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.
Legazpi – To commemorate the feast day of St. Louis Guanella, the Servants of Charity went on a pilgrimage to Naga City October 20th for all who had helped organize “Dinner for a Cause”. This trip was not only for relaxation, but also to discover new places and to go to the source of faith: Basilica Minore, the church dedicated to Our Lady of Penafrancia Patroness of Bicolandia. Even though everyone was tired they were very happy for visiting this church and bringing many of our confidences in prayer before Our Lady. Their hope was renewed and peace deepened in the bottom of their hearts, strengthening them to face the reality of daily life. May our Lady of Penafrancia pray for all of us and bring us to her son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Kumbakonam – Guanella Nagar Parish joyfully celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary at Jebamalaipuram. This substation has more than 30 Catholic families and is the only church dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary in the Kumbakonam Diocese. The feast began on October 5th with a flag hoisting by Rev. Fr. K. Arockia Samy, Chancellor & Minister. Then he celebrated Holy Mass during which he gave an inspiring homily on Mother Mary and the importance of reciting the Rosary. The celebration continued on October 6th when Fr. Rex Alex Silvester, Vice Rector of Sacred Heart Minor Seminary, Kumbakonam, blessed the car and the faithful prayed the Rosary while processing through the streets of Jebamalaipuram. He also celebrated Mass and preached the homily. On October 7th Fr. Ansel Antony CMF, Superior of Claret Illam, Kumbakonam, celebrated the feast day Mass and addressed current problems of the world in his homily. He also gave two solutions; first it is possible by the Word of God and second by the recitation of the Holy Rosary. Many faithful attended the Holy Mass and the flag was lowered which brought the celebration to an end.
In our lifetime we try or like to play different roles and we think that we are going to live forever in this world! I asked the Lord, “If I am not playing these roles, then WHO AM I?” All I could see and feel with closed eyes was ‘infinite waves of ocean’! In that sacred moment I knew my real ‘SELF’ and tasted the immorality of this self. The words of scripture resounded in me, “Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?”
It was a profound experience, being an inseparable part of the cosmic energy… the energy that runs this body, this mind, and so on. In spiritual language we name it: being, consciousness, light, spirit, power, soul… Any word would do. What is important is the realization that I am the ‘being’, using this body and playing so many roles and responsibilities.
Navigators are trained to find the ‘eye of the storm’ where they can stop for safety in the midst of a storm. And in the storms of life, for us to find our safe refuge and stability is to be rooted in the immortality of our very being.
I have referred a book ‘On the Tombs of the Deceased’ by Fr. Louis Guanella who wrote this series of meditations on the Christian cult of the dead following the traditional setting of a novena in preparation for the feast of ALL SAINTS and the Commemoration of ALL THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED. The family of the just on earth rejoice with the family of the blessed in paradise! What a delightful spectacle, what an illustrious and numerous family! Our founder is asking a powerful assistance for the sake of ourselves and for the sake of the souls of our deceased brothers and sisters and feel compassion toward the souls in purgatory.
On October 25, 2017 Pope Francis, during his general audience, spoke about hope’s fulfillment in heaven and reminded the faithful that no one should despair because God’s grace is always present for those who put their trust in Him. “Paradise is not a fantasy land or even an enchanted garden. Paradise is an embrace with God, infinite Love, and we enter it thanks to Jesus, who died on the cross for us.”
Our fraternity, considered by the Founder “a small communion of Saints” goes beyond the mere level of human relations and also with gratitude we cherish the memory of those members whom the Father has already called to his house and let us commend divine mercy upon them.
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
Kumbakonam – Guanella Nagar Parish celebrated the feast of St. Anne in the substation Santhanalpuram with great joy. The feast began on July 18th with a flag hoisting and solemn Mass celebrated by Fr. A. Antoine, parish priest of Mathur. The homily was preached by Deacon Martin, SJ, in which he said that the parents of our Mother Mary were simple people of great hope. Each day of the novena, the Rosary was prayed, Sacrament of Reconciliation was offered and then the Holy Mass was celebrated by different priests from the Diocese of Kumbakonam. Day seven was a special devotion to St. Paul the Hermit. Fr. S. Felix Samuel, Trust Director of Kumbakonam, gave a reflection on reconciliation, peace and unity that God alone can give. After Holy Mass there was a music program and a fellowship meal was provided for more than two thousand people. Devotees came from many different places.
The culmination of the celebration was on July 25th. Msgr. A. Amirthasamy, Vicar General of Kumbakonam, presided over the High Mass and blessed the car procession which followed. The statue of St. Anne was taken around the streets of all the substations. On the following day, Fr. Philip Santiagu, Procurator of Kumbakonam, celebrated the feast day Mass and in his reflection said, “We thank our grandparents for their prayer and good example.” The flag was lowered officially ending the celebration.
Manila – July 29th seven new seminarians of the Servants of Charity were accepted along with seventeen postulants at San Isidro Labrador Parish, Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The event also included the initiation of temporarily professed brother and acolyte, Bro. Alfie Matulac. The Holy Eucharistic celebration was con-celebrated by Fr. Charlton, Fr. Ronnie, Fr. Loyola, Fr. Charles, Fr. Rajesh and Fr. Battista as the main celebrant. The acceptance, initiation and the institution of the acolyte was done after the Liturgy of the Word and was followed by the Homily given by Fr. Battista. After Mass, a simple meal at the Servants of Charity covered court was served for the confreres and the families and friends of the seminarians.
Kumbakonam – It was a great joy for Guanella Nagar Parish. Nineteen of the parish children received their First Holy Communion. Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. A. John Bosco. In his homily he taught that the first Holy Communion is a Catholic ceremony in which a child is given the Sacrament of the Eucharist for the first time. The Holy Eucharist is Christ’s body and blood present in the consecrated host on the Altar, and we believe that the consecrated bread and wine are actually the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ. Fr. Vincent and Sr. Christy prepared the children spiritually for the past twenty-seven days for this great event. The first Holy Communion is without question a time of great joy. Hence, their parents, god-parents, relatives and friends were very happy. The children smiled exuberantly upon reception of the Eucharist.
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.
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
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.