Friday, December 24, 2010

Meeting Don Bosco

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Photo by my sister. :) 
Yesterday, 23rd December 2010, I went to St. John Bosco Parish Church in Makati City.  They were having a very special occasion in welcoming the Relic of St. John Bosco to the community. A crowd of priests, missionaries, students, and parents were there. The army and the police force were there for security as well.

Actually, I went there too early, like around 4:00 PM. But I wasn't the only one. The organizers were there beforehand. There were bands from schools and the army. They were the from of entertainment that we had until around 4:30 PM, when the convoy of the Relic started to appear. The priest who was in charge instructed all of us to sing which goes "St. John Bsoco, our loving father, now we lift to thee our voices...."  So, I sang with them. It was weird because I haven't sang that song for 6 years now, and yet I could still memorize it.

When I saw the big truck with a picture of Don Bosco, my heart started to beat fast as I was slowly teary eyed. It's like meeting a special person you've been looking up to for a long time. I have understood how fans of Michael Jackson would cry when they see him in person. However, I held tears back. I didn't want to cry in front of the crowd.

The Relic inside a casket was slowly removed from the truck. The priests then had a solemn ceremony as they lined up for a short procession going to the church. As I saw the parade, I remembered my high school days. Back then, we were instructed to wave our flags and sing at the same time. So, it's all the same in every Salesian Community. Lots of people were taking photos too. But I didn't have a camera so I was more focused on the feeling of this experience.

The relic was Don Bosco's right hand. It was preserved then laid in a glass box. After that, it was put in a series of boxes made of zinc. The Vatican then placed a seal on the last layer of box. Finally, everything was put inside the wax figure. (Please see picture below; Disclaimer: Not my photo. I found this in the internet)


I was part of the crowd and the priest told us that we will be the last in the procession. So, I didn't move from where I was. Being early, I positioned myself at the boundary to the parade. :) I could see perfectly well. First in line were the sacristans, then priests, lay ministers followed, after them were cute kids dressed as Don Bosco in his black robe. Finally, the casket surrounded by the police were next. The first thing I saw were the pair of shoes of the wax figure. I got very excited as I anticipated to see the whole relic. However, two policemen were blocking my way. I prayed for them to move and two seconds later, they did. I clearly saw the wax face of Don Bosco. It was almost real and it gave me goosebumps. Wow! This is very rare. I thought to myself. What was wonderful about it is that the procession stopped for a minute or two while the casket was near me. :)

After saying a short prayer, I followed the crowd into the church. We were given white handkerchiefs with prints Don Bosco's picture and his motto "Give me souls". We were to wave them in the air as the casket was going to the altar. The Holy Mass presided by the Cardinal. By this time, the crowd doubled it's volume. Some people were standing at the back of the church. I had another souvenir of the event as they gave us program guides. :)

After the Mass, the relic was opened for viewing. But I didn't line up anymore. Earlier at the procession, Don Bosco's relic stopped by near me. Being an early bird has it's advantages after all. It was an overwhelming experience for me, to know that Don Bosco came to me so that I won't have to go to the queue for him.

And for that, I offer him a song:

St. John Bosco, our loving father
Now we lift to thee our voices
As we gather around thine altar
far and wide the world rejoices

Oh Don Bosco, we're thine dearest
whose protection are imploring
for in Heaven thou remainest
as apostle 'mid the adoring

Don Bosco thy children,
on many ashore,
shall love and revere thee till time be no more



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