|South Africa – Happy to see Don Bosco|
|Spain – Awaited by everyone: Welcome home!|
(ANS – Madrid) – Last weekend the Salesian Family in Madrid gathered together in the Salesian house at Paseo de Extremadura to greet the casket of Don Bosco, which had been in the Province since 6 June. Don Bosco’s relics will return to Spain next September.
Already on Saturday afternoon 23 June, the vigil of the Feast of St John the Baptist and Don Bosco’s nameday, over a hundred members of the Salesian Family in Madrid gathered together to say good bye to the Founder. The first event on the programme was a prayer vigil recalling the life and the person of Don Bosco, with the reading of various episodes from the Biographical Memoirs and accounts by members of the Salesian Family of their personal experiences during the weeks of the pilgrimage of the casket of Don Bosco. The last of these, about the missions, was also an opportunity to introduce 6 volunteers who would be leaving this summer sent by the Madrid Province.
The Nuncio Apostolic in Spain, Archbishop Renzo Fratini, presided at a short Liturgy of the Word on the subject of the Good Shepherd. “Don Bosco realised that in order to carry forward the educative-pastoral plan he had in mind it was necessary to involve many people: (...) a commitment that continues today. Consider yourselves fortunate to collaborate in Don Bosco’s work: it is a great service to the Church and to society” the Nuncio told the congregation.
On Sunday morning 24 June, Bishop César Augusto Franco Martínez, auxiliary of Madrid, presided at the closing Mass for the visit of the relic, concelebrated by a large group of Salesian priests. In his homily he drew a parallel between Saint John the Baptist and Don Bosco, referring to the words at the end of the gospel for the day: “the hand of the Lord was on him. The child grew up and his spirit matured.” The Bishop applied these words to Don Bosco who at the tender age of 9 years already in a dream saw the plan God had prepared for him.
The most moving moment of the day was at the end of the Mass when the casket was carried through the nave as the congregation applauded, and placed on the truck which is carrying it to so many parts of the world. The Provincial of Madrid, Fr Luís Onrubia, said that the pilgrim relic would be bringing “new enthusiasm to other parts of the world as it has done here in out houses. His spirit remains here and it will continue to encourage us.”
The casket is now once again going to Africa where it will pass through the Salesian Provinces or Vice Provinces of: Southern Africa (AFM), Zambia-Malawi-Zimbabwe-Namibia (ZMB), Angola (ANG) and Madagascar (MDG). In September it will return to Spain to complete its pilgrimage in the Provinces of Seville, Valencia and Barcelona.