(ANS – Cape Town) – The two Salesian communities, five parishes looked after by the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Cape Town have been preparing a long time for the arrival of the Casket with the relic of Don Bosco. This culminated in five days of activities prayer reflection and celebration.
On the evening of 10 July the casket arrived at the Salesian Institute accompanied by Rev. Fr. Fancois Dufour, the Superior of the “Blessed Michael Rua “ Vice Province and Fr. Eoin Farelly, the co-ordinator for visit of the relic.
Fr Michael Connell, Rector of the Institute, presided at a short welcoming ceremony before the relic was moved into the hall for public veneration. Later one hour of that evening was exclusively set apart for the Salesians to pray around the relic. Then the French community of Cape Town took over the rest of the night until morning led by Fr. Victor Kyanga The following day a youth Mass was celebrated.
In the evening of Wednesday, 11th, the relic was moved to Our Lady Help of Christians Lansdowne, the Mother Parish of the Salesians of Southern Africa sent in 1896 by Don Rua. The parishioners in large numbers had gathered at the Church well ahead of time in spite of the inclement weather. Fr. Canice Dooley, Rector and Parish Priest welcomed the relic before the Mass, at which Fr. Roy Isaac presided, the assistant priest and concelebrated by the Provincial and other priests of the Community.
The relic was in Lansdowne the whole of Thursday. On Friday the 13th morning The relic was moved to Delft where the FMA’s have a presence and in the afternoon it was taken to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish, Hanover Park, where many people especially young people were present.
On Saturday 14th, it was the turn of St. John Bosco Parish Westridge. The Church was so packed that some could not even get in. It was then brought once again to Lansdowne on Saturday night.
In the programme for the final day of the casket in Cape Town on Sunday 15 July there were the three normal Sunday Masses which were well attended by pilgrims from other parishes. Then in the afternoon Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town was the main celebrant, Archbishop emeritus Lawrence Henry, Bishop Joao Rodrigues, Bishop of Tzaneen diocese who is a Salesian past pupil and about twenty five priests diocesan and Salesians concelebrated. Fr. Eoin Farelly gave the homily.
The farewell Mass a youthful and joyful occasion was a combined effort of the three parishes of Hanover Park, Westridge and Lansdowne. The involvement of the three parishes was well co-ordinated by Jenny Johnson, the liturgist of Lansdowne Parish and Bro. Clarence Watts with the team of Salesian Youth Movement, specially the choir, liturgical dances and offertory procession.
“I feel happy and proud to say that Don Bosco received a fitting welcome, love, veneration and farewell in Cape Town. In all the places where the relic of St. John Bosco visited, people flocked to see this great saint of the young,” says Salesian Fr Roy Isaac – “It was really a time for inner healing as many people queued up for confessions. Many felt in themselves a spiritual awakening and sense of peace and calmness as they prayed at the relic of the saint.”
On Monday 16 July the casket left Cape Town to go to Harare, in Zimbabwe.