Italy – Lockdown at Valdocco is a special grace for dozens of SDBs

(ANS – Turin) – Although General Chapter 28 concluded more than one month ago, at the moment 46 “survivors” (provincials and delegates) of GC28 are still living, working, praying and witnessing to their Salesian vocation at Valdocco. Most of them are GC28 delegates from South Asia - India, some from Latin America of from Eastern Europe, including also one PGS delegate and 3 Salesians from East Timor. Here Fr Robinson Parappilly, PGS Province Delegate to GC28, shares his experience.

Suddenly you became part of the Valdocco community, most of you from South Asia and EAO region. How do spend your community life?

The lockdown period is a time of special grace for each one us to spend most of our time in the Don Bosco Mother House at Valdocco. We never dreamt of spending our lives in this beautiful place. Since the time of lockdown and cancellation of all international flights, most of the SDB provincials from India are busy with their apostolic assignments and communicating with confreres in the provinces. Others try their best to contribute in different ways to helping the community.

We pray for those suffering and for people affected by Covid-19 in our morning prayer and daily Mass. We help the Valdocco community by working in the reception and looking after the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. Many devotees are coming to the Basilica to pray and to receive the sacraments.

At noon most of us gather together for 30 minutes of Spiritual reading taken from Don Bosco's Memoirs of the Oratory. We journey together with Don Bosco reflecting on various events that had taken place during his time at Valdocco. In the afternoon, confreres take turns to clean the basements of the Valdocco buildings, store houses, cleaning and dusting the rooms, scraping the old painting and maintenance, watering the plants and keeping the Mary Help of Christians Basilica spick and span. Every Friday we have adoration the whole day, from 8 am to 5 pm. Different provinces take turns to be present before the Blessed Sacrament and pray for the world and its healing in our pandemic times!

What about the Oratory spirit at Valdocco during Covid-19 times?

Our Basketball Club is very active and vigorous games keep us alive and active during the evening hours. Then from 6 to 7 pm, we have daily exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. At 7 pm we have Evening prayers and Good night. A few of us are engaged in learning the Italian Mass, taught by Fr Guillermo Basanes. He teaches us basic Italian grammar and pronunciation of words. At night the recreation club is active with card games and TV shows. The Oratorian spirit is very much alive!

How was your spiritual retreat during Holy Week?

The Valdocco community had their retreat during Holy week. During that time mostly all of us were busy helping in the community with different services. We had very beautiful Holy Week celebrations in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. Keeping the social distance in the Basilica, we joined all celebrations.

Any other special news?

Some days ago we were surprised by the “Macau Don Bosco Past Pupils Federation” (CIN province) who sent us face surgical masks by DHL. This is a very good gift from the past pupils in China. We are grateful for their contribution and thoughtfulness.

Source: AustraLasia


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