I went to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. (I know that is a mouthful!). It is one of my favorite places on earth. It is in Washington D.C. right next to the Catholic University of America. I believe it is the largest church in North America.
Today they had the relic of St. John Bosco displayed for veneration. St. John Bosco is an incorruptible. That means that, miraculously, his corpse didn't decay. Here's a link to info about him.
I wanted to take my kids with me. But Becky woke up with an earache and the day was already very complicated with driving Josh to and fro to classes. At one point Will was supposed to go pick up Josh from a science field study but if I took Sean with me then Becky would be left alone for a while and I just wasn't comfortable with that. So I decided that I really, really wanted to venerate St. Don Bosco, so I was going. So I left the kids behind. I was very sad about that. There were lots of kids there and it really made me wish my kids were there with me too. At least the two youngest ones! The church was filled with reverent silence and there were many people lined up on either side of the casket, praying. I got there when the line was relatively short. I got up to the casket took one look and started crying. I tried to take a picture but felt shy about it. So I just hurriedly snapped this one.
After that I went and sat down and tried to get myself together (fished in my purse for kleenex!) and tried to calm down and pray a bit. I prayed a very heartfelt prayer for St. John Bosco to intercede for me. I want so much to emulate him in his devotion, compassion, patience and joyful energy! I said the little prayer they gave us on entering the Basilica:
St. John Bosco, full of confidence I turn to you, asking you to intercede for me. Help me to lead a good and happy life. May I always be a help to others, avoid sin and die a happy death. Bring down the blessings of God on all those in my thoughts and prayers now, and obtain for me the special graces which I now ask. . . . I trust in God's love and mercy to grant what God knows is best for me. Don Bosco, who on earth had such a great devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary, Help of Christians, and who always had compassion for those who were suffering, obtain from Jesus and His Heavenly Mother the grace I now request and also a sincere acceptance to the Will of God. Amen. St. John Bosco, Father and Teacher of the young, pray for us. Recite the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be.
I walked around the beautiful church but still felt shy about taking pictures when so much praying was going on! I did take a shot of the little shrine to Mary Help of Christians
After that I went to the bookstore. I am sucker for bookstores! There was a Salesian priest in there wearing one of the very cool t-shirts I had seen the Basilica staff wearing. I asked him if they were for sale but he said he didn't know but that I could call the Salesian office and find out.
I didn't stay very long in the bookstore because I really felt I ought to be getting home to my sick child who'd I'd barely seen all day and also I wanted to avoid rush hour. So I ran back up to the sanctuary to bid St. John Bosco goodbye. The line had shortened again so I went up again to the casket. This time I took this photo:
It was a very moving experience. The incorruptibles just freak me out. In a good way!
Anyway, beloved John Bosco, thank you for your devotion to God and for being such a holy role model. Your heart was full of Christ's love for sinners. Pray for us!