|Democratic Republic of Congo – End of the Pilgrimage of the Casket in Central Africa|
|Mozambique – A song for Don Bosco|
(ANS – Maputo) – After the month-long pilgrimage in the Province of Central Africa, the casket of Don Bosco is now on pilgrimage in the vice Province “Mary help of Christians” of Mozambique. The diocesan clergy and other religious Congregations shared enthusiastically in the initiatives for the visit.
After arriving at the airport of Maputo in the afternoon of April 15th, the casket did not reach the local Salesian community until next day at midday, because of bureaucratic delays. There to welcome the relic of the Founder were Fr. Manuel Leal, Superior of the vice-Province, various representatives of the Salesian Family and the band of “São José”of Lhanguene. Fr. Leal gave the welcoming address.
To underline the fact that the pilgrimage of the relic of Don Bosco is an event which concerns the whole local Church and not just the Salesian family, the first Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral of Maputo, by the Archbishop Mons. Francisco Chimoio. Taking part were also the former President of the Republic, the Hon. Joaquim Chissano and the present Minister of Justice, the Hon. Benvinda Levi, besides diocesan priests, men and women religious of many Congregations and a large number of the ordinary faithful.
On Wednesday April 18 the casket went first to the Salesian novitiate; then a long procession left the courtyard of the Salesian house, led by the Director of novices, Fr. Luíz Piccoli, who took the relic to the diocesan shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. There Holy Mass was celebrated, together with Salesian priests and Missionaries of the Precious Blood, who administer the shrine. After returning to the novitiate, the casket was taken to visit the two communities of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA).
On Thursday 19th the relic reached the city of Moamba, where the Salesians run a technical school with boarding, the mission-parish of St. John of Britto and the pre-novitiate. The adolescents of the parish who will be baptized this yea,r were the first to meet the casket. They escorted it right into the church; once inside, a service of prayer and veneration was held.
In the afternoon the casket was taken to Inharrime, a distance of 300 km, where ìt was awaited by a large crowd of youngsters, Salesians and FMAs. To facilitate the participation of the large crowd, the casket was placed in the sports field of the Salesian technical school. Many children and young people paid their respects to the relic through to the next morning, with prayer and traditional song and dance.
In the morning of April 20th, after visiting the large centre of the FMAs in Inharrime, the casket was taken to Bagamoyo, an outlying district of Maputo, where the only parish of the whole country dedicated to Don Bosco is situated, presently run by the Orioni Fathers. The mission belonged for 40 years to the Salesians and the last Rector, Fr. Enrique Baca, had a large church built there. Later the community was divided and the church was entrusted to the Orioni Fathers, who joyfully accepted the opportunity to welcome the relic.