BY Ian Dunn | January 11 2013 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Power of saint of the young

Pilgrims flock to Glasgow and Carfin to venerate relics of St John Bosco as they arrive in the UK

Thousands flocked to see the relics of St John Bosco as they toured Scotland last week, a testament to what Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow called the ‘enduring and inspiring’ power of the Salesian founder to inspire young Catholics.

The casket containing the relics of St John Bosco visited St Andrew’s Cathedral and St Francis Xavier’s, Carfin, last Friday and Saturday for powerful spiritual celebrations, beginning the UK tour as part of the relics’ pilgrim journey through 130 nations in preparation for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Don Bosco’s birth on August 16, 1815.

Youth celebration

Archbishop Tartaglia, who welcomed the relics to Glasgow for the first time, said he was very proud to have been part of an incredible St Andrew’s Cathedral celebration of St John Bosco, who devoted his life to working with street children.

“I was delighted to welcome the relics of St John Bosco to Glasgow—the twin city of the saint’s native Turin,” he said. “The large numbers who visited the relics during the day are testament to the ongoing appeal of this saint and his enduring message. I hope that many young people and educators will have been inspired by their encounter with this great saint.”

The Salesian order that the saint founded, has set up schools across the globe and is behind the tour which it hopes will revitalise the Faith of many young people.

“We have had a very warm welcome in Glasgow and many teachers, in particular, have commented on the emphasis on teaching from the heart and the trust that is vital between pupils and teachers, which Don Bosco always emphasised as one of the great educators of the 19th century,” tour organiser Fr David O’Malley of the Salesians said.

Inspirational life

Ordained in 1841, Don Bosco soon settled into what became his life’s work: teaching young men and boys, mainly in Turin. He started living with the street children and set up day and evening classes for them.

His appeal to the young still resonates today and was shown by pupils of St John Bosco Primary School in Erskine who joined the pilgrimage in Glasgow in their uniforms despite still being on holiday.

At both Glasgow and Carfin, Mass was preceded and followed by a pilgrimage experience especially designed to appeal to young people.

Pilgrimage experience

The relics were moved to Carfin overnight and the Saturday was a full day of service and prayer at Scotland’s national Marian shrine.

Margaret McGuigan, who works in the pilgrimage centre at Carfin, said it had been an incredibly ‘worthwhile experience.’

Among the pilgrims was Margaret Kelly of Easterhouse, who said it had been a most inspiring trip.

There were several busloads of students from Glasgow University chaplaincy present at Carfin, responding to St John Bosco’s appeal to the young.



—  Pic: Paul McSherry

—     This story was reported in full in the January 11 print edition of the SCO


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