Mumbai, celebrations for the 60th anniversary of Don Bosco’s shrine to Our Lady
by Nirmala Carvalho

The sanctuary was built in 1957 by the Italian Salesian missionary Fr. Aurelio Maschio. In 1964 Pope Paul VI blessed the statue of Mary Help of Christians. Card. Gracias emphasizes the value of good relationships within the family.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Mumbai Catholics celebrated the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Don Bosco sanctuary of Our Lady in Matunga. Yesterday there were three Eucharistic celebrations: the first, at 8am (local time), was presided over by Msgr. Dominic Savio Fernandes; the second, at 9.30am, by Msgr. Barthol Barretto (both auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Mumbai, ndr); the third, at 11, was officiated by the Archbishop, Card. Oswald Gracias. In his homily the Cardinal said: "Jesus came on earth, sent by the Father, to reveal to us the Face of God, to reveal to us the Love of the Father, the objective of our lives, and our relationship with God. Jesus reveals to us what God is, “God is Spirit’, Jesus is unveiled to us that God is everywhere."

The occasion was also celebrated on the 75th anniversary of the "Don Bosco High School". Speaking about the sanctuary, p. Edwin D'Souza, the rector, recalled that the sanctuary "was erected 60 years ago [in 1957, ndr] for the glory of God and the honors of the Blessed Virgin Mary." The place of worship was born from the initiative of Fr. Aurelio Maschio, an Italian Salesian and pioneer in the spread of Don Bosco's devotion in India. On November 28, 1964, the sanctuary was consecrated by Msgr. Hubert D'Rosario [then bishop of Dibrugarh, Assam-ndr], at the beginning of the 39th International Eucharistic Congress. On December 4, 1964, Pope Paul VI went to visit the shrine and blessed the statue of Mary Help of Christians.

According to Fr. D'Souza, "Fr. Aurelio Maschio was fascinated by the beauty and grandeur of the Sanctuary of Mary Help of Christians in Turin [Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, ndr]. So he wanted to replicate this Don Bosco monument for the people of Mumbai as a monument of love and devotion to Mary Help of Christians. His work was made possible thanks to the generosity of thousands of benefactors in the city, the country, Italy and the rest of the world who have turned this dream into reality."

Card. Gracias emphasized that "for us children of the Father, we have the gift of knowing and having God in our midst. In the Blessed Sacrament, ion the Eucharist, in the priest, within each of us. As on the road to Damascus, Jesus asked Saul, “why are you persecuting me." Then he invited those present: "Open the doors to Christ, let Him come to us." Recalling Pope Francis, who said in the terms "please thanks and sorry, we have to build our relationships within the family, based on mutual love, respect and understanding”, the Cardinal concluded “Mary brings us to Jesus...Mary gives strength to overcome all difficulties."