VALDOCCO, Turin (C.M. Paul) – St John Bosco’s relics currently on a five continent tour will arrive in Asia, November 2010 and will travel to 23 provinces spread out in 17 countries of East Asia-Oceania and South Asia where it will spend one year till November 2011. The Tour which started from Valdocco, Turin (Mother House of the Salesians of Don Bosco), 25th April 2009 in preparation for bi-centenary of Don Bosco’s birth in 2015 (16 August) is currently in South America.
The relics will travel to North America and to Central America from where it will come to Asia (South Korea) 1st November 2010.
“For culture specific reasons, the relics of St John Bosco will tour Asia in three forms: a casket, ostensory and statue. South Korea, Philippines and Thailand will get the traditional life size casket containing a statue of Don Bosco similar to the one preserved in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, Turin. Japan will have an ostensory of the relics in a monstrance type reliquary. Other Asian countries will have a near life size statue of Don Bosco with his relics,” says Salesian General Councilor for Missions in Rome, Fr Vaclav Klement.
Some of the 10 Indian Salesian provinces have opted for the casket while others for the statue.
The statue weighs only 275 kilos while the urn weighs about 850 kilos.
“Every where the casket received overwhelmingly grand reception beyond our expectations and calculations,” says the relics tour coordinator and director of Missioni Don Bosco Fr. Pier Luigi Zuffetti in Valdocco, Turin, amazed at the enthusiasm both of the Salesian Family members as well as the ordinary Christian faithful.
“In Asia, we expect the same enthusiasm, not only from Christians but also from thousands of past pupils and friends of Don Bosco coming from religious traditions other than Christianity,” adds Fr Zuffetti who has travelled extensively in Asia.
“We have currently two caskets containing Don Bosco’s relics touring Italy and South America. We have also six specially built trucks (3 trucks per casket) to accompany the relics. Normally we use a private plane to carry the relic from one country to another, says Fr Zuffetti, the CEO of the massive Don Bosco Missioni operations in Italy and worldwide explaining relics tour logistics for over 100 countries.
From Myanmar, the relics will reach India and start tour from Dimapur province (northeast) in May 2011 passing through Guwahati, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Goa, Karnataka-Kerala, Hyderabad and Trichy provinces till November 2011. From India the relic is scheduled to go to Sri Lanka and then on to Africa-Madagascar region.
The pilgrimage (casket and statue) is expected to end in Turin in 2014. The bicentennial of St. John Bosco’s birth in Castelnuovo D’Asti, near Turin, will be celebrated with major events in 2015.
In recent years, the relics of St Therese of the Child Jesus have been transported around the globe, and the relics of Blessed Piergiorgio Frassati were venerated in Melbourne for World Youth Day 2008. This is not the first time Don Bosco’s remains are transported in pilgrimage. In 1929 the remains of the saint were transported from Valsalice to Turin and enshrined in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. Again in 1959 Pope John XXIII had the relics be brought to St Peters along with those of St Pius X for days of prayer among children and youth.
From 2009 to 2014, the relics of Don Bosco are being transported worldwide, to over 100 countries.