The parish of Our Lady of the Rosary, St Marys, have been blessed with a visit of a first-class relic of one of their patrons.
From 23 to 28 August, the parish, which is entrusted to the Salesians of Don Bosco, was home to a 400kg wax replica of the congregation’s founder St John (Don) Bosco containing a piece of bone from his right arm.
The relic, originally from the Salesian Province of Hong Kong, is in Australia from June to late September to commemorate the centenary of the first Salesians missionaries’ arrival in Fremantle, Western Australia.
Bishop Vincent: Don Bosco relic inspires us to follow in his footsteps
On Friday 25 August, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, was invited to celebrate a Votive Mass to St Don Bosco at the parish.
“It is only fitting that the relic of St John Bosco comes to visit his brothers and sisters under whose pastoral care this parish has been entrusted,” Bishop Vincent said during his homily.
“In our Catholic understanding, relics remind us of the holiness of the saints and inspire us to follow their example of a faith-filled life.
“St John Bosco is a saint who showed us the all-embracing love and compassion of God. He ministered especially to people on the margins – those who were in prisons, on the streets or other precarious situations.
“The Diocese of Parramatta is grateful that we host the presence, ministry and witness of the sons and daughters of St John Bosco. They continue to testify to his charism of seeing, loving and serving Christ in the poor, the troubled and the needy.
“We give thanks to God for the life of deep faith, unwavering commitment, humble service and untiring love for the vulnerable that St John Bosco showed us. He taught us that everyone – no matter what their circumstances are – is a child of God and deserving our utmost respect and care.
“In welcoming and honouring his relics today, we are bolstered by his example and his intercession in order to follow in his footsteps.”
Legacy of Don Bosco living on in parish
Long-term parishioner Fenina explained to Catholic Outlook how touched she was to see the relic in person and to have that connection to someone who is important to the parish.
“Don Bosco looked after marginalised children, those in prison and those who are homeless, and unfortunately, some of these people get left behind in today’s society,” she said.
“Even if other people didn’t care, Don Bosco cared, so he has made a big difference [to our faith] and he is a great example not only in our parish, but worldwide.”
For young parishioner Dylan, having the relic visit his parish emphasised the humanity of the saint.
“Something that young people can take from Don Bosco is this idea of being of service to others and how that service is a way to Christ,” he explained.
“His life shows us how I can in my everyday interactions look to be of service to someone else, and in doing so, spread the message of Christ and bring those souls to Christ.
“He lived a very special life and a life we can definitely aspire to follow and this relic is a reminder of what his message was.”
In a message to parishioners on the parish’s Facebook page, Fr Brendan reminded them of Don Bosco’s dedication to educating the young.
“Veneration of the Don Bosco relic reminds us of his continuing relevance and mission in the Church today,” he wrote.
“Don Bosco’s motto, inscribed on the relic casket, ‘Da Mihi Animas, Caetera Tolle’ (Give me souls, take away the rest) expresses his concern for the salvation and holiness of the young. This task remains our privilege and our mission.
“Let us pray to Don Bosco for each other and for our young people, so rich in promise.”
View images from the visit of the Don Bosco relic here or below: