Tomorrow is the Feast of St. John Bosco.
He was born in Northern Italy to a peasant family. His widowed mother brought him up. He became a priest.
The industrial revolution brought many young men to the cities looking for work. They often suffered great hardships.
John saw a need and did something about it.
He started evening classes to further the education of these often poorly educated young people. Hundreds began to attend.
He also noticed that many of them did not have proper accommodation. He set about organising accommodation for them.
Eventually he founded a new organisation to help in this growing ministry to boys and young men.
This was the beginning of the Salesians, named after St. Francis De Sales, who he greatly admired.
The work that St. John Bosco started continues to this present day in many countries, led by two Religious Congregations: one for men, one for women.
John Bosco did what so many others in the Church had done before him, and since. They saw needs and responded to a call.
In our own times there are also many needs facing people.
As a Church we need to respond in appropriate ways for out times. We cannot just leave it to others to come with ideas and solutions. Using our various and different gifts we are called to work together.
John Bosco found opposition to his work from anti-clericalist authorities. He also found misunderstanding from certain Church people. He did not give up.
He also adapted to the needs of young people and used whatever he could to help them. He did acrobatic acts having fun with the young people, and in many other ways met them where they were at.
His strength and energy came from his prayer. He did what he did out of love. He looked at his model, St. Francis De Sales, and learnt from him.
However, his best model was Jesus.
John based his life on unselfish self-giving in love and service.
He did not let opposition deter him.
However, he was ever the humble servant.