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Don Bosco Relic Officially Welcomed at Imphal

By Fr. Tarcisius Toppo
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Dimapur, May. 1. The casket of Don Bosco was given the official welcome to the Province of Dimapur on 1 May at Imphal, in the state of Manipur. The Alumni and friends of Don Bosco along with confreres were waiting at Keithelmanbi about 15 kms away from Imphal to bring in procession with motorcade. It was a solemn entry to the capital city from the hills of Manipur. Announcements in local languages explaining the importance of the rally made the public participate in the solemn welcome. The people welcomed Don Bosco, the father and friend of the young amidst band, dances and songs.
The welcome ceremony included a solemn celebration of the Holy Eucharist, presided over by Fr. James Poonthuruthil, Provincial of Dimapur, joined many priests and religious and around 2500 people. Fr. Tomy, Vicar General of Arch diocese, Rev Fr. Dominic TS , Chancellor of the arch diocese also joined in the celebration of the Eucharist.

Among the dignitaries present for the occasion were Shri. Purno Sangma, former Speaker of the Lok Sabha and former Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Shri Shyam Kumar MLA.  The former speaker said that he was privileged to be present for the occasion. He acknowledged the role that Don Bosco through his sons has played in his life in making him what he is today. He said that he lost his father early and was a school drop-out. He further noted that, in 1959, two Salesians Frs. Anthony Bucceri and Bussolin came to his village and picked him up, brought him to Don Bosco School and gave him free education up to law and masters. He pointed out that he was through and through salesian without the habit. He stressed the point that Don Bosco loved youth, was a friend of youth and always was with the youth, and that same Don Bosco was present with them.

Fr. Joseph Chemaprathy, Rector of Don Bosco, Imphal welcomed the distinguished guests, friends and well-wishers of Don Bosco. Fr. Provincial, in his speech, highlighted the call to holiness and called upon those present to choose holiness as their way of life following the footsteps of Don Bosco. Saint is someone through whom light of Christ shines, he noted. He encouraged the people saying that they are all saints in the making and said that Don Bosco was a happy saint.

It may be noted that after its arrival on 29 April, and after a halt of a night at Littler Flower School, Imphal, the Relic of Don Bosco made a trip to the hill district of Tamenglong, in the state of Manipur. The Relic made several halts on the way - at Khongsang, at Awangkhul - and finally reached Don Bosco School, Tamenglong where it was given a solemn welcome, with a night's vigil before it made the journey back to Imphal the next day.
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