St. Dominic Savio Parish was founded in 1952. Together with the Salesians at next-door St. John Bosco High School, this community ministers to spiritual and educational needs in Bellflower and surrounding cities.
Our patron is Saint Dominic Savio. A saint at 15 years of age, he was educated by St. John Bosco and the Salesians.
Born on April 2, 1842 to Carlo and Birgitta Savio in a small city in Italy, Dominic was one of 10 children of a peasant family. Despite the fact that his illiterate parents could not teach Dominic and his brothers and sisters intellectually and academically, Mrs. Savio had taken special effort to raise and nurture her children in the Roman Catholic faith and tradition, teaching the principles of religion instead. Eventually, Dominic was able to read and write at age 6, and he also made his first holy communion at an unusually early age, his resolutions being, “I will go often to Confession and Holy Communion”, “Jesus and Mary will be my Special Friends”, and “I wish to die rather than commit a sin”.
By 1854 Dominic started to find special attraction to the priesthood and to feel a special vocation, drawing him very close to God. At the age of 12, he initially became acquainted with St. John Bosco – Don Bosco –, the founder of the Salesian order and the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales in Turin. Encouraged by Don Bosco’s message that it was necessary for everyone to become a saint, making it God’s will for everyone, and that becoming a saint was actually easy for everyone to achieve, Dominic started taking this “matter” very seriously soon. However, seeing such a young boy isolating himself from his peers and extending the times he spent in prayer to the point that he even “offered up” his lunch breaks in order to pray, Don Bosco put him back on a more realistic way of achieving saintliness. He pointed out that one becomes a saint by fulfilling one’s daily duties and not by neglecting any of them in any way, holiness consisting of being happy and helping others be happy. Dominic quickly put this advice into practice. He was a diligent and cheerful student. With a real concern for the spiritual welfare of his friends, he would encourage boys to go to confession when he saw them sinning, and would not allow them to swear or curse while they were playing with him. Sometimes he would invite them to make visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament or say the rosary with him. Dominic also had a great love for purity. Once he came across a group of boys laughing over an impure magazine one of them had brought into the Oratory. When Dominic saw the pictures, he tore the magazine into pieces and scolded his friends for putting their souls in such danger.
The graces Dominic Savio had begun to receive were great and plentiful. Even though Dominic felt a great desire to do penance, Don Bosco put him back on a more “realistic” level since he saw that the boy’s health was slowly deteriorating. Don Bosco encouraged Dominic to make obedience his sacrifice and penance and to seek sanctification by the martyrdom of daily duty, having Dominic arrive at the conclusion, “I can’t do big things but I want everything to be for the glory of God.” So Dominic made small, everyday things into sacrifices for God; never complaining about the weather or food, doing little odd jobs for the other students, and faithfully controlling his eyes to guard his purity.
In 1857, Dominic contracted tuberculosis at the age of 15; he was not able to recover, and after but a few weeks of illness, he received the Last Rites from a priest on March 9, 1857. Dominic died with a radiant smile on his face, exclaiming in the very moment before his death, “Oh, what lovely things I see!”