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Relics of Don Bosco to begin tour of Britain

By on Friday, 4 January 2013

The wax figure of Don Bosco contains the saint’s relics and is carried in a glass casket

The wax figure of Don Bosco contains the saint’s relics and is carried in a glass casket

The relics of Don Bosco arrive in Britain today, fulfilling the saint’s wish to visit the country.

St John Bosco, who founded the Salesian order, felt a calling early in life to visit England, but was too busy helping children in his native Piedmont. Towards the end of his life the Archbishop of Glasgow invited him to visit but he was unable to.

But the relics of the patron saint of young people, who was canonised by Pius XI in 1934, are arriving in Scotland at the start of a two-week tour of Britain, part of a worldwide tour that began in 2009.

Fr Robert Gardiner of the Salesian Office of Social Media and Communications said Don Bosco was very interested in visiting a country that was in the full swing of industrial revolution. He said: “He believed that God was calling him to come to Britain. I think that one reason is that industrial Turin was not a million miles from industrial Britain, there were young people on the streets being abused by employers, and he was keen on evangelisation.”

Raised in poverty outside Turin, Don Bosco dedicated his life to helping young people, many of whom had been left homeless, impoverished and cut off from their faith by the rapid advance of industrialisation in northern Italy. He established the Oratory of St Francis de Sales, helping young people to find jobs and learn about their faith.

Fr Gardiner said: “They had no links with their parish, by and large, so the Oratory he set up was their parish. He believed in a down-to-earth spirituality. We would sum it up as doing the ordinary things and doing them extraordinarily well. For those looking for work Dom Bosco was doing the role of the trade union. He was drafting up the work contract with employers. He took care of young people, their education, spiritual life and employment. And he set up employment, tailoring, book pressing, work he had learned himself.”

His relics will visit eight towns and cities across Britain in 12 days, finishing their British part of the tour at Suffolk Cathedral on January 14 and 15.

The relics will also visit Carfin, the national Marian shrine in Scotland, and Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff, Westminster and Southwark.

The full story is published in this week’s edition of The Catholic Herald.

  • Minimus

     Thank you for posting this link, but it now says “removed by the owner.”

    If that is the Salesian Order, I hope it is because they repent of their mistake.

    It’s fairly obvious that St John Bosco would have regarded the dancing as a profanity.

  • Minimus

     Well you know that is entirely their own affair. Honouring saints and reverencing relics goes back to the earliest times in Christianity. If potential candidates for the Ordinariate do not appreciate this, they are not yet ready to become Catholics.

  • Rich

    Hi all, just to be clear, as a Catholic I do not worship a piece of wax, hair or bone. I have massive respect for these objects and they help me reflect and draw me closer to God, but I do not in any way worship them. My worship is reserved for God alone, as God, because he is God. Just a thought.

  • Marcie

    If only we could communicate this to our Protestant friends…

  • Cameron

    I have just been yesterday to see him!

  • Rick Childress

    It is rather telling that you reference my comment in one part, and then proceed to rail in a way that has already been addressed in the remainder of my comment. If your definition of Christian love is gentle Jesus, meek and mild – well, I wrote it there, so I won’t write it again. When you have those angry traditionalists asking you where you live, or making jokes about your genitalia, or telling you to kill yourself (like I’ve seen in other publications), then please report it; until then don’t make a very public fool of yourself and expect traditionalists (or anyone else) to not offer you a response fitting to the comment.

  • Marcie


  • Roger

    the relics is Holy and is never made or reserved for worship but instead inspiration of the life of the saint…why do people go to museum and other art festival  not to worship but to admire ancient history and works of artist,,,it is the same with relics. People will never understand Catholics.