Manila – The Way of the Cross this year was a bit different than past years. For this year, they related the events to modern daily life circumstances so that the people could understand more genuinely what Christ’s Passion means for each of us. On April 12th, the way of the cross was held in the different areas of the servants of charity compound. The event was presented by the Guanellian Youth Ministry (GYM), Guanellian Altar Servers’ Guild, Guanellian Oratorio Ministry, some from the Guanellian Lectors and Commentators and the seminarians. Though not trained actors, they effectively portrayed the beauty of Christ’s sacrifice. The goal of the presentation was achieved, and the audience deeply understood the Lord’s loving sacrifice for us. Fr. Charlton Viray congratulated everyone who participated and those who exerted efforts that made the event a successful one.
Cuddalore – Don Guanella Boys Home organized a 70th Independence Day in a solemn manner. The celebration mainly focused on the few forgotten freedom fighters of India. Making a short oration about them, the students were encouraged to personify the values, ethics and spirit exhibited by them. Special programs such as quiz, debate, educational competitions, athletic events, cultural and other fraternal games were presented. August 15th was a day of inspiration and enthusiasm for all.
Manila – The Servants of Charity and Guanella Center joined the entire nation in celebrating National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week July 17-23, 2015. This year’s theme was “Health and Wellness for Persons with Disabilities Toward an Inclusive Development for All.” Celebrations at Guanella Center began with Mass for persons with disabilities and their parents who come daily to our Center for therapy and other educational activities. After Mass there was a simple parade from the Servants of Charity compound, out to the streets and up to Centerville Covered Court; intending to promote awareness around the neighborhood on the importance of caring for persons with disabilities. On July 14th, persons with disabilities were given a lesson on safety precautions in the event of emergency by interns from the PT Department. On July 15th, a seminar on Disaster preparedness was presented to the parents by officials from the Disaster Office of Quezon City Government. To conclude the week-long celebration, Specialympics was held July 15th-16th. The good children, their parents and caregivers enjoyed the highly anticipated “olympics” where they not only showed their skills in sports but also shared their sportsmanship and capabilities in different physical and athletic activities despite their limitations.
Cuddalore – The Republic Day celebration at St. Joseph’s Seminary was on January 26th. It began with Solemn Mass celebrated by Fr. Paul Francis. Following Mass, the National Flag was hoisted by Fr. John Paul Britto and a competition was conducted between the junior and senior seminarians. The students demonstrated yoga and karate, led a parade, and performed a skit portraying discrimination existing in different forms, in particular against differently-abled persons. A football match was the final event on this joyful day.
Cuddalore – The 5th Classical Academy of the 2014 -2015 academic year was held in January under the leadership of Fr. Vincent. The topic was Today’s Youth and their Challenges. On one side in India youth need education and care at another side they face trials, obstacles and challenges from media and society. Bro. Gnana Oli introduced the theme and Bro. George spoke about the problems that Indian youth face. Bro. Vignesh spoke about the talents and potentials of the youth. In between the speeches there was dance and song performances to entertain the spectators. Then the chief guest evaluated the presentations and delivered a message that the youth also needs to work hard for the betterment of society. The evening ended with the papal anthem.
Manila – The concluding mass of Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines was held on January 18th, and was a great opportunity for us to see the pope in person. Eight of our special children, seven seminarians and three priests joined the concluding celebration. Pope Francis’ visit gave hope to the Philippines on a rainy day caused by a typhoon, yet no storm could keep us from attending the closing Mass. Many Filipinos showed their faith and made personal sacrifices to witness this event. We spent many long hours waiting in a downpour with our eight loving special children who never complained, and were given a special place in front of the stage with other groups caring for persons with disabilities.
The cold and hunger left us upon the arrival of the Pope, and everything turned to joy. The Papal mass was celebrated solemnly, and all people near and far participated in singing and responding during the mass. The whole assembly received the grace of God through the presence of Pope Francis, and it was an unforgettable once in a lifetime experience.
Sivagangai – The Guanellian family of the Yesuvanam community were glad to honor the dignity of differently-abled children from the region. On December 7, a day was celebrated in view of enhancing the life of the differently-abled and also to raise awareness about them to society. Around 250 special people, many benefactors and well wishers from the Guanellian family and beyond participated in the event. Most. Rev. Dr. Soosai Manickam D.D, S.T.D, Bishop of Sivagangai, celebrated Holy Mass with Fr. Soosai Rathinam SdC, DPP Provincial Superior. After Mass, a sports meet was begun by Mr. Sarvanakumar, District Differently-abled Officer, for the differently-abled took place and the winners recognized. Later, a meal was served and there were beautiful cultural events performed by the special children. The campus was a place of grace due to the love shared with the least of the society throughout the evening. The children went home with gifts in their hands and feelings of spreading ‘Charity as the Heart of the World’; making the dream of our Founder true.
Chennai – The most grace filled sharing event is World Special People Day, celebrated on Sunday, December 7 at DGMS community. Fr. Arulraj, VG of Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese, presided over the Mass. A dance competition of the special children followed. During the competition the chief guests were honored by the special children. Everyone present witnessed Guanellian love and care. The presence of the Guanellian Sisters added beauty to the program. The whole day was great grace to our congregation and a blessing to our house.
New Year wishes to all and may you be constantly filled with the blessings of the Lord and the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ during 2015. We turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Divine Providence, during this year for her maternal love and guidance. As we celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life, may we be filled with the joy and hope of our Guanellian religious vocation and strive to respond to that call faithfully turning to the example of St. Louis Guanella. I thank all for their prayerful support of the Divine Providence Province (DPP) and be assured of my prayerful solidarity with all of you in 2015.
You know of the upcoming celebration of the Third DPP Provincial Chapter, with its theme, The Bond of Charity, the Sense of Belonging and Fraternal Correction /Promotion in the Guanellian Consecrated Life which will take place in Bangalore, India from January 12-17. You know, as well, of the importance of the chapter: as a grace-filled moment; as a period of discernment and verification; as a special way of planning for our future rediscovering the identity of Guanellian Consecrated Life with Gospel prophecy and hope. As I expressed in the convocation letter for the chapter, “Let us take from his (St. Louis Guanella) spring of charity and from his heart the spirit of fraternal communion which can only strengthen us in the bond of charity he so desired, deepen our sense of belonging, and humbly lead us toward fraternal promotion.”
This year has been designated by the United Nations (UN) as The International Year of Soils. It is a year in which we are reminded of the 805 million people who are facing hunger and malnutrition and the need for healthy soil and agricultural methods to produce the food for the hungry along with the just distribution of that food. There are the existing problems today, especially in Asia, of the land being stripped, by real estate developers, of its natural resources and minerals and its trees and vegetation which contribute to climate change, drought and flooding in the impacted areas. During 2015, let us cultivate the soil of our heart and the soil of mother earth to produce the good soil leading to peace, joy…and good crops.
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
Cuddalore – The 4th Classical Academy of the 2014–2015 year was held November 8–10th at St. Joseph’s Seminary under the leadership of Fr. Ronald (Rector of Guanella Bhavan). The academy, “Annihilation of Arts,” was conducted by the higher secondary students. To invoke God’s presence into this event, brothers sang devotional folk songs. They showed their love and gratitude to the chief guest, Fr. John Paul Britto, by presenting him with a shawl. Three speeches were delivered: Bro. Idhayan (History of Arts), Bro. Kishore (How the Arts Destroy) and Bro. Ajis (How the Arts Innovate). To further entertain the audience, Bro. Antony Paul & co. performed a colorful folk dance. Last but not least the president of the academy, Fr. Ronald, evaluated the presentations and expressed appreciation to those who participated. Giving thanks is integral to Indian culture so, Bro. Vimal, with his beautiful voice, thanked the gathering and led the community in singing the papal Anthem.