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Fatima Campus, Kodambakkam welcomes Don Bosco Relic with joy and devotion

By Rev. Sr. Alphonse Yetukuri FMA
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Chennai, Nov. 5. Sr. Soosai Magnificat FMA, Provincial of Chennai FMA Province, received the relic together with her Councillors. The relic casket was given a rousing welcome by the school students and sisters. Fr. Raphael Jeyapalan SDB, Provincial, celebrated the Eucharist. A well organized night vigil helped thousands to venerate the relic.
At 12.00 Noon, on November 02, 2011, Fatima School Campus was all decked in a colourful array of banners, placards, flags, and hoardings waiting for the historic moment. At 1.45 p.m. crossing the Kodambakkam flyover, the vehicle containing the urn of Don Bosco wound its way to the left and accompanied by the rally of students on bicycles, motor bikes and cars made a solemn procession along the 5th cross street amidst joyful slogans 'Long Live Don Bosco', 'We Love You Don Bosco'.

The glorious welcome at the main entrance of the campus was a grand spectacle with the school band playing, childen holding colourful balloons, and a guard of honour by the guide company, and a thunderous applause from every one - parents, pupils, children, teachers, past pupils. The presence of Sr. Magnificat, the FMA Provincail, and Provincial Councillors together with a large number of sisters from the various houses of the Province and the accompaniment of students holding colourful umbrellas with the Captains leading the procession added grace and colour to the event.

Near the auditorium, the urn was received by Mother Provincial and all the sisters while the Parish Priest of the Fatima Parish Rev. Fr. Eucharist, blessed the urn with a short, fervent and spontaneous prayer. The procession then made its way to the entrance of the auditorium with the Fatima students dancing, all dressed in colourful costumes. In the auditorium a large number of students, parents, friends, well wishers, sisters, students from the nearby schools awaited the relic of Don Bosco.

A floral homage was paid to the urn by the School captains, the Provincial, the Superior, the Principal, and the representatives of the Educative Community - the staff , the students, past pupils, parents, VIDES, Oratorians, Craft Centre students, Workers and House Staff. With the distinguished guests on the dais, the song 'All hail to You Don Bosco' was sung in unison by all those present inside the auditorium.

The Principal Sr. Christina gave a rousing welcome to Don Bosco, the maker of the day and all those present to honour his 'relic'. The school children performed cultural items in groups, with colourful costumes paying homage to the 'relic' of Don Bosco. There was a short depiction of the Salesian Garden - Salesian Saints surrounding Don Bosco- besides the children coming to recite songs, poems and verses in honor of the saint.

Sr. Magnificat Soosai, the Provincial, addressed the audience and said that the coming of Don Bosco amidst us was to sanctify and accompany us along life's journey. Highlighting the educative method of Don Bosco, she stressed on the exhortation of Don Bosco ''It is not enough to love the young but make them feel they are loved.

The Guests on the dais were honored with mementoes. The theme songs and dances followed and the vote of thanks was proposed by Sr. Superior of Fatima Convent, Sr. Alphonsa Mary R. The interactive sessions of Fr. Joseph Jeyaraj and Fr. Deva Joe, on the topics Don Bosco the Friend and Father of the Young and Don Bosco, the Educator were vibrant with the lively participation of the students.

At 5.30 p.m. Rev. Fr. Jeyapalan Rapheal concelebrated the Holy Eucharist and in his homily highlighted the glory of the Saint as a miracle worker and drew our attention to the motto of Don Bosco ''Give me souls and take away the rest''. The Mass was rendered solemn with the rendition of the choir and the fervent participation of over five thousand faithful gathered in the auditorium. The 'hand mime' - a light and sound show on the 'right hand' of Don Bosco was presented by Std. XI students to honour Don Bosco.

Rev. Fr. Rufus conducted the Reconciliation Service highlighting the importance Don Bosco gave to the Sacrament of Confession in ones spiritual life. Confessors were made available for administering the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The people continued to flow in through the barricades in an orderly manner - planned , arranged and managed very well with the help of the volunteers from the Parents of the School Children, Parish Youth, Salesian cooperators, VIDES and the personnel from the department of Police. The number of those who came in to honour the saint would easily have crossed over a lakh.

The vigil continued throughout the night with songs, prayers, readings, rosaries, film clippings from the life of Don Bosco and with special moments of prayer set aside for the Salesian Sisters. At 5.45 on the 3rd morning the auditorium was once again full to participate in the Holy Eucharist concelebrated by Fr. K.J. Louis s.d.b. At the end of the Eucharist, the Salesian Sisters gathered around the casket of Don Bosco and with their hands extended pledged themselves to be faithful to the exhortations of Don Bosco to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. The solemn finale was the song - the FMA Anthem - 'Oh! Qual Sorte, siamo figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice, Salesiane di Don Bosco...' At 7.00 a,m, we bid fare well to Don Bosco imploring his blessings again and again on us, on all the youth entrusted to our care and all the members of our educating communities.


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