(ANS - Turin) - On 9 June 1868, Don Bosco concluded the construction of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin, officially inaugurating and consecrating it. A few months from now, 150 years shall have passed since that day. To celebrate, the Salesians of the Special Circumscription of Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta (ICP) have prepared a rich calendar of events starting Wednesday, December 6, events that are both religious and civil, the basilica being not only a Salesian asset, but one that is civic and universal.
In these 150 years the temple has undergone many changes: in Don Bosco's time it was much smaller, almost half its current size. Internally, there have been many changes and, generally speaking, has gone from being a church in the style of Turin's nineteenth century, one borne of poverty, to its modern-day splendour. Its basic architectural structure, and the altarpiece of Mary Help of Christians, commissioned by Don Bosco to Tommaso Lorenzone, have remained unchanged.
Along with the Basilica, the neighborhood has also changed, from being an area that was initially peripheral, with problems due to inter-religious integration, to one that is multi-ethnic, now close to the historic center of Turin.
The inaugural concert is scheduled Wednesday, 6 December, 2017. A second concert, on Saturday 20 January, is scheduled at the conclusion of the "Days of spirituality of the Salesian Family." With the concerts, historians and experts shall describe the events of that famous 9 June, 1868, and the restoration made to the grand organ, with its 3000 pipes, presented.
Monday, January 29, there will be a book presentation: "The Dreams of Don Bosco", by Fr Andrea Bozzolo, SDB, who has collected essays from twenty scholars, theologians and psychologists on the concept of dream.
Friday, March 9, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, talks about the Church and its path.
On 6 April, a Friday, the basilica will host the "Nuovi Orizzonti" community, which operates in all areas of hardship, especially among young people, while on 7 April, the Corale di Aosta will perform a concert; other events follow, such as the testimony of Francesco Lorenzi, singer of the musical group "The Sun", which brings the Christian message in music.
The journey ends Saturday, 9 June, 2018 with a solemn Eucharist and a gaze open onto the future, one whose aim is to make of the basilica increasingly a place of meeting with - and for - everyone.