Dindigul – A new ministry of giving bread and the Lord to the poor, elderly & differently-abled personalities began on January 20th at Guanella Illam, Kallathupatti. The ministry of giving a midday meal on Sundays for the poor began with fifteen people from the area irrespective of religion. People were given space to spend time with one another and share joyous moments with each other. A few moments of prayer and worship was conducted by Fr. Lawrence. The meal was offered by a volunteer. The people were very happy and went home satisfied.
MYSORE – A long awaited celebration at the evening school took place on January 14th to encourage school going children who frequent Don Guanella Evening School in Harohalli. All the villagers and the panchayat leaders were invited for this simple New Year and Pongal celebration. The program began with a prayer song and followed by a variety of cultural and traditional amusements presented by the children. The celebration was really an opportunity for them to exhibit their talents. Parents were happy to see their kids performing dances, skits and singing. To encourage the children, gifts were distributed. Fathers were honored with a small gift for their service. The teachers who help the kids in their academic career were also honored. The Pongal feast ended with a dance performance by the brothers and evening school kids.
Chennai – The Divine Providence Province organized a meeting for all the treasurers led by Fr. Ronald, Provincial Superior; Fr. Dennis Weber, Provincial Treasurer; and Fr. Francis, Treasurer In-charge of India. Nineteen members participated. The first day began with a prayer service animated by Fr. Bernandes and Fr. Arulraj. Fr. Francis welcomed the gathering with his introductory message. Fr. Ronald made his presentation on the aspect of economy in the XXth General Chapter. After this session, Fr. Francis invited Mr. Charles (Province Accountant) to share the details of the audit and of the government dealings. Fr. Francis welcomed Fr. Dennis Weber for the third session in which he invited all the confreres to recite the prayer to St. Louis Guanella. His talk was on the topic, “The spirituality of Don Guanella and the office of the Treasurer”.Fr. Xavier Packiam, Sdb, the Provincial Treasurer of Salesian Province, Chennai; presented the topic, “Governance and Financial Management”. He also gave a quick glance at: TDS (Tax Deducted at source), EPF(Employees Provident Fund organization), ESI (Employees state Insurance) and GST(Goods and Services Tax). The final session was the submission of budgets from each community. Each community’s treasurer discussed their annual budget for the 2019-2020 academic year with the Provincial and the councilors. Fr. Ronald thanked the DGMS community for their delicious food, fellowship, kind hospitality and their generous treatment for the treasurers meeting. The meeting ended with a short prayer.
Chennai – The Tamil festival of harvest, Pongal, was celebrated at Don Guanella Special School on January 12th infused with Indian culture and tradition. On this special day, the entire DGSS community celebrated Pongal by sharing Indian traditions. The children participated in the program with their parents. The staff and children dressed up in dhoti and saree creating a complete festive mood on campus. The celebration began with traditional games and competitions for the parents. Then some traditional games like pot breaking, musical chairs and Rongoli competition were organized for the children. Traditional dances were performed and singing resounded. The program ended with a thanksgiving prayer. God, nature and all those who helped organize the festive were recognized and thanked in a meaningful way.
Chennai – The month of January remains ever-special and unique for many, in particular for farmers because it is the month where the state gratefully thanks all the farmers. It is the day of celebration of harvest known as Pongal in Tamilnadu. This is the three-day celebration where each day has its significance and history to be felicitated. On January 17th, Don Guanella Major Seminary celebrated the feast by cooking Pongal, and gratefully recalling the hard work done by the farmers who cultivate crops for the nation. The sweet Pongal is a symbol of happiness to sustain life and sugar cane to have a life of success. The Holy Eucharist was celebrated by Fr. Samson and he highlighted the importance of Pongal. He invited the brothers to gratefully thank the farmers and pray for them for their support and care towards the world population. During the homily Dn. C. Jesu Doss highlighted the importance and hard work of farmers and urged everyone not to forget the farmers after the celebration of Pongal but to remember and pray for them always. The day continued by playing traditional games of the local culture.
Kulithurai – The dance competition held in the parish is not just about trophies. It is highly rewarding and a worthwhile activity to make youth take part in the liturgy. Our neighboring parish Swamiyarmadam celebrated their annual feast, and on the 8th day of the feast the youth of the parish conducted dance competition. Our youth participated and won first prize, RS 10000. To double their joy we arranged a tour to Ramesahwaram during Pongal holidays.
Vadapatti – On January 15th the Pongal feast was celebrated at St. John de Britto Church. That morning the Pongal was cooked by the parishioners and the Pongal ceremony was blessed by Fr. Vanathaiyan SdC, and Pongal holy Mass was celebrated. Pongal special games were played for everyone on the parish campus, many people actively participated. The whole event went well with games, yoga, and various competitions for the various age groups of people. Prizes were distributed for the winners of the games. The chief guest of the program was Fr. S. Periya Nayagam, SdC the parish priest and Mr. Ignatius. The following day Pongal was celebrated at St. Paul’s Boys Home, Krishnaperi. Pongal Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Vanathaiyan SdC in the morning and then according to class, the games were conducted for the boys. The boys very actively and enthusiastically played all the games. At the end Fr. J. David, SdC, Director, distributed prizes to the students. The boys were encouraged and elated by the programs.
Chennai – The second plenary Council meeting of the Divine Providence Province took place at the provincialate house from January 11 – 13th. Fr. Satheesh and Fr. Dennis Weber joined the meeting from the US. It was a moment of prayer, fraternity and discernment. The agenda and the schedule was prepared in advance by the provincial secretary and sent to the council members. The meeting gave the council the opportunity to look at the future of the province from different aspects through the prism of the XXth General Chapter. The council appreciated the hard work of the individual communities and confreres and concluded on a note of hope and surrender to the Lord.
Cuddalore – A remarkable Pongal celebration was celebrated including paddy harvesting on January 11th at St. Joseph’s Seminary. It was truly a thanksgiving feast as we reaped the paddy and celebrated the Tamilan’s feast. The St. Joseph’s Seminary confreres and staff toiled to gather the harvest from the fields. Holy Mass was also celebrated for the welfare of all the farmers in Tamilnadu. We shared the precious Pongal feast with one another, increasing the joy and excitement. Afterwards, everyone tasted sugarcane and entered the fields to collect the paddy bundles one by one. As Jesus says, “The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few,” was well understood on that day. By the grace of God we collected about 40 sacks of rice for the pantry. We truly thanked the Lord for His abundant blessings and graces showered upon us.
Chennai – As part of their formation program, the brothers from Don Guanella Major Seminary who are preparing themselves for Final Profession participated in a course for final vows preparation organized at Don Bosco Renewal Centre, Bannerghatta, Bangalore January 6th-25th. In this time of intensive preparation for perpetual vows, this course really helped them prepare on a deeper level. The content of the course included consecrated life, community life, prayer, discernment, psycho-sexual integration & celibacy, and group counseling. The information from the sessions and the fraternal moments with participants from the Salesian congregation fostered an atmosphere to deepen their knowledge about religious life and motivated them to be more committed to this way of life.