Celebrating Don Bosco’s 200th birth anniversary

THE Salesian priests in Cebu are celebrating the 200th birth anniversary of their founder, St. John Melchior Bosco, affectionately called Don Bosco, who was born on Aug. 16, 1815 in Becchi, a hamlet near Turin, Italy.

They will have mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Punta Princesa, Cebu City at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 15, followed by a procession to the Don Bosco Technology Center (DBTC) where a cultural show will be presented by the Salesian community from all over Cebu.

In his lifetime, Don Bosco worked for the young—particularly the poor, the out-of-school and the wayward. It is a charism enshrined in the Salesian community, which is why when they first came to Cebu in 1954, their first project was the Cebu Boys Town, now DBTC. They now have three parishes, Our Lady of Lourdes, the Sto. Niño parish in Barangay Pasil and the St. Don Bosco parish in Cotcot, Liloan. The Salesian Provincialate, located in Maryville Subdivision, Talamban, was established in 1995 and is now headed by Fr. Godofredo T. Atienza.

The Salesians have a parochial school, Lourdes Kindergarten, in their Lourdes parish which has served the community since 1981. The out-of-school youth, they are serving through their vocational training centers in Labangon, Pasil, Balamban and Liloan.

The Salesians also have a seminary in Lawaan, Talisay City, Cebu. Established in 1976 with a high school, it has evolved into a college-only seminary offering AB Religious Education and Pastoral Education. The college is open also to non-seminarians. Right now, it has seminarians from Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Papua New Guinea and Pakistan.

Aside from founding the Society of Francis de Sales (Salesian priests), Don Bosco also founded the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians, which has a school in Minglanilla, and a third order, the Salesian Cooperators, composed of lay men and women who help in the formation of the young to become better Christians.

The Salesians have also organized the youth for play activities, cultural pursuits and recollections. Usually the youth have three separate camps each year but this year, they had only one big camp, joining together the youth leaders (some 300 of them) in one big summer camp, as part of the activities for the birth bicentennial of St. John Bosco.

The Salesians have been in Cebu for 61 years and on this occasion when they give tribute to St. John Bosco on the occasion of his birth anniversary, they can happily report to their founder that yes, they have faithfully served the youth, particularly the poor, just as he, Don Bosco, did in his lifetime.

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