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Don Bosco pilgrims urged to ‘share joy with one other’

By on Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The wax figure of St John Bosco, pictured in St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham, contains relics from the saint's arm (Photo: Peter Jennings)

The wax figure of St John Bosco, pictured in St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham, contains relics from the saint's arm (Photo: Peter Jennings)

Large numbers of young pilgrims and pilgrims of all ages flocked to venerate the relics of St John Bosco at the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham, this week.

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham celebrated Mass in the Cathedral, packed to capacity with primary schoolchildren and their teachers, from schools throughout the archdiocese.

Fr Martin Coyle SDB, provincial of the Salesians in Britain, emphasised that St Don Bosco, who is the patron saint of schoolchildren and young people, “was a great saint who was always cheerful”.

Fr Coyle asked each of the pilgrims present to turn to the person next to them and smile at them for five seconds. He said: “It is infectious and it spreads. People have to try very hard not to smile back. It makes a difference to someone else’s life.”

He concluded: “It’s quite simple to be holy – by being happy, not long faces. We need to share joy with one another. Try to be cheerful each day and smile at someone. Others will join in and it will make a difference!”

St John Bosco died in Turin on January 31 1888, aged 72. A large proportion of the population of the Northern Italian city turned out for his funeral. He was declared Blessed in 1929 and canonised by Pope Pius XI on Easter Sunday, April 1 1934.

  • Benedict Carter

    The rictus-grin of the “full of joy” modern Catholic is of the the same provenance as the massed cheers of 1930′s Soviet factory workers greeting the denunciation of one of their own as a “wrecker” or a “diversionist”. 

    It’s all so surreal  - in fact, UNREAL. 

    A pox on all those calling for “joy”: I’ll feel it when I feel it. 

    Religious faith has nothing whatever to do with “feelings” – this is pure Modernism.

  • tomas

    Hello i can ask why you think this is modernism?

  • Jeannine

    St John Bosco was & is a happy soul. He was especially kind, gentle, & cheerful to the street children of his time & did much to improve their quality of life.
    Thinking about St John Bosco’s love for these forgotten children always brings a smile to my face.
    That said, there are many lonely people in today’s world where a smile from a stranger just might perk up their life a little.—No harm in trying. I smile sometimes to complete strangers. They smile back while their bodies relax. (People tense up when passing strangers.)

  • Inquisator

    Well, you are really a bundle of fun lol  If this atitude encapsulates your version of Christianity, then you are indeed a very sad man.  As for religious faith and feelings, “Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising.”  Go and read the heartfelt sentiments, emotions and feelings behind the prayers, thanksgiving, supplication and love to be found the words of the Psalms. 

  • Joshua I. Gonzales

    So its true you’re never fully dressed without a smile @thecatholicgent

  • Charles Martel

    And Our Lord said unto them: ‘Just smile, and the whole world smiles with you’.

  • Badjumbly

    How touching to see such enthusiasm from the very young. Not only do they flock to see the revered dummy, but they even take their teachers along.

  • Steve D’Arcy

    Tell that to St Ignatius of Loyola or St Francis or St Therese of Lisieux.