Feast of the Immaculate Conception

11 Dec 2017

Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 1841
Turin, Italy

This morning, I was preparing to celebrate Mass. A young man walked into the sacristy. He did not belong there. The sacristan thought the young man was there to serve Mass, but he had no idea what the man was talking about.

The sacristan began to chase the young man away with a broom.

I had to hold the sacristan back from beating up the young man.

I was gentle and kind to the lad. It took me a while to convince him that he had nothing to fear. Since Mass was about to begin, I asked him to stick around so we could chat after Mass.

And he stayed.

In our conversation, I learned that my new friend Bartholomew Garelli was 16. His parents were both deceased. He was far away from his home village. He had been working as a bricklayer in the city. He did not know how to read or write.

He knew nothing of our religion.

The first catechism lesson that I taught him was the Sign of the Cross.

And so we became friends.

I invited, and he agreed that he would come back with some of his friends.

Today is the feast of Our Lady. I believe that it was Mary who sent Bartholomew.

There are so many Bartholomew’s in this city.…

Thus, Don Bosco’s mission of helping young people to know God and to become good Christians and productive citizens began – on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Is God calling you to be a part of this mission?

(Fr. John Bosco)