The full size statue of Don Bosco containing his first-class relic arrived at the Salesian Province Centre in Melbourne on 4th July 2023 as part of the Centenary celebrations of the arrival of Salesians in Australia. On the weekend of 8-9 July, the relic statue made the first pilgrimage to St Joseph’s church in Collingwood to be officially welcomed into the Province. The newly renovated church was packed with many pilgrims, especially from Vietnamese backgrounds, to welcome St John Bosco to Australia over the weekend.
The official welcome Eucharist was led by Fr Anthony Dung Nguyen, Rector of the Formation Community and Provincial Delegate for Formation, in the evening on Saturday 8 July. Fr Peter Varengo SDB, an Italian missionary priest to Australia who was born in the same region as Don Bosco, delivered the homily highlighting the Saint’s life story and his relationship with God who specifically called him to work for the good of the young.
Many pilgrims, lots of familiar and unfamiliar faces, flocked the relic casket and prayed for their needs, especially for the young members of their families. Constant streams of pilgrims visited St Joseph’s church over the weekend to experience the relic statue for comfort and strength from God through the intercession of this patron saint of youth, St John Bosco.
The Provincial Fr Will Matthews SDB who was away in New Zealand paid a special visit to the relic statue along with the Provincial Economer Fr Peter Carroll SDB on Monday evening 10 July to officially welcome the Saint into the Province, and to the pilgrims who paid a special trip to St Joseph’s Collingwood on a cold evening.
The relic statue will be at various Salesian houses and other parishes in Melbourne until 13 August. It will then make a pilgrimage to Sydney, Adelaide, Hobart and Perth. The relic statue of the Saint will return to Melbourne later in September for a Salesian provincial retreat and the official farewell Mass at St Margaret Mary’s church in North Brunswick on 30 September.