|Spain – Don Bosco in his own courtyard, his own house and his own church|
|Spain – “Don Bosco has arrived…and begins to pass among us”|
(ANS – Bilbao) – The passage of the casket containing an important relic of Don Bosco continues to surprise. It arrived on May 1st in Bilbao to start the visit to Salesian Houses in Spain and aroused enthusiasm, prayer and celebration in the places already visited, the protagonists being the thousands of young people who gathered around.
In this first stage, the relic is in pilgrimage in the Basque Provinces, Navarra and Rioja. In the Salesian Schools the casket was always received with a dance of welcome, the “aurresku”. The students prayed before Dob Bosco, heard about the story of his life and his commitment to young people, and greeted him festively. At Logroño the casket was welcomed with a samba, at Pamplona the bells of the church of San Fermin rang out joyously for the arrival of the relic, the band and a dance group accompanied the casket to the parish of Urnieta (Gipuzkoa), while the courtyard of the school of Pamplona teemed with young people – like that of Don Bosco in Turin – on the afternoon of the casket’s arrival.
Furthermore, in this first week of pilgrimage the presence of communal or regional authorities was quite frequent.
Mons. Mario Iceta, Bishop of Bilbao, welcomed the relic on May 1st, and asked the Salesians to continue to give reasons of hope to young people, reasons giving sense to life. The Bishop of Sebastian, Mons. José Ignacio Munilla presided at an emotional Mass in Intxaurrondo (San Sebastian. The diocese of Navarra was transformed by he presence of the relic. Mons. Francisco Pérez, archbishop of Pamplona-Tudela, presided at the reception of the casket with a youth vigil, organized by the youth delegations of the diocese. Mons. Pérez also presided at Mass in the church of Our Lady Help of Christians and another in Tudela, where there is no Salesian House, but there is nevertheless great devotion to Don Bosco.
The cathedral of Logroño was full of worshippers for the Mass presided over by Mons. Juan José Omella, bishop of Calahorra-La Calzada Logroño, during which he encouraged the Salesians and educators to continue the pastoral work begun by Don Bosco. To imitate Don Bosco was the invitation of Mons. Miguel Asurmendi, SDB, bishop of Vitoria. In the preceding ceremony, accompanied by a dense group of diocesan priests, he asked the Salesian educators and animators present to “Continue to be the Don Boscos of our time”.
But what is most significant is that the relic of Don Bosco is speaking. In the places visited this week emotional times of prayer were organized which allowed the faithful and young people present to remember the life of Don Bosco and the aim of all his life: his passion for the Gospel and to bring the young to meet Christ through Mary, Help of Christians. And this is the message which the Salesians and the organizers of the various events seek to pass on to the young, to the faithful and to educators.
And Don Bosco still speaks: when passages from the Memoirs are read, his letter from Rome is quoted, the films about him are shown, his dreams are related and the work of the Salesian Congregation is launched all over the world. Don Bosco still speaks today, he continues to whisper in our ear when in Vitoria his words are listened to, and when in Pamplona the young people near the casket take a leaflet with his sayings.