and minds of Salesians, Bosconians, Mazzarellians, cooperators and lay ministers, will continue to inspire and touch the lives of the youth of future generations.

For you, St. John Bosco, we offer this prayer:

“O Saint John Bosco, father and teacher of youth, who labored so much for the salvation of souls, be our guide in seeking the good of our souls and the salvation of our neighbor.

Help us to be mindful of all our actions and to practice daily our faith. Teach us to love Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Mary Help of Christians, and our Holy Father the Pope.

And obtain for us the grace of living and dying as friends of God, so that we may all be gathered together with you in heaven. Amen.”

Don Bosco, thy children on many a shore shall love and revere thee till time be no more. Altiora Quaero!

For reactions and suggestions, email bbacaoco@yahoo.com.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 08, 2010.

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