August 24

1837: No more violin

After the patronal feast of St. Bartholomew, of which an uncle of John Bosco was the chairman, there was a small family feast in the house of the uncle. The incident that took place there, was very displeasing to cleric Bosco: “Fool that I was, I did not have the courage to refuse. So I began playing (the violin), and continued for quite a while. Suddenly I heard whispering and shuffling of feet…and saw a crowd dancing gaily in the front yard to the sound of my music. Words cannot express the indignation that seized me at the sight…. I then got up and went home. Then I took my violin, trampled on it, and smashed it into a thousand pieces. Never again did I play such an instrument, not even at church services. I had made a solemn promise and I kept it. Later I taught others how to play it, but without ever handling it.” (BM I, 312)

1840: Improvised sermon

On August 24, almost unexpectedly, he was called upon to deliver a sermon on St. Bartholomew at Castelnuovo. Suddenly, Father Cinzano appeared and announced that he had received a letter…The curate tried to ease himself out of it…The other priest also declined the invitation… Fr. Cinzano hesitated…but then turned to him( John) and said: “How about you, John?”…”If there’s no one else, I am ready for anything. I’ll try.” (BM I, 363ff)

1936: Father Felix Gonzales, Martyr (Spanish)

– aged 48, a salesian for 29 and a priest for 21 – martyred at Madrid, cause introduced on October 9, 1956. (cfr. CDB, 323)

1960: Athletes’ present to John XXIII

Athletes from the five continents presented a statue of St. John Bosco to Pope XXIII in the Square of St. Peter’s. The statue was the work of ninety-year-old Peter Canonica (+ June 1959), who completed it by the end of 1958, by order of Minister Andreotti. Peter Canonica knew Don Bosco at Turin. He is also the author of the big statue of Don Bosco in the cupola of St. Peter’s, Rome. (cfr. “Boll. Sal.” 1960, p,402)

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