The Holy Innocents Feast Day

By Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, SdC
In these days we experience the love of Christmas, which gradually draws us to the source of Christian joy. We are called to foster this joy among our relatives, friends and neighbors. It is important that we do not let ourselves be robbed of this joy.
Christmas is also accompanied by tears. The Evangelists did not disguise reality to make it more credible or attractive. They relate the birth of the Son of God as an event full of tragedy and grief. Quoting the prophet Jeremiah, Matthew presents it in the bluntest way: “A voice is heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children” (2,18). It is the sobbing of mothers mourning the death of their children in the face of Herod’s thirst for power. Today too, we hear this touching cry of pain, which we neither desire to ignore or to silence. In our world we continue to hear the lamentation of so many mothers, for the death of their children, their innocent children.
To contemplate the manger also means to contemplate this cry of pain, to open our eyes and ears to what is going on around us, and to let our hearts be open to the pain of our neighbors, especially where children are involved. It also means realizing that a sad chapter in history is still being written today. Can we truly experience Christian joy if we turn our backs on these realities? Can Christian joy even exist if we ignore the cry of our brothers and sisters, the cry of the children?
St. Joseph faced the atrocious crimes that were taking place. St. Joseph, the model of an obedient and loyal man, was capable of recognizing God’s voice and the mission entrusted to him by the Father. Because he was able to hear God’s voice, and was docile to His will, Joseph became more conscious of what was going on around him and was able to interpret these events realistically.
The same thing is asked of us today: to be attentive, and not deaf, to the voice of God, and therefore more sensitive to what is happening all around us. Today, with St. Joseph as our model, we are asked not to let ourselves be robbed of joy. We are asked to protect this joy from the Herods of our own time. Like Joseph, we need the courage to respond to this reality, to arise and take it firmly in hand. The courage to guard this joy from the predators of our time, who devour the innocence of our children. Innocence robbed from them by the oppression of illegal slave labor, prostitution and exploitation. Thousands of our children have fallen into the hands of gangs, criminal organizations and merchants of death. We hear these children and their cries of pain; we also hear the cry of the Church, our Mother, who weeps for the pain caused to her youngest sons and daughters. Today, as we commemorate the feast of the Holy Innocents, let us renew our complete commitment to ensuring that these atrocities will no longer take place in our midst. Let us find the courage needed to take all necessary measures and to protect the lives of our children in every way, so that such crimes may never be repeated. In this area, we support, clearly and faithfully, zero tolerance.
Christian joy does not arise on the fringes of reality, by ignoring it or acting as if it did not exist. Christian joy is born from a call to embrace and protect human life, especially that of the holy innocents of our own day. Christmas is a time that challenges us to protect life, to help it be born and grow. It is a time that challenges us to find new courage. The courage that generates ways capable of acknowledging the reality that many of our children are experiencing today, and working to ensure them the bare minimum needed so that their dignity as God’s children will not only be respected but, above all, defended.
Let us not allow them to be robbed of joy. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of joy, but guard it and nourish its growth.

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A Celebration of Saints

E. Providence – Each year the students of Sacred Heart School celebrate All Saints’ Day November 1st by dressing as a saint. The entire school attends Mass which is followed by a parade of the Saints. The main purpose for this activity is to help the students learn about the lives of the saints, the Church Triumphant, and the contributions that they made to the Kingdom of God on earth. The parents get involved too, because they are helping to create the costumes, therefore the Annual All Saints’ Parade is an event to enrich the lives of the extended Sacred Heart School Community.

Feast of the Apostle of Charity

Chennai – After the flag Hoisting, the Don Guanella Major Seminary community organized a novena and prayed for the intercession of the Holy Founder each day. The confreres gave a reflection each day on different topics. On the 21st the evening school children participated in the novena. Fr. A. C. Periyanayagam shared his reflection on the Founder. On the 22nd, GYM and GLM celebrated the novena with a special prayer service and adoration followed by dinner with the community. October 24th was the grand celebration of the feast. The religious from the area, GLM, GYM gathered for the Eucharistic Celebration celebrated by Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior. Fr. Tony, who has been ministering in the Solomon Islands, gave testimony of his experience there. The novena closed with dinner in the name of St. Louis Guanella.

Children Celebrate a Saint

E. Providence – Students at Sacred Heart School prepared for the feast of St. Louis Guanella by learning more about his life. Each grade did projects for the event. First graders drew portraits and created alphabet books that used words to describe the life of the saintly Founder. The entire school community celebrated solemn Mass in his honor.

Celebrating Father’s Birthday

Chennai – On October 11th the DGMS Campus celebrated the birthday of Fr. S.A Lourduraj, director of Don Guanella Special School. In the morning he was greeted by the good children and their teachers with prayers and gifts. The school put on a cultural program wishing him well and praying for his ministry. In the evening, he celebrated Mass with the community as a thanksgiving offering for the gift of his life and for Providence in his life. He also prayed for the congregation, the community and its welfare. The birthday celebration continued with a special program by the community. Fr. Lourduraj cut the birthday cake. Bro. Kumar felicitated him with poetic words on behalf of the community and the superior acknowledged him in a special way. With a delicious dinner and thanks from Fr. Lourduraj, the celebration came to an end.

Outreach of Guanellian Cooperators

Legazpi – “The Human Heart is made to Love and Share with Others” was the theme of the annual ‘Dinner for a Cause’ held on October 7th at Harong Kan Sagrada Familia. The event was to benefit our mission of caring for those who are in need, a voice for the voiceless in society. It woke up the hearts that are sleeping in the busy-ness of society. By doing the work of special education for special children, the Servants of Charity strive to give them what they deserve to have in life. Through simple teaching, they are guided to do the simplest things which are necessary for them to support themselves in daily life. As Cardinal Francis Savier Nguyễn Văn Thuận wrote in his book The Way of Hope, “The hopeful way starts by every single dot of hope. The hopeful life starts from every hopeful minute.” The program was successful by the many small presentations by the special kids, the people from the feeding program, youth choir, parents, residents with physical disabilities and staff … We put our hope in what we are doing in order to serve them as best as we can. Many thanks to our benefactors.

See and Learn

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.

Notebooks Distributed

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.

The Start of a New Year

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.”

Caring for Those Who are Sick

Chennai – A free Medical Camp was held on July 15th for Don Guanella Special School children. Children were given an open invitation to take part in the medical camp. The medication was provided freely and the children and needy brethren of the surrounding area made good use of this chance. Doctors and nurses provided exams, diagnoses and medicine. They expressed their joy and happiness for the opportunity to give their service for the special children. They also added that it is a great blessing for them. Finally, Fr. Lourdu Raj, Director of DGSS, thanked all the doctors, nurses and the staff for their kindness. He assured them of the special prayers of the good children