The worldwide pilgrimage of the relic of St Don Bosco made a double stop in Laois last week as part of a fortnight long Irish tour.
The casket containing a wax replica of the saint, partly made from his bone and tissue, was welcomed by thousands of parishioners in Ballinakill and Portlaoise on February 26.
Monsignor John Byrne, PP of Portlaoise, said the reception was extraordinary in SS Peter and Paul’s Church, where the faithful came to touch the casket and leave petitions.
“We had a great turnout, we estimate that up to 10,000 people passed through the church. We had three Masses during the visit, including 700 people at Midnight Mass. St John of Bosco was a very popular saint, he has great appeal for young people. He believed it was most important to listen to and respect young people, in particular those who are marginalised. It was an enriching experience for the parish, hopefully the visit will have a lasting effect,” he said.
The relic has been on pilgrimage throughout the world since 2009 to prepare for the bi-centenary of the Italian saint’ birth in 2015. It departs the country this Thursday.