More than 15,000 members of the Salesian Family turned out August 9 on the streets of Lima, Peru, as part of the celebration of Bicentennial of the Birth of Don Bosco.
Speaking to CNA, Father Santo Dal Ben, the provincial for the Salesians in Peru, said that this event “can be read as a sign of the sensibility there is today towards the family, especially in a society that sometimes ‘shakes up’ the family. There’s a lot of different ways of thinking, but not the attention due the family, and it’s obvious that this brings with it consequences that are not positive.” “The idea behind this march wasn’t to come out against anything or anybody, instead it was to reaffirm a value that we consider very important…We feel we are in profound communion with the thinking of the pope in this regard,” he added. Don Bosco is an Italian saint born in the 1800s who spent his life educating and helping improve the lives of disadvantaged children in the city of Turin. The Salesian superior recalled how Don Bosco responded to the anxieties of these young people who had lost their family ties when they were abandoned or because they had to leave home in search of work. “Back then to provide an education they had to recreate the family environment and that’s what Don Bosco did. So there in the oratory at Turin, Italy, Don Bosco developed this family experience; in some way recreating the family bonds of relationship and fatherhood that are experienced in every family,” the Salesian priest pointed out. The event, entitled “A Walk with Don Bosco as a Family,” attracted various members of the Salesian Family — young people, parents, children, grandparents and religious, singing and cheering, carrying signs about Don Bosco and the value of the family. They all walked down several blocks on Brasil Avenue, from the Magdalena district to the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, in the Bre√±a district, where Fr. Santo Dal Ben reminded the participants of the three words that Pope Francis always recommends to families: please, thank you, and I’m sorry. Finally, the Salesian provincial in Peru encouraged everyone to participate in the various activities that will take place in every Salesian home in the world for the bicentennial of Don Bosco’s birth. He also invited the faithful to get to know better the saint. “There are people who go through this world leaving their mark and they leave their mark in society where it can be felt the most and that’s education. Don Bosco was one of them…I think knowing Don Bosco is enriching because he’s not the private property of the Salesian Congregation or the Salesian Family, he’s a gift from God to the Church and a gift from God to humanity.” “When we experience these gifts and learn to love them, they are enriching for everyone, both for those who have experienced the Salesian charism from childhood as well as those who are experiencing it now…I invite you to draw close to the person of Don Bosco and you will be always be enriched by it,” Fr. Santo Dal Ben concluded.