Commemoration of Saint John Bosco, Confessor

   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).

      Resources: We are grateful to Friends of Our Lady of Fatima for providing the Propers for the faithful. Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945

When the Mass of Missa "Os justi" is not celebrated, it is commemorated

Dominus vobiscum. R. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus. 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 Jesum Christum, Filium Tuum, Qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus,
Per omnia saecula saeculorum.
R. Amen.

The Lord be with you. R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray. 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
Forever and ever.

Return to the ORDINARY OF THE HOLY MASS Mass of the Catechumens
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 our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God
Forever and ever.

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.

Commemoration of St. John Bosco