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Bosco relics continue journey

Bosco relics continue journey
Father Simon Lam Chung-wai, head of the Salesian China Province
Francis Kuo, Taipei

March 8, 2011

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Salesians of the China Province (comprising mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) are preparing to welcome Saint John Bosco’s relics as part of a world pilgrimage tour to mark his 200th birth anniversary. Father Simon Lam Chung-wai, head of the province, said in Taipei that he hoped the 16-day prayer activity would attract more young people to enter the Salesian family to lead a consecrated life and inherit the saint’s mission of youth education. The relics, which contain the right metacarpal bone of the saint within a wax replica of his body kept in a glass coffin, will begin its tour on Chinese soil from Hong Kong (March 25) to Macau (April 2) and Taipei (April 7). Father Lam, 60, said the Salesians arrived in Taiwan for five decades but they only got three local members. Catholic schools are the best place for breeding Religious vocations, but “we lack good models as there are fewer and fewer priests and nuns serving in our schools,” he noted. “The number of Catholic teachers is few too, let alone devout ones.” Since the Taiwan government forbade religious lessons in the curriculum, they have to do it after school. However, many students go to cram schools and seldom participate in religious activities, it makes formation of vocations even harder, he explained. Hong Kong and Macau Catholic schools do not have such problem and they can use government subsidy to hire pastoral workers, said Father Lam. He hoped God would call more young Chinese Catholics to the Salesian family through the relics’ tour. Saint Bosco’s relics will tour all Salesian schools and convents in Hong Kong and Macau, but will only stop at Saint Bosco’s Church in Taipei as the Salesians are still considering the technical problem of transporting the 500-kilogram glass coffin to their school in Tainan, southern Taiwan. TA13554.1644

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