Moscow (Russia). On 31 January 2021, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of St. Mary D. Mazzarello Community of Moscow – Mother of God Preprovince of Eastern Europe – Georgia (EEG) – the Salesians of Don Bosco, the Salesian Cooperators, and the young people celebrated the Solemnity of St. John Bosco.
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Moscow held the solemn Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio in Russia, Msgr. Giovanni D’Aniello, at which about 60 Salesian Cooperators renewed their promises in person or through live streaming broadcast due to the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. On the day of the Feast, after each Holy Mass, hundreds of faithful and visitors to the Cathedral received a blessing with the relics of St. John Bosco.
The day continued with various initiatives, including an exhibit of Salesian books organized by Don Bosco Publishing House, in Russia since 1999, specializing in the translation into Russian of works of Salesian pedagogy and spirituality. The exhibit was a pleasant place to meet and share for young people who, together with SDB, FMA, and Salesian Cooperators, offered the books to people outside the church, talking about Don Bosco and the presence of the Salesian Family in Russia and Worldwide.
The animators who began the second year of formation, prepared a party for the catechism children. Despite the pandemic, about seventy children were able to learn about the main passages in the life of the Saint by visiting the settings of the Salesian places: at ‘Becchi’ they saw the dream of the 9 year old; at ‘Chieri’ they experienced the trades learned by John Bosco; in the ‘Basilica of Mary Help of Christians’ each team staged one of Don Bosco’s dreams and prayed; at the ‘Valdocco oratory’ the children learned the value of play in Don Bosco’s Preventive System, to overcome difficulties in life together, and run towards the goal.
In the evening, the young people of the parish oratory took a journey through the life and spirituality of Don Bosco, starting with the exhibit of Salesian books. Taking in hand all the books they had read, they exhibited their knowledge about Don Bosco’s life, spiritual heritage, and pedagogy.
Sr. Nataliya Vakulishyna, Animator of the FMA Community, presented the biographical, pastoral, and spiritual key points of Don Bosco to all the oratorians. For many, it was the first opportunity for contact with the Salesian Charism. The day of celebration ended with thanksgiving to the Lord for the people who accompany the journey and are “Don Bosco today” for each one.
“We felt Don Bosco really present among us who smiled at us from heaven and worked wonders among children and adults, and we also saw small signs of God’s tenderness, “ acknowledged Sister Nataliya at the end of the feast, which was the expression of gratitude to Don Bosco on the part of the Salesian Family present in Moscow.