MATUNGA, AUGUST 14, 2011: Down the years, the Shrine of Don Bosco’s Madonna at Matunga, has witnessed many a breathtaking moment. From the visit of Pope Paul VI in 1964 to the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2007, for which even the Rector Major was present – you would have thought that the Shrine had seen it all. But, no… the arrival of the Casket with the Relic of Don Bosco far surpassed these past glories. To use a popular phrase, this event was in a class of its own!
By 5.00 p.m. on Saturday, August 13, the entire road from St. Joseph’s Wadala to Don Bosco Matunga was lined with students, chattering excitedly, restlessly looking down the road, awaiting that magical moment when the Relic of Don Bosco would arrive. At precisely 5.50 p.m., led by a motorcade of flag waving past pupils and an ensemble of spirited drummers, the procession accompanying the Relic arrived at the gates of the Shrine. The students lined up on the road, had by now broken out into a rapturous applause. Amidst the din, Fr. Ian Doulton announced over the public-address system: “The casket has arrived, Don Bosco is among us!”
The Eucharistic celebration then commenced, with Cardinal Gracias as the principal celebrant. In his homily, the Cardinal focused on Don Bosco who was a shepherd of the young, a devotee of Our Blessed Lady, and a disciple of Jesus. The Cardinal called on the gathering to emulate these qualities in their own life. “Young people today are facing a variety of problems and pressures. We must learn from Don Bosco how to care for these our youngsters, beginning from the children in our own families,” pointed out Cardinal Gracias. “To live a good Christian life, we have to be close disciples of Jesus, and great lovers of Our Lady, like Don Bosco,” the Cardinal added. The renowned Stop Gaps Choir led the singing during the Eucharist, adding to the splendor and solemnity of the occasion. After the Eucharistic celebration, Cardinal Gracias released a new music album of hymns on Don Bosco, inaugurated the exhibition on the life of the Saint, and also declared open the veneration of the Relic.
Concluding the evening of festivities, the Rector of the Shrine Fr. Edwin D’Souza thanked the huge number of devotees present for their admirable allegiance towards the Shrine. “You come ever so often to pray in this Shrine, and I am confident that you always receive the graces you seek. Trust in Our Blessed Mother, trust in Don Bosco and you will see miracles happen,” said Fr. D’Souza. Ending his speech on a high note, Fr. D’Souza exclaimed: “Don Bosco is among us, let us celebrate!” Not just Matunga, the whole of Mumbai is celebrating!