DB Relics Arrive India in 50 days

DIMAPUR, 12 March, (C.M. Paul) – The Relics of St John Bosco currently on a five continent pilgrimage will arrive on 1st May in Dimapur province northeast India, the province of the rising sun! May 1st, this year is most auspicious. Besides being the Divine Mercy Sunday and pope John Paul II’s beatification day in Rome, it is also Worker’s Day. The bones of the right hand of Don Bosco contained in a casket will travel 11 Salesian provinces spread out in the Indian sub-continent and Sri Lanka where it will make a pilgrim tour till 30 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 Australia.The relics traveled to North America and to Central America from where it arrived in Asia 1st November 2010.

The casket which weighs about 500 kilos, contains the right hand relic of St John Bosco who died in Turin, 31 January 1888.

DB Relics Pilgrimage India
The casket containing Don Bosco Relics will reach Kolkata by flight and will be transferred immediately to a connecting flight to Imphal for the grand reception and India tour launch scheduled for 1st May 2011, says DBRP India coordinator Fr Joseph Manianchira of Kolkata.
The DBRP Dimapur coordinator Fr Jose Palely meanwhile awaits a miracle. He says “we hope that they will bring Don Bosco Relics to Imphal from Kolkata by a special flight on Friday 29 April 2011, so that we can have more of Don Bosco for the Imphal celebrations and also take him to remote Tamenglong mission.”The DBRP is expected to pass through Guwahati, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Goa, Karnataka-Kerala, Hyderabad and Trichy, Goa and Mumbai provinces till 30 November 2011.
From India the relic is scheduled to go to Sri Lanka and then on to Africa-Madagascar region.The pilgrimage covering some 130 countries is expected to end in Turin in August 2014. The bicentennial of St. John Bosco’s birth in Castelnuovo D’Asti, near Turin, will be celebrated with major events in 2015.

DB Relics Background
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 Peter’s Basilica along with those of St Pius X for days of prayer among youth.The casket which weighs about 850 kilos, contains the right hand relic of St John Bosco who died in Turin on 31 January 1888.

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23 Comments

Filed under DB relics Tour India, Don Bosco Relics Piligrimage India, Uncategorized

23 responses to “DB Relics Arrive India in 50 days

  1. Dr. K.P. Paulson

    The issue you have raised brings up several other questions to my mind. I feel it is difficult to describe this pilgrimage properly. The plain truth about it is that it is “a statue containing the relic of Don Bosco” (or should it be “Don Bosco’s relic embedded in a statue”?). But the relic, which is what makes this statue special, is unfortunately completely hidden. We tell people it is the relic of Don Bosco. But what do they see inside the casket? Only a full-size statue and not the relic. In contrast, in all reliquaries, the relic is visible, at least to some extent.
    I think the container of the statue is also a problem. It will appear to many as a coffin or a ‘mobile mortuary’ which has become fashionable for funerals in India. People could ask why we are carrying a statue in a coffin ….or why we don’t make the saint stand…
    Incidentally, when this project was proposed a couple of years ago, all the Indian provincials wanted only a statue (as the Japanese province chose) for cultural reasons, but the RM managed to persuade them to have the “casket”.
    All the fuss surrounding this event would be acceptable if it were the real incorrupt body of a saint. The statue, the casket, etc gives the impression that it is the incorrupt (miraculous) body of the saint. But we all know it is not.
    Then again, from a theological point of view, a relic is a relic. Is a big relic more powerful than a small one? and deserving of greater veneration? And what’s so special about this relic? Don’t all Salesian houses already have relics of DB?
    If something was required to kick off the upcoming bicentenary of DB’s birth, could it not have been done with something smaller and easier to transport, like the statue of Fatima which could be carried in one’s hand? Think about the cost of transporting the casket and the people accompanying it around the world… that too at this time of economic recession!
    One could keep raising more questions on this.

  2. C.M. Paul

    You are right on all counts…
    The ENORMOUS amount of money spent…
    Absolutely NOT justifiable…
    All said and done, now that DB is coming…
    Let us go all out to make the maximum mileage out of it.
    We need to grab this best opportunity to tell people about the inspiring life and humanitarian works of this great educator and friend of poor youth.
    In stead of being prosaic about it… carpe diem!!! Think positive… Cheers.

  3. P. J. Joseph

    I think the moment has come to say this. Dr. K.P. Paulson’s mail and your rejoinder to it are what tells me, I should also express my views on the pilgrimage. I cannot bring myself to mentally accept the pilgrimage the way it is being done. Would DB have done it this way, had he been alive and faced with such a situation?
    Was it not Mama Margaret who cautioned DB against getting wealthy. This exercise seems to flaunt the wealth of the SDBs and achieve little else. When we are faced daily with scenes of stark poverty and want, it becomes difficult to swallow the fact that a mind-boggling amount of money is being spent on carrying a statue (casket) around the world.
    Perhaps, DB would have been equally pleased and honored, if not more, had we made available such enthusiasm and resources at the disposal of the LIVING RELICS of DB, (the poor and marginalized youth) that are still found in the townships and villages of the world.
    Yesterday, you had asked me for the storyline of “The Hand” film. I sent you a write up which by now have been read by hundreds round the world.
    But I have another ‘Storyline” in mind too. It concerns the ‘poor’ Don Bosco who as a little boy had to work like an adult to earn money to study. God willing, “The Hand” film will be an occasion to right a wrong notion or two: about triumphalist narratives, self-glorification and superior viewpoints. For too long such accounts have done a disservice to DB especially in Northeast India.
    We will certainly try, through “The Hand” film, to make DB loved, not deliberately ignored, or worse, despised.
    It is a mission within a mission, blessings for which we seek!

  4. T.D. JOHN

    Hi,
    The discussion has come a bit late! Whatever we may say, those in power will have their way. Yet we could chip in by not losing our right to express. The days of discerning the will of God are yet to become a reality. There is no need to worry. The other day someone presented at the Team Visit: “Superiors take the place of God.” I rushed to the church to find out if the tabernacle lamp was burning. Fortunately, yes! But then, someone else commented: I too went to check and found it outside the room of my provincial!
    Now that Don Bosco is coming, let us hope he remains in our hearts and make us truly seek God’s Will in the way we go through the next three years of preparation for the bi-centenary. We are not too late to speak up on this.

  5. Prof. Thomas

    Thought provoking comments.
    But we are a bit too late to think or is it that we are slow thinkers?
    Now that Don Bosco is half way through his world tour, let us, as C. M. Paul said, go all out and support the project.
    Don Bosco is a great person. There is nothing wrong in highlighting him, but minus the triumphalism.

  6. Fr. Gomes

    Guys have said it from their heart. They have a right to speak. I compliment them. I only want to say that the statue idea was not an acceptable one for me. There could be other ways to do it, with lesser expenses.

  7. Fr Amal

    Good, but not worth wasting time on controversies… there is need to do greater things for oneself and for others spiritually!

  8. Sr. Sarah

    In one Asian province, the Salesian confreres were eager for the DB Relics pilgrimage… but the provincial was not excited…. Come DB, even the reluctant provincial has a change of attitude!
    In another province, only the provincial is excited about the great opportunity the Relics pilgrimage offers for popular devotion and renewal of religious fervor and commitment for the confreres. The Salesians were not at all convinced, were critical and showed least cooperation. Don Bosco came and the Salesians were touched by the faith and enthusiasm of the ordinary people. It was contagious. The critics too fell in line, and many were blessed with renewed enthusiasm.

  9. C.M. Paul

    Here are a few reports culled from crew accompanying the DB Relics Pilgrimage around the world.

    1) Always, the SDB are MORE critical, LESS enthusiastic about the DB journey than the CHURCH – bishops, faithful, past pupils (=lack of faith, it’s really lack of common faith sense to mention foremost economical aspect of the urna…).

    2) In many places it’s a very good occasion to make DB more visible (also the person of the saint). Just in our times the aspect of visibility (=casket) is rather important.

    3) So far the most ‘triumphalist’ reception for DB Relics Pilgrimage was in Timor Leste with 25% of the country’s population in front of the casket, shouting “Viva Don Bosco”. It always depends on what the SDB did in the place to prepare the people, and they know… that DB is behind their independence as well.

    4) According the crew accompanying the relics, the least enthusiastic reception was in Haiti … but didn’t get the reasons (could be that the Salesians and people are still recovering from last year’s devastating earthquake!).

  10. Fr. Dominic

    I think what is going on here is what went on in other parts of the world.
    Each event has its bright and dark side to it. So has the pilgrimage of the relics of DB.
    In England when the Pope was going to visit the country, there was uproar outside the Church, but no real enthusiasm inside – on the contrary.
    He went and conquered peoples’ hearts.
    I hope and pray that this will be the case of DB’s relics.
    On the other side, it seems to me that there are other issues at stake here which the visit of the relics only brought to the surface. Issues of power and listening, control and compassion!!!!
    And I do not think I am mistaken!
    They need to be addressed humbly and compassionately, because even without the visit of the relics, they would still be there to cause hurt, pain and suffering.

  11. Fr. Gonsalves

    Very interesting – this is an opportunity for us to speak out about something that we would normally suppress under some guise or the other. I thought immediately of – no soldi no soldi – the constant refrain and then this massive expenditure… It would be a better idea if provinces would have saved this cash and thought about organising a discounted pilgrimage in 2015 to Valdocco (or have they already thought about this also??)… That would be a revival – and also a stimulus to ‘Project Europa’. Also the point of a ‘coffin’ going around will make quite a few wonder about what’s going on! There is definitely a cultural divide. I remember when the statue of Mary of Nazareth went around… It was well received… It was something ‘lively’ – this ‘relic’ is of course a different matter.

  12. Duo

    How unimaginable, that a father (DB) would visit his sons and daughters who may not have had a chance to see him or even know of him (especially those of limited financial means). When the Rector Major asked the Salesian Family to return to Don Bosco, it was the father that went against all odds, rain or shine, legalities or not, over thousands and thousands of miles, and not counting the costs to visit his family.

    We can be critical, but let us remember that it is a celebration and rejoice when he is among us through his relics. He today, also like his Valdocco days come seeking those who are forgotten and in their darkest times. Was it not the young people who requested the RM to “send us” Don Bosco?

    • Fr.Tomy Kuruvilla

      Yes,when the Living Don Bosco’s have no time for their subjects at least it is consoling that the relic of Don Bosco makes a visit to probe into the wellbeing of his subjects. All said and done, let us tolerate this spiritual exercise started in good spirit and bring it to a conclusion.At least in future, I believe, the concerned authorities will think more critically before they take a decision, to spend such an enormous amount of money placed at the disposal of the congregation by our well-wishers.
      I was just thinking whether the congregation would be prepared to sponsor a few deserving students to give them good eduction, to make this celebration a memorable on,with out looking for funds out side.
      May be each community could make some sacrifice and sponsor a student .I don’t think Rs.5,000 (about 90 Euro) a month would be a big amount for a salesian community,that too when it is the question of giving a good education to a deserving student .
      Those who are interested please contact on frtomykuruvilla@gmail.com.
      Let us keep the spirit of Don Bosco alive guys.The spirit that always reached out to the deserving .God bless you all.

  13. Sister Brittany

    Dear Brothers and Sister Sara,
    Permit me to offer my thoughts. I have not spent a lot of time pondering this issue, but after reading your posts, they definitely gave me pause.

    I think it is very easy for us, after an event has already happened (or has begun and we have seen parts of it take place) to analyze it and point out the “light” and “shadow” areas. The light, at least here in the USA, can be seen in the renewed enthusiasm and love of the young people for Don Bosco. The visit of the relic has set them on fire and they have become quite the apostles here in the USA. It is my hope that that energy might be seized and directed into a formation/revival of the Salesian Youth Movement and the Past Pupils Associations in this country, which never, culturally, were able to be well developed.

    On the other hand, I was also amazed at the expense that has gone into this visit. In the end I know that our SDB/FMA, Cooperators, members of the Salesian Family made every effort to be cost effective and prudent, but something like this cannot be cheap. I think that the monetary investment paid great dividends in the renewal of the charism within our country, though. I do not presume to know of the sacrifices that my SDB brothers made, but I do know that the FMA and our students spent countless hours preparing decorations, staging materials and organizing the Mass. I am also grateful for the hundreds of hours of volunteer labor put into it.

    Sometimes we have to be bold and take even financial risks if our intention is to help our young people and to share the charism. Don Bosco is really a rock star within the communion of saints. The huge numbers of people who only knew of Don Bosco, and not the Salesians personally, who showed up at our gatherings, really amazed me. On a practical note, it would be interesting to see how the financial landscape towards the service of our works was affected by this visit. Sure, we invested a lot of money, but was it made up for? Somehow I suspect that God would/did make it all balance out if we did it for the right reasons.

    However, it made me think of how Don Bosco once said “When it comes to souls, I go forward even to the point of foolishness.” Some of our brothers may have forgotten that….

    My friends, I do not know the reality of your countries. I am sure that in India, the sight of a “casket” may not have been the best catechetical move. These are issues to be reviewed for the future. All I know is that I do not, in any way, doubt that the Holy Spirit inspired this pilgrimage of Don Bosco’s relic, even if the way that we poor humans carried out the inspiration was less than perfect.

  14. Fr. Mondal

    It makes an interesting reading, both for and against. The comments themselves create a pilgrimage ambient and does much good to the Salesians and others, especially to the lukewarm and skeptics. On the whole it is a good thing to happen, at least Don Bosco is stirring up the minds and hearts of the Salesians and their collaborators.

  15. Mr. Henry

    Interesting comments… positively different… good!!
    Charity and unity are worthy virtues in religious life. Sometimes they don’t work in the outside world!!
    I have my own thoughts on the relics… if I write them out, you may (not) publish them… so I will be silent! Don Bosco forever our model be!!!

  16. K.J. Dominic

    Don Bosco was always popular and will be popular… His visit to India will be a moment of grace and faith will grow… pity he is not coming to our country…

  17. Sr. Celine D'Cunha fma

    I have been following your comments, views, suggestions etc….they make an interesting reading. I thought of sharing some points of reflection and how I feel about the whole event.
    I was in Rome on May 13, 2009 when the Relic of Don Bosco was brought to our Generalate. It was a moment of celebration, of renewal… It was great to see the joy and enthusiasm, love and affection that was manifested for Don Bosco….We sang jubilantly, ‘Don Bosco ritorna..’ and welcomed him lovingly. I am sure Don Bosco must have been pleased to see that visible manifestation of filial love and affection from all of his daughters. …. The huge gathering of the FMAs, the lovely celebration, the symbolic gestures, the many signs of love and affection etc. have remained so much imprinted in my heart.
    Yes, it was a huge casket, weighing about 500 kilos or so. I was not sure whether the same casket would travel round the world. When I was confirmed that the same casket would travel, I also questioned as to its feasibility, the enormous expenditure and of course how our people in India would see the relic lying in a coffin travelling around the country. I also thought it would have been much better if some other sign would have been chosen to represent Don Bosco instead of that relic almost looking like a ‘mobile mortuary’ as someone has commented….!!! I also thought that the huge amount of money could have been used to facilitate many SDBs/ FMAs to go to the origins of our Congregation and relive those marvellous experiences. I have had the fortune of visiting them several times, and they are an experience that I treasure so much, which has helped me in ways that I am unable to explain.
    Well, whatever may be the situation, I would like to take these moments now, as moments of blessings and grace for India. Don Bosco is coming to visit us, he is coming to see his sons and daughters, he is coming to see our young people whom he loved passionately all through his life and continues to love them, he comes to see our work, our mission, our life and how we have inculturated his spirit and charism, how much he is alive among us, how youthful and enthusiastic we are , how we have grown, how committed and dedicated we are and how the entire nation resounds with his name and how familiar he is in the length and breadth of our country!
    I am sure his coming will bring about a deep spiritual renewal in all of us -his sons and daughters, and in the Salesian Family. He will make us committed and hardworking, joyful and enthusiastic , with a passionate love for young people. I am certain he will gift us with that undaunted spirit to take up the risks and challenges involved to face the new frontiers in our mission, he will bless us with a double share of his spirit, his untiring zeal, his boundless enthusiasm, his marvellous creativity, his capacity to dream and see things beyond… I am sure he will inspire many young boys and girls to opt for religious life. Yes, it will be a true return to Don Bosco!
    So dear Brother Salesians and Sister FMAs of India, let’s rejoice and thank God for this singular occasion of grace. Let us make this event to show our love for Don Bosco and for Young People. Let us make him known to all people. Don Bosco – our Father and Founder, the great modern educator, the father, teacher and friend of millions of young people, the great inspiration behind all our educational ventures, the great saint of youth and master of youthful saints….!!!! Let us go out of our way to receive him, to honour him and make him known and loved.
    I am immensely happy. He is coming to the community where I am and we are planning in a big way to welcome him, to honour him and to show him how much we love him and how alive he is among us. We have been talking to our collaborators and young people. They too are excited with this news.
    On January 31, 1888, at 2.00 am, about two hours before his death, Don Rua, knowing that the time had come for Don Bosco to leave this world, bends down whispers: “Don Bosco, we are here… give us once more your blessing.” Then, Don Rua lifts his right hand and utters a blessing. The casket contains the right hand relic of Don Bosco. The hand that had blessed thousands in his life time… May we together tell Don Bosco: “Don Bosco we are here… Give us your blessing.”
    And may we truly receive Don Bosco’s blessings!

  18. Sr. Celine D'Cunha fma

    I have been following your comments, views, suggestions etc….they make an interesting reading. I thought of sharing some points of reflection and how I feel about the whole event.
    I was in Rome on May 13, 2009 when the Relic of Don Bosco was brought to our Generalate. It was a moment of celebration, of renewal… It was great to see the joy and enthusiasm, love and affection that was manifested for Don Bosco….We sang jubilantly, ‘Don Bosco ritorna..’ and welcomed him lovingly. I am sure Don Bosco must have been pleased to see that visible manifestation of filial love and affection from all of his daughters. …. The huge gathering of the FMSs, the lovely celebration, the symbolic gestures, the many signs of love and affection etc. have remained so much imprinted in my heart.
    Yes, it was a huge casket, weighing about 500 kilos or so. I was not sure whether the same casket would travel round the world. When I was confirmed that the same casket would travel, I also questioned as to its feasibility, the enormous expenditure and of course how our people in India would see the relic lying in a coffin travelling around the country. I also thought it would have been much better if some other sign would have been chosen to represent Don Bosco instead of that relic almost looking like a ‘mobile mortuary’ as someone has commented….!!! I also thought that the huge amount of money could have been used to facilitate many SDBs/ FMAs to go to the origins of our Congregation and relive those marvellous experiences. I have had the fortune of visiting them several times, and they are an experience that I treasure so much, which has helped me in ways that I am unable to explain.
    Well, whatever may be the situation, I would like to take these moments now, as moments of blessings and grace for India. Don Bosco is coming to visit us, he is coming to see his sons and daughters, he is coming to see our young people whom he loved passionately all through his life and continues to love them, he comes to see our work, our mission, our life and how we have inculturated his spirit and charism, how much he is alive among us, how youthful and enthusiastic we are , how we have grown, how committed and dedicated we are and how the entire nation resounds with his name and how familiar he is in the length and breadth of our country!
    I am sure his coming will bring about a deep spiritual renewal in all of us -his sons and daughters, and in the Salesian Family. He will make us committed and hardworking, joyful and enthusiastic , with a passionate love for young people. I am certain he will gift us with that undaunted spirit to take up the risks and challenges involved to face the new frontiers in our mission, he will bless us with a double share of his spirit, his untiring zeal, his boundless enthusiasm, his marvellous creativity, his capacity to dream and see things beyond… I am sure he will inspire many young boys and girls to opt for religious life. Yes, it will be a true return to Don Bosco!
    So dear Brother Salesians and Sister FMAs of India, let’s rejoice and thank God for this singular occasion of grace. Let us make this event to show our love for Don Bosco and for Young People. Let us make him known to all people. Don Bosco – our Father and Founder, the great modern educator, the father, teacher and friend of millions of young people, the great inspiration behind all our educational ventures, the great saint of youth and master of youthful saints….!!!! Let us go out of our way to receive him, to honour him and make him known and loved.
    I am immensely happy. He is coming to the community where I am and we are planning in a big way to welcome him, to honour him and to show him how much we love him and how alive he is among us. We have been talking to our collaborators and young people. They too are excited with this news.
    On January 31, 1888, at 2.00 am, about two hours before his death, Don Rua, knowing that the time had come for Don Bosco to leave this world, bends down whispers: “Don Bosco, we are here… give us once more your blessing.” Then, Don Rua lifts his right hand and utters a blessing. The casket contains the right hand relic of Don Bosco. The hand that had blessed thousands in his life time… May we together tell Don Bosco: “Don Bosco we are here… Give us your blessing.”
    And may we truly receive Don Bosco’s blessings!

    • sarada ningthoujam

      Dear Sister Celine,
      Its really great to read what you have written . I am sure you are the same Sister Celine who was with us at St. Mary’s Maligaon for the Youth International camp way back in 1985.I still treasure the letters you wrote to me …and of course the beautiful voice! You said you wanted to remain young forever and it is reflected in what you have written .God bless you dear sister.

  19. Br Michael Lynch

    The Statue with the relic is in Australia right now. Yesterday evening we had a special gathering that was largely for the SDB’s and FMA’s in Melbourne and other religious. It was an evening of quiet reflection and prayer on Don Bosco, both the person and his ideas – an opportunity to pray in the presence of Don Bosco for the work we do.
    Regarding the ‘tour of relic’: some Australian Salesians question whether the ‘tour’ might have been done in a far less costly manner. As much of Don Bosco’s work in the world today is vocational teaching for underprivileged youth in Third World countries, there is concern about the message that is conveyed by what appears to be a very costly ‘tour’. I am often reminded that people listen to what we say but watch what we do!
    It was pointed out (in an earlier blog) that the nature and extent of devotions around the relic is very much determined by the cultural background of people. Australia, with its predominant Anglo Saxon culture, has [in general] a more reserved and private approach to ‘relic devotion’ than people from other quite different backgrounds. India, of course, is a vast and diverse nation. I expect that there will be a wide range of reactions to the ‘tour’ from SDB’s and others in India.

  20. Das Gupta

    I am a past pupil of Don Bosco, and was quite surprised at the same time enlightened by the variety of feelings expressed by different people.
    Personally, I am not against this massive exercise undertaken by the Salesians to impress the public at large. But I wonder what purpose this really serves other than a show of triumphalism, may be even to the disgust of some of the other religious congregations.
    I am wondering whether in the corporate world the MD of a company would take decision of this sort to spend such an enormous amount of money for publicity (They have nothing spiritual to think of I believe).
    So in a RELIGIOUS CONGREGATION, where so much of insistence on religious poverty is made how come such a colossal wastage of money, down the drain, that too, at the end of it all, the final outcome would not be as desired.
    I wonder whether there was a collective responsibility by way of decision making before thinking of a program that would involve such an enormous amount of money. I am tempted to make an observation as mentioned somewhere in the scripture; this could have been very well utilized, for some welfare programmes, in some well deserving country.
    If Don Bosco where to be alive, even if he were to make a decision of this sort and realise that he did make a mistake, he would have called it off, in order to set a good example to the fellow confreres.
    I wonder whether the modern generation of governing authority has such a humility, even if they insist it from the subjects.
    My genuine feelings at the moment is not contribute a single pie hence forth for the Salesians of Don Bosco (Ofcourse I know they don’t need it any more), instead give it personally to some deserving individuals.
    Sorry to have expressed my view…
    But let me be sincere in saying that I am deeply hurt to see the amount of money being wasted, even if a congregation can afford it. It is totally unacceptable and irreligious to a common man like me.

  21. Mary A

    Anyththing and everything for holiness. For the holiness of sons and daughters of St. John Bosco and for the salvation of souls. Anything else is humbug.

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