January 31, 2009
vol 20, no. 31

Double Feast of Saint John Bosco, Confessor

WHITE Vestments

   Saint John Bosco accomplished what many people considered an impossibility; he walked through the streets of Turin, Italy, looking for the dirtiest, roughest urchins he could find, then made good men of them. His extraordinary success can be summed up in the words of his patron Saint, Francis de Sales: “The measure of his love was that he loved without measure.”

   John’s knowledge of poverty was firsthand. He was born in 1815 in the village of Becchi in the Piedmont district of northern Italy, and reared on his parents’ small farm. When his father died, Margaret Bosco and her three sons found it harder than ever to support themselves, and while John was still a small boy he had to join his brothers in the farm work. Although his life was hard, he was a happy, imaginative child. Even as a boy, John found innocent fun compatible with religion. To amuse his friends he learned how to juggle and walk a tightrope; but he would entertain them only on condition that each performance begin and end with a prayer.

   As he grew older, John began to think of becoming a priest, but poverty and lack of education made this seem impossible. A kindly priest recognized his intelligence, however, and gave him his first encouragement, teaching him to read and write. By taking odd jobs in the village, and through the help of his mother and some charitable neighbors, John managed to get through school and find admittance to the diocesan seminary of nearby Turin. As a seminarian he devoted his spare time to looking after the ragamuffins who roamed the slums of the city. Every Sunday he taught them catechism, supervised their games and entertained them with stories and tricks; before long his kindness had won their confidence, and his “Sunday School” became a ritual with them.

   After his ordination in 1841, he became assistant to the chaplain of an orphanage at Valocco, on the outskirts of Turin. This position was short-lived, for when he insisted that his Sunday-school boys be allowed to play on the orphanage grounds, they were turned away, and he resigned. He began looking for a permanent home for them, but no “decent” neighborhood would accept the noisy crowd. At last, in a rather tumbledown section of the city, where no one was likely to protest, the first oratory was established and named for Saint Francis de Sales. At first the boys attended school elsewhere, but as more teachers volunteered their time, classes were held at the house. Enrollment increased so rapidly that by 1849 there were three oratories in various places in the city.

   For a long time Don Bosco had considered founding an Order to carry on his work, and this idea was supported by a notoriously anticlerical cabinet minister named Rattazzi. Rattazzi had seen the results of his work, and although an Italian law forbade the founding of religious communities at that time, he promised government support. The founder-priest went to Rome in 1858 and, at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, drew up a Rule for his community, the Society of Saint Francis de Sales (Salesians). Four years later he founded an Order for women, the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians, to care for abandoned girls. Finally, to supplement the work of both congregations, he organized an association of lay people interested in aiding their work.

   This holy man died on this day in 1888 when 73 years of age. He was canonized by Pope Pius XI on Easter Sunday 1934, and his feast extended to the universal Church in 1936. His religious family is carrying on his work so that on Dec. 3rd 1933 Pius XI could describe it as numbering 19,000 religious, 1430 houses of education, 80 religious provinces, thousands of churches, chapels, boarding schools and boys' clubs, 17 territories in the mission field, hundreds of thousands of pupils and about a million old pupils about as many co-operators who after his own expression "lengthen his arm." In Heaven, St. John Bosco prays for them and for those who have recourse to his intercession. (Postcom) The work of John Bosco continues today in over a thousand Salesian oratories throughout the world. No modern Saint has captured the heart of the world more rapidly than this smiling peasant-priest from Turin, who believed that to give complete trust and love is the most effective way to nourish virtue in others.

   It was to St. John Bosco God provided a mystical experience wherein in a vivid dream John saw the great battle ahead for the Church and the Barque of Peter which would be tossed to and fro trying to steer between the two salvific pillars of the Most Holy Eucharist and Devotion to Mary's Immaculate Heart.

    Source: Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year. (Reprint of the work of John Gilmary Shea, with Appendix including recently canonized Saints) (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1955. Third Edition: Tan Books and Publishers: Rockford, Ill., 1995).

    Missa "Dedit illi Deus sapientiam"

    INTROIT: III Kings 4: 29
    Dedit illi Deus sapientiam et prudentiam multam nimis et latitudinem cordis quasi arenam quae est in litore maris (Ps. 112: 1) Laudate pueri Dominum, laudate nomen Domine. v. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancti sicut erat in principio et nunc, et semper, et saecula saeculorum. Amen.
    Repeat Dedit illi Deus sapeintiam...
    God gave to him wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart as the sand that is on the sea shore. (Ps. 112: 1) Praise the Lord, ye children: praise ye the Name of the Lord. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. RepeatGod gave to him wisdom...
    Deus, qui sanctum Joannem Confessorem tuum adolescentium patrem et magistrum excitasti, ac per eum, auxiliatrice Virgine Maria, novas in Ecclesia tua familias florescere voluisti: concede, quaesumus, ut eodem caritatis igne succensi, animas quaerere, tibique soli servire valeamus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum: Qui Tecum vivit et regnat.
    O God, who didst raise u saint John, Thy confessor, to be a father and teacher of youth, and didst will that through him, with the help of the Virgin Mary, new families should flourish in Thy Church, grant, we beseech Thee, that enkindled with the same fire of charity, we may be able to seek after souls and to serve Thee alone. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

    EPISTLE: Philippians 4. 4-9
    Lectio Epistolae beati Pauli Apostoli ad Philippenses. Fratres: Gaudete in Domino semper; iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus prope est Nihil sollicitis sitis: sed in omni oratione, et obsecratione, cum gratiarum actione, petitiones vestare innotescant apud Deum. Et pax Dei, quae exsuperat omnem sensum, custodiat, corda vestra, et intelligentias vestras in Christo Jesu Domino nostro. De ceetero, fratres, quaecumque sunt vera, quaecumque pudica, quaecumque justa, quaecumque sancta, quaecumque amabilia, quaecumque bonae famae, si qua virtus, si qua laus disciplinae, haec cogitate. Quae et didicistis, et accepistis, et audistis, et vidistis in me, haec agite: et Deus pacis erit vobiscum. Deo Gratias.
    Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Philippians. Brethren, rejoice in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep you r hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline: think on these things. The things which you have both learned and received and heard and seen in me, these do ye: and the God of peace shall be with you. Thanks be to God.

    GRADUAL: Psalm 36. 3-6
    Spera in Domino et fac bonitatem et inhabita terram et pasceris in divitiis ejus. V. Delectare in Domino, et dabit tibi petitiones cordis tui: revelanes cordis tui; revela Domino viam tuam et spera in eum, et ipse faciet.

    Alleluia, alleluia. V. Pauper et inops laudabunt Nomen Tuum. Alleluia.

    Trust in the Lord, and do good, and dwell in the land: and thou shalt be fed with its riches. V. Delight in the Lord, and He will give thee the requests of thy heart; commit thy way to the Lord and trust in Him, and He will do it.

    Alleluia, alleluia. V. The poor and needy shall praise Thy name. Alleluia.

    GOSPEL:   Matthew 18: 1-5
    Dominus vobiscum.
    R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
    Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum
    R.Gloria tibi, Domine

    In illo tempore: Accesserunt discipuli ad Jesus, dicentes; 'Quis, putas major est in regno Caelorum?' Et advocans Jesus parvulum, Statuit eum in medio eorum, et dixit: 'Amen dico vobis, nisi converse fueritis, et efficiamni sicut parvuli, non intrabitis in regnum Caelorum. Quincumque ergo humliaverir se sicut parvulus iste, hic est major in regno Caelorum. Et qui susceperit unum parvulum talem in nomine Meo, Me suscipit.'
    Laus tibi Christe.

    The Lord be with you.
    R. And with thy spirit.
    The continuation of the holy Gospel according to Matthew. R. Glory to Thee, O Lord

    At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying: 'Who thinkest Thou, is the greater in the kingdom of Heaven?' And Jesus calling unto Him a little child, set him in the midst of them, and said: 'Amen I say to you unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of Heaven: and he that shall receive one such little child in My name, receiveth Me.
    Praise be to Christ

    OFFERTORY:    Psalm 33: 12
    Dominus vobiscum.
    R. Et cum spiritu tuo.

    Venite, filii, audte me: timorem Domini docebo vos.
    The Lord be with you.
    R. And with thy spirit.

    Come, children, hearken to me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
    Suscipe, Domine, oblationem mundam salutaris Hostiae et praesta, ut, te in omnibus et super omnia diligentes in gloriae tuae laudem vivere mereamur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium Tuum, Qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, Per omnia saecula saeculorum.
    R. Amen.
    Receive, O Lord, the pure oblation of the saving Victim and grant that, loving Thee in and above all things, we may deserve to live for the praise of Thy glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever..

    PREFACE   Common Preface
    Dominus vobiscum.
    R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
    Sursum corda.
    R.Habemus ad Dominum.
    Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
    R. Dignum et justum est.

    Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos Tibi simper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus: per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem majestatem Tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates, Coeli, Coelorumque Virtutes, ac beata Seraphim socia exultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti, jubeas, supplici confessione dicentes:
    The Lord be with you.
    R. And with thy spirit.
    Lift up your hearts.
    R.We have lifted them up to the Lord.
    Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
    R. It is meet and just.

    It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:

    COMMUNION:   Romans 4: 18
    Contra spem in spem credidit, ut fieret pater multorum gentium, secundum quod dictum est ei.
    Against hope he believed in hope, that he might be made the father of many nations, according to that which was said to him.

    Dominus vobiscum.
    R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
    Corporis et Sanguinis tui, Domine, mysterio satiatis, concede, quaesumus; ut, intercedente sancto Johanne Confessore, in gratiarum semper actione maneamus. Qui vivis et regnas in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus,
    Per omnia saecula saeculorum.
    R. Amen.
    The Lord be with you.
    R. And with thy spirit.
    Let us pray.
    Nourished with the mystery of Thy Body and Blood, we beseech Thee, O Lord: grant us, that through the intercession of St. John, Thy confessor, we may ever continue to give thanks unto Thee. Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God
    Forever and ever.
    R. Amen.

Daily Proper of the Mass for January 31