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Lourdes Shrine, Perambur, pays tribute to the relic
By Jerusha Aranha
Chennai, Nov. 18. Thousands of parishioners of Lourdes Shrine accorded an  colourful welcome for the casket containing the relic of Don Bosco as it arrived here on 16th November. Fr. Joe Andrew, the parish priest, and the Salesian community received the casket. A Religious cultural programme that followed enlightened the faithful about the life and holiness of Don Bosco.
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The excitement of the people was palpable as they waited with bated breath for the arrival of the relic of Don Bosco, on the 16th of November 2011. The casket was lowered from the vehicle amidst fireworks and music. A short moment of prayer was held, during which the priests prayed that the pilgrims who would visit the relic may grow spiritually through the intercession of the Saint. The casket containing the relic of Don Bosco, was escorted by children waving flags and strewing flowers along the way, the band playing sweet melodies, the Cross bearer, altar boys with candles, and religious associations like the Legion of Mary, Madha Sabai, Vincent De PaulSociety, Divine Mercy and Charismatic groups, and the association of Salesian Cooperators holding their respective banners, and BCC units holding placards with the image of Don Bosco, and the priests, as the procession moved to the shrine stage. The venue was already crowded with devotees who were restlessly waiting for their opportunity to pay homage to the sacred casket bearing the relic.

After the traditional Arathi, performed by the Legion of Mary and the welcome speeches by Fr. Jayapalan SDB, the Provincial, and Rev Fr Joe Andrew, rector and parish priest of the shrine, the cultural events began with full gusto. As an expression of their love for Don Bosco, little children offered flowers at the casket. Then the children of Lourdes School sang a beautiful song titled ''Don Bosco'', while this song was sung the chief guests, Fr Provincial, Vice Provincial, Mother General, Provincial of St. Anne's Provinciliate, Sponsors, including Mr. Rajarathinam, Madha Studios, Sisters and Priests of various congregations paid floral tributes to the relic. While the program was going on, a continuous line of devotees kept coming up to the casket; it was a moving sight to see thousands of people beding down, touching the casket, whispering a silent prayers to the saint with all the fervour of their hearts.

This was followed by a cultural program entitled ''Who Is Don Bosco''. It began with a dance, then a small skit, thereafter a play 'Jesus and Children' and ended with a traditional dance known as Kolattam by the children of Lourdes Matriculation School. The second item was a dance and play titled ''Dream from the Dreamer'' by the children of Don Bosco primary school depticting Don Bosco's life mission. The third item was an act titled ''Bartholomew Garelli'' and a dance from the song ''Elahzinen Nee'' which brought out a beautiful message of Don Bosco - ''It's enough that you are young for me to love you and give my life for you.'' This was performed by the Youth and Semi Borders of the parish. The fourth item was a dance titled ''Celebrate'' performed by the students of St Joseph's Hr Sec School. The cultural program ended with a dance titled 'Endrendrum' indicating that we should always follow in the footsteps of Don Bosco. This was performed by the students of Lourdes School, Perambur. After the public veneration ended at 10 p.m., a bilingual all-night prayer vigil was conducted.

The next day the People continued to pay homage and masses were solemnized every hour by different schools of the locality. It lasted till 7.45 p.m. In the evening, the Bishop of Vellore, Most. Rev. Soundararaj Periyanayagam SDB, solemnized the event with a Holy Eucharist and the parishioners of Lourdes Shrine gave farewell to Don Bosco with candle-light procession and a prayerful tribute song by the Lourdes H.S. School students.

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