Dindigul – A new ministry of giving bread and the Lord to the poor, elderly & differently-abled personalities began on January 20th at Guanella Illam, Kallathupatti. The ministry of giving a midday meal on Sundays for the poor began with fifteen people from the area irrespective of religion. People were given space to spend time with one another and share joyous moments with each other. A few moments of prayer and worship was conducted by Fr. Lawrence. The meal was offered by a volunteer. The people were very happy and went home satisfied.
This year’s Taste of Chelsea event started out with the Italian theme of “Alla Tua Salute!” meaning “To Your Health” in English. Approximately 200 people visited St. Mary Parish on Saturday, October 7, 2017 to enjoy food and drink samples from all over the area. This included new entries this year from Chelsea Big Boy […]
Legazpi – Disability audits are a part of the activities during National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week celebrations. Establishments such as food chains, malls, offices and public places are visited by a group of representatives from DOJ, DILG, DPH, CHR, DENR, SIMON of CYRENE and SAGRADA FAMILIA, which checks if these establishments comply with the accessibility laws. The ramps, parking area, priority lane, discounts and comfort rooms are also being evaluated. Proper measurements of ramps and comfort rooms are also evaluated in order to be accessible for PWDs. For those buildings operating without proper accessibility, a report is given to the engineering department for them to validate, which may result in cancellation of the permit to operate for non – compliance of the law. For those who comply, a certificate of compliance is awarded to show their support to our brother’s and sister’s with disabilities.
By Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, SdC
I was ordained on December 21, 1967. The preparations, the emotions and the reality of the priesthood lifted me to another planet. I felt like a jumping robot moving from one event to another, one celebration to another. The Christmas holidays made the days even more crowded.
The New Year brought me back to the reality and the consciousness of having been ordained a priest and all the duties and responsibilities connected to it. I was so happy. I felt so blessed and tried to imagine my future life, duties and assignments. My parents and relatives treated me like an extraterrestrial. The celebrations were over and I was prepared to report to my superior. I was still preparing when I got a letter from my superior. Thirty five words told me to report to the Mother House and prepare myself to move to the United States as soon as possible. I could not believe it! What happened to my dreams, my teaching certificates? My degrees, my languages! I did not know a word of English as opposed to Italian, French and Spanish. These are not my fathers, they are my torturers! Why are they punishing me? What happened to charity, compassion, human understanding? These were my feelings: anger, discouragement and a sense of emptiness.
And so, incapable of understanding my emptiness, I arrived in the United States. I knew no one. I felt lonely and isolated. And where was God in my suffering? In Philadelphia I had the grace to meet Bishop Sheen. I remember his words: “I am glad you are not spiritually comatose. It is normal to question and to doubt when you are hurting and feeling vulnerable. You have to look deeper inside, seek out the place of faith in your heart and re-examine the promises of your ordination and the vows of your religious life. God does not promise you will never suffer; life is joy and sorrow. However God does promise to remain with you in your suffering. Bishop Sheen asked me to reconnect that invisible cord that bonded me to God. I soon found my connection with God. My job was to take care of forty children with intellectual and physical disabilities. They quickly understood that I needed more help than they did. They kindly and gently told me where everything was located. They taught me the English words of items and things. They showed how things were done and what my job was. They became the greatest gift God gave me. I loved them like they were my children. They stopped calling me ‘Father’ but Joe, and I loved it. I learned in this way that God stays with us even when the road gets rocky. When you reach those dark and rough places, doubt can still creep in. God doesn’t abandon us. If we remain open and allow God to enter our pain, we can experience God’s compassionate presence. God touches us through other people.
As I sat with Bishop Sheen, crying and distraught, he suddenly got up from his chair, dropped to one knee in front of me, and just put his arms around me. I held on tightly. That comfort, that healing touch of love, was just what I needed.
I am so grateful to Bishop Sheen and the special children who continued to show me their love. In time I also learned that their love was God’s love. Fifty years later I am so grateful and happy for giving all my life caring for special children. They were God’s messengers who taught me to love and how to love by understanding that God is love and wants us to exchange this love with Him.
Fr. Furaha Ntasamaye, a young diocesan priest in Tanzania, through his own initiative scoured Europe to obtain substantial contributions to help care for almost 250disabled girls and boys in a very vast region of West Tanzania.
This is the first Guanellian settlement in this beautiful country.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
Manila – A Valentine program was held at Guanella Center February 14th for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The opening of the program was led by Sr. Fe Aguilar, a Guanella Center Staff, followed by an opening prayer led by the hearing impaired class of Sir Marvin Lava. The Guanella Home residents presented a dance number with the Physical Therapy interns and then the different booths were opened and the games were played. Lunch was served after the games followed by another dance number presented by another group of boys and girls. There was a contest to decide who would be awarded Mr. and Ms. Valentine 2017, the lucky ones were John Paul Dunglao and Hana Vanessa Almario, next were Maricar Marabillas and Marwin Ostras and last but not the least were David Torotoro and Fel Lorraine Canoy. The main theme for this year’s Valentine was “Anyone can catch your eye, but it takes someone special to catch your heart.”
Chennai – Extending charity is the realization of the kingdom of God. Therefore in view of realizing the presence of the kingdom of God, Don Guanella Special School laid the foundation stone for the Residential Home for the Special Children on February 12th in the presence of Most Rev. Anthony Samy, Bishop of Kumbakonam; Fr. Gustavo DeBonis, General Secretary; and Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior. Fr. Soosai made a special request for the spiritual and material support of the project to all present. The celebration closed with Marian sentiments.
Chennai – “Charity is the best weapon by which we can take actions similar to God”. Don Guanella Special School held ‘Food Fest’ on Feb 5th to raise funds and awareness for the special children. The event, which was held at Don Guanella Major Seminary, started with a prayer dance followed by an introduction of the project for the special children. Approximately 2000 people attended. The arrangements and organization by fathers and brothers was meticulous, creating a significant means to find Souls of Mercy for the Works of Charity.
Manila – On December 8th a group of persons with disabilities received the Sacraments of Baptism and First Holy Communion. Presided by Fr. Charlton Viray and concelebrated by Fr. Battista Omodei and Fr. Loyola Diraviam, it was a joyful event not only for the families of these children but also for the Guanella Center community. Our Founder, St. Louis Guanella always insisted the importance of giving not only bread but first and foremost giving our Lord. As they received the Lord and the graces because of the reception of the Sacraments, let us pray that more and more special children may be privileged to receive the Sacraments. Unfortunately, very few parishes or dioceses have programs on how to catechize children with intellectual disabilities so that they can eventually receive the sacraments like ordinary Catholics do.
Chennai – A candle-making training which is a Central Government Project for Persons with Disabilities was held at Don Guanella Special School. It was organized by the MINISTRY OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT (National Career Service Center for the Differently-Abled.) Twenty children from DGSS were selected for the training. Two of the special educators from school with cooperation from the government officials and the school program director trained the students. The main aim of this program is to equip the children in one of the arts so that they can earn a livelihood and stand on their own. After the training program, the children were taken to MGM (Dizzee World) for a picnic. Children were assisted by the staff and parents throughout this well-organized program.