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Young at Risk welcome Don Bosco their father and friend

By John Tharakan
Hyderabad, Sep. 8. To the sound of the blaring of trumpets, beating of drums, flashing of cameras and the bursting of crackers Don Bosco's relics reached the City of Progress, Pragathi Nagar, Ramanthapur on 7th September, Wednesday.
The children were overjoyed and shouted in glee. The little ones grew enthusiastic as Don Bosco's relics were lowered from the wagon right in the middle of the colony, with the townsfolk watching with curiosity and devotion. The devotees of Sri Ganesha, led by the colony president, accompanied us as moved in a simple procession passing the Ganesha pandal.
Pragathi Nagar is a new township 9 kilometres from Secunderabad. As the name indicates, it is a place of progress. Don Bosco Navajeevan, the rehabilitation centre for children from the street and former child labourers, has kept to the name and has changed the very horizon of this part of the city. People coming here don't expect to see anything more than a few sheds and are surprised to see a campus which according to them could house a University. Don Bosco is our midst today and tomorrow. He must be overjoyed that we follow him in many ways, including that we give the best for the children. The Seekers are now spending joyful moments with the immediate object of their Quest, Don Bosco their Father and Friend who will show them their meaning and way in life.

Excitement increased as a slight rain started pattering down on to the casket. Don Bosco's dream park was the venue of our choice for the veneration. With the rain threatening, we planned to change the venue. At the gate, we paused for a symbolic handing over of Don Bosco's Relics by Fr. Provincial to the Rector of the community. When the casket reached the venue, the place was stripped of all the carpets, chairs and decorations. Having faith in fair weather we kept to the dream park and reorganised ourselves.

The local MLA was one of the first to visit the venue and pay respects to Don Bosco. People from the nearby colony, and the different parishes and institutions kept coming. After the hullabaloo from the first rush of visitors had subsided, we settled down for a very prayerful gathering. Our children, for many of whom Don Bosco is their only father and mother, wanted to be near Don Bosco by all means. The local parish youth were present in strength. The Youth for Christ animated a programme for the boys. Salesian sisters and other groups of religious also participated.

A sudden downpour had all running. Don Bosco now found shelter right under the roof of the Salesian community, at the very centre of the community. Prayer groups took turns and kept vigil around Don Bosco with us till midnight.


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