Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Venerable Matt Talbot and Don Bosco"

This article was published earlier today at http://www.infoans.org/1.asp?sez=1&sotSez=13&doc=12119&Lingua=2 by ANS (Agenzia iNfo Salesiana), an online almost daily publication of the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation in Rome.

(ANS - Dublin) - In the year when the Salesian Family throughout the world is celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco, in Dublin, Ireland, they are is also celebrating the 90th anniversary of the birth of Venerable Matt Talbot, whose remains rest in a Church entrusted to the Salesians. This gives rise to an opportunity to draw some points of similarity between the Irish Venerable and the saint from Piedmont.

For over twenty years, the Salesians of St John Bosco in Ireland have been entrusted with the pastoral care of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Sean MacDermott Street, in inner city Dublin. Though in the heart of the city, it is very much a ministry to the marginalized and those effected by social problems and addiction. One of their initiatives is a community based, drug rehabilitation programme aimed at young people. It would be an apostolate very much to the heart of Don Bosco and Pope Francis himself.

The church hosts also the mortal remains of Venerable Matt Talbot, a Dubliner who died in 1925, and was renowned for his holiness, having overcome a crippling alcohol addiction, through prayer and penance. As a pastoral initiative, the parish is holding a number of special activities to mark the 90th Anniversary of Matt Talbot's death, and a Matt Talbot year was announced to celebrate his legacy.

The year was launched with the celebration of a special Novena Mass which was very well attended, with over 200 people coming from all over Dublin, and beyond. Fr Brian Lawless, Vice-Postulator of the Canonization of Matt Talbot,  presided over the Mass, assisted by Fr Richard Ebejer SDB, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes Church. At the end of Mass, Fr Brian blessed an Exhibition illustrating the life of Matt Talbot at the entrance of the Church, and officially opened a new Shrine Office. Objects belonging to Matt where also on display and his relic was then venerated after Mass.

In a recent article that appeared in the Irish Catholic, Fr Brian Lawless reported that a possible miracle involving a healing in the womb has been presented to Rome. If verified by the Vatican, it could mean that Matt Talbot would be declared ‘Blessed’ by Pope Francis.

“Matt Talbot is very highly regarded, particularly in the US. With all the difficulties and problems people are facing as a result of addictions, now is the time that people need a patron and Matt is the obvious choice,” Fr Lawless said.

In an interview with the Irish Catholic, Fr Ebejer said: “We want to present Matt Talbot as a role model for young people. Many think of him as an old man but his conversion was at 28 years of age. He can speak to today’s young people … St John Bosco used to say that no matter how wayward a young person may be, there is always a spark of goodness that needs to be tapped into.  Matt Talbot is a living proof of how right Don Bosco was! Indeed, Matt has a powerful message for today’s youth, for today’s families and for today’s society.”