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Don Bosco in the Land of the Pagodas
By Lucas Naw
Abroad, May. 9. Myanmar...In preparation for the 2015 celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Don Bosco's birth near Turin, Italy on August 16, 1815, the pilgrim journey of the relics of St. John Bosco started from 11th April 2011 in the Vice- Province of Myanmar, the land to which Don Bosco had a strong desire to come as a missionary.
As the start of the pilgrimage, the Relic of the Father and Teacher of Youth was carried to Namtu, the oldest Salesian presence in the diocese of Lashio to be venerated by the faithful of the place. On 17th April, the Relic came to the Prenovitiate in Thibaw. To this celebration of the visit of Don Bosco's Relic in the Thibaw Prenovitiate, Bishop Philip Za Hawng (Bishop of Lashio) accompanied by some of his priests and youth from the diocese came to pay tribute to the Friend of Youth.

From the Thibaw Prenovitiate, the pilgrimage of the Relic-statue of St. John Bosco arrived at Don Bosco Philosophate, in Pyin Oo Lwin at 3: 30 p.m on 18th April. As the young confreres were busy in preparation for the coming of their Father and Founder's Relic and the pilgrims were on their way to Don Bosco Philosophate there was a sudden and unexpected heavy down pour of rains. With the troublesome rain the clerics were sad as their well-decorated outdoor stage for Eucharistic celebration and drama performance in honor of the Saint got wet through. However, just half an hour before the arrival of DB Relic Tour, the rain stopped and the pleasant weather presented itself through the evening. One of the clerics exclaimed: ''Don Bosco could promise rain and he can stop it, too when necessary''.

The Relic of Don Bosco was given a warm welcome with flute band played by the young confreres while more than 350 people including some SDBs, FMAs, Past pupils and the Faithful of the town were enthusiastically and devotedly awaiting along the road side each one waving the flags of DB. The veneration ceremony was conducted by Fr. Francis Dass, Rector of Don Bosco Philosophate with the talk on ''Don Bosco and Youth'' given by Fr. Bosco Aung Zaw Win. In his speech he related that ''even though Johny Bosco himself was poor and needy, he managed to help for the needs of many of the young people of his time. We all are called to this same apostolate''.

Then, the Holy Mass began at 5:30 p.m in honor of Saint John Bosco. It was presided over by Fr. Francis Dass who shared a few thoughts on ''Don Bosco and the Eucharist''. In his homily he invited the believers to love and have a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament ever as Don Bosco had.

After the Eucharistic celebration, dinner was served to all who came to pray and pay their respects to the Relic of Don Bosco. There was a stage performance after the meal. The Brothers staged a drama on Youth Apostolate of Don Bosco. Other items followed. To make Don Bosco better known to the people of the golden Land of Myanmar, Salesians took full advantage of this occasion to distribute pictures of DB, booklests, film on the life of the Saint, T-shirts and key-rings with 'we love DB' tags.

The next day-19th. April, the Relic was carried to the Romero Novitiate of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) in Pyin- Oo-Lwin. The following day - 20th April, the Relic of St. John Bosco proceeded to Anisakan to which many people came to visit the Relic and to pray to the Father of Youth. On 27th April, the Relic stopped in Mandalay for an evening in Lafon's church. The next day - 28th. April, there was a solemn High Mass and veneration by a huge crowd of parishioners from all over Mandalay. The Relic finally left for Yangon by car at about 10 a.m.


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