In the footsteps of St John Bosco
29th January 2019
Fr Pat Sherlock, Chaplain at Salesian College in Farnborough reports on a recent Salesian trip with a happy coincidence...
It’s one thing to read and hear about Saint John Bosco but this year for the first time a group of students from Years 10 and 11 at Salesian College Farnborough, together with a few from Year 13, were given the opportunity to visit the places where he grew up and began his work with young people. We assembled at the College at 3am, ready for the coach drive to Stansted Airport and the flight to Turin. Our first stop was the Valsalice Salesian School on the hillside to the east of the city. This was where the casket containing the remains of our founder was kept from 1888 to 1929, when it was carried in triumph to its present resting place in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians at Valdocco. We were surprised and delighted to find that alongside depictions of Salesian Saints in the magnificent school chapel, there was a painting of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.
Our Saturday itinerary was centred in Valdocco, site of Don Bosco’s first permanent Oratory and Mother House of the Salesian Society. We also visited Turin Cathedral, dedicated to St John the Baptist and home of the Holy Shroud, and saw the tomb of Blessed Pier Giorgio in a side chapel there. The final day was based around Colle Don Bosco and Chieri, where Don Bosco grew up and went to school and seminary, but first we returned to Valsalice to celebrate our Sunday Mass in their chapel, dedicated to the Sacred Heart. During three intense days we managed to include visits to the Iuventus Football Stadium, Church of the Consolata, Church of St Francis Assisi, Mole Antonelliana, Museum of the Shroud, the Royal Palace and a Christmas market. We also enjoyed several delicious Italian meals. It was a pilgrimage well worth repeating in future years.