Friday, September 10, 2010

Don Bosco Arrives Tomorrow Night!

The relics of the Salesian Founder, St. John Bosco, will arrive Saturday, September 11, at around 11:30 PM at Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco! We have been looking forward to this for more than a year, and we have been having lots of anticapatory events at Saints Peter and Paul already.

On Wednesday night, we had a dinner in the gym honoring all the Religious of the Archdiocese for the service they have given to the people of God. Over 160 Priests, Sisters, Brothers, Deacons, and seminarians came, including His Excellency Archbishop Niederauer. We also honored our local Catholic media--so we had representatives from Catholic San Francisco and Immaculate Heart Radio there too. The food was great--Matteo Crivello from Caesar's was the chef!

A lot of the dinner servers were volunteers from the Walk for Life West Coast, and someone told me the Archbishop said he had never seen a happier bunch of servers at any dinner. After dinner all the servers and Salesian religious and parishioners who were eating stood and took an oath of fidelity and support to the Archbishop and to our beloved Pope Benedict. It was a great moment.

His Excellency and all the religious and parishioners then celebrated Mass in the church. People were calling the next day saying they had not heard music like that in church for years! Pictures soon.


Last night, Thursday, we had a special Mass celebrating the contributions of the legendary Salesian Boys' and Girls' Club, founded by Fr. Oreste Trinchieri back in 1918. Salesian Provincial Fr. Tim Ploch was the main celebrant, and all of our other priests concelebrated. The music was led by Mrs. Lola Simi on the organ, who has been providing musical training to the club for about 50 years, and the (now grown) men of the club as choir. It was great to hear those very manly, somewhat rough (but loud and on key) voices singing--it was real sung prayer--not professional but totally authentic. I felt like I was hearing the apostles sing! From the club's website:

"The Salesian Boys' Club was established in San Francisco in 1918 by Fr. Oreste Trincheri. Father came to the North Beach area of San Francisco and found that its atmosphere spawned 60% of the city's delinquency. He realized that the volatile, creative Italian character of the boys that made up the area must have outlets for their energies. The Salesian Boys' Club was the answer.

Energies and talents were channeled into sports, dramatics, music and discussion programs. In accordance with the set norms of the Salesian method, the more promising boys were given responsibilities in the coaching of younger members, supervising recreation rooms, organizing and refereeing games in the yard and the gymnasium. Guided in this responsibility and with initiative encouraged, members began to develop that leadership which has marked Salesian graduates ever since. Today, whenever Salesian Old Timers gather in their annual reunions, many of the community's most respected citizens are of their number. Doctors, judges, lawyers, teachers, priests and outstanding business leaders and working men of sterling quality attest to the fine work the Salesian Boys' Club has done."

Of course, the ethnic demographic of the Club has changed somehat, but not its mission. Dues are $10 per year, but "No child will ever be refused membership because they cannot afford to pay." In his speech before the Mass, Russell Gumina, Executive Director of the Club (and only the third director in the Club's 92-year history) said--quoting from memory--that the club now has nearly 1,000 members and about $800 of services are provided to each member. How can they manage that when dues are only $10? Well, remember all those past members who are now doctors, judges, lawyers, business people, etc? They all contribute as do all the parents of the current members in whatever way they are able.


Tonight we have another special Mass at 6:30 PM. Fr. John Roche, SDB, will speak about the history of the Salesian movement at 6:15. Music will be provided by the choir of Salesian High School over in Richmond. And tomorrow Don Bosco arrives! The church will be open all night Saturday and all night Sunday for veneration. Here is a video of Don Bosco in Mexico. For lots more videos of Don Bosco in Latin America and a full schedule of events, go to

Jack Smith over at the Catholic Key has a nice post about the relics, too.

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