Cuddalore – St. Joseph’s Seminary celebrated Christmas in a grand and meaningful manner for the evening school children. The program began on a spiritual note and also included singing, dancing, party games, gift-sharing and competitive programs. Fr. Francis Assisi, the chief guest, was very happy and amazed by the little works and gifts of charity rendered to the poor children. A thought provoking message about Christmas and New Year was given by Fr. Arockia Raj. His motivation and encouragement made the participants feel more energized and strengthened.
Legazpi – As the fruit of a long period of preparation, on December 22nd, the novices helped bring a little joy to the children of Purok 6, with a Christmas Party at the Pavilion of Harong Kan Sagrada Familia. To start the party, Fr. David, SdC, celebrated Holy Mass with Fr. Sagayaraj SdC, in the presence of benefactors and friends. We gathered the poor children of Purok 6 to organize them to play games, dance, sing and give them a place to have a party. The children were overwhelmed with happiness and joy, carrying gifts in their hands. We were delighted to organize this event to let them know that God never abandons them.
Chennai – Suppose Christmas was celebrated with the Don Guanella Evening School students December 22nd. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior was the guest of honor. He delivered the message that sharing gives true joy and everlasting happiness like Santa Claus (St. Nicholas). Every student was given a blanket for a Christmas gift. The celebration was grand and enjoyable with colorful dances and drama performances by the students. The celebration concluded with the exchange of gifts with ‘chrisma christi friends.’
Legazpi – The jubilation continued for several days when the Annual STEP Christmas Party was celebrated with the families of our students. The traditional “Nativity-Tableau” performed by the “good children” solemnly opened the program of the day. At the same time, the Physical Therapy department celebrated their Christmas Party with patients who had been coming for treatment. Soon the merrymaking began with Christmas songs, dances and games to give life to everyone. There was never a dull moment, although there was stormy weather outside. The simple joys of gift giving filled everyone’s hearts with gratitude for the coming of the Lord Jesus who is the source of all joys and hopes.
Bangalore – Guanella Preethi Nivas celebrated suppose Christmas, Family Day and the birthday of our Founder on December 19th. GPN was opened to all the GC, GLM, Youth, Sisters, beneficiaries, staff, and all well wishers for the occasion. It was an event to rekindle the spirit of St. Guanella and evangelize the Charism in his footsteps. The event began with Solemn Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Jegan. Following this spiritual nourishment, physical nourishment was provided in the form of cultural programs and a delicious meal. Gifts were given to the staff, GC, GLM and youth as tokens of the love of St. Guanella.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.