MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST
Solemnity of St. John Bosco
31 January 2016
To you, dear parishioners and churchgoers, visitors of the parish website and friends of Don Bosco,
Happy Feast of St. John Bosco, the Father and Teacher of Youth!
The Jubilee Year of Mercy 2016 invites us to rediscover how St. John Bosco experienced the mercy of God throughout his life and shared it with the youth. In this light, today 31 January 2016, it is fitting to acclaim together:
Blessed be our merciful God who, in the Holy Spirit, through the motherly intervention of Mary, raised up St. John Bosco to continue the mission of Jesus the Son, in particular, for the salvation of youth.
Allow me to share this short reflection on our patron saint as one of those noteworthy saints in mercy.
The mercy of God from St. John Bosco’s childhood to priesthood
Johnny Bosco throughout his life received God’s providential love that led him to live like a child who completely depended on God’s mercy. God manifested His compassion and love on Johnny Bosco in various significant events as he was growing up with his mother, Mamma Margaret.
His formative years as a student and seminarian prepared him to become a priest who would help the young experience God’s mercy.
The Holy Spirit formed him into a priest with the heart of a father and teacher, capable of total self-giving. Don Bosco said: “I promised God that I would give of myself to my last breath for my poor youth.”
St. John Bosco’s Preventive System inspired by the mercy of God
A humble disciple of the Lord, he welcomed every young person in the name of Jesus. He defended the youth from sin by educating them with his Preventive System founded on God’s gift of human reason, the primacy of God’s loving presence, and loving kindness inspired by God’s mercy.
According to Don Bosco, human reason makes God’s mercy reasonable in educating the young. Young boys and girls also learn the significance of being merciful from the human perspective.
Moreover, for him, educating the youth to faith in God or religion is the way to communicate to them the enduring presence of the mercy of God, hence the primacy of God in their life and the importance of being obedient to the will of God.
He was aware that it was all because of God’s mercy that brought about positive change in the youth. Thus, in his preventive system, Don Bosco considered the third element, loving-kindness, as God’s mercy in action among the youth.
The three loves of St. John Bosco
St. John Bosco had three strong devotions through which he continued to experience the providential and merciful love of God: the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession, Mary the mother of Jesus, and the Pope. He passed on to his Salesians and youth these devotions to make them aware of God’s mercy at work in them.
First, he is a great lover of the Eucharist and of the Sacrament of Confession. He taught the boys that these two sacraments are sure occasions for receiving God’s mercy and growing in the life of faith, in spite of their occasional falling into sin.
Second, as he learned from his mother to love the mother of Jesus and greet her three times a day, Don Bosco promoted among the youth filial devotion to Mary, first as Consolation and then later as Help of Christians. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a perfect example of God’s mercy poured abundantly in her. He taught the boys to call on her, as she is Mother of Mercy, by praying the Salve Regina or Hail Holy Queen.
Third, Don Bosco had a great love for the Pope who is the Vicar of Christ and the leader of the Church. His great obedience and loyalty to the Pope made him build the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Rome. This project shortened his life as he had to travel almost 800 kilometers frequently between Turin and Rome.
Merciful like the Father for the little ones
St. John Bosco grew up, lived his priesthood and breathed his last, conscious of the great and enduring mercy of God for him, for the Salesian Family, for the youth. He is not only Father and Teacher of Youth. Rightly, he is also a true missionary disciple of mercy as throughout his life and in his ministry he followed the path to be merciful like the Father, especially for the little ones.
Today’s feastday of our patron saint, 31 January 2016, is the closing of the bicentenary celebration of his birth in the Salesian North - Philippine Province. It is also the prelude to the 40th anniversary of the foundation of our parish this coming 2 March. Let us thank God for the gift of St. John Bosco and continue to imitate Don Bosco in being merciful like the Father.