BARODA, AUGUST 6, 2011: The crowds kept pouring in endlessly right from 7.00 a.m. onwards, on August 5, the second day of the Relic’s stay at Don Bosco Parish, Baroda. They came in buses, trucks, tempos and jeeps… not only from our Salesian houses, but from other schools and parishes all over Gujarat. They came, they saw, and they were conquered by the aura of Don Bosco’s presence in Baroda!
The highlight of the day was the evening Mass, concelebrated by three Bishops—Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes of Gandhinagar, Bishop Godfrey de Rosario of Baroda and Bishop Thomas Macwan of Ahmedabad—with thirty-four priests in attendance. The principal celebrant, Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes gave an inspiring bilingual homily, while the Mass was well animated by the Salesian Sisters. The youth choir, under the direction of Joy Fernandes, lifted the hearts of the entire assembly with its stirring rendition of well known hymns in Hindi, Gujarati and English.
The closing ceremony at 9.00 p.m. was an emotional moment. A parishioner read out a farewell address to Don Bosco, after which the parish council came forward and took a pledge. The parish priest Fr. Kenneth Pereira gave a vote of thanks, and finally the Provincial Fr. Michael Fernandes gave the blessing of Don Bosco to all those who were present, before the casket was finally put back into the vehicle as the crowd broke out into the well known hymn, ‘Raise your voices’. The feeling of euphoria in the assembly ran high, and there were enthusiastic shouts of ‘Bosco! Bosco!’ even as the vehicle rolled out of the church premises.
We are already beginning to feel the beneficial effects of Don Bosco’s presence with us for the past two days: a heightened sense of belonging towards the parish among all the parishioners, and a feeling of legitimate pride in being heirs of Don Bosco’s legacy. The Salesians of Gujarat in general are delighted to see how the visit of Don Bosco’s relic has stirred up among their educands a love and enthusiasm for Don Bosco, and among themselves, a rededication to his mission to the young and the less privileged!