On 13th February, providentially the same day Fr Versiglia and his team had begun our EAO regional apostolate in Macau, the Engadine Salesian Community in Sydney, Australia opened its series of bicentennial events. The three local Salesian schools, Dunlea Centre Boys’ Town, St John Bosco Primary and St John Bosco College came together for a vibrant open-air mass on the primary school playing field named in memory of Sr. Sarah Hanley FMA. About 2000 students, staff, parents and parishioners celebrated with the SDB and FMA communities.
In his first major school visit and mass since his installation in November, the new Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher OP, presided and preached, relating Don Bosco’s bicentenary with the centenary of young ANZACs facing Gallipoli in 1915. As a then Auxiliary Bishop, Bishop Anthony had chaired the working party organising World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney and, amongst other things, this was remarkable for its week of persistent fine weather in the middle of winter. Our Bishop and Don Bosco’s intercession similarly kept us all dry for Friday’s mass despite torrential thunderstorms during the night before.
We were also graced by an address from the Executive Director of Catholic Schools who came along with key people from the regional Catholic Education Office.
Each of our educational centres helped in the extensive preparations and participated in the liturgy. A highlight was a post-communion senior student dramatic presentation which focused on key moments and attitudes in Don Bosco’s life. A large combined choir and band performed beautifully and the finale was a new hymn to Don Bosco composed by our parish youth minister, Matt Humphries. Following mass, the Archbishop lingered long to chat with students and staff.
Fr Peter Carroll sdb