|Spain – The Salesian Family in Madrid greet the casket: “See you soon Don Bosco!”|
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(ANS – Madrid) – Yesterday 6 June the casket of Don Bosco arrived at the Salesian Institute of Atocha, for the official start of its pilgrimage in the Madrid Province which will continue until 24 June. Present at the welcoming ceremony were the Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela and Fr Luis Onrubia, Provincial of Madrid.
Starting at 10.00 in the morning over 1,500 students from the Institute accompanied by their teachers and the Salesians in the community filled the courtyard for a special day of celebration in which the atmosphere of the early days of the Valdocco Oratory were recreated. A sea of white, yellow, green and orange handkerchiefs began to wave when Cardinal Rouco Varela entered the courtyard personally greeting the youngest pupils. The enthusiasm was palpable and the youngsters shouted out loud “Welcome home,” when right on time the gates opening onto via Sebastián Elcano opened and the casket of Don Bosco made its solemn entrance.
Accompanied by the “Jesús de Medinaceli” Band from Alcalá de Henares – with some very young musicians – the casket crossed the courtyard right up to the stage where it was received by the Archbishop, the Rector Manuel Aparicio, the Provincial and other dignitaries. Fr Onrubia opened proceedings recalling the packed crowds of young people who filled the courtyard the previous summer on the occasion of the World Youth Day. “Then your successor Fr Pascual Chávez came,” the Provincial said addressing Don Bosco, “but today you are here yourself inviting us to work together with you to become saints.”
Two upper school students spoke and then the Archbishop of Madrid officially welcomed the relics of the saint in the name of the whole diocesan church. Addressing the youngsters he said: “The church in Madrid is full of joy because Don Bosco was a great friend of Jesus and for this reason he was a great friend of children and of the young. It is as though the relics are saying to us: ‘I am in heaven but I feel very much at ease in my house in Madrid’” In conclusion, the Cardinal added: “The whole church in Madrid will be encouraged to come to know Don Bosco better. Welcome Don Bosco, to your home!”
Then everyone young and old made their way in procession to the Church, dedicated to Mary Help of Christians where there was a Liturgy of the Word, at which the Cardinal presided. Once again he spoke saying that in order to recognise someone you need the light, and that the Word of God is the light by which to come to know Don Bosco: “Above all he was a shepherd of the young and he wanted to bring them to Jesus because he knew that only He could make them happy.”
The celebration ended with the Cardinal’s blessing on all those present. In order to thank him for his presence the students of the Institute gave him a image of Don Bosco to commemorate the day. Once again the presence of Don Bosco among the young produced a miracle of joy, friendship and faith.