Sunday 16th August, the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of St John Bosco, the founder of the Salesians (SDB), the co-founder of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) and the founder of the lay members of the Salesian Family known as the Salesian Co-operators, people from all branches of the Salesian Family gathered at Salesian College Chadstone to celebrate this notable milestone.
Following Morning Prayer and the official opening of the day’s festivities in the College Chapel, Fr Greg Chambers S.D.B. the Provincial Leader of the Australia-Pacific Province of the Salesians, welcomed everyone and introduced Fr Vaclav Klement S.D.B. the member of the Salesian General Council, who is on an official visitation to the Province. Sr Edna Mary MacDonald, Provincial Leader of the Salesian Sisters was attending celebrations in Samoa, but the Melbourne based Salesian Sisters and prominent members of the Salesian Co-operators contributed to the lively displays and the spirit of celebration here at Chadstone.
Prominent in the activities of the day were the members of Australian Salesian Youth Mentors and members of Salesian Youth Groups who animate a wide range of youth activities in the province. It was pleasing to have present on the day quite a number of the Volunteers who have served in Salesian Mission centres in Cambodia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Southern Thailand, Zambia and such places of need as part of the Cagliero Mission Volunteers project.
At the same time these celebrations were underway, there was a major youth gathering hosted at Don Bosco Technical Centre in Apia, Samoa and Fr Bernie Graham S.D.B, the Vice Provincial and also the Delegate for Youth Ministry, was there to facilitate connection across the Province on this special occasion.
Throughout the week leading up to Sunday 16th August, there has been a whole series of events at Don Bosco’s Birthplace in the Turin area of Northern Italy, and around the ‘Salesian World’ this day will be celebrated in a youthful way so as to highlight the charism (the gift) that St John Bosco has been to the Church.
Here at Chadstone the festivities of the day came to a climax as everyone gathered in the Chapel around the table of the Lord for a memorable Celebration of the Eucharist and a renewal of commitment to live the spirit inherited from St John Bosco.
by Fr John Papworth SDB