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Unusual Church Bells at Kalyani - DB Comes Home

By Fr. Raymond Tudu, SDB
Fr. Thomas Peechat leading the procession to Kalyani Church
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Kolkata, Jul. 14. The month long preparation for the arrival of Don Bosco at Kalyani was not in vain. Don Bosco came home to St. John Bosco Shrine, Kalyani on 12th July, 2011 and blessed his people. He paused a while at Don Bosco Vidyaniketan, once a training ground of his men in shirt sleeves. Earlier in the day, he stopped at Ranaghat, on his way from Krishnagar to Bandel via Kalyani.
While Don Bosco was on his way from Krishnagar, the people were already flocking to the Church at Ranaghat in the early hours of the morning. By the time he arrived, the church was packed.

A solemn Eucharist was celebrated by Rt. Rev. Joseph Gomes, the bishop of Krishnagar Diocese along with several other concelebrants including Fr. David Mondol and Fr. Peter Gomes, who felt elated as Don Bosco came close to their homes.

The hour long Eucharist was interspersed with the blessing of the statue of Don Bosco by Fr. Thomas Ellicherail, the provincial of INC. The Religious and the faithful sang and praised Don Bosco whose name has been so closely associated with them, through the Salesians who ministered in the Church at Ranaghat, for many years.

After the Eucharist, long lines were seen, each one awaiting their turn to pay homage to Don Bosco. There was sufficient time to see him, touch him and speak to him to their hearts content. Later, the Sisters of Mary Immaculate received Don Bosco in their home, with sisterly affection.

The response of everyone including that of Fr. Samuel Sarkar, Fr. Bhubon Sarkar and Fr. Rony Salosoy the priests of the parish, was overwhelming. Fr. Samuel the parish priest said, ''Don Bosco was earlier a diocesan priest. He is most welcome to his home.''  Despite a working day, around 2000 faithful filled the church in the early hours of the morning!

Don Bosco had to move on. At 9.00 AM, as Fr. MC Joseph, the chief organizer of the tour gave the go signal, the vehicles sped away to Kalyani, trying to balance on National Highway 34.

On reaching Kalyani More, Don Bosco was accompanied by twenty two youngsters from Kalyani parish, dressed in scout uniforms, peddling forward on cycles, with placards affixed on them, through a two kilometer route, shouting ''Viva, viva Don Bosco, We love you Don Bosco'' till they reached the Gayeshpur check post, where their comrades and a throng joined them. After the arati which was followed by a traditional dance, Don Bosco was led to Vidyaniketan, presently a province level Don Bosco Youth Animation Centre (DBYAC).

On reaching DBYAC Don Bosco was well received by the community members namely, Fr. Soroj Mullick the rector, Fr. Thomas Peechat the parish priest, Br. Mani, Br. Sushanto, Fr. Tomy Mathew, Fr. Mark Mondol and Fr. Raymond Tudu.  Prayers were offered, hymns were sung and blessings sought. Floral tributes were paid by the community members and other Salesian Family members namely, the FMAs and the SMIs.

The procession resumed on the main road to the Church with Kirtans and a vibrant dance. On reaching the entrance of the Church, Fr. Thomas Peechat led Don Bosco to the Church. In the name of the parish community, Don Bosco was welcomed with sweet words by a ten year old child. There was a graceful welcome dance by the Auxilium Convent girls and an arati performed by the Ashalayam children.

Public homage was rendered to Don Bosco from 11.30 AM to 12.00 NN, after which the various parish groups spent time with Don Bosco. A solemn Eucharist was celebrated at 3.00 PM presided by Fr. Thomas Ellicherail, with a homily preached by Fr. Soroj Mullick. The Eucharist concluded with the Blessing of Mary Help of Christians.

Later, Don Bosco was led to the Auxilium Convent gate, from where he blessed the FMA community and works there. As Don Bosco got into his carriage, one of the Catholics commented, ''What a graceful face; I feel so happy to have met Don Bosco. This is one of the best moments of my life.''

Truly, the visit of Don Bosco moved everyone with greater fervor as all of them were recharged with enthusiasm, after what they saw and heard.  Don Bosco continues to live in Kalyani, in his shrine, in little hearts, in the elderly and especially in the youngsters who wholeheartedly welcomed him!
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