Friday 30 January 2015

Record of the Week: "Dom Bosco est mort"

Tomorrow is the the feast day of St. John Bosco and the anniversary of his death. This year marks 200 years since his birth in northern Italy, in a hamlet outside of Turin.

As a priest, Don (Father) Bosco founded the Congregation of St. Francis de Sales (the Salesian Fathers), and co-founded the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (the Salesian Sisters). He was canonized in 1934 by Pope Pius XI and given the title "Father and Teacher of Youth."  Youth ministry is the primary vocation of the Salesian orders.

Archbishop of Toronto John Lynch was sent the announcement of Don Bosco's death, issued from the Oratory of Saint Francis de Sales in Turin, 31 January 1888: 

Archbishop Lynch fonds, LAH33.78

"It is with a breaking heart, eyes full of tears and a trembling hand, that I convey to you the painful news, the most painful news I have ever announced or will ever have to announce: our good loving father in Jesus Christ, our founder, friend, advisor, guide of our lives, Dom Bosco, is dead.[translated from French]

Archbishop Lynch fonds, LAH33.78

"...With the support and advice of my confreres, I am certain the Pious Society of Saint Francis de Sales, supported by the arm of God, strong with the protection of Mary Help of Christians and the generous charity of Salesian cooperators, will continue the works created by its revered and lamented founder, in particular the Christian education of the poor and dispossessed youth and foreign Missions...

"...we no longer have our good Father among us, but we will meet him again in Heaven if we apply his advice, and if we walk faithfully in his footsteps.

"Believe me, even in pain and in sorrow..."  [translated from French]

To the modern reader, the announcement may seem overly sentimental. However, the heartfelt language is indicative of the steadfast devotion of Don Bosco's followers and his reputation as an inspirational, holy man.

The author, Rev. Michel Rua, states, "I am certain the Pious Society of Saint Francis de Sales...will continue the works created by its revered and lamented founder."  In this archdiocese, Don Bosco's legacy continues to guide the Salesian Fathers at the parish of St. Benedict in Etobicoke. Read more in this article from The Catholic Register.

Join His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins at he celebrates the Solemn Mass for the Feast of St. John Bosco at St. Paul's Basilica (83 Power St., Toronto), Saturday, January 31 at 10 a.m.

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