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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (57)

After his death, St. Dominic Savio was interred at Turin’s Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians (St. John Bosco’s later burial place). Nearby are many baby items left in thanksgiving: St. Dominic especially interceded for sick babies. After Dominic’s death, St. John Bosco dreamt the Virgin Mary telling him that the shepherds would come from the sheep – clearly, his order’s priests would come from his students. In 1854, he gathered followers to form the Salesian Order under the example of St. Francis de Sales, who emphasized the universal call to sainthood. While devising the order’s rule, he was attacked by devils – he would hear crying, his inkwell spilled onto his papers, and his desk would shake. But he received support from the Italian government and Blessed Pope Pius IX. In 1859, he and 17 followers formally established the Salesian Order and once he received approval from the Holy See, the Order grew to 251 members. In addition, a Salesian Family of Don Bosco grew to bring about the Salesian mission. The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians was a sister order established to educate girls, and the Association of Salesian Cooperators was established for laity to cooperate with the Salesians.
Publish date: 2017 - 10 - 14


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Guardians of Canada: Our Lady of the Cape and Blessed Frédéric Janssoone

Trois-Rivières, a French-speaking city in Quebec, is the home of treasures of the Catholic Church in Canada. Blessed Frédéric Janssoone, a Franciscan friar who devoted all of his energy in spreading the Good News of Christ, might become Canada's next saint. A little-known stone chapel ultimately became a Marian shrine which attracts thousands of pilgrims yearly. Fountain of Grace uncovers these treasures for you.
Publish date: 2017 - 10 - 7


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Dominic Savio

St. Dominic Savio was a holy student of St. John Bosco. When a classmate refused to pray in the cold chapel, he gave him his coat. Another time, a stranger visited the Oratory’s students and interspersed his jokes with criticisms of Catholicism. When Dominic found out, he got the students to walk out, saying, “This sinful man is trying to destroy our souls.” Another time, one of the students shared an impure newspaper, so Dominic angrily ripped it up and said, “Have you forgotten? Jesus said even one impure look can damage our souls!” The boy protested, “We’re just playing.” Dominic said, “We’ll see if you’ll still have fun in hell!” In 1856, John Bosco’s mother Margherita passed away and appeared singing to him in his dreams, saying, “I’m awaiting you, we must be together.” And a year later, Dominic fell sick and died, later appearing to his father asking for prayers.
Publish date: 2017 - 10 - 7


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The Colours of Martyrdom

As part of its 30th-anniversary celebration, the Chinese Martyrs Catholic Church held a joint exhibition featuring faith-inspired artworks of different genres. They also invited Jackie Lau, a Catholic artist from Hong Kong, to paint a series of portraits of Chinese martyrs. Fountain of Grace takes a look at this unique art exhibition.
Publish date: 2017 - 9 - 23


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (56)

After hearing St. John Bosco speak of the universal call to holiness, St. Dominic Savio spread wood pieces and stones on his bed to imitate the suffering of the monastic saints. When Fr. Bosco heard of this, he said, “Sainthood is about fulfilling your role well. Remember, Jesus Christ is always with you and wants you to be happy.” Dominic said, “All I do will be for the glory of God.” When the food or weather was bad, he would joyfully endure. In 1856, Dominic started the Immaculate Conception Sodality to support the Oratory’s students by promoting veneration of Mary, frequent reception of the Eucharist, and welcoming homesick new students. Just like St. Dominic Savio, we are all called to spread the Gospel and help others.
Publish date: 2017 - 9 - 30


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (55)

St. John Bosco founded the Salesian Order, dedicated to educating youths. One of his more well-known students was St. Dominic Savio. On the day of his First Communion, he made four vows: (1) to diligently receive the Sacraments; (2) to sanctify Sundays and holy days; (3) to befriend Jesus and Mary; and (4) to rather die than sin. Everyday, the 14 year-old boy had to walk 12 miles to school but he never felt tired, for he believed that “God my master rewards me richly.” Once, Dominic’s classmate committed a serious sin and framed Dominic. He was silent throughout and when the truth came to light later, he said, “I know he only accused me because he had other troubles. I hoped to give him another chance.” Once, Dominic asked St. John Bosco to let him study in Turin, saying, “Taylor me into a fitting garment for Christ!” Another time, St. John Bosco preached about the universal call to saintliness, instilling in Dominic the need to always rejoice in God.
Publish date: 2017 - 9 - 23


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (54)

In 1853, St. John Bosco started a workshop for the Oratory’s children to provide them wholesome work and to fulfill the Oratory’s needs. He started a press called Catholic Readings to print apologetics, which angered many anti-Catholics. One day, two men approached him and offered him 1000 lira to publish history books instead. He refused, asking, “If my work is so useless, why do you offer me so much money? As a priest, I work for the good of the Church, the good of the poor. I must continue.” Afterwards, many assassination attempts were made on his life. People poisoned his Communion wine and a woman attacked him with a chair after pretending to be deathly ill. John Bosco befriended a dog called Grigio who never ate and always protected him. Once, a sniper lay in wait for John Bosco, and the dog saved his life by preventing him from leaving the house. Perhaps the dog was his guardian angel sent to protect him.
Publish date: 2017 - 9 - 16


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (53)

St. John Bosco’s mother Margherita was a holy woman who is currently being investigated for sainthood. Born poor, she lived as a poor woman all her life. John Bosco could not bear seeing his mother dress so poorly, so he gave her 20 lira to buy new clothes. But upon receiving the money, she met some poor children and used up the money to buy them clothes instead. She exemplified spiritual poverty and frequented daily Mass, praying before Jesus in the tabernacle, often giving guidance to the Oratory’s children in between her prayers. But one time, the children ruined her fruit orchard after playing war games. Unable to bear the boys’ misbehaviour, she asked her son to bring her back to Becchi. John Bosco merely pointed to the crucifix on the wall; a tear fell from her cheek and she said, “You are right”. She took up her apron and continued to work.
Publish date: 2017 - 9 - 9


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (52)

In 1849, St. John Bosco performed two miracles. In the first, 15-year-old Charles insisted on having Fr. Bosco listen to his Confession and refused any other priest. When Fr. Bosco returned, the boy had already died, but the priest called his name. The boy opened his eyes and told him he had dreamt he was in a dark and narrow cave where many souls were sent to hell. He was terrified, because in thinking he could only confess properly to Fr. Bosco, he had not confessed a grave sin. Immediately, he confessed his sins to Fr. Bosco, who said, “By God’s grace, the gates of heaven are open to you. Do you want to go to heaven, or stay with us?” “Heaven,” the boy replied. “Very well,” said the priest, “we will meet again in heaven.” The boy closed his eyes, and passed away. In the second miracle, Fr. Bosco brought the Oratory’s 600 children out and promised them chestnuts. With only three baskets, he miraculously managed to feed all the children. The children realized this and shouted, “Fr. Bosco is a saint!”
Publish date: 2017 - 9 - 2


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (51)

Although the Oratory was beset by conflict, St. John Bosco was comforted by God. Once, he had insufficient Eucharists in the tabernacle for 600 children at Mass. He prayed to God, distributed the Eucharist without breaking it, and all the children received. Fifteen years later, on being asked about this, he confirmed, “Yes, this was a miracle from Jesus teaching us the importance of receiving the Eucharist.” Yet, this moved him less than consecrating the Body of Christ at every Mass. Another time, he preached on listening to the Word of God in a public square. Some youths noisily tried to disrupt the preaching, so John Bosco said to them, “If you became blind, would you listen to the Word of God?” One boy retorted, “Speech is easy, but action is hard.” Suddenly, he was struck blind and John Bosco told him to pray the Act of Contrition and go to Confession to be healed. When the boy did so, his blindness was lifted. John Bosco used his gift of miracles to bring people to repentance and a closer relationship to Christ in the Eucharist.
Publish date: 2017 - 8 - 26


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (50)

By 1847, St. John Bosco’s Oratory had grown to 800 people, and there was no more room to contain them. Like bees, St. John Bosco said, they must start a new home elsewhere. This new home was the St. Louis Oratory at the south side of Turin, which would be led by John Bosco’s assistant, Fr. Paolo. The name honoured St. Louis (an exemplar of purity for boys) and showed thanks to the support of the archbishop Louis of Turin. The next year, 1848, was a year of political turmoil in Italy and many of the Oratory’s priests tried to indoctrinate the youths with political ideas. But John Bosco was against the youths participating in political demonstrations and would not allow the Oratory to turn into a political organization. Some of his assistant priests disagreed and convinced many youths to stop attending the liturgies. Eventually, many of the rebellious youths and assistant priests repented and John Bosco welcomed them back. John Bosco stuck to his principles and kept the Oratory true to its mission.
Publish date: 2017 - 8 - 19


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (49)

Helen is a fervent catholic. She studied in Catholic school, but was only baptized 22 years ago. The night when she was baptized, her husband died at the age of 46 because of lung cancer. Next day her 10 years old son told her he dreamt his father had gone to heaven. Two months later, during mass she heard Holy Spirit talked to her, saying that God loves her so much and wants to give her a chance to be a good mother, bringing up her two kids. She really went through a lot of difficulties, but with the help of God and Our Lady, she learned how to communicate with others, forgiveness, to be a good catholic, so that people can see the presence of God.
Publish date: 2017 - 8 - 12