Monday, August 8, 2011


Briston Britto sdb
AHMEDNAGAR, AUGUST 8, 2011: The excitement in the air was palpable as people waited with bated breath for the arrival of the Relic of Don Bosco, on Sunday, August 7, 2011. The timing of this visit could not have been better – Don Bosco was visiting Ahmednagar in the Silver Jubilee year of Salesian presence in this region. Months of planning and preparation had preceded this event, and now the moment had finally arrived! At precisely 9.00 a.m., the motorcade escorting the vehicle that carried the casket approached St. Anne’s Parish, where a massive crowd of devotees had already assembled. Children from five schools marched smartly in front of the vehicle, accompanied by the military band that was in attendance. As the casket was lowered from the vehicle, the crowd surged forward, vying with one another to catch the first glimpse of the Relic of this great saint.
The casket was carried into the parish church by members of the Salesian Family. The entire church had been exquisitely decorated for the occasion, while a shamiana had been erected in the parish compound to accommodate all the devotees. The Parish Priest Fr. Thomas D’Costa incensed the Relic after which an aarti was performed. Immediately after this, the devotees began filing past the casket, praying to Don Bosco for all their needs. Pointing to the poster which read, ‘Don Bosco Among Us’, a parishioner excitedly remarked: “It is happening, Don Bosco is actually among us in Ahmednagar!”

At 12.00 noon the Eucharist was celebrated by Rt. Rev. Edwin Colaco, Bishop of Aurangabad, with the other priests concelebrating. The Don Bosco Savedi choir, under the able guidance of their Parish Priest Fr. Augustine Pereira, added to the solemnity of the occasion. The people paid rapt attention as the Bishop spoke eloquently on the qualities of Don Bosco during the homily. In the afternoon, Fr. Allwyn Misquitta, who is accompanying the Relic all through its pilgrimage in the Mumbai Province, animated a Charismatic prayer session which climaxed with a ‘healing service’.
The Eucharistic celebration at 6.30 p.m. had Rt. Rev. Lourdes Daniel, Bishop of Nashik, as the principal celebrant. The St. Anne’s parish choir was in attendance, while the offertory procession was animated by the mahila mandals. Being ‘Vianney Sunday’, the Bishop focused on the theme of priesthood, during the celebration. After the Eucharist, a felicitation programme was held for the Bishop and the other priests who were present.
The Youth Group of St. John’s Bhingar, under the guidance of their Parish Priest Fr. Michael Bansode, serenaded the Relic, and paid homage to Don Bosco through song and music. The devotees spent much time just sitting around, enjoying the presence of Don Bosco and placing all their petitions before him. After the public veneration closed at 9.30 p.m., an all-night prayer vigil was held at Auxilium Convent, Savedi. The Salesians and people of Ahmednagar will always cherish the memories of this day – a day when Don Bosco was truly among us!

No comments: