PUNE, AUGUST 8, 2011: The waiting crowd broke out into a spontaneous applause as the vehicle bearing the casket with the Relic of Don Bosco approached the outskirts of the city of Pune on August 8, 2011 at 9.30 a.m. Hundreds of children in colourful school house-colours, waving flags, lined the roads and cheered enthusiastically, welcoming the Relic into their city. Fr. Anton D’Souza Rector and Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Parish, Yerwada, formally took over responsibility of the casket at the gates of De Nobili College, Nagar Road.
The casket was escorted by a motorcade comprising scouts and guides, youth groups, and a large number of parishioners, towards the parish. En route, the procession was enlivened with twelve skits performed by the Don Bosco High School children, under the supervision of their respective teachers and the overall guidance of the school principal Fr. Donald Fernandez.
When the motorcade reached the church gates, the casket was lowered from the vehicle, and the Relic was welcomed in typical Maharashtrian style with aarti and floral tributes. The Police Band, which was in attendance, struck a lively note, adding great festivity to the occasion. The excited crowd of children and devotees kept up their thunderous applause as the casket was solemnly carried into the church. Once inside, a meaningful inaugural prayer service commenced, praising the goodness of God made visible through the visit of the Relic. Thereafter, the faithful were given the opportunity to venerate the Relic.
At 12.00 noon, there was a solemn Eucharistic celebration for children from the different parishes of the city. Rt. Rev. Lourdes Daniel, Bishop of Nashik, was the principal celebrant and he was joined at the altar by a large number of priests. The Don Bosco High Schools choir charmed the gathering with their singing and all the children participated wholeheartedly in this well animated Eucharist. In his homily, the Bishop stressed that Don Bosco – following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ – was a great friend of young persons. His mother had a special influence on him, and this was seen in the very simple life he lived. His love, particularly for the young and the underprivileged, won him the affection of everyone.
The celebrations at Pune will continue all through the day and the whole of tomorrow. Having the Relic of Don Bosco in our midst is a rare privilege and we enjoying every moment of it!