RelicTours: Sts Don Bosco UPDATED

Our friend Fr. Steve, who is a Salesian priest informs us that the relics of Don Bosco, founder of the Salesian Order will be making a world tour!

In the tradition of pilgrimage, the relics of St. John Bosco are being carried into the towns and villages, neighborhoods and centers where the Gospel is announced among the young and the poor today. This pilgrim journey through 130 nations began on January 31, 2009, the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the Salesian Congregation. It prepares us for the 2010 celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Don Bosco’s birth near Turin, Italy on August 16, 1815. For more information on the tour please click the Don Bosco Among Us site.

Deacon Greg gives details:

“. . . the bones and tissues of the right hand and arm of the 19th-century Italian saint have been placed within a wax replica of St. John Bosco’s body, which is being displayed in a glass box mounted on a large wood and metal cart.

The display — weighing more than 1,800 pounds and measuring approximately 8 feet long, 3 feet wide and 4 feet tall — has been transported around the world by plane and in specially designed and built trucks.”

But is it biblical? Is this just another weird Catholic tradition? Yes. No. Remember the hemorrhagic woman who touched only the tassel of Jesus’ cloak. Also:

From the very beginning, some Christians believed that miracles could be linked to these bits of bones, strands of hair or items of clothing, notes Robert Garrity, aCatholic chaplain and adjunct professor of theology at Ave Maria University in Florida.

“Take a look at Acts of the Apos-tles 19:12 where a handkerchief touching St. Paul was said to provide healing for people who were sick,” Garrity says. “And there are other passages as well” – including some in the Old Testament.

In 2 Kings 13, for example, a dead man returns to life after his corpse came in contact with the bones of the prophet Elisha. After the rise of Christianity, sick people sought similar miracles, drawing near to relics and praying for divine healing.

So, a handkerchief that had touched St. Paul’s person would be what we call a “second class relic” – something that a saint or holy person had possessed, worn, used. I am fortunate to posses a second-class relic of St. Philip Neri that happened to come my way just as he became my patron for 2010; it is a small bit of fabric from one of his robes:

Not a great photo, sorry. The relic remains on my oratory, reminding me each day of what St. Philip has to teach me, if I only ask for his companionship, prayers and tutelage.

Also, those in the New York area who have a devotion to the seer and Visitation nun St. Margaret Mary Alacoque will be able to visit her first-class relics within the Diocese of Rockville Centre:

St. Margaret Mary, a 17th century French mystic, promoted the devotion to the heart of Jesus and called for Catholics to receive the Eucharist on the first Friday of every month as reparation for sins.

Check the links for schedules.

UPDATE: And consider John the Baptist

The Crying Out of Flesh and God

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • Joseph

    St. John Vianney’s heart just made a stop at St. John Vianney Parish here in Walnut Creek, CA a week or so ago – the mass and veneration were well attended. As the line of people who had come to pray for their intentions before the saint’s heart wound out the church’s door, I had to wonder what this simple act of devotion looked like to anybody other than a Catholic. That you’d take a special trip to get down on your knees in front of the actual, physical heart of a man who died over a century ago to ask for the saint’s intercession for your special needs (and fire off a request that he intercede for all our parish priests) – well, that got to look a little weird, to say the least.

    But it seemed a perfectly natural thing to do.

    St. John Bosco’s relic will be passing through in a few weeks. My son chose Bosco as his confirmation saint. Our family will be there, asking him to keep an eye out for our son during his first year as college – again, it seems a perfectly natural thing to do.

  • Bender’s Cheerleader

    Relics are wonderful vehicles to grace and I could tell you stories of their intecessory power.

    I have a second degree relic of St. Peregrine, and a couple other relics of The Little Flower, St.Therese of Lisieux, and St. Gerard Majella.

    Yet another reason to be profoundly grateful to be Catholic~

  • Ellen

    I go to a chapel where the priests have lots of relics. Recently they got a relic of the Carmelite martyr Titus Bransdma who was killed at Dachau. It’s a piece of one of his hats.
    They have one of St. Francis Xavier’s stoles and many many more.

  • Andrew B

    I was vacationing in St. Augustine, Florida recently and had an unexpected encounter with the power of relics. I was looking for an early morning cup of coffee when, in passing a small Orthodox shrine, I saw that the outside walls had been desecrated with satanic images written in blood. I rustled up some bleach and a rag, scrubbed them off, and got my coffee.

    Later that day, I stopped in at the shrine to let them know what had been done. The woman in charge came out to meet me, wearing a sad smile. “Its the relics”, she said.

    I didn’t know what she meant, so she enlightened me: the shrine had just received a donation of a reliquary, originally in the hands of the Vatican, which had been given to the Orthodox Church some years ago. “We expected something like this”, the woman continued. “So much good will always attract evil.”

    She then showed me back to the relics, a small gold box with many tiny techas inside. And what a line-up! Peter and Paul, Nicholas, John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa! All the heavy hitters of Byzantium and more.

    Yep, I can see why the local satanists feel the need to act out. Good luck with that!

  • http://n/a Tait Ransom

    Every time I see the name, I recall a dear friend’s dad telling us “St. John Bosco … the patron saint of chocolate milk.”

  • Sr. Susan Marie

    RE: St. Margaret Mary’s relics:

    After their pilgrimage through the Rockville Center Diocese, St. Margaret Mary’s relics will be coming to our Visitation Monastery in Brooklyn, on Tuesday August 24th, 2010 from 1PM-7PM.
    Fr. Eduoard Marot and Mrs. Alicia Beauvisage
    will be present to share testimonies on the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
    For information, call 718 745 5151.
    God bless!

  • Sr. Susan Marie

    Re:relics of St. Margaret Mary

    After the pilgrimage through Rockville Center, the relics of St. Margaret Mary will come to the Visitation Monastery in Brooklyn on Tuesday August 24th, 2010 from 1PM-7PM to be reverenced by the public.
    It is the 400th anniversary of the Visitation Order and a plenary indulgence can be gained when worshipping at the Monastery.
    For information about the relics’ visit, call 718 745 5151.