Chennai – On January 4th, all the brothers of Don Guanella Major Seminary returned after their Christmas vacation. It is the custom of the House to begin the New Year with High Mass celebrated by the Provincial Superior. On January 5th Fr. Ronald, Provincial Superior, presided over the Mass and imparted his blessings to be prosperous in the holy ministry of the Lord. Fr. Samson took the opportunity to thank the Provincial for his support and prayers for the community. He also wished everyone God’s choicest blessings and gifts in the days to come.
Cuddalore – As the great Tamil poet Bharathi says, “Young chaps must be given space to play in childhood,” boys of Don Guanella Boys Home conducted a sports meet on November 27th. Every boy contributed his utmost support to his team. The real spirit of the boys was apparent during the sports meet; the unadulterated joy on the faces of the students when they won the events was noticeable. All the fathers and chief guests encouraged the students to bring out their various talents. Sr. Josephine, DSMP; Fr. Mathias and GLM member Mr. Bosco were the judges for all the events. The sports meet came to an end by announcing the winners.
By Fr. Amal, SdC
When human suffering is understood in its deepest meaning, it ceases to be something that is experienced in a passive manner. Rather, one becomes free to meet suffering with courage, seeing it as an opportunity for active and positive collaboration in the work of human redemption. Suffering, whether physical, spiritual or psychological, is often an opportunity when many question the existence of God, or at the very least whom this God is who allows suffering, in particular the suffering of the innocent.
This year we celebrate the 27th World Day of the Sick on February 11th. In 1993, Pope John Paul II instituted this annual commemoration as a way to bring compassion and greater attention to the sufferings of humanity, as well as the mystery of suffering itself. Don’t waste your suffering, feel fortunate to suffer, offer it up, I will pray together with you for the redemption of humanity, are all words of St. John Paul II whenever he encountered the sick and suffering.
Charles Spurgeon once said, “Health is a gift from God, but sickness is a gift greater still.” Life is a gift from God. St. Paul asks: “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7). Precisely because it is a gift, human life cannot be reduced to a personal possession or private property, especially in the light of medical and biotechnological advances that could tempt us to manipulate the “tree of life” (cf. Gen 3:24). God had an eternal purpose in allowing His own Son to suffer. St. Paul taught that this purpose was that we might understand and know God’s wisdom and love through His plan to redeem us through the death of His Son. Therefore, if God has allowed even His own Son to suffer to fulfill His eternal purpose, then we must also trust that He is working out His eternal purpose in us in the midst of our suffering. God may use our suffering to redeem someone else’s life by our testimony and example.
But, how can we be sure that something good will come of our suffering? St. Paul taught, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). Note that Paul does not say that all things that happen to us are good, but that God takes all things and works them together for good in order to fulfill His eternal purpose. There is a story in the Gospel about Jesus walking along with his disciples and they see a man begging who was born blind. The disciples ask Jesus, “whose fault is it – this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus says it’s not anyone’s ‘fault’ but rather the man is born blind for the glory of God. The apostle Paul tells the Corinthian church that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. When St. John Paul II once visited the sick people he said, “I am here with you to pray with you for all those who trust in your prayers.” In its brokenness the human body still reveals itself as a call to make a gift of ourselves in love.
Whenever St. John Paul II had a special intention he went to the sick saying to them, “I am entrusting the Church to you,” because in their weakness they have power. Jesus didn’t suffer so you wouldn’t have to, but Jesus suffered that you will know how to suffer. The Church is not merely a collection of Christians. It is a living instrument of redemption- an extension of Jesus Christ throughout time and space. He continues His salvific work through each member of His body. When a person understands this, he sees that the idea of “offering it up” is a calling to participate in the salvation of the world.
Suffering is also a place of purification. St. Thomas Aquinas in one of his conferences said, “Whoever wishes to live perfectly should do nothing but disdain what Christ disdained on the cross and desire what He desired, for the cross exemplifies every virtue.” In suffering we learn humility, obedience, how to love and be patient as Jesus exemplified on the cross.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” Whether we cry or smile the pain does not change but the suffering does. When we accept our pain without resisting it and offer it as a gift, the pain becomes a means of salvation for us and for the whole world.
“I did not change the whole world but I changed the world for a few.”
In 1997, St. John Paul II established the special Day of Consecrated Life to coincide with the Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem (February 2nd). The Pope gave three reasons for his selection of February 2nd as a special day for religious women and men: first, to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of consecrated life; second, to promote the knowledge and appreciation of consecrated women and men by all People of God; and third, to invite all those who have dedicated their life to the cause of the Gospel to celebrate the wonderful ways the Lord has worked through them.
Along with mother Church we thank the Lord as the Divine Providence Province for all the graces we received throughout these years, especially the gift of vocations, hundreds of young men saying “Yes” to follow and serve the Lord in and through the Guanellian Charism and Spirit.
Secondly the Presentation of the Lord invites all of us to appreciate and to assert who we are. What is our identity? In other words we must speak boldly about the goodness of religious life. At times along with the tides of competitive society, people may make a comparison of our religious life with other walks of life and we may fall prey to their calculations saying what is so special in this life? But we all know deep down that this life is the prototype of the heavenly table, the continuation of the early Christian community, the antidote to the divisive world, the real globalization, we go where the Lord sends us and still we own people as our children and others own us as their fathers and mothers. We left one family but we are part of many families around the world.
Thirdly it is a moment of celebration and sharing with others what the Lord has done in and through me. I did not change the whole world, but I changed the world of at least a few people, I was the eye for the blind, I was the hand and leg for the crippled, I was the mind for the intellectually disabled.
At this juncture we thank the Lord in a special way for the special grace that has been given to our confrere. Bro. Praveen, who met with a road accident, has been freed of all charges. We appreciate all those who involved themselves in this process and accompanied our confrere.
Let us celebrate the sacerdotal ordination of eight confreres on February 11th and their first Eucharistic celebrations in the following days. We thank and appreciate all the formators and in a special way the formation team of DGMS for their accompaniment and stewardship in the final phase of their preparation.
Let us welcome and celebrate the presence of the DSMP superiors who are on their Canonical Visit. Let us keep them in our prayers and sustain them.
Fr. Ronald J, SdC
Fr. Enzo Addari, CEO of St. Louis Center & St. Louis Guanella Village, would like to announce that the Board of Directors of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund has approved a grant of $213,950 to support a program entitled “Montessori Inspired Lifestyle ® for Older Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Dementia.” The grant […]
Chennai – How wonderful it is to rejuvenate oneself with the energy that is passed on by our Holy Mother Church! In accordance with the formative program of Don Guanella Major Seminary, the Second Annual Don Mimi Theological forum was held on November 29th under the leadership of Bro. Raja Rathinam. The topic “New Wine in New Wineskins,” was inspired by a famous Church document given by Pope Francis to the Congregation of Consecrated Life. There were different speakers to present the topics of the document from different perspectives. Fr. Periyanayagam, Vice Rector, was the chief guest of the day; helping the forum by clarifying the doubts raised by the brothers. Fr. Samson, Rector, was also present and helped the forum with his insights to be a better person during formation. The forum also included evaluations and some entertainment in the form of party games. Overall it was a worthwhile forum in which brothers explored their knowledge of the Church. The forum ended with an expression of thanks proposed by Bro. Praveen.
Saturday, October 27th was a cold, wet day here in Michigan, but members of the Knights of Columbus from Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Michigan Center warmed things up at St. Louis Center by preparing a hot breakfast of pancakes and sausage for the residents who were present that day. Along with breakfast, the […]
Chennai – “Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called spirit.”
A sports meet was conducted on November 17th by the Rotary Club at Leo Muthu Indoor Stadium. Our children participated in it with enthusiastic and energetic hearts competing in each sport to win the prizes. But the main purpose of taking the children is to show solidarity with the differently-abled children. It is a kind of motivation for the students to achieve a higher goal. Some of the students were qualified for the semifinals and some of them reached the final but it was very competitive for our children. The children participated all day with lively spirits and won prizes with help from their teachers.
Chelsea’s restaurant scene is as vibrant as any small town community’s can be, and when everyone comes together to support a good cause like St. Louis Center, it’s even more exciting when you can sample everyone’s food in one place. That was the case as 21 establishments came together at St. Mary Catholic Church on […]
Chennai – It is mid-November again and time for a very special occasion, November 14th is Children’s Day. The day is celebrated across the nation to commemorate the birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. On this day, Don Guanella Special School celebrated with delight by giving a meticulous program by staff. The event began with a prayer song and continued with wonderful dances by staff. All of the performances gave life to the children, who admired the teachers dance and their joy was doubled. Children had a very good time and returned home with great happiness.