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Paying respects to Salesian saint


About 300 faithful took the opportunity to pray in front of the relic of St John Bosco when it was on display in the Gawler parish in early September.

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Originally from the Salesian Province of Hong Kong, the relic toured Australia as part of the celebrations to commemorate the centenary of the arrival of the Salesians.

The wax replica of the saint is contained in a glass casket and was made at the time of Don Bosco’s beatification in 1929. A small bone from the right arm of the saint was removed and placed in the wax replica before being securely concealed in the casket.

Under the care of the Salesians, the Gawler parish was one of the many Salesian centres to host the relic.

Parish priest Fr Jose Pazheparambil SDB said many in the community visited the Church of St Peter and Paul to pray and venerate the relic.

“Parishioners and visitors, particularly the young, celebrated the visit of the St John Bosco relic to our parish,” he said.

“We had three Masses that included special singing by different choirs, with children and the young people gathering around Don Bosco’s casket, praying, lighting candles and taking photographs.

“It was wonderful to see and to experience the joy and enthusiasm that Don Bosco’s presence brought to the community.”

Fr Jose said during the visit of the relic there was an anointing of a young person who was about to undergo a serious operation. A Nepalese family wanting to dedicate their child to Jesus placed the baby on the casket as the mother and her sisters prayed.

“It was a real joy to see these expressions of faith,” he said, adding that the visit would not have been possible without the hard work of many volunteers in the parish.

St John Bosco, popularly known as Don Bosco, is the patron saint of the young and publishers, and is one of the patrons of World Youth Day. He was also dedicated to educating the young.

Salesians are known for ministering to young people on the margins – those in prisons, on the streets, or in other vulnerable situations. Presently they work with young people in about 90 countries and in the United Nations, advocating for those who are on the margins of society and are in need.

The Australian pilgrimage of the relic statue will conclude at the end of October.

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