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Beyond Expectations: INP


By Ralin De Souza
Fr Maxim instructing the crowds to follow a disciplined order
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Panjim, Aug. 26. As the relic of Don Bosco moves on ahead to the province of Bangalore (INK), there is one aspect of this whole experience with Don Bosco that has left Salesians and the pilgrims thinking.
As the relic of Don Bosco moves on ahead to the province of Bangalore (INK), there is one aspect of this whole experience with Don Bosco that has left Salesians and the pilgrims thinking. Almost in every venue where the relic was placed, the Salesians past-pupils as well as volunteers alike made elaborate plans for a set crowd as per the experience in the past. In every place the turn-over of the pilgrims has crossed 2 or 3 times over. The veneration to Don Bosco in the Konkan province has initiated a consciousness to a new simple and joyful path to sanctity.
Don Bosco Oros had make estimate plans for a crowd of around two thousand or a little more each day, when over five thousand turned up. The rally from Oros to Panjim had crowds spontaneously  gathered along the way for as long as 10 kms stretch. In Panjim, there were over three thousand on day one for the inaugural Eucharist celebrated by the bishop. The whole day long from 6.30 am to 11pm the pilgrims kept pouring in continuously. Besides Christians, many Hindus, Muslims and those of other faith were present to venerate the relics. One could easily estimate an approximate of fifty or sixty thousand a day.
The short stint at St Andrews parish, had an estimate of three thousand pilgrims. Numerous were around the road welcoming the saint in their midst.
Don Bosco Fatorda, in the south of Goa, a predominantly  catholic region of Goa, had a turnout of over seven thousand pilgrims on the first day. The salesian community, the pastpupils and volunteers were found frantically making alternate plans for the movement of pilgrims. In all these venues the police and security arrangement and support by local police was really encouraging.
Moving in to Karnataka, Fr Felix serrao, Rector of Don Bosco Sirsi, said that the response of the pilgrims as been twice over than what was expected. Even the small stopover at Trasi, where earlier was planned just a stop for the night, without the relics kept for public veneration, had over a thousand pilgrims gathering from all the neighbourhood villages. The final stopover in Shirva had a similar enthusiasm and excitement with numerous groups organising their own transport an spending moments of prayer before the relic of Don Bosco.
Over 100 years of Salesian presence in India, has made the Salesian Charism and the spirit of Don Bosco, a plausible and effective path to holiness. Youth is the focus of Don Bosco and it still remains a priority in all Salesian settings. There have been countless people who have been educated through Salesian institutions and owe their direction in life to the values learnt in a Salesian Institute. The excitement and enthusiasm was obvious on the faces and cooperation extended. May this same spirit of enthusiasm re-enkindle the passion for the mission in every Salesian heart!
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