This weeks programme can be listened to on this weeks podcast here.
Visit of relics of St John Bosco to Limerick
Br Padraig McDonald joins us this week on the programme to tell us about the visit of the relics of St John Bosco and in particular of the four different stops in county Limerick and city! St John Bosco is the founder of the Salesian family of religious orders.
John Bosco was born in 1815 in the village of Becchi in the Piedmont district of northern Italy and grew up on his parents’ small farm. On the death of his father when John was only two years old, his mother Margaret and her three boys found it increasingly difficult to support themselves. Even as a small boy, John had to help his brothers on the farm. In spite of this he was remembered as a happy and imaginative child. He liked to entertain his friends with juggling and walking on a tightrope but would insist on beginning and ending these sessions with a prayer. As he grew older, he began to think of becoming a priest, although poverty and lack of education seemed to rule this out. A kind priest, recognising the boy’s intelligence, taught him to read and write. By taking odd jobs in the village and through the help of his mother and some kind neighbours, John managed to finish his schooling and then was able to enter the diocesan seminary in Turin.
As a seminarian he devoted his spare time to looking after the poor boys who roamed through the slums of the city. Every Sunday he taught them catechism, supervised their games and amused them with stories and tricks. His kindness soon won their confidence and they became regulars at his Sunday School. Upon becoming a priest, Don Bosco knew very clearly in what direction his vocation was to be lived. The Industrial Revolution was spreading into Northern Italy resulting in a great deal of poverty, turmoil and revolution on the streets of the city. Young people lived their awful lives, whatever the cost to themselves or others. He was shocked at the conditions they endured and the things they did to enable them to eat, and to survive. This was the cost of the industrial ‘improvement’ that would eventually produce the high standards people would later enjoy. The young priest, Don Bosco, clearly saw his vocation when he visited the prisons. He wrote: “To see so many children, from 12 to 18 years of age, all healthy, strong, intelligent, lacking spiritual and material food, was something that horrified me.” In the face of such a situation he made his decision: “I must, by any available means, prevent children ending up here.” He knew that a new approach was required. He needed to show there were better ways for these healthy intelligent young people to lead their lives.
Following his ordination to the priesthood in 1841 at the age of 26, he became assistant to the chaplain of an orphanage at Valocco, on the outskirts of Turin. However, he did not stay there very long. When he was refused permission to allow his Sunday School boys to play on the orphanage grounds, he resigned. He began looking for a permanent home for them but no “respectable” neighbourhood would accept the rowdy youngsters. Finally, in a rather rundown part of the city, where no one was likely to protest, the first oratory was established and named after Saint Francis de Sales. At first the boys got their schooling elsewhere but, as more volunteer teachers came forward, it was possible to hold classes at the oratory. Enrolment increased so rapidly that by 1849 there were three oratories in various places in the city. By now Don Bosco had been considering founding a religious congregation to carry on and expand the work. Surprisingly, this proposal was supported by a notoriously anti-clerical cabinet minister named Rattazzi. He had seen the results of John’s apostolate and, even though an Italian law forbade the founding of religious communities at that time, Rattazzi promised government support. Don Bosco went to Rome in 1858 and, at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, drew up a rule for his new community, the Society of Saint Francis de Sales (more popularly known as the Salesians). Four years later he founded a congregation for women, the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians, to take care of abandoned girls. Finally, to supplement the work of both congregations, he organized an association of lay people interested in supporting their work.
When others talked to him of his great achievements, he would always interrupt and say “I have done nothing by myself. It is Our Lady who has done everything.’ Exhausted from touring Europe to raise funds for a new church in Rome, Don Bosco died on January 31, 1888 at the age of 73. He was canonised in 1934 by Pope Pius XI. The work of John Bosco continues today in over 1,000 Salesian oratories throughout the world. He is remembered for his warmth of manner and in his belief that to give complete trust and love is the most effective way to nourish virtue in others. His success can be summed up in the words spoken of his chosen patron, St Francis de Sales: “The measure of his love was that he loved without measure.”
More information about the pilgrimage is available at www.donboscorelics.ie
Below is a video from catholicireland.net about the pilgrimage.
1. Dublin, Crumlin, St Agnes Church – Sat 23rd & Sun 24th Feb 2013.
2. Celbridge, Co. Kildare, Salesian College – Mon 25th Feb 2013.
3. Ballinakill, Co. Laois, St Brigid’s Church – Tue 26th Feb 2013.
4. Portlaoise, Co. Laois, SS Peter and Paul Church – Tue 26th Feb 2013.
5. Limerick, Milford, Our Lady Help of Christians Church – Wed 27th Feb 2013.
Relics will arrive at 10.30am
Veneration of the relics until 7.15pm
Mass at 7.30pm - preacher is Fr Tony Mullins
6. Limerick, Southill, Holy Family Church – Thu 28th Feb 2013.
Welcome 10pm with some public witness
Veneration of relics from 10.30am to 12pm
Mass at 12pm - main celebrant is Fr Pat Hogan and the preacher Fr Michael Casey SDB
Finishing at 2.30pm
7. Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick, Salesian College – Fri 1st March 2013.
Arrival of relics at 9.30am
Time for schools until 2pm with schools Mass at 11.30am
Veneration of relics from 2pm to 6pm
Led prayers from 6pm - 8pm
8pm - Mass - preacher is Fr Michael Casey SDB
8. Knock, Co. Mayo, Basilica – Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd March 2013. - RTE TV Mass on Sun 3rd at 11am.
9. Navan, Co. Meath, St Mary’s Church – Sun 3rd & Mon 4th March 2013.
10. Belfast, St Peter’s Cathedral – Mon 4th & tue 5th March 2013.
11. Dublin, S. McDermott St, Our Lady of Lourdes – Tue 5th & Wed 6th March 2013.
12. Limerick, Fernbank, Our Lady of the Rosary – Thu 7th March 2013.
Welcome liturgy - 9am
Mass at 10am
Veneration from 10.45am to 5.15pm
Mass - 5.45pm
Veneration from 6.30pm to 10.30pm
The casket has already visited Italy, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. It then travelled to Columbia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Porto Rico, Haiti, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Canada. In 2011 it visited Japan, Indonesia, Australia, China, Taiwan, India, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka. In 2012 it has visited Uganda, Rwanda, (South?)Sudan, Togo, Mozambique, Ghana and Spain.
Everywhere the arrival of the casket has aroused great interest, participation and involvement and has brought together children, young people and adults to welcome Don Bosco, and to learn more about the Piedmontese saint, his Preventive System and his commitment to working with the young.
You can find out more about Don Bosco and the Salesians in Ireland here and here.
Gospel - Luke 9:28-36 (The Transfiguration)
This weeks gospel is the account of the transfiguration according to Luke. During the liturgical year the transfiguration event is recounted to us during Lent and also on the feast of the Transfiguration in August.
Transfiguration reminds us of transformation. As we journey through life we under go a transformation process and this weeks gospel reminds us of transformation moments in our lives. What are the transformation points in your life? Often it can be when our names are spoken in love?
Question to ponder this week is what kind of freedom should I be trying to acquire this Lenten period, what kind of transformation should I be seeking in myself and for those around me?
Pray is reflected also in this weeks gospel with the reminder that the most important aspect of prayer is our ability to listen. As Fr Michael De Vertuil reminds us
Lord, in our modern world, we have lost the art of listening to people.
Teach us to wait for another with reverence,
putting aside our prejudices, our personal plans and expectations,
as if a cloud has come and covered us with shadow,
and we have gone into the cloud with utter poverty,
knowing only that we must listen to this precious child of God
whom he has chosen out of all humanity to stand before us at this moment.
Past reflections on this weeks gospel from the Mark and Matthew's gospels can be found here and here.
Reflections on this weeks gospel:
Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
Liturgical odds and ends
Divine Office - Week 2
Saints of the Week
February 25th - St Walburga
February 26th - St Paula Montal
February 27th - St Julian of Alexandria (martyr)
February 28th - St Hilary (Pope)
This is also the day that Pope Benedict XVI will step down, so perhaps you could remember him in your prayers especially on this day and also to seek the intercession and guidance of the Holy Spirit on the College of Cardinals as they gather to elect his successor.
March 1st - St David, patron saint of Wales (First Friday)
March 2nd - St Agnes of Prague