Notice: Undefined offset: 12 in /home/ on line 63
Don Bosco India -
Reserved Area

News 2014 � February

Join 360° view forum
Join 360° view forum
Printable View Print News   Mail to Friend Mail to Friend  Comment on News Mail to Antony EARATHARA


By Fr. Jose Parappully (INN)
View actual size | Download Photo
Kolkata, Feb. 28. .    (Turin, 24 Feb.)  On the third and last day of our pilgrimage - ''Pellegrinaggio Sui Luoghi Salesiani'' (24/2) we visited the church of St. John the Baptist and ''The Consolata''. Both have a great history and significance.
[Those who are interested only in news, might want to skip many of the paragraphs that describe the history.]

The Church of St. John the Baptist (built by Don Bosco) is in the vicinity of Porta Nuova - the old railway station in Turin. This is the place where migrant youth arrived searching for job. They were vulnerable to unscrupulous men and women looking for recruitment especially into the flesh trade that was quite rampant in that area (something that continues even today).

The young Don Bosco was very concerned about these vulnerable youth. He set up the Oratory of St. Aloysius (the name is very significant) on December 8, 1947 to give some protection and help to these youth. Later he also set up a school to train these youth in some trade.

The girls and young women were even more vulnerable and Don Bosco was concerned about them too. He looked for women collaborators. Sr. Louisa Clara, a Daughter of Charity from Savoy, began to work for the girls on the same lines as Don Bosco.  

When Savoy separated from Italy Louisa Clara was recalled by her congregation like all the other members of her congregation working in the area of new Italy. Clara refused to leave her work and founded a religious congregation of her own and continued her work for vulnerable women.

Later, Benedetta Savio, from the village of John Bosco, and with whom John was on very friendly terms, decided to join Don Bosco in his work.  Don Bosco planned to start a religious congregation for women with her as leader, even before he had considered Maria Mazzarello.

Don Bosco sent two Salesians to fetch her from Becchi and bring her to Porta Nuova. But that very day her married sister died and Benedetta decided to take care of her deprived nephews and nieces and stay back at Becchi.

Don Bosco's work at Porta Nuova flourished and he felt it important to set up a Church there and he named it after the ''young'' St. John the Evangelist, and patron saint of his great friend and benefactor, Pius the IX (his larger than life statue is prominent at the back of the church).

Pius IX also had great affection for this church named after his patron. He donated to this church the chalice offered to him on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his consecration as bishop.

The foundation stone of the Church of St. John the Baptist was laid on 14 August 1878 with the blessing of Msgr. Gastaldi. The construction was completed in 1882 and consecrated on 28 October by the Archbishop of Turin.

Don Bosco always had a great affection for this church he always referred to as the church of Giovannini (the young John.)  It is also one of the more beautiful churches in and around Turin.

The Salesian community at St. John Baptist today continues the work for the migrants, especially from Africa.

The Chaplaincy for the 10,000 strong Philippino community is headquartered here.

A number of saints have worked at St. John the Baptist. These include: Blessed Michael Rua, the first successor of Don Bosco; Saint Leonardo Murialdo; Blessed Luigi Guanella; Venerable Philip Rinaldi; Servant of God Vincent Cimatti; and Saint Callisto Caravario (martyred in China).

The Consolata

After a tour of the Church and the facilities and some refreshments we set off for the church of the Consolata (Comforter and Patron of Turin), walking distance from the Salesian Mother House at Valdocco.

The Church of the Consolata is considered the ''nerve centre of the spiritual life of the people of Turin.'' It is one of the most beautiful churches I have seen and the one I really liked. It provides a very intimate sacred space for the worshippers. The sanctuary is hexagonal in shape. The main altar is right in the centre and people can sit very close to it in all the six spaces around it.

Artistic works abound on the walls.

The body of St. Joseph Cafasso, Don Bosco's Confessor and Spiritual Director is kept in a casket below one of the side altars.

Don Bosco often used to walk into this Church to pray. It is here that he found ''consolation'' after the death of his mother, Mama Margaret.

Like Don Bosco, all the Bishops of Turin too often visited the church and sought consolation from the Mother of God.

The statue of ''The Consolata'' stands on a tall pillar in the piazza next to the Church.

The Consolata was the last stop on our ''pellegrinaggio.''

Holy Mass with the Bishop of Turin

The pilgrimage ended with Mass presided over by Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia, Archbishop of Turin. During his homily the Archbishop said that there will be an extraordinary exposure of the Shroud (burial cloth) of Jesus  (the patrimony of the Archdiocese of Turin) during 2015, the bicentenary (Jubilee) year of Don Bosco's birth, for the veneration of the thousands of pilgrims expected that year in the city of Turin.

The archbishop also said that Pope Francis will be visiting Turin during this Jubilee year.

After the Mass, most of us walked over to the Mother House for another sumptuous lunch.

After lunch, around 2.30 pm we got into our buses and returned to the Generalate in Rome reaching there a little before midnight.

Thus ended our glorious and very enriching ''Pellegrinaggio Sui Luoghi Salesiani'' (Pilgrimage to the Salesian Places) Turin, 22-24 February 2014.

I went to bed that night with a sense of gratitude and privilege,  with an increased love for and appreciation for Don Bosco, our Father and Founder, and the Salesians of that early era and proud to be a Salesian.

Deo Gratias!  And to Don Bosco!

- By Fr. Jose Parappully  (INN)



Salesian Province New Delhi Inaugurates 9th Provincial Chapter
Guwahati Province Celebrates 21st Provincial Chapter; Salesian Brother Moderates Provincial Chapter
Father Santiagu Installed as Provincial of Hyderabad; Dawns New Era of Change, Growth and Transformation
Northeast India Inaugurates Centenary Year of Don Bosco
Salesian Province of Tiruchy Concludes 8th Provincial E-Chapter
Rate this
Current Rating
News posted by

BIS is the information service of the Salesians of Don Bosco in South Asia.
The information available on the site is posted by the online registered Salesians in the South Asia Region and are approved by their respective Province BIS Coordinators.

This site is best viewed with Mozilla Firefox and/or Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 + at a minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768


Are you a friend of Don Bosco?

RSS Feeds RSS Feeds