Tag Archive: Don Bosco

A Saint comes to Perugia


The special mass, overseen by Don Bosco’s portrait

For the last ten days or so, there have been a series of events connected to the 90th anniversary of the Instituto Don Bosco in Perugia. Don Bosco is where our boys play soccer. There have been lectures, concerts (we are going to a performance of the Salesiani youth orchestra from Oświęcim [Auschwitz] tomorrow), picnics, youth tournaments, and a booth at the Chocolate Festival. There was also a special mass at the Cathedral in Perugia; all of the kids on the Don Bosco teams met at the institute and paraded up the hill to the center of town.


Offerings of balls

The choir sang, the arch-bishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve presided, institute officials spoke of the life of Don Bosco and the good work of the Institute, and offerings and gifts were presented at the altar, including a set of balls representing the three sports of soccer, basketball, and volleyball. Even the flower arrangements were done in the Institute’s colors of rosso and giallo.

We then found out that Don Bosco himself was coming to visit Perugia the following week, and would be staying the night at the Institute on 22 Oct. Since he passed away in 1888, and was canonized in 1934, this meant a visit by the reliquiario that contains his remains.

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Italian Youth Soccer


Winter view of the Don Bosco soccer field

Don Bosco

Last Tuesday I called the Don Bosco Scuola di Calcio [see their Facebook page and their sporting web site], located down the hill about 10 min. by foot, to arrange organized soccer for the boys. I had visited the complex during my February reconnaissance, and had been impressed by the quality of the facilities and fields, the friendliness of the personnel, and the proximity of the complex to our apartment.

The umbrella organization is Polisportive Giovanili Salesiane, part of the Salesian Society of Don Bosco. This organization was established by a 19th-century priest from northern Italy named Giovanni Bosco, who worked to establish schools and positive-reinforcement educational methods for poor and disadvantaged boys — those who did not have access to formal schooling. His efforts and organization expanded in Italy and Europe and eventually developed into missionary efforts overseas.

This post talks about the Don Bosco School, and also the general process by which one registers their child for youth soccer in Italy (mostly boys; soccer for girls is growing, but is nowhere near as widespread as in the U.S.)

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