The Relic of Saint Don Bosco has been on a worldwide pilgrimage to prepare for the celebration of the 200th Birthday of the Italian Catholic Saint. The relic of St. John Bosco, the right hand placed inside a metal box and embedded in a wax replica of his body was brought to the national capital on 28th July. It was brought to Mumbai on 13th August and placed at Don Bosco Matunga.
The relic was brought to the shrine of Don Bosco with great joy and Pomp and the road from St.Joseph Wadala to Don Bosco Matunga were lined with students excitedly waiting for the relic to come. At around 5:50pm, the relic arrived in a procession led by a motorcade of flag waving past students and an ensemble of highly energetic drummers. Since then pilgrims from every nook and corner of the city have been flocking to the shrine to pay a visit to the remains of the holy Saint.
Waiting on the steps of the Shrine to receive the Relic were Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Provincial Fr. Michael Fernandes, Rector of the Shrine Fr. Edwin D`Souza and a host of Salesians. With them were also leaders of other Faiths who were present to welcome Don Bosco to the city of Mumbai. As soon as the casket was lowered from the vehicle, a short moment of inter-faith prayer was held, during which the different leaders prayed “the pilgrims who would visit the Relic may grow spiritually and that through the intercession of this Saint, harmony may reign in our city”.
St. Don Bosco was an Italian priest, educator and writer of the 19th century. He founded the Society of St. Francis de Sales which further went on to form the Salesian congregation of priests, seminarians and co-adjutors. He had dedicated his life for the well-being of the street children and disadvantaged youth. His teaching methods were on the basis of love and not punishment; this was known as the preventive system. He died on 31st January 1888. Soon after that on popular demand he was blessed in 1929 and canonized on Easter Sunday of 1934 and was given the title of ‘Father and Teacher of Youth’.
The relics of Saint Don Bosco were recomposed in 1929 when his body was recovered from the grave for his beatification and canonization. The bones and tissues of the right hand and arm have been taken in and placed within a wax replica of St.John Bosco’s body, which in turn is enclosed in a large urn.
The pilgrimage began on 31st January, 2009, the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Salesian congregation. It prepares for the 2015 celebration of the 200th anniversary of Don Bosco’s birth near Turin, Italy on 16th August, 1815.
The shrine will be open for public veneration till 16th August 8:30am after which the relic would be prepared to be taken to Goa on the same day. It was brought to India from Hong Kong on 22nd April, 2011, from where it was flown to Dimapur in Nagaland. The tour of the relic started from Nagaland. Conducted by Salesians in India, the relic will tour across the country and come to Chennai by October.