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Georgina Hindley

Georgina Hindley

Georgina Hindley is a past-Savio House Volunteer who is currently studying a Youth and Community Work MA. She is a staunch supporter of Rich Tea biscuits. The following is her blog from The Pilgrimage of the Relics of Don Bosco, which saw Don Bosco journey around the country in early January 2013.

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A day in Battersea concludes what has been a life-changing experience. I never thought 2 weeks of travelling around with a hand would have moved me so much, but then again it wasn’t all about the hand.

Having a chance to sit down and reflect on what we have achieved, the people we met and the stories that have been shard reduced me to a blubbering mess. I began to think about the impact Don Bosco has had on my life and I traced the Salesian trail back to when I was 10 and had to decide which secondary school I wanted to go to. If it wasn’t for my decision to go to St John Bosco in Croxteth, I would never have experienced all the things that have shaped my life so far!

As I listened to the stories from people about Don Bosco’s influence in their lives, I never once realised that I was the same as them, cementing my sense of belonging in the Salesian family. So thank you to everyone I’ve worked with over the past 2 weeks for their support and enthusiasm, members of the public for their stories, Don Bosco for being born and inspiring a generation and God for inspiring Don Bosco and leading him to his vocation. Who’d have thought that a man born almost 200yrs ago would shape my way in such a drastic way? Not me!

 

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Posted by on in Don Bosco Pilgrimage

Was on the way to London at 6am this morning, was so early. I managed to lose my diary entry for yesterday.

Southwark has been fantastic, soooo many people came to venerate the relics, it was unbelievable. We had schools in today – pupils from Chertsey and Farnborough came and again, as with the schools in Liverpool, I was grateful that they got to experience Salesianity outside of school. Hopefully the saint that looks upon them from their school walls is much more real and the charism much more tangible, seeing that Don Bosco is much more than the name of their schools.

So many more inspirational stories from people of all walks of life who have known Don Bosco throughout their lives.

I almost dropped a sail on people’s head during the final liturgy, though thankfully I managed to rescue it before any damage was done!

 

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After a very nice late start, meeting at Holy Trinity at 12, we headed to St George’s Cathedral. Another beautiful cathedral it did, however, remind me a lot of something out of Harry Potter. Whilst we were setting up, a massive queue had formed outside which snaked around the side of the cathedral for most of the afternoon. In order to stop the young people in the queue getting bored and restless, a few of us took a group each to entertain and then fastrack to the relics.

 

After being there for only a couple of hours it was clear to see that our time in Southwak was going to bring us something special.

 

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Today was a more eventful sort of day. To begin with, everything was the same as every other day so far: get up ridiculously early, travel, buy lunch, steward the Pilgrim Experience. 

The difference today was that we had to maintain the pilgrim journey while contending with Mass every hour - including a Latin Mass. Apart from a few disgruntled Mass attendees, all went smoothly with the team getting praised again and the journey being inspirational. 

We has mass at 2pm and as we were sitting in the middle of the cathedral, with Don Bosco, when it came to singing Friend of the Young after communion, most of us had to sprint to the front to reach the microphone and Edwin and try to sing - worked well I thought.

Don Bosco was then led out of the cathedral by the Bishop and the road crew became bodyguards! It was a little chaos trying to keep people away from the casket but we did it and as soon as we were outside, we threw away the restraints and broke into song, clapping and wooping in the piazza. 

After everything had been packed up, we raced back to Basildon, had a quick change and then went out with all the families and some of the parisioners to a Toby Carvery, courtesy of a Salesian Past-Pupil living in the Parish. The generosity and love shown to us by our host community has been amazing, don’t know why we were worried! 

Southwark tomorrow, let’s get the cards and spinning-plates out again!

 

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It has been a wonderful day! It started with a cup of tea at my door kindly provided by Raquel, my new mum for a few days. We have all been welcomed into people’s homes in Basildon whilst we’re in London and me and Jess couldn’t ask for a better host! 

I started the ‘working’ day playing splat, duck duck goose, wink murder and switch, to name a few games, with St Vincent’s Primary School. When they finally got into the cathedral, after much crowd control, they were the ones telling me about Don Bosco. They even knew about RUAH!

For the remainder of the day, I was placed at the departure stand and it has rejuvinated me when I was beginning to flag. Having people tell me how much they enjoyed the experience, how inspiring ‘it’ all is and asking how they can become involved filled me with a sense of pride in all the people that have made this happen. All the hours it took to organise have paid off. Visitors love what has been created and love the passion and enthusiasm that is on show. I think the aim of spreading the Salesian word has well and truly been accomplished. 

“Darling it’s wonderful, inspirational for evangilisation not just for Catholics, but for human beings”

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Day off today in Cardiff, I met Keith the Fish!

 

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Humble is how I would sum up today. Being able to watch people express their faith is an amazing privilege. The solitude of people silently praying moves me. I showed 3 children around the pilgrimage today, giving their parents time to complete it alone. I was starting to talk about Don Bosco’s dream at 9 when one of the little girls began to tell me the story and finished it. 

When I began to talk about Dominic Savio, they again got excited and told me who he was. I asked how they knew and they told me they had read it on the computer yesterday. I was in awe of the dedication their parents had in teaching their children about Don Bosco so that when they came to visit they would have a better understanding of who he was. 

I woke up this morning not wanting to get out of bed, even stating “Why? I don’t even like Young People”. Today has showed me what a terrible liar I am, leading a group around the journey was amazing and having the young people challenge me on some of the Salesian ideologies was even better. “How can you be strict and loving at the same time?”

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Another amazing day! Birmingham Catholic Youth Service (BCYS) had 30(ish) volunteers come to help us out today so we all got a chance to do something new. We got to spend the morning with a group of young people. I had good shepherd primary school they were just fab; they listened intently to the story of Don Bosco and were really inquisitive about everything, even asking how old mama Margaret was when she died. 

I spent the afternoon (after a luxury long break due to the cathedral being closed) in the cathedral crypt playing games and relaxing with All Saints secondary school from Sheffield. The day ended with a Youth Vigil which almost filled the cathedral; mass reduced me to tears which was a new and unexpected surprise. I think reflecting on the day and having a chance to think about what we have done so far and celebrating with a cathedral full of other people my age really moved me (either that or I’m just exhausted!).

 

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What an amazing, uplifting day we’ve all had. I can’t really describe what happened today but by the end I had the sense of ‘yes, that’s why we’re here’. 

The morning started with a very regimented ‘silent’ school coming to pray with the relics. To see so many young people waiting in silence, praying in silence, walking in silence was all but a little unnerving.

Just before it all got a little too intense though, a wave of energy came flowing through the cathedral in the form of 2000 Salesian school pupils from St John Bosco, Savio Salesian College, Thornleigh and All Saints Primary.

They were fantastic, and being able to be a part of their pilgrimage experience was a great honour. At one point I looked around and said: “this is real four windows stuff”. There were young people being welcomed and feeling relaxed, learning more about Don Bosco, watching magic shows and taking time to pray with Don Bosco, all under the cathedral roof! It was just a fantastic thing to witness.

I was able to top the day off by introducing my nephew to Don Bosco; he wrote a letter asking Don Bosco if he likes roses and if he would like to play games with him. I got a message in the evening saying Thomas loved the cathedral and wants to go back to visit and that he said on the way home that Jesus was his friend. 

All the end of mass we processed out of the cathedral with Don Bosco as a sign of him and us leaving cathedral, Liverpool and moving on to Birmingham. It was a great way to end a truly unbelievable day! Bring on Birmingham!

 

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The day started with a much needed late get up. When we hit the road from Savio House, everyone was buzzing with energy. There was a surprise pit stop at McDonald’s for a cheeky milkshake and then we continued on our way to Liverpool, meeting and then being overtaken by Don Bosco.

Within the Cathedral, there was a constant trickle of people including members of the press to add to the story of the pilgrimage, which can now be found in a number of newspapers and on the BBC website. At mass, the Cathedral was almost full so when it came to the end of mass, trying to control the sudden surge of people trying to get to the relics almost became a struggle. It was a day full of wonderful conversations about how Don Bosco and the Salesians in the UK have been a part of people’s lives.

Highlight: Getting to spend time with 2 young boys, having flag races and talking about magic and then being told by one of them “it was nice to meet you”

 

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Another early start and another early morning lunch run. I wonder what the shop assitants are thinking when a crowd of people invade their shops. However, I learnt today that it is not the first time crowds of people have invaded Carfin in the name of Don Bosco! In the 1930s, a statue of Don Bosco was unveiled at the pilgrimage site. Back then, 2000 people turned up and today we had 562 come to take part in our pilgrimage journey.

There was quite a lot of young people who came to visit who thoroughly enjoyed themselves. One young person in particular circled the entire pathway of the pilgrimage pathway at least 3 times.

Tomorrow we’re in Liverpool (woo hoo!!) which is going to be amazing, taking Don Bosco to meet the family is so exciting!

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Wow what an amazing day! Over 1800 people turned up which was way above the number I was expecting. Half the people I spoke to said they were also going to Carfin tomorrow too, so who knows how many will turn up! At times it all got a little confusing as we settled into the needs of the pilgrimage experience but it was a fantastic day conversing with people who had taken part in the journey of the experience from primary school children to elderly people who “knew” Don Bosco when they were younger but had come to reignite their knowledge and understand who was and is…

The day was topped off by Bro Sandy telling us that a lady who came to visit said she was moved by the experience but especially us in the road crew/pilgrim leaders and our enthusiasm. It just cemented and gave a real reason to why we are doing what we’re doing.

 

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It has been a mixed day of emotions! I started feeling very excited and ready to hit the road, being told a couple of times to calm down. However, when we reached Thornleigh, on the first leg of our journey, it hit me that I was going to see Don Bosco and it unsettled me. It unsettled me enough to reduce me to tears of sadness when I saw the casket; I felt like someone who has been so alive in my life had died and I was seeing him at a rosary. 

Once we got to Glasgow and set up the beautiful cathedral and I saw the casket in place, the sadness had gone and was replaced with excitement. Once again now I can’t wait for day two to begin. Woop!

 

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The following is her experience of travelling around as part of the Pilgrimage Team on The Pilgrimage of the Relics of Don Bosco, in January 2013.

If you have any comments, questions, or would like to share your experience of the pilgrimage, please email us at newsdesk@rualink.net.

Enjoy! - Salesian Link

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DON BOSCO TODAY

Summer 2017

DBT summer edition FINAL Page 01

 

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