Ho Chi Minh – Our Engineer, Mr. Toan, was blessed by the birth of his second baby boy. He wished to Baptize his child in our Chapel. He is from North of Vietnam and received permission from his parish priest to have his baby baptized here. Mr. Toan asked Fr. Jerin to be his Godfather, so, on June 19th, the ordination anniversary of Fr. Jerin, he celebrated the Holy Mass and Fr. Felicks administered the sacrament. It’s a historical event for the community since it was the First Baptism in our Chapel.
Manila – Allizer Agulto, a Guanella Center resident, was “conditionally” baptized on September 6th. Conditional because, after researching his case, it could not be verified whether he had been baptized or not. Allizer was abandoned by his parents when they learned that he had disabilities. As a baby, he was left in a hospital in the North and transferred later to a center for abused children. The center caters to normal kids, and does not have programs for persons with disabilities. Allizer has multiple disabilities: he cannot walk, talk, eat by himself, he has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, severe scoliosis, and is almost blind. But he is God’s gift to the community because he brings out love in people around him. We love you Allizer. May we continue to learn from you how to give and receive love.
Saigon – The center we visit every Sunday to celebrate Mass gives shelter to various types of people. Among them are young boys who are there recovering from drug addiction. A 17 year old boy named Binh has lived there for almost a year and finally he decided to be baptized. During the Feast of Divine Mercy he received the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation from Fr. Felicks. Let us thank God for his conversion and pray that he continues to experience Divine Mercy in his life.
Bangalore – The Guanella Preethi Nivas community was blessed with God’s grace in abundance in this month particularly. One of the elderly beneficiaries, Mr. Durairaj, asked to be baptized. He took the baptismal name Louis Joseph and received First Holy Communion on the feast of St. Guanella. An age old desire was fulfilled when he received our Lord for the first time. The first day of novena began with the miracle. A benefactor’s wife had a tumor in her womb. The doctors wanted to operate, but decided to pray for the intercession of St. Guanella. Their prayers were heard, she was miraculously healed. There are many people giving thanks for gifts that they have received through him. May the blessings of our saintly founder be always with us!
Saigon – The government hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City do not have enough beds for people who are poor. In some hospitals two patients share a single bed. In one small room meant for five patients, there are more than ten. Most poor families cannot give adequate treatment to their beloved elderly. There are cases of families abandoning their beloved ones in the hospitals and the patient becomes an ‘orphan.’ Some of these people are brought to a center called ‘Nha Co,’ where the Servants of Charity serve on Sundays. Most of these patients are in their final stage of sickness and die very early; and some people survive for a long time; some even ask Br. Ngoc for Baptism. Br. Ngoc informs the priests and on Sundays baptism is given to people who desire it. Fr. Felicks calls this “Baptism on the Death Bed.” It is certainly a grace from God. An old man he recently baptized could hardly hear what was being said and did not respond during the baptism rituals. He only looked at Fr. Felicks with amazement and smiled a little. It was a moment of grace for him.
Saigon – The journey to the Father in Christian life starts with Baptism. Miss Dung left her family when she was young and came to Saigon to find a job. She worked in many places; fighting hard to earn her bread and butter. Her agony is described in one sentence, “she chose to travel in the tunnels of darkness for more than 7 years.” Finally the providence of God led her to this present care house where she chose to start her journey to the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ. On April 26th she received baptism, taking the name Maria. Let us support her with our prayers and renew our own journey to the Father of Mercy.
CHESTER – Often we are asked: “What are you doing in Chester?” We can answer with the same words written by Ven. Bishop Aurelio Bacciarini on March 21, 1912 to Father Leonardo Mazzucchi: “Here, good has to be done outside the church rather than inside… Are we announcing a First Communion? The announcement made in church and published in the bulletin is just a dead word. We have to go family by family not once but even two or three times, because such is the Roman indifference. Is there a conference for men and youth? We have to go to their homes and pull them out of there. When we visit a sick or an elderly person we must climb the stairs of a house dozens of times. The same thing happens when it involves a marriage, a subsidy, youngsters who were not yet confirmed or have not received First Communion, the enrollment of children in catechism classes, the spreading of Catholic literature, and so on. If we do not do that, we would be here just to hear the confessions of a few women and let the majority of people sleep in a dreadful religious indifference.” Archbishop Chaput asked us to formally apply for this new commitment in the City of Chester. His availability to allow us to canonically cooperate in the local Parish of St. Katherine Drexel will be a new way of evangelization as our Founder invited us, going in the streets in order to “prepare people to populate Paradise, to lead to God hearts created to love and bless Him forever.” (February 1896)