St. John Bosco
Born: August 16, 1815
Died: January 31, 1888
Feast: January 31
Patron of: editors, publishers, schoolchildren, young people, magicians, juvenile delinquents
John Bosco grew up poor, but whenever he had an extra penny, he would go to the circuses and fairs that came to his town. He watched in rapt attention as magicians performed the impossible. Sometimes he reasoned tricks out. Sometimes he begged magicians to teach him their secrets. With this knowledge he put on free magic shows for local children. He also took the opportunity to repeat the homily he heard at church on the previous Sunday to his audience.
Don Bosco’s enthusiasm for magic also provided him with an outlet for his joyful spirituality. He saw children’s joy as their natural connection with the God of creation, and he used magic tricks to spark joy into the lives of poor children.
Like Don Bosco, I love surprising people with magic. I love the look of awe on their faces when the unexpected happens in front of them. In the tradition of Don Bosco, I’m a “gospel magician.” For 25 years I’ve performed magic shows that illustrate our faith. Even now, before each performance I offer a prayer to Don Bosco asking for his guidance. I pray that I don’t fumble a trick, that I convey theological lessons clearly, and that I show the audience a few moments of joy and awe. And if a show goes well, I am quick to remind the audience that my skills aren’t mine but God’s.
More about St. John Bosco:
With a little sleight of hand and a lot of laughter, John Bosco connected people to the art of joy.
Image: Attributed to Carlo Felice Deasti - Transferred from ro.wikipedia to Commons by Gikü using CommonsHelper. (Original text: Unknown), Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons