Italian saint's relic arrives in Udupi

Italian saint's relic arrives in Udupi

World tour

sacred relic The wax mould made on Don Bosco’s face soon after his death. It was designed by Architect Gianpero Zoncu. The relic comprising the bones and tissues of Bosco’s right hand have been placed inside the wax replica of his body and enclosed in a large urn. DH photo A large number of devotees led by Catholic Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza of Mangalore welcomed it with great religious fervour. The sacred relic of the saint is on a world tour that began in Italy on April 25, 2009, to mark the 150th anniversary of the religious Order founded by him — the Salesians of Don Bosco.

The relic comprising the bones and tissues of Bosco’s right hand have been placed within a wax replica of his body in a glass casket. As Shirva was the only stop in the State’s coastal region that has a considerable number of Christians, people from places like Kasargod (in Kerala), Mangalore, Karkala and Kundapur made a beeline for a glimpse of the relic. “As many as 5,000 sweet packets were distributed (to devotees after they had the darshan of the relic) in less than three hours,” said Don Bosco Youth Centre (Shirva) Father Maxim
D’Souza.

“We have only heard about the saint and it is a rare opportunity to see his relic,” said 80-year-old Sobina Lobo.

Journey in India

The relic arrived in India in April at Dimapur in North East India. It is being taken through the major cities and centres of the 10 Salesian Provinces in the country. It will leave Shirva on Friday morning for Belthangady and proceed to Bangalore via Hassan.

 Dedicated chauffeurs

The urn containing the relic has been specially built for the tour. It is made of a large glass box in which the wax replica is placed. It weighs 850 kg and is transported in specially designed trucks driven by Italians who have vowed to remain at the wheel throughout the relic’s journey.

Italian chauffeurs Angelo Faletti (47), a hotelier, Walter Forno (30), who served in the military for five years, Carlo Alghisi (61), a professional driver, and Sergio Sato (30), who has completed studies, refused to talk to the media.

But Father Jochim Lobo, the secretary of Konkan Province, Odxel in Goa, quoting the chauffeurs said they had given up their jobs and volunteered to travel to all the 129 countries with the relic as “it is a great opportunity.”

“They accept whatever food is given to them or whatever place they are offered to stay,” he said.

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