by Dave O’Hara
As our Rector Major begins each of his messages we also extend to you our greetings and prayers on this great feast day. It is a day to celebrate the gift of Don Bosco to us all and to once again recognize the timelessness of his charism, the charism we all share today. In the Rector Major’s greeting for the feast he shared that he won’t be in Turin, in Valdocco, where the Salesians first began but in Sierra Leone, visiting the Salesians working with people who have been affected by the Ebola virus there. He reminds us that Valdocco is wherever the Salesian presence is, wherever we build our oratories.
The video series that we produced for the novena to Don Bosco that we prepared here in Ireland have been very successful and are available for you to view freely on our website. A lot of work went into them and they affirm what the Rector Major said about Valdocco and the Salesian Oratory, that it is wherever we make ourselves present as a Salesian Family. It’s been great to see the Salesian charism at work in various schools and ministries across Ireland and Malta. It’s especially heartening for myself to see this active Salesianity in Ireland in these times because it’s something we don’t see enough of not just in Ireland but across Europe.
There is a huge vibrant celebration happening across Europe this weekend for the Salesian Family celebrating Don Bosco and it gives a great sense of hope for us all that we are one big family, one big Church being guided by the Holy Spirit to build God’s Kingdom on Earth. Whether it’s helping Ebola orphans in Sierra Leone or the aftermath of the earthquakes in Nepal to helping young people who are isolated in cut off communities in Ireland, we are all fighting the same cause for the good of God’s Kingdom through the example of Christ and Don Bosco.
In Orange in the US, James Nguyen, who I spent novitiate with will be having mass and a youth carnival with the children who have been part of the catechism program and who are in the parish tomorrow. Quang Damien, a pre-novice in Los Angeles has spent the whole week celebrating the feast of Don Bosco in Salesian elementary and High schools as well as the parish. And if there’s one thing I learned from America it’s that they know how to celebrate Don Bosco!
Back here in Ireland, our schools in Pallaskenry and Celbridge celebrated the feast of Don Bosco with mass and various themes throughout the week. That is on top of the novena productions that were so well prepared and produced. Also in Celbridge, an old tradition was resurrected. That is the tradition of giving out chocolate and sweets after mass, very necessary for celebrating and something the students will hopefully remember for years to come.
Let us remember on this great day of celebration that young people are the Lord’s delight, they are our delight as a Salesian family, as Christians , and it’s in our investing in them that God’s Kingdom is built. Don Bosco knew this and went out and did it, it is our duty to also do this. “Remember, young people, that you are the Lord’s delight”, Valdocco is where we are present, it’s wherever we decide to build an oratory from the example of Don Bosco. You may be in a wet and windy Ireland or a snowy America so I’ll leave you with a few photos of the celebrations happening across the world, there’s no excuse not to join in! Happy feast of Don Bosco!