In our lifetime we try or like to play different roles and we think that we are going to live forever in this world! I asked the Lord, “If I am not playing these roles, then WHO AM I?” All I could see and feel with closed eyes was ‘infinite waves of ocean’! In that sacred moment I knew my real ‘SELF’ and tasted the immorality of this self. The words of scripture resounded in me, “Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?”
It was a profound experience, being an inseparable part of the cosmic energy… the energy that runs this body, this mind, and so on. In spiritual language we name it: being, consciousness, light, spirit, power, soul… Any word would do. What is important is the realization that I am the ‘being’, using this body and playing so many roles and responsibilities.
Navigators are trained to find the ‘eye of the storm’ where they can stop for safety in the midst of a storm. And in the storms of life, for us to find our safe refuge and stability is to be rooted in the immortality of our very being.
I have referred a book ‘On the Tombs of the Deceased’ by Fr. Louis Guanella who wrote this series of meditations on the Christian cult of the dead following the traditional setting of a novena in preparation for the feast of ALL SAINTS and the Commemoration of ALL THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED. The family of the just on earth rejoice with the family of the blessed in paradise! What a delightful spectacle, what an illustrious and numerous family! Our founder is asking a powerful assistance for the sake of ourselves and for the sake of the souls of our deceased brothers and sisters and feel compassion toward the souls in purgatory.
On October 25, 2017 Pope Francis, during his general audience, spoke about hope’s fulfillment in heaven and reminded the faithful that no one should despair because God’s grace is always present for those who put their trust in Him. “Paradise is not a fantasy land or even an enchanted garden. Paradise is an embrace with God, infinite Love, and we enter it thanks to Jesus, who died on the cross for us.”
Our fraternity, considered by the Founder “a small communion of Saints” goes beyond the mere level of human relations and also with gratitude we cherish the memory of those members whom the Father has already called to his house and let us commend divine mercy upon them.
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
How is Fr. Guanella connected with the missions? He never went to any mission country as a missionary does. Since his years in the Como Seminary, he had a soft spot, a strong desire to join PIME, and go to India or China. He even asked his Bishop to have the opportunity to fulfill his dream, but he was denied. “Your India will be here at home”, his Bishop replied. His strong missionary desire was passed on to his Religious, “The whole world is your homeland”. The first mission territory he served was Switzerland, filled with many Protestants, which was just outside of his own native place. There, he sent his priests to take care of the Italian immigrants plus the few native Catholics. A small step, but a step that became a big one when, later on, his Religious crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to bring Catholic and non-Catholic alike, the message of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and Good Samaritan, to His creatures in need of faith, hope and love.
Recently his Religious even touched the ‘Solomon Islands’ in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia are now the homeland of a great number of Servants of Charity and Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. They are the fulfillment of Fr. Guanella’s dream, bringing “Bread and the Lord, to those who need them, material bread and spiritual bread.
Was Fr. Guanella a missionary? A resounding “YES” is his presence in 24 nations through his spiritual children, religious and laity. He wrote, “We are Servants of Charity, because the Charity of Jesus Christ has called us. Let us practice with fervor the works of mercy, and we will obtain the mercy of the Lord! The poor are our favored ones. They are our masters. We must work and suffer for them. Is it not what Jesus, the Divine Missionary, has done for us by His mission of Salvation?
As we celebrate 102 years since the heavenly birth of our Holy Founder, let us resolve to re-incarnate his presence, vision and mission contextually. Thus we become a border-crossing person: across cultures, religions, genders, race!
Vatluru – It is an amazing gift of God. A well wisher donated 300 Bibles for the people of Sacred Heart Church. They were distributed in more than 8 villages. The people are very happy to hold the whole Bible in their hands during Mass as well as read them at home. Special thanks to the donor and the Guanellians. This is the work of Evangelization.
Chennai – On July 19th the ‘See and Learn’ program was scheduled. About 35 special children and the staff journeyed to Besant Nagar, Our Lady of Good Health Church, St. Antony Church, Palavakkam and Athistalakshimi Temple at Chennai. The purpose of this program is to give faith formation to children. Fr. S.A. Lourduraj led the journey by explaining the purpose of this visit and they also made time for the children to enjoy relaxation of the mind. The program ended with the blessings and good experience of the children. Don Guanella Special School was happy to welcome Fr. Soosai as he made his canonical visit. After the visit Fr. Samson, community superior, and all the staff gathered for the reading of the school project and the fraternal sharing of the mission. The Provincial gave a motivational address on how a Guanellian educator should differentiate from a secular way of educating the good children. At the culmination of the meeting, the school staff presented the new proposals for the development of the school. With the celebration of Mass the canonical visit successfully came to an end and all shared a fellowship meal.
Eluru – As the scholastic year was about to begin, we received 1000 notebooks from our donors to give to the poor students. The children were happy to receive them just in time to use them and study well. Please pray for these students and for a better future. Here in Eluru very few students study after they reach high school.
Kumbakonam – Guanella Nagar Parish celebrated the feast of St. Anne in the substation Santhanalpuram with great joy. The feast began on July 18th with a flag hoisting and solemn Mass celebrated by Fr. A. Antoine, parish priest of Mathur. The homily was preached by Deacon Martin, SJ, in which he said that the parents of our Mother Mary were simple people of great hope. Each day of the novena, the Rosary was prayed, Sacrament of Reconciliation was offered and then the Holy Mass was celebrated by different priests from the Diocese of Kumbakonam. Day seven was a special devotion to St. Paul the Hermit. Fr. S. Felix Samuel, Trust Director of Kumbakonam, gave a reflection on reconciliation, peace and unity that God alone can give. After Holy Mass there was a music program and a fellowship meal was provided for more than two thousand people. Devotees came from many different places.
The culmination of the celebration was on July 25th. Msgr. A. Amirthasamy, Vicar General of Kumbakonam, presided over the High Mass and blessed the car procession which followed. The statue of St. Anne was taken around the streets of all the substations. On the following day, Fr. Philip Santiagu, Procurator of Kumbakonam, celebrated the feast day Mass and in his reflection said, “We thank our grandparents for their prayer and good example.” The flag was lowered officially ending the celebration.
Koppaka – On July 17th, there was a Holy Spirit Mass at the Minor Seminary, Guanella Bhavan. It was the official inauguration of the academic year for the Seminary. Fr. Ronald was the main celebrant for Mass. There are twenty students from four different States: Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Karnataka and Andhra. Fr. Ronald insisted the candidates be happy and obey the formator with love. It will help them to discern their vocation. Every student likes to eat, play, and watch TV; but they must also cultivate love for prayers, study and work which are the key elements in seminary formation. May the Holy Spirit guide the seminarians throughout this year.
Vatluru – It was a great joy that the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence visited the boys of Guanella Karunalaya at the beginning of the school year. They encouraged the boys to study well. The students performed dances and displayed their talents. A meal was shared and the evening enjoyed. It was a memorable day for the boys. If you visit, you will also be filled with joy
Cuddalore – “Intelligence plus Character formation is the Goal of our Education”. St. Joseph’s Evening School for the year 2017 – 2018 was solemnly inaugurated on July 15th by Fr. Visuwasam, Superior of the Cuddalore Community, in the eminent presence of Fathers in charge of the evening school both past and present and other community fathers. This education program is mainly to assist and enhance the moral and academic formation of the poor children in the area. Fr. Visuwasam with his kind words thanked the previous in charge, Fr. Amalraj, for his tremendous work and achievements and welcomed the new in charge, Fr. S. Arockia Raj, to lead the group. In his message, Fr. S. Arockia Raj revealed his beautiful plan for this year’s education program, “Intelligence plus Character formation equals the Goal of our Education. Let us educate the poor to excel.”
Manila – July 29th seven new seminarians of the Servants of Charity were accepted along with seventeen postulants at San Isidro Labrador Parish, Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The event also included the initiation of temporarily professed brother and acolyte, Bro. Alfie Matulac. The Holy Eucharistic celebration was con-celebrated by Fr. Charlton, Fr. Ronnie, Fr. Loyola, Fr. Charles, Fr. Rajesh and Fr. Battista as the main celebrant. The acceptance, initiation and the institution of the acolyte was done after the Liturgy of the Word and was followed by the Homily given by Fr. Battista. After Mass, a simple meal at the Servants of Charity covered court was served for the confreres and the families and friends of the seminarians.