Cardinal Bertone Remembers Founder

Don Bosco Relics Begin Tour at Roman Catacombs

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ROME, JUNE 5, 2009 (Zenit.org).- St. John Bosco understood the best way to invest in the future of society and the Church, according to his spiritual son who is Benedict XVI's secretary of state.



Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone affirmed this during a Mass he celebrated before the relics of the Salesians' founder. The relics are going to tour all five continents, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of John Bosco's birth in 1815.

The tour began Thursday in the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, which are cared for by the Salesians, and which John Bosco visited various times during his life.

In the Mass he celebrated before the relics of his founder, Cardinal Bertone called the saint a "man of action," speaking of his dedication to youth, especially those who were abandoned or in threatening situations.

The cardinal noted how the Salesians work to draw out the positive aspects of every youth, listening to their needs and sharing their troubles.

He commented how Don Bosco understood that work dedicated to youth is the best investment in society and the Church. The fruits of this investment, the secretary of state continued, can be seen in Salesian institutes, schools and professional centers.

"The spirit of Don Bosco has been incarnated in thousands of his sons and daughters who have decided to continue attending to the smallest, through the various branches of the Salesian family," he said.

Cardinal Bertone concluded his homily mentioning that he'd come to the catacombs to "confirm the dedication and sacrifice of all those who through the years have passed by here, to renew in everyone -- young and old -- a youthful enthusiasm, to encourage a tireless commitment to the education of the young and to motivate us to attend to the society of today more and more."

Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, also celebrated Mass before the relics.