How many times has someone mentioned ‘Salesian Family’ to you? Seems like that phrase crops up all over the place, but I don’t think two people have ever given me the same definition for it. And yet I certainly felt I experienced ‘it’ on the night of Sunday 30th January. As it neared 6pm I, along with more and more people, shuffled, squashed and then crammed into the SDB chapel in Battersea to celebrate Don Bosco’s feast day. People originally from all across Europe – Spain, Malta, Slovakia and the UK. Individuals who have volunteered across the world with BOVA and Vides. Past Pupils, students, lay people and religious. Some who have known Don Bosco for many years, others who were meeting him through friends maybe for the first time. And yet despite these vast differences we were all connected by a desire to celebrate his feast day.
Together we celebrated Mass, led by Fr John Dickson, whose homily fed us with Salesian history and spirituality. The music led by James Trewby and a talented group from Slovakia captured the joyful tone of the night. Afterwards we all gathered for food and drinks to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. It was a chance to share stories of our Salesian experiences, catch up on current news and encourage each other to continue taking park in all this diverse family has to offer.
Many thanks go to the Salesian community in Battersea for organising the celebration. There is a Facebook group ‘Salesians in the south’, which publicises events such as this one; I’d encourage you all to keep in touch.