Cuddalore – God is yearning to be with us. It is through the Eucharistic Lord, we are able to encounter Jesus and feel His presence. He calls out for us to come and see Him. The people of Our Lady of Perpetual Succor Church celebrated the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus on June 18th. The Eucharistic Procession began at the parish. Fr. A. Periyanayagasamy, the Parish Priest, gave a blessing in the Church. Then the people piously moved towards Don Guanella Boys Home. Fr. Lawrence, the director of DGBH conducted half an hour of Adoration with the help of the boys home students. Eventually, the Eucharist was taken to St. Joseph Seminary. Fr. Amal Raj beautifully ended the ceremony with five lessons that we have to learn from the Eucharist: care, unity, sharing, humility and sacrifice.
By Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, SdC
A couple of years ago, I was flying from Detroit to Tokyo. I had an aisle sit. Next to me sat a gentleman who appeared to enjoy the sight from the little window. We had a 12 hour trip ahead of us. I tried several times to make conversation and he replied with grunts. When I made a comment, he either ignored me or gave me another groan. I decided to forget him. I said to myself: he will have to go to the rest room and ask me to move. He never did. Perhaps God endowed him with long term organs. We need to stop looking at our cellular phones, and instead really encounter and listen to one another. Beware of bad habits that prevent us, even within our families, from truly listening to others and empathizing with them. We can draw inspiration from the Gospel reading where Jesus brought back from the dead the only son of the widow of Nain. “When the Lord saw her He felt sorry for her. “Do not cry,” He said. Then He went up and put His hand on the bier and He said,” Young man, I tell you to get up.” And the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Everyone was filled with awe and praised God.” (Lk. 7,13-15). An encounter with Jesus overcomes our indifference.
Often when people meet each other, they think of themselves, they can see the other person but are not looking at him or her; they can hear that person but are not listening to him or her.
An encounter is something different. It is an encounter between a man and a woman, between an only living son and an only son who had died; among a joyful crowd because they had encountered Jesus and were following Him and a group of people, weeping, accompanying that woman, who had come out from the gate of the city; an encounter between the exit gate and the entry gate. An encounter that makes us reflect on our way of interacting with each other. Jesus “was moved with pity.” When Christ observed something unfortunate, He encounters and reacts, never remaining indifferent. If we see something sad, we say ‘what a shame!’ Jesus doesn’t pass by, He is moved with pity. He goes up to the woman for a real encounter and then performs the miracle and, at the same time He restores the dignity of the mother and son.
In this Gospel’s encounter, we not only see His tenderness but also the fruitfulness of that encounter that restores people and things to their proper place.
We are accustomed to a culture of indifference and we must strive and ask for the grace to create a culture of encounter, of a fruitful encounter, of an encounter that restores to each person his or her own dignity as a child of God, the dignity of a living person.
We are accustomed to this indifference, when we see the disasters of this world or small things: ‘What a shame, poor people, look how they are suffering,’ and then we carry on. And if I don’t look, it’s not enough to see, no, we must look. If I don’t stop, if I don’t look, if I don’t touch, if I don’t speak, I cannot have an encounter and I cannot help to build a culture of encounter.
We all are in need of his Word and need that encounter with Him.
In our families, at the dinner table, how many times while eating, we watch the TV or write messages on our cell phones. Each one is indifferent to that encounter. Even within the heart of society, which is the family, there is no encounter. May this help us to strive for this culture of encounter, just as simply as Jesus did so. As Christians we need to look, listen and meet, rather than just see, hear, and pass by. Don’t just say ‘what a shame, poor people,’ but allow ourselves to be moved by pity. Draw near, touch and say in the language that comes to each one of us in that moment, the language of the heart: Do not weep, and donate at the very least a drop of life.
Whether we are Cooperators, Brother Knights or Religious, Jesus loves us and wants a creative relationship with us. And from his fullness we all received grace upon grace.
Kallathupatti – Don Guanella Illam is thankful to God’s magnificent grace for the new mission in the Dindigul Diocese. On June 9th a long anticipated desire was fulfilled a house for the poor and needy was officially opened. The house is named in honor of our Founder ‘DON GUANELLA ILLAM’. This is a historical moment for the diocese and the Congregation. The new Bishop of Dindigul, Most. Rev. P. Thomas Paulsamy D.D., officiated the blessing and opening ceremony in the presence of Provincial Superior, Fr. Soosai Rathinam, SdC. Nearly 50 priests and religious from various congregations as well as diocesan priests participated in the event. About 300 parishioners also attended the program.
Chennai – The DGMS community began the new academic year by celebrating Mass to the Holy Spirit on the Solemnity of Pentecost, June 4th. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior, presided over the Eucharistic celebration and brought the blessings of the Holy Spirit to all the brothers and community members. After Mass, Fr. Samson, Superior of the DGMS community, thanked the provincial and all other fathers who participated in the Eucharistic banquet. With the blessings of the Holy Spirit DGMS community stepped into the new academic year joyfully.
Fr. Guanella had a well focused dream when he decided to, “Go North,” adapting his feeling compass to a genial intuition during the Int. Marian Congress at Treviri, a part of the former Roman Province. At a very crowded assembly in the Cathedral of St. Helena, he implored the Forum to help his charitable work, which by August 1912 was quite established. In his prophetic allocution he was begging for ‘small streams of charity’ for his daughters and sons at his Italian and Swiss institutions from Germany. We believe that he intended to give this message and roadmap to a flock of former Sicilian alumni first. After a century, this has become a tangible reality through God’s Providence: his sons carrying out his dream!
After ten years of baby steps, Guanellians have made giant progress in weaving a blessed net of benefactors among the generous Catholic solidarity agencies. The Guanellian Procure was diligent in seeking and finding ‘busy bees’ at Catholic Missio agencies, first at Aachen in 2008. The present Salesian General Treasurer, Bro. Jean Paul Muller, introduced us and mediated the first donation of a mini-bus for Fr. Frantellizzi Hogar at Ciudad DF, Mexico. Convinced by this successful trial, the DPP Provincial Council courageously established the Missions Procure in March 2009. The strong insistence of Fr. Mimi from Manila and a ‘good word’ of Fr Joseph Rinaldo at the General Council in Rome made the rest possible.
This is a real charity Telenovela! Now after the first decade, it is time to thank Divine Providence which continuously opens doors and incredible possibilities for all projects presented to the Procure from the Guanellian provinces. The most generous Institution in fundraising is Missio Munich supported by Bavarian Catholics of the Archdiocese of Munich. To their President, Msgr. Wolfgang Huber, and his amazing assistants, Mrs. Heidrun Göttler and Stephanie Schüller, goes our deepest gratitude. Since 2009, Missio Munich financed the construction of the new, modern Fr. Guanella Disabled Center in Quezon City; and later, the well-equipped physiotherapy wing.
Recently, after an intensive search of donors, Msgr. Thomas Schlichtig of the Awarding commission in the Munich Archdiocese, accepted the challenge of Missio to create a great stock of life-saving medicine for the Guanellian ‘Good Samaritan Pharmacy!’ To him, his archdiocese, the Missio staff and to all Bavarian donors, “Vergelt’s Gott!” which means Blessings will remunerate your generosity.
We also convey our sincere thanks to Missio at Aachen, which in the past 10 years has been an attentive partner for our presence in Legazpi with five nutrition programs, physiotherapy of special children. They also pioneered support in many Guanellian Projects in Central Africa. In 2014-15 a new ambulance for transporting children, AIDs sufferers, and the poor from the infernal streets of Kinshasa, RD Congo, through a 24-hour daily service was purchased and Bro. Mauro can fill their listening hears and open hearts. Thanks also to Mrs. Beate Jantzen for projects within Kinshsa and Mrs. Elaine Steiner for supporting the projects of Fr. Battista Omodei at Legapzi Philippines.
This story contains an encouraging message to our confreres in Africa and Asia to be confident that every request, every small project, has for us absolute priority! This is our vocation and commitment, to be the ‘third child in the Guanellian family!’ We do not baptize, nor confess, nor preach, but all our mental resources and ‘savoir faire’ are in service to the poor, because they reflect the image of God on Earth!
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus bless all our donors, supporters and friends of our Procure for remaining beside us as bridges to the German charity sources.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
Cuddalore – The St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary for Guanellian Aspirancy Formation happily began the 2017-2018 academic year on June 3rd with a solemn Eucharistic celebration presided by Rev. Fr. Visuwasam, SdC, superior of the Cuddalore Community. Fr. Visuwasam exhorted the seminarians during his homily to be open vessels, to be filled with the three important nourishments of religious formation such as Spiritual, Human and Charismatic dimensions. Fr. Assisi, rector of the seminary, presented the formation project for the year which seems to be in Line with the theme of our general chapter, “Going Back to the Roots of Guanllian Formation – By Ways of Heart”. He then welcomed all the candidates to live their lives in Conformity with Jesus Christ. Let the future pillars of Guanellian life and mission be strongly rooted in the spirit of Christ and the footsteps of our Holy Founder.
My head was aching, heart was heavy, spirit quite low and there was a spiritual desertification! I felt that I needed a spiritual revitalization and then I went for an annual retreat to research the traces of God’s presence in my consecrated life journey. I thought that this desire would be helpful due to the unfavorable situation around me, negative criticism, unfair and unloving attitudes. A deep despair was setting in… and I knew I could not change this situation. When I attended the retreat and listened to the preacher and spent more hours in silence I got this unexpected surprise! The Lord said, “My son, it’s not the lovelessness, imperfections of others or your non-stop visits causing this pain, you are in pain, you have withdrawn your love from Me and, are focusing on others’ momentous concern, love and friendship. And whenever anyone blocks the free flow of this energy of love they are bound to suffer.” By becoming hard, insensitive, unloving, and judgmental, we harm ourselves and become nervous but often we do not realize this. The master creator has designed us very wisely. In our bodies, there is a system of ‘chemical reward/punishment’ that acts instantly. A single negative thought about someone is enough to generate toxins in our body that manifests itself not only in our emotions, but also on our very countenance!
Since I am on my canonical visitation in Vietnam/Philippines I would like to emphasize the aspect of ‘interculturality’. Today our Congregation is made up of members from many different countries, that is international/multicultural. Now-a-days no one is surprised to hear questions like: present society bets on mono-culture or multicultural? Internationality is not just an accidental happening, related to the numerical composition of the groups and communities, but it is leading people to make valuable choices, being capable of appreciating in them the birth of a very positive missionary attitude, such as: tolerance, openness, receptivity, dialogue, creativity, appreciating of whatever is different in others. As W.H. Auden says “civilization should be measured by the degree of diversity attained and the degree of unity retained.”
Ho Chi Minh City – On May 27th Br. Khiet and Br. Hoang renewed their religious vows. Fr. Anthony Quyen, SVD, was invited to preside over the Mass. He preached a good, inspirational homily. Fr. Felicks, the house in-charge, received their vows. Two local religious sisters were also present during the Holy Mass. After Mass, a beautiful dinner was shared in honor of the momentous occasion.
Bangalore – It was the dream of our Founder to have the laity participate in the Guanellian mission and spread charity in the world. From the time we started the Guanellian Lay Movement in Bangalore, we have seen how the laity has shown interest in growing in the mission started by our Founder. Many were introduced to the Congregation through fathers, brothers, sisters and friends. Today they stand with the Guanellian Family as one with a true spirit, participating in our celebrations and in our challenging moments. For over six years now, we have seen the spirit and enthusiasm with which the laity has embraced the mission, and they have not hesitated to step forward in their commitment. Eight members have moved from the GLM to become the first eight Guanellian Cooperators in India. We started as a small group but based on the numbers, we truly believe that the Spirit of the Lord is moving through them.
A recollection was organized and led by Fr. Ligory, who prepared the members and strengthened them with his talk. This was the preparation for the Guanellian Cooperators to renew their promise, the Guanellian Lay Movement members who were to renew and the many that were making their first pledge. The members were formed by Fr. Adaikalam, who nourished them spiritually and guided them in the Guanellian spirit. The members take up their responsibilities and participate in the planned activities.
May 31st is a very important day for the Congregation, wherein our Founder celebrated his first holy mass at Prosto. On this day, eight GC renewed their promise and seventeen GLM members made their pledge. The numbers for the GLM members who have made their pledge has moved from 10 to 17. This is only a reflection on how well the flock has kept together and formed. The credit goes to Fr. Adaikalam, Fr. Gnanaraj, Fr. Visuvasam and above all Fr. Soosai Rathinam, who has encouraged the participation of the laity. A divine spirit was in our members while saying ‘yes’ to the call and continuing their journey as Guanellians. The Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Soosai Rathinam along with his Councilors and other Fathers from the Guanellian Community. In his homily, Fr. Rathinam appreciated the commitment of the laity who have sacrificed so many things and remained committed. He said this was the vision of our Founder and it’s a joy to see how things are going in India. It was great joy for the Cooperators when Fr. Provincial released the English version of the ‘General Statutes’ of the Guanellian cooperators officially. It was also an overwhelming joy to have been part of the First Profession of our Brothers when we made our commitment. Now the Laity can spread throughout the world like yeast and share the Guanellian spirit, which is to provide special love to the one who says, ‘I have no one’.
Manila – The Servants of Charity are grateful to the Lord of the harvest for guiding Br. Alfie Matulac, SdC, throughout his theological studies. On Saturday, May 27th, he received two diplomas, a Bachelors Degree in Sacred Theology and a Masters in Systematic Theology. His stay at the Recoletos School of Theology, an affiliate of the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, Manila helped him deepen his faith and conviction to promote the Kingdom of God among the poor in the footsteps of St. Guanella. The Guanellian Community also extended their joys for Br. Arun David and Br. Christian Magdaong for participating in the RST academy awards 2017.