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By Fr. Samuel Mondol, SDB
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Kolkata, Jul. 11. Lal Kutti Rail Crossing in Azimganj, West Bengal has become a historic place in Salesian annals.  Don Bosco walked with boarding children, students, past pupils, religious and local residents, all the way to Savio Bhavan, from 6.00 PM to 7.00 PM, on 8th July, 2011 amidst jubilant chorus ''Don Bosco we love you''.
The grown up Savios along with all the institutional faithful gave a rousing welcome to Don Bosco in Savio campus, as the evening shadows lingered on.  ''It is a very emotional moment for us. We have Don Bosco with us,'' said Fr. Samuel Mondol, the rector of Savio Bhavan.  Arati, bouquets, hymns and symbolic gestures enveloped Don Bosco, as he blessed his children. The neighbours too were on their feet, giving pronam to the saint, whom they heard so much about.

A solemn Mass was celebrated in Savio Bhavan at 7.30 PM.  Fr. Thomas Ellicherail, the provincial highlighted the centrality of young people in the life of Don Bosco and the great responsibility we have today, to make them the focal point of our apostolate. Later, the aspirants kept Don Bosco awake, till dawn dispelled the shadows of night.

By the time the cock crew on 9th July, the inmates of Don Bosco Welfare Centre, had already made a human chain from their boarding to Savio Bhavan. After the reception, the boarders honoured Don Bosco in groups, demonstrating their love and affection for their Father.

At 9.00 AM the boys accompanied Don Bosco to their school for public homage.  Fr. Suren Hasda, the headmaster welcomed everyone. Fr. Provincial in his brief speech highlighted the contribution of Don Bosco School, Azimganj to the education of youth in Murshidabad.  Amidst prayer dances and Bosco hymns, the children, parents and local people gave dobo (respect) to Don Bosco.

Immediately after the public function, Don Bosco moved to his home, the Church dedicated to him. The women dancers were at their best, ushering in Don Bosco. The solemn Mass was presided over by Fr. Provincial.  Fr. Shanti Soren, the parish priest thanked the faithful for their devotional participation, and the past pupil volunteers for their meticulous organization.

Homage to Don Bosco continued after the Mass. Children from the neighbouring schools stepped inside the church to have a glimpse of the saint. Well, at 2.00 PM as the motorcade awaited him, Don Bosco had no option but to leave for Berhampore.

The Salesian Communities at Azimganj along with Sisters of Charity, the teachers, catechists, staff members and the beneficiaries of the institutions toiled hard to make Don Bosco feel at home.  

Memories of Don Bosco's visit will linger on not only in medals, holy pictures, leaflets, banners or in digital format, but in thousands of human hearts in Azimganj, beating in love and gratitude to him!
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