Monday, June 12, 2017

Relic of Don Bosco Stolen from Colle Don Bosco

Relic of Don Bosco Stolen from Colle Don Bosco


Pilgrims to Colle Don Bosco venerate Don Bosco’s relic in the basilica built on the site of his birth. Photo by Andrea Cherchi – Turin.

(ANS – Turin – June 5) In the evening of Friday, June 2, the relic of St. John Bosco -- a fragment of his brain -- that had been placed along the rear wall of Don Bosco Basilica at Colle Don Bosco in Castelnuovo Don Bosco was stolen.  

“We’re very upset, as will be many devotees who will learn what happened. We are confident that Don Bosco can touch the heart of whoever has done this and make him retrace his footsteps, just as Don Bosco was able to transform the lives of the young people whom he used to meet. We are also sure that, although you can steal a relic of Don Bosco, as has happened, you can’t steal Don Bosco from us and the many pilgrims who visit these places every day,” said Fr. Ezio Orsini, rector of the basilica.

Three days after the sacrilegious robbery, while investigators continued their investigations to find the stolen relic, the Salesians of the Colle Don Bosco community, who staff the basilica, expressed their gratitude for the attention, prayers, and signs of solidarity received via email and other messages.

Fr. Luca Barone, director of the community, made special mention of the support expressed by Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin, the Rector Major and his vicar, the regional councilor, and the provincial as just some of the “many from all over the Salesian world” who “have expressed their sympathy.”

Archbishop Nosiglia
On Saturday, June 3, Abp. Nosiglia urged all the priests of the archdiocese to remember the Salesian community during the Masses of Pentecost. “The news of the theft of a relic of St. John Bosco from the shrine of Castelnuovo is one that you would never want to hear,” the archbishop wrote. “It makes us think there must be a profound moral misery in whoever would take away a ‘sign’ that has been left and preserved for the devotion and the faith of everyone.

“The Church of Turin is close to the Salesian community,” the archbishop’s message continues. “Don Bosco was a priest of this diocese. Only two years ago, we celebrated, along with the exposition of the Shroud and the visit of Pope Francis, 200 years since his birth.”

After exhorting his priests to remember the Salesian community in the Masses of Pentecost, Abp. Nosiglia invited those who took the relic to return it “immediately, and without conditions: so that this painful page can be turned, and we can duly continue to honor Don Bosco’s memory in the very place where he was born.” [Ed. note: The basilica was built on the site of the Biglione farmhouse, in which John Bosco actually was born, although that fact was not discovered until some years after the construction.]

Meanwhile, the Salesians report that the Carabinieri are investigating the case. Fr. Orsini, confirms that pilgrimages of the faithful continue devoutly and calmly.

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