Monday, January 31, 2011


Today, January 31st is the feast of St. John Bosco

A Summary of St. John Bosco's Life

cc photo by IMA Neuquen on flickr
- St. John Bosco or more popularly known as Don Bosco ("Don" an Italian term of respect for priests) was born Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco on August 16, 1815 at Becchi, Castelnuovo, Italy.  

- He was the youngest of three children of Francis Louis Bosco who died in 1817 and Margaret Occhiena.

- He had his first communion in 1826, and had his Elementary studies in Castelnuovo in 1830.

- He entered the Seminary of Chieri in 1835 and was ordained to the priesthood on June 5, 1841 in Turin.  In December of that same year, he began his work for the young when he met a 16-year old orphan, Bartholomew Garelli.

- He instituted the Salesian Order on December 18, 1859 with 18 members.

- He built a church in honor of Mary Help of Christians which is now the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin.  It was consecrated on June 9, 1868.

- The Salesian Society was approved by Rome on February 19, 1869.

- In 1872, he and St. Maria Domenica Mazzarello instituted the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco or Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

- On April 3, 1874, Rome approved the Salesian Constitutions.

- In 1876, he instituted the Salesian Cooperators which is a movement of the laity.

- St. John Bosco died on January 31, 1888, and was proclaimed "Venerable" by Pope Pius X on July 24, 1907.

- On June 2, 1929, he was beatified by Pope Pius XI, and the same pope canonized him on April 1, 1934.

- On May 24, 1946, he was declared patron saint of Catholic editors, and on January 24, 1989, Pope John Paul II officially proclaimed St. John Bosco as father and teacher of the youth.

Don Bosco's bronze statue, beside the church of the 
Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Cebu City, Philippines

One of Don Bosco's famous teachings is the Preventive System, a method of education that he developed and practiced.  This system is based on reason, religion and kindness.  He believed that the youth should be disciplined with kindness and respect rather than with embarrassing or violent punishments.

Don Bosco is also well-known for his deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Mary Help of Christians.  He built the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin in her honor. With regards to our Blessed Mother Mary, Don Bosco had this to say: "Invoke Mary and you will see what miracles are."

Don Bosco, pray for us!

- Salesian Bulletin, Special Issue Vol. 40 No. 2 September-November 2010

Sunday, January 23, 2011



St. John Bosco's relic is on world tour, and the Philippines is one of those countries his relic visited.  His relic made visits to different provinces, cities and towns in the country.  From December 5 to December 23, 2010, his relic visited the cities and towns of the provinces of Negros and Cebu.

The relic's first destination in the Philippines was the Negros province where it stayed there from December 5 to December 11, 2010.  The relic arrived in my hometown, Cebu City on December 12 at the church of the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, and from there, it visited other Salesian schools, homes, centers and the church of Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. On December 23, the relic was brought back to the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes for a farewell mass before its voyage to the nation's capital, Manila.  The relic's journey in the Philippines ended on January 15, 2011.  

St. John Bosco's relic at the Archdiocesan Shrine of
Our Lady of Lourdes, Cebu City, Philippines, December 12, 2010

Highlights of the Visit of Saint John Bosco in Negros and Cebu

What is a relic?

The Catholic Church calls as relics the remains of the saints after their death. Relics can either be the entire body or just a part of it. 

In St. John Bosco's case, his relic is his right hand which is carefully preserved and placed inside a special case.  The case is placed inside the replica of his remains which in turn is placed inside a glass urn.  As proof of the authenticity of the relic, the case's cover is topped with a document and Vatican seal, while the urn is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity from the Archbishop of Turin and the Vatican Secretary of State.  The relic's world tour is in connection with the preparation of the 200th celebration of Don Bosco's birth on August 16, 2015.

Reference: Salesian Bulletin, Special Issue Vol. 40 No. 2, September - November 2010, pp. 8-9.

Send off of St. John Bosco's relic, December 23, 2010
(Cebu City, Philippines)

In connection with the relic's visit to the Philippines, the Philippine Salesian family created a website (the website is no longer available) where the faithful can find the complete information, updates, videos and photos of the relic's visits in the different parts of the country.

St. John Bosco, pray for us!

- Mary June D.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Mary, Mother of God is not just a Marian title.  It is a Marian Dogma. Presently, the Catholic Church has four Marian Dogmas, namely:  1) Mary, Mother of God; 2) The Virginity of Mary; 3) The Immaculate Conception of Mary; 4) The Assumption of Mary.

What is a Dogma?  A dogma is a doctrine of our faith officially proclaimed by the Church. - from The Pope's Calendar 2008: Marian Dogmas, SHMI-QCP, Manila, Philippines.

cc photo by Heather Clemons on flickr
The first Marian Dogma, Mary, Mother of God was defined by the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD. The Council was called to solve a dispute arising from the doctrine of Nestorius, Archbishop of Constantinople who  rejected Mary's title Theotokos (Mother of God). His doctrine emphasized the disunity of Christ's human and divine natures. In the end, the council condemned him for heresy. 

Here are some excerpts from the Council's statements most notably from Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria:
From the Third Letter of Cyril to Nestorius.

- He took flesh from the holy virgin and made it his own, undergoing a birth like ours from her womb and coming forth a man from a woman.
- He did not cast aside, what he was, but although he assumed flesh and blood, he remained what he was, God in nature and truth.
- We do not say that his flesh was turned into the nature of the godhead or that the unspeakable Word of God was changed into the nature of the flesh.  For he (the Word) is unalterable and absolutely unchangeable and remains always the same as the scripture says.

Therefore, because the holy virgin bore in the flesh God who was united hypostatically with flesh, for that reason we call her mother of God, not as though the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence from the flesh (for "the Word was in the beginning and the Word was God and the Word was with God", and he made the ages and is coeternal with the Father and craftsman of all things), but because, as we have said, he united to himself hypostatically the human and underwent a birth according to the flesh from her womb.

From the Twelve Anathemas Proposed by Cyril and accepted by the Council of Ephesus.

1.  If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is God in truth, and therefore that the holy virgin is the mother of God (for she bore in a fleshly way the Word of God become flesh), let him be anathema.

From the Letter of Cyril to John of Antioch about peace.

". . . . . For you must surely know that almost all our fight for the faith arose in connection with out insistence that the holy virgin is the mother of God.  But if we claim that the holy body of our common saviour Christ is born from heaven and was not of her, why should she still be considered God-bearer?  For whom indeed did she bear, if it is untrue that she bore Emmanuel according to the flesh? . . . . . For the holy prophet Isaiah does not lie when he says, "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is interpreted God with us." . . . ."

The judgment against Nestorius

"Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has been blasphemed by him, has determined through this most holy synod that the same Nestorius should be stripped of his episcopal dignity and removed from the college of priests."

The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is celebrated every 1st of January. It is a holyday of obligation.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!
References and sources: