The Australian Salesians Schools Pilgrimage

After nearly fourteen days the Australian Salesians Schools Pilgrimage to the Salesian Holy places has almost come to a conclusion. It has been a wonderful experience for all involved and we have met some very enthusiastic and dynamic guides who have energetically ‘opened our eyes’ at the various places we have visited – of note were the guides at the original Visitation Convent at Annecy, at the museum at the former seminary at Chieri, Sr Luigiana fma at Mornese and a very entertaining guide at the Museum at Sacre Cuore in Rome! In all these places these wonderful people brought the stories of their particular setting alive for us. We even met in Chieri Cathedral, but pure chance, the 98-year-old widow of the grandson of the famous Jonah, the Jewish friend of Don Bosco who converted to the Catholic faith following his friendship with John Bosco during his years in Chieri!

The opportunity to visit and celebrate Eucharist in so many different significant Salesian settings (Basilica of the Visitation and the Church of St Francis de Sales in Assisi, the Pinardi Chapel, the Chapel of Mary Help of Christians at Becchi, St Francis of Assisi Church in Turin, the Basilica of Maria Domenica Mazzarello in Mornese and Sacre Cuore in Rome), as well as in the Chapel of Peace in the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi in Assisi, the Polish Chapel in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and in a Chapel at the San Callistus Catacombs, have been wonderful moments of grace and privilege.

Each day a different member of our pilgrimage group has offered a reflection relevant to the place we were visiting and each of these has been unique, inspiring and uplifting.

In our final days in Rome the visits to the major Basilicas has allowed us to reflect on how our Salesian heritage, which we have received from St Francis de Sales, St John Bosco and St Maria Domenica Mazzarello, requires us to respond faithfully to the call of us all to be evangelizers and educators of the young, within in the Church and for the Kingdom of God.

Fr Bernie Graham, SDB