Italy – The Feast of Don Bosco at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Rome

01 February 2024

(ANS – Rome) – The Feast of Don Bosco is a day of celebration in all Salesian communities around the world. Great celebrations were also held at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Rome, a church Don Bosco strongly and which he had built at the expense of his own health. The climax of the feast came with the solemn afternoon Eucharistic concelebration, presided over by the titular Cardinal of the Basilica, Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi.

As per tradition, the celebration took on the connotations of a true and proper celebration of the community, not only the Salesians, but civil and social representatives of the entire neighbourhood and nearby areas. In addition to the cardinal, the Mass was concelebrated by the parish priest of the basilica, Fr Javier Ortiz, and the other parish priests of neighbouring churches. In addition, the administrative and military authorities of the area, various groups of the Salesian Family – Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Past Pupils of Don Bosco, Salesian Cooperators, the Volunteers of Don Bosco – and many parish groups took part. Finally, the liturgical service was also attended by young Salesians in formation at the international community for theological formation located in Via della Bufalotta.

In front of the many faithful, in the basilica dressed in flowers and ornaments for the Saint of youth, the cardinal gave a homily in which he highlighted three characteristics of Don Bosco:

1. Christian realism: in the face of the evil that is advancing and that is present in the world of yesterday and today, he was not discouraged. Only through education can this be restrained and overcome: "start right away to teach them the ugliness of sin and the valueof virtue" as Jesus commanded him in the dream when he was 9;

2. Positive vision: while others saw a problem in young people, Don Bosco saw their potential and winning them over through gentleness, he cared for them, he loved them;

3. Social commitment: Don Bosco's charity went so far as to offer them an education, the possibility of work, building a future for a more just and fraternal society. Vocational formation is still the way to restore dignity to many young people who are disillusioned and disappointed by the world. The construction of peace and justice are horizons for which Don Bosco committed himself and which his sons continue to achieve in 135 countries around the world.

"It was a simple, but familiar celebration, in which it was clearly perceived how much, despite the years that separate us from the figure of Don Bosco, he really is a person that many still feel alive and real in their lives" commented the parish priest, Fr Ortiz.

He concluded: "At the Mass there were all the kinds of people who really ‘love Don Bosco’ and who, 200 years after his charismatic Dream when he was nine years old, still feel attracted by his action and mission, in different ways and manners, to be part of it too."


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

This site also uses third-party cookies to improve user experience and for statistical purposes. By scrolling through this page or by clicking on any of its elements, you consent to the use of cookies. To learn more or to opt out, click "Further Information".