Monday, January 31, 2011

kCAT CAN: With Don Bosco, I can make it

It's St. John Bosco's feast day!

When I was younger, I always look forward to January 31 because that means there's no classes in our school.. ;P But even after I graduating from DBS, I'll always treat January 31 as a special day. Don Bosco (school) was a big part in what I've become today.
This is the reason why I wanted Maro, my brother, to study at DBS too (he started studying there in 3rd grade), because I want him to experience what Talitha (my sister, batch2006) and I have learned in DBS.

With Don Bosco I can make it
by Maria Kathrina Lopez Yarza
January 31, 2011

Monday is the feast day of St. John Bosco. He died on January 31, 1888. He is the patron saint of the young ones, the father and teacher of the youth, and I am blessed to have studied in one of the schools that was named after him. I am proud to be a Bosconian!

Our home is our first venue of learning; the second is our school. After studying nursery school at a learning center near our home, I was ready to study at a bigger school for my preparatory schooling. My parents learned that there was a new Don Bosco School (DBS) in Manila that accepts girls, and since my dad’s and mom’s brothers were Bosconians, they were eager to enroll me there.

Don Bosco Schools around the globe originally catered exclusively to boys. These schools promote the teachings of St. John Bosco. Later, he founded the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) to extend his apostolate to young girls as well.

I was blessed to be raised the Salesian way, having been schooled at DBS for 11 years. I strongly believe that the values taught to us by the DBS educators were instilled in my mind and in my heart and helped me to become closer to God.

What I learned...
In those 11 years, I thought I was just there to study, study, and study. But now I have come to realize that all the values that had been taught to us form a big part of who I am today.

In grade school, I was afraid of littering because my school I.D would be confiscated when caught. Even if I was outside the school premises already, I still did not throw trash just anywhere because someone might see me and get my school I.D. 
Funny! Although it may seem a trivial thing, seriously enough, it taught me how to be a more responsible person.

Family days were often included in the school’s yearly activities and I learned the importance of family bonding, sharing ups and downs in support and love for one another.

The school also celebrated Gratitude Day to show our appreciation and thanks to the school community, which included the students, teachers, sisters, parents, non-teaching staff, even the security guards, the ate and kuya of the school canteen and the maintenance staff, and even our school service drivers. I learned to respect and appreciate everyone, no matter what his or her position in life might be.

The subject Religion opened my mind to much knowledge about God and His mighty works, and opened my heart to a deeper faith that has carried me through all the ordeals in my life.

St. John Bosco quotes, “Run, jump, play, make noise, but do not sin.” This wise saying is found all around the school. Albeit very simple, yet the words are very meaningful and compelling.

This particular quote helped me understand that I must and I can enjoy life without causing trouble for others and without committing any sin. We are all given the free will to choose and live our lives; but with this freedom comes a certain responsibility to ourselves, to our fellowmen, and to our society.

With all these values, my faith in God, my faith in people, and faith in myself has become stronger. I have learned to accept myself for who I am and who I am not, challenging myself to become a better and worthy person in the eyes of God, and of men.

St. John Bosco visits
When I learned that the St. John Bosco’s Relic World Pilgrimage was scheduled to come to the country, and to visit the Don Bosco Technical College in Mandaluyong which is a street away from our home, I was so thrilled! The pilgrim journey, which started on Jan. 31, 2009 [the 150th anniversary of the Salesian Congregation founded by St. John Bosco], is a preparation for the bicentenary celebration which will be celebrated on August 16 [the day of St. John Bosco’s birth] in the year 2015.

Unlike most pilgrimages where the pilgrims usually go to the sanctuary and venerate the saint, St. John Bosco’s pilgrim journeys to areas where the Salesians are at work among the young people. The pilgrimage tours to 130 different countries, including the Philippines. It arrived last December 5, 2010, left for Vietnam last January 15, 2011, and will not be visiting the country again until after 100 to 150 years.

We attended the grand eucharistic celebration last Jan. 7. The decomposed bones and tissues of his right hand and arm had been taken and enclosed in a large urn and placed within a wax replica of his body. As I looked at his waxed figure, these words were in my thoughts: “Thank you for your teachings and inspiring words. Thank you for coming to the Philippines. Thank you for the privilege of becoming a Bosconian. You won’t be able to say, ‘you are welcome’, but still, I want to thank you.”

“…be of service to all you know, and be a friend for all.” That was quoted from the lyrics of one of my favorite Salesian songs and it ends with, “…with Don Bosco we can make it now.” I’ve always kept those lyrics in my mind and been living by those words.

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