The relic of St Don Bosco kept for veneration at Siliguri Don Bosco on Monday. Picture by Kundan Yolmo
Siliguri, July 4: Mina Minj and her two daughters from Chathat were elated that they could make it to Siliguri Don Bosco school today to venerate the relics of St Don Bosco which are being taken across the world ahead of his 200th birth anniversary in 2015.
The relic — a bone of the right hand of Don Bosco — is embedded in the right hand of the wax replica of the saint’s body specially built for the tour that started from Turin in Italy in 2009.
The replica has a height of 156cm and is enclosed in a glass casket.
“We feel blessed to be able to come here and worship the relic of St Don Bosco. We got to know that it would be in Siliguri when our parish priest made an announcement at the church. Even though all members of my parish came here yesterday, I could not accompany them as an emergency came up at the last moment. I came here today with my two daughters to receive the saint’s blessings and we are lucky to have arrived on time,” said Mina.
The woman had travelled around 30km from Chathat to Siliguri with her two daughters, aged four and six.
The relic arrived in India in May and has already covered six north-eastern states. It reached Jaigaon from Assam on June 28 and has since been taken to Oodlabari, Sonada and Mirik.
Yesterday, it was brought to Siliguri Don Bosco school at Jyotinagar near Siliguri.
“Usually, the pilgrims visit Turin to venerate the relics of Don Bosco but this is the first time that the relic is being taken to the people. The initiative to organise the world pilgrimage was taken by our rector major Pascal Chavez to commemorate the bi-centenary birthday celebrations of the saint in 2015. The casket will be taken back to Turi in 2015 after travelling to Don Bosco institutions across 131 countries,”said Father Mathew Joseph, the principal of Don Bosco School, Siliguri.
John Bosco, popularly known as Don Bosco, was born at Becchi near Turin in Italy on August 16, 1815. As a Catholic priest, he founded the Society of Salesians or the Salesians of Don Bosco with the help of 22 companions in 1859 with a mission to spread education across the world.
Father I.C. Jacob, who has been going around with the relic during its tour of Bengal, said around 10,000 people were present at the Don Bosco Church to venerate the relics yesterday.
According to the principal, the purpose of the pilgrimage is to “revive the spirit of Don Bosco” among young people.
“Don Bosco was a patron of the young people and always worked for their welfare by setting up schools and other educational institutions. The purpose of this pilgrimage is to reach out to these youngsters and revive the spirit of Don Bosco in them,” the principal said.