|Vietnam – The Salesian Family visit Don Bosco’s casket|
|The Philippines – The Salesian Family celebrates the presence of Don Bosco|
Coming from San Jose City, on 10 January the relics of Don Bosco arrived in Victoria, in Tarlac, the Philippines, welcomed by Fr Ramon Borja, Rector of the house in Tarlac, and the Mayor Candido Guiam, accompanied by a large number of children from Salesian schools, the citizens, the band and a crowd of people of all sorts.
The arrival of the casket was seen as a cause of great celebration in the city. The Mayor, a Salesian Past Pupil had insisted that it pass through the city, saying the presence of the founder of the Salesians would be a great blessing for himself and for all the citizens. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the sixty years presence of the Salesians in Tarlac and aroused great enthusiasm among the Past Pupils who organised various events: some organised a collection of funds, other promised to provide a new school hall, others were providing personal scholarships, and others again produced valuable works of art in honour of Don Bosco.
Much was also done in Pampanga, where the casket was taken after its time in Tarlac. Arriving it arrived in the city on 12 January, there was a Mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando, at which the local Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, DD, presided in the presence of a large number of young people from the “Don Bosco Academy” in Mabalacat. The school band performed “Saint John Bosco, our dear father,” while there was a performance of a musical on the life of Don Bosco directed by the Salesian Fr Ding Cortez.
The long pilgrimage of Don Bosco’s casket in the Northern Philippines which lasted 25 days concluded with its being taken to the Sanctuary of Mary Help of Christians in Parañaque.
After a long and careful spiritual and practical preparation which involved the various branches of the Salesian Family on 16 January the relics arrived in Vietnam and were welcomed at the airport by the Salesian Provincial Fr Joseph Tran Hoa Hung, with the Provincial Council, various Rectors and representatives of the Salesian Family.
The journey to the Provincial House at XuanHiep, in Ho Chi Minh city was accompanied by an impressive presence of people coming from all the different parts of Vietnam. It was greeted with honours by the youngsters from the schools and from the oratories, in large numbers and very enthusiastic. In their first day in the country over 10,000 people paid their respects to the relics of the saint.