Presentation on theme: "HE WAS A PRIEST FOR THE YOUNG John had another dream. He seemed to be in a vast meadow with a huge crowd of boys who were fighting, swearing, stealing,"— Presentation transcript:
HE WAS A PRIEST FOR THE YOUNG
John had another dream. He seemed to be in a vast meadow with a huge crowd of boys who were fighting, swearing, stealing, and doing all kinds of bad things. He was about to turn away when he saw a Lady beside him. Go among those boys and work, She said.
Fr. Cafasso - Don Boscos old confessor and friend - did a lot of work with condemned criminals in prison, and Don Bosco – a newly ordained priest - helped him. Don Bosco realized that when these men are imprisoned or executed so many children are thereby neglected and fatherless. He was worried about who will take care of them.
One day Don Bosco and Fr. Cafasso visited the prison. Don Bosco became so distressed and upset at the sight of so much human suffering and misery that his health was affected.
In that prison, an inmate had recognized the young priest who had shown him kindness, when he was serving a sentence in a Turin prison.
But to young Father John Bosco came the offer of three possible assignments: Be a tutor to the sons of a nobleman in Genoa; be parish priest at Murialdo, or assistant parish priest at Castelnuovo. Father John wisely decided to consult his friend Father Cafasso. His advice to Don Bosco was to enter the St. Francis de Sales Institute for Higher Theological studies. Don Bosco accepted this as the Will of God and on November 3, 1841, he commenced his further studies in theology and Sacred eloquence.
Whatever time Don Bosco had from his studies, he devoted to the ever-increasing group of boys who sought for him. Don Bosco called his work the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales. He had great devotion to the gentle Bishop of Geneva, so he made him patron of this good work.
Even long before this time, Don Bosco had a dream in his first year of philosophy. In that dream, he saw himself as a priest sitting in a tailors shop, not sewing new clothes, but mending old ones torn and full of patches. Then and there Don Bosco did not understand the full meaning of that dream.
Don Bosco mentioned this dream to some people but never fully disclosed it until he was a priest, even then only to his spiritual director - Father Cafasso. It meant that Don Bosco was called not just for a selected group of innocent boys but also that he was to gather around himself wayward boys and lead them to the practice of virtue and make them good citizens.
It was December 8, 1841, five months after his ordination. Don Bosco was waiting for an altar boy who had taken a late sleep. The young priests preparatory prayers were violently interrupted by the cry of a boy.
He turned round and saw the sacristan attempting to force a strange boy to serve Don Boscos Mass. Don Bosco heard the lad say: How can I, I dont know how to do that. Leave me alone! The sacristan gave the lad a smack on the ear and ordered him out of the sacristy. Don Bosco told the angry sacristan to stop. He beckoned to the boy and he, sensing a friend, came at once.
Don Bosco whispered to the boy not to worry about what the sacristan has done, but to come back after Mass as he wished to speak with him.
When Don Bosco had finished his Thanksgiving, there was the lad standing quietly in the corner of the sacristy. Whats your name, son? Bartholomew Garelli. You live here in Turin? No, Father, I came from Asti. Are your parents alive? No, Im an orphan. Have you made your First Holy Communion? No. Evidently he was a neglected boy and the heart of Don Bosco warmed for him. Suppose, son, I offer to teach you alone, would you come and learn your catechism? The boy smiled and agreed.
Together they said the Hail Mary. The boy put his whole heart and soul into that prayer. Don Bosco invited the boy to return the following Sunday with some of his companions.
The following Sunday Bartholomew returned with several friends, all out of school and homeless like himself. Don Bosco was delighted. It was then, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception 1841, that the Salesian work for boys began.
Don Bosco led the group into a small room. In this room was a vine growing up through a hole on the floor and spreading all over the roof. Don Bosco did not know at the time how symbolic that vine was of the work he was beginning at that very moment - a work destined to spread, for he was starting his first Oratory with those six boys.
Without sacrificing any of his priestly dignity, Don Bosco entered the boys world. He knew and enjoyed their games. Their big interests became his and he won over their hearts.
Don Bosco had been quietly selecting some of the more intelligent boys from the group, instructing them in his successful methods, and appointing them as assistant teachers. The plan worked. Now he had teachers to help him.
To the elementary Catechetical instructions he had with his boys, Don Bosco added evening classes, in which he taught some of the boys to read, write and do calculation. These were the first evening classes to be conducted in Italy at that time.
Don Bosco was so well-known in Turin for his solicitude toward the sick and dying, that not only the boys attending the Oratories, but other people when they were seriously ill, would often send for him to hear their confessions. His faith and solicitude were often rewarded by the recovery of the sick person to whom he had given the last Sacraments.