“As is our custom, members of the Australian Aboriginal Community welcomed the Relic of Don Bosco and presented a specially prepared Message Stick that travels with the Relic in its pilgrimage around Australia. The Message Stick, this one specially prepared, is a sign of welcome and of hope that the passage of the Relic through the various areas of Australia will be safe and bring blessing”. Thus begins the report on the southernmost trajectory of the Relic’s pilgrimage, this time around (some months ago the Relic was in Ushuaia, Patagonia, so they have to be able to claim the ultimate southernmost point, obviously!)
Immediately following the close of school on Tuesday 8th March, the Staff of Salesian College Chadstone, a suburb of Melbourne, gathered in the newly refurbished College Chapel to spend some time in reflection around the Relic which, on arrival in Australia, was placed in the Salesian Community Chapel. On Tuesday afternoon Don Bosco’s relic was transferred to the College Chapel in time for the Staff gathering and a sharing of reflections. During this reflection one of of Don Bosco’s Dreams was recalled and several members of Staff shared their own person experience of being associated with the the Salesians and how the spirit of Don Bosco had influenced their lives. This was quite a moving time of reflection and a fitting start for the pilgrimage of the Relic in Australia.
That evening, people came to join in prayerful reflection around the Relic in the first publicly advertised Relic event. The College Captain welcomed distinguished guests, local Members of Parliament, Parish Priests, Religious as well as parents and many people from the local area and then called on the Rector to unveil the Relic Statue.
Fr Chris Ford, Principal of the College, addressed the gathering leading everyone in a reflection on Don Bosco’s Spirituality as expressed in the elements of “The Preventive System”. He illustrated his presentation with carefully selected clips from the Film of Don Bosco and various images pertinent to the emphasis being made in the presentation.
The period of Prayer and Reflection concluded with everyone in the gathering being offered the opportunity to come forward and to place a pinch of salt in a small fire disc suitably located in front of the Relic, as a sign of commitment to renewal in following the Good Shepherd with the same spirit of joy and enthusiasm as Don Bosco.
The following day, Ash Wednesday, did not involve public functions. But today, Thursday, has seen two functions, one involving the nearly 1,000 students of the College, and, as evening approaches, a crowd of similar numbers is expected at a public Mass celebrated by Bishop Tim Costelloe sdb.