Bangalore – The seven novices of the Guanella Preethi Nivas community went on a ten-day desert experience under the guidance of Fr. Gnanaraj. They went to the Servarayan Hills, at Sagayapuram in the Thiruvannamali District. It is a desolate mountain top with a substation church. They had a spiritual awakening by spending lot of time in prayer, meditation, discerning their vocation, speaking to God and journeying into one’s own self. It was an atmosphere conducive to listening to the voice of God and to be enlightened to one’s true self. After morning Eucharist and instruction all went into the forest, having no contact with anyone except God in solitude. Fr. Gnanaraj beautifully guided each novice to discern their vocation through fasting, prayer and spiritual direction. Everyone would return in the evening, share their experiences and collectively prepare dinner. They had inexplicable Tabor experiences on that mountain. On the way down the mountain, they visited the Cloister of Poor Clare nuns. Talking to those spiritual giants was awesome and enlightening for the novices at the threshold of their Religious profession.
Cuddalore – On March 22nd, to conclude the academic year, Annual Day was celebrated with the Evening School Children in the auditorium of St. Joseph’s Seminary. The celebration began with the welcome address given by the rector of the seminary, Fr. Assisi. Fr. Amal Raj, vice-rector of the seminary, was also present and Sr. Maria, Principal of St. Mary’s Mat. High Secondary School was the chief guest. In her speech, Sr. Maria spoke about the Evening School as a great opportunity for the children as well as for their families. She invited the children to make good use of it for a better future. One of the parents shared her feelings and her gratitude to the Institute and to St. Guanella for the precious service given to their children. Fr. Assisi distributed prizes for various the competitions: regular attendance, best student, best attitude. After the vote of thanks given by Fr. Arockia Raj, Annual Day concluded by sharing a delicious meal. The children were very happy. They made the celebration much more joyful with their cultural programs.
Chennai – If the world is a book, those who do not travel read only one page. To assist the theology students to read more pages, the Don Guanella Major Seminary community organized an annual two-day tour. The journey departed from DGMS on March 20th with the prayer of Fr. Samson. The first day was joyfully spent in Valparai visiting many tourist places and Churches. Breezy wind and natural sceneries offered peaceful relaxation and mesmerized the travelers. The second day journey began from Valparai to Palkad. The confreres enjoyed the day, sharing their togetherness and happiness with all the community members.
Chennai – March 19th is celebrated as Saint Joseph’s Day. This year on this special occasion the Don Guanella Major Seminary community invited the Guanellian family to be nourished spiritually and physically. A special Mass was celebrated by superior Fr. Samson along with all the community fathers and brought the blessings of the Lord amidst us. People who are sponsoring the seminarians were invited as special guests for the event. As a sign of gratitude, they were honored for their benevolence to our community and given a memento for their generous contribution to our congregation. Everyone enjoyed a delicious meal and Fr. Samson concluded the day with a final blessing.
Cuddalore – March 11th was a great day for St. Joseph’s Evening School, the children, teachers, staff and Fr. Arockia Raj went on an outing. The tour began with an amazing boat trip through the canals of Pichavaram Mangrove Forest. The second stop was at Poombuhar where everyone ate lunch and enjoyed taking photos at the sea. But the best part of the day was when they reached Tharangambadi beach: the children were so happy and joyful, playing in the waves and sand, collecting seashells, and running on the seashore. When it came time to leave, it was really hard to get them out of the water. Everyone enjoyed the entire day, every place they visited and playing songs, singing and dancing during the travel. They arrived home that night, tired but happy to have spent a wonderful day out.
Bangalore – Every year to meditate on the passion of Christ, the Guanella Preethi Nivas community ‘climbs the mount.’ A few of the residents and staff took part in the Calvary journey led by Frs. Nevis and Gabriel and Bro. Regent on March 2nd. As a Lenten preparation, parishioners from area villages gathered to take part in the passion of Jesus. The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Mass were offered on ‘Mt. Calvary’ which is in the forest near Mudhiyanur. With the protection of forest guards they worshiped safely without disturbance by the wild animals. At the end, lunch was served by the parishioners in the forest.
Bangalore – Guanellian Cooperators and Lay Movement members of the Guanella Preethi Nivas community paid a Lenten visit to the GPN residents February 25th-26th. In the evening on the first day all made a pilgrim walk to St. Joseph’s Church, Soosaipuram reciting the Rosary and visiting the mother Mary statue which came from Fatima, Portugal. On the next day, members were so dynamic in doing the mission for our residents: cutting nails, giving them showers, and cooking a variety of delicious food for our residents. At noon the Holy Eucharist was offered for the intentions of the residents and the GLM. The residents thoroughly enjoyed the meal. After lunch everyone gathered for an inspirational, motivational talk by Mr. Rosario, brother of Fr. Ligory, who shared an anecdote of his life.
Cuddalore – The 6th Annual Guanellian Lay Movement Meeting was January 20th-21st. This two-day program allowed office bearers and the delegated members from Andra, Bangalore, Chennai and Cuddalore to gather with great enthusiasm. It was a wonderful journey for the laity to experience and share the Guanellian spirit. Fr. Visuvasam, Provincial Delegate and local Superior, welcomed the group reminding them of the words of Pope Francis about the participation of the Laity and how our Founder encouraged the participation of the Laity in the mission. He spoke of the Guanellian Charism, “Paternity of God,” encouraging the laity to live their vocation, carry their cross and walk the Calvary with Christ as the focus. Fr. Rosario gave the next talk. He spoke of Christian Virtues, quoting from the Bible how Christ Himself showed trust in Abba Father by praying in silence before doing anything. Without God at the center we are only doing social service. We must spend time in prayer to gain strength to do God’s will. In prayer God will reveal and inspire us with a plan, show us the method to execute and fulfill His will.
The second day began with Adoration and Holy Mass. Fr. Francis gave the first talk, speaking about the three Virtues taught by our Founder. He said when we allow evil to be the sower the harvest will be pride, greed and lust. Whereas, when we allow God to be the sower the harvest will be humility, poverty and mortification through which we can overcome evil and do great good. A Guanellian Cooperator shared her journey from being a benefactor, GLM member and finally a Cooperator. Her experience inspired the members and helped them to understand how they too can become Guanellian Cooperators. The members’ spirits were strengthened and renewed to continue their good work.
Cuddalore – St. Joseph’s Seminary celebrated Christmas in a grand and meaningful manner for the evening school children. The program began on a spiritual note and also included singing, dancing, party games, gift-sharing and competitive programs. Fr. Francis Assisi, the chief guest, was very happy and amazed by the little works and gifts of charity rendered to the poor children. A thought provoking message about Christmas and New Year was given by Fr. Arockia Raj. His motivation and encouragement made the participants feel more energized and strengthened.
Chennai – Suppose Christmas was celebrated with the Don Guanella Evening School students December 22nd. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior was the guest of honor. He delivered the message that sharing gives true joy and everlasting happiness like Santa Claus (St. Nicholas). Every student was given a blanket for a Christmas gift. The celebration was grand and enjoyable with colorful dances and drama performances by the students. The celebration concluded with the exchange of gifts with ‘chrisma christi friends.’