Don Bosco Relics Renew Faith in Asia
130-Nation Tour Continues
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JAKARTA, Indonesia, MARCH 10, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Continuing a worldwide tour, the relics of St. John Bosco have stopped in various Asian locations, bringing together thousands of Catholics.
The relics began a 130-nation pilgrimage on Jan. 31, 2009, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
They left the United States and Canada last October, and headed for Asia, with stops planned in 17 nations.
They are currently in the world's most populous nation, Indonesia, before heading to China on Saturday. In Jakarta, some 3,000 faithful attended the evening Mass at the community house where the relics are on display.
Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta called St. John Bosco "a blessing for the Catholic Church."
"I believe he was blessed because he made God’s love real,” the prelate said, according to UCANews.
When the relics were in Thailand, some 2,000 people visited them on the first day.
The Salesians of the China Province (comprising mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) are awaiting their leg of the tour with hopes that their founder's relics will inspire more vocations.
The relics will be in Hong Kong on the feast of the Annunciation, March 25.
Father Simon Lam Chung-wai, head of the province, told UCANnews from Taipei about his hopes for the days of prayer. He noted that the Salesians arrived in Taiwan five decades ago, but only three locals joined the community. He said there is a lack of good models in Catholic schools and "fewer and fewer priests and nuns serving in our schools."
“The number of Catholic teachers is few too," Father Lam added, "let alone devout ones.”