It is the 203rd birth anniversary of St John Bosco.
The week-long celebration commenced with ‘Family Day’. It was celebrated by 2,500 people and had as its theme: ‘Wokabaut wantaim ol yangpela’.
The celebration will have different elements every day.
The following are outlined for the week ahead: Catechetical Quiz, Bosco Got Talent, Assumption of Our Lady and an Academia.
Who is Don Bosco? (Courtesy: Fr Albeiro Gonzalez sdb)
Don Bosco, the “Father, Teacher and Friend of the Youth”, is honoured in over 132 countries of the world.
He was born near Turin, Italy, on 16th August, 1816.
He took as his model St Francis de Sales, the saint of the Catholic journalists and the model of kindness. It is from this saint that Don Bosco named his new religious family.
The Salesians of Don Bosco continue the work of educating young men and women following the spirit of St John Bosco.
The apostolate of Don Bosco among young people was born through the experience of Don Bosco in 19th Century Turin, a city that was attracting young farmers. Street children and exploited youth, young criminals and other evils that affected the young were the concern of the young priest.
He himself became a kind of informal teacher to abandoned youth in streets, parks and courtyards. His work then grew in a district of Turin called “Valdocco”. Today, it is a museum of the history of the apostolate for young people.
Don Bosco was not only interested to educate young people, but also to care for their souls. It was not just collecting young boys, teach them a skill and get them a job. He was concerned to make them social persons who are able to contribute to the development of their own society and nation. The boys, gathered from conditions of poverty, were made into good and fine young men.
Through the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, the style of Don Bosco, “The Preventive System”, was written out by the saint.
Today, the Salesians educate young people and help them avoid falling into problems. Salesians prevent young people from falling into drugs, prostitution, HIV, crime and many other evils of today. They educate the young person in a way that the young people would be able to say ‘no’ to what is wrong.
The Salesians are present in over 132 countries of the world. They run schools, youth centres, parishes, hostels, rehabilitation centres and a host of other educational and pastoral initiatives.
The smiling face of the saint is the main identification mark for anyone – male or female. The Salesians are experts in youth pastoral and open their doors to all young people. “It is enough to know that you are young, for me to love you,” said Don Bosco.
In Papua New Guinea, five institutes offer technical training to young people who may not have another chance for education as they have been dropped out from the educational system. If you feel you are called to work for the young, please approach any Salesian and he will gladly welcome you.