31 Jan – Memorial for St. John Bosco, priest
St. John Bosco (1815-1888) was the son of Venerable Margaret Bosco. His father died when he was just two years old, and as soon as he was old enough to do odd jobs, he did so for extra money for his family. Bosco would go to circuses, fairs, and carnivals, practise the tricks he saw the magicians perform, and then present one-boy shows. After his performance, while he still had an audience of boys, he would repeat the homily he had heard earlier in church.
He worked as a tailor, baker, shoemaker, and carpenter while attending college and the seminary. He was ordained in 1841. He was a teacher, and he worked with youth, finding places where they could meet, play and pray. He taught catechism to orphans and apprentices, and was chaplain in a hospice for girls.
He wrote short treatises aimed at explaining the faith to children, and then taught children how to print them. He was a friend of St. Joseph Cafasson, whose biography he wrote. He was confessor to Blessed Joseph Allamano. He founded the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) in 1859, a community of priests who work with and educate boys, under the protection of Our Lady, Help of Christians, and St. Francis de Sales. He founded the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians, in 1872, and the Union of Cooperator Salesians in 1875.
- Patron Saint Index
Through the blood of Jesus we have the right to enter the sanctuary, by a new way which he has opened for us, a living opening through the curtain, that is to say, his body. And we have the supreme high priest over all the house of God. So as we go in, let us be sincere in heart and filled with faith, our minds sprinkled and free from any trace of bad conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us keep firm in the hope we profess, because the one who made the promise is faithful. Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works. Do not stay away from the meetings of the community, as some do, but encourage each other to go; the more so as you see the Day drawing near.
Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Would you bring in a lamp to put it under a tub or under the bed? Surely you will put it on the lamp-stand? For there is nothing hidden but it must be disclosed, nothing kept secret except to be brought to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to this.’
He also said to them, ‘Take notice of what you are hearing. The amount you measure out is the amount you will be given – and more besides; for the man who has will be given more; from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away.’
Do not stay away from the meetings of the community…
I know someone who is struggling to find a community where she can belong so that she can pour out her woes and share all that has happened over the past few years in her life. She seems to have hit rock bottom and, despite meeting with various priests and attending one or two healing sessions, she seems ‘trapped’ in her own fears and anxieties.
Last week, at our regular Friday Growth session, our spiritual director spoke about grace and passed the mike around in one section of the congregation to allow us to specify one moment in the past where we felt blessed by God’s grace. As I was mulling it over, it dawned on me that I was blessed to be a part of the CSC community. That in spite of the challenges, issues and personalities within our own ministry, we seem to be progressing (albeit at a rate that leaves much to be desired – purely from my perspective) and that some sense of renewal is happening.
It gives me the impetus to make it a point to always be there for practice, for meetings (I have been asked to attend other meetings on behalf of our head) and to support as many of the iconic retreats as possible. I also shared with my discipleship group recently that I am certainly more comfortable now bringing in my talents and skills which I use at work to help with establishing some processes and SOPs so that worship leaders can focus on the music and songs, rather than the more operational issues – what I term ‘five cent, ten cent’ matters.
I realised (the mike was still going round) that were it not for this community who has welcomed me with open arms, I would probably be sitting at a bar somewhere downing alcohol and munching on something delicious and fried. And while the community is going through a period of transition, as long as I feel that I have something worthwhile to contribute, and as long as it continues to be life-giving to me, I must not shortchange God by not giving back.
The microphone never came to our section. But after Mass, we walked over to a wake opposite the centre, where we celebrated the life of uncle Andrew, father of one of our ministry heads. The small team that prepared the prayers had asked me to bring my violin along and that night, I played to my heart’s content for him and for our loving Father.
Brothers and sisters, if you are part of a praying community, look past the strife and the issues. They are but unnecessary distractions. Focus on Jesus, and on the talents that God has given you in order to serve that community.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for gracing us with such abundant talents and for putting us in our communities where we learn to walk closer to you each and every day.