Chennai – On January 15th Don Guanella Evening School celebrated Pongal, a festival that is very popular in Tamil culture. This harvest festival unites all people. The teachers prepared them to celebrate the Pongal with traditional cultural programs. The students were very happy in their colorful dresses of Tamil Culture and eager to express their talents in celebration of Pongal. All the traditional preparations were made: colorful Kolam, the decorated pot for the pongal meal and sugarcane sticks beside the pot brought forth the neutrality of the festival. Fr. Ronald, Provincial Superior, Dn. Paul Dhinakaran and the chief guest Fr. Adaikalam were presented for the event. Fr. Ronald began with a prayer, blessed the Pongal meal and it was distributed to all in a traditional way. The cultural programs of the children were performed very well, gladdening everyone’s heart. Prizes were distributed by Fr. Adaikalam to the winners of the event. His speech was very inspiring and the event was ended with a final prayer.
MYSORE – A long awaited celebration at the evening school took place on January 14th to encourage school going children who frequent Don Guanella Evening School in Harohalli. All the villagers and the panchayat leaders were invited for this simple New Year and Pongal celebration. The program began with a prayer song and followed by a variety of cultural and traditional amusements presented by the children. The celebration was really an opportunity for them to exhibit their talents. Parents were happy to see their kids performing dances, skits and singing. To encourage the children, gifts were distributed. Fathers were honored with a small gift for their service. The teachers who help the kids in their academic career were also honored. The Pongal feast ended with a dance performance by the brothers and evening school kids.
Chennai – The Tamil festival of harvest, Pongal, was celebrated at Don Guanella Special School on January 12th infused with Indian culture and tradition. On this special day, the entire DGSS community celebrated Pongal by sharing Indian traditions. The children participated in the program with their parents. The staff and children dressed up in dhoti and saree creating a complete festive mood on campus. The celebration began with traditional games and competitions for the parents. Then some traditional games like pot breaking, musical chairs and Rongoli competition were organized for the children. Traditional dances were performed and singing resounded. The program ended with a thanksgiving prayer. God, nature and all those who helped organize the festive were recognized and thanked in a meaningful way.
Chennai – The month of January remains ever-special and unique for many, in particular for farmers because it is the month where the state gratefully thanks all the farmers. It is the day of celebration of harvest known as Pongal in Tamilnadu. This is the three-day celebration where each day has its significance and history to be felicitated. On January 17th, Don Guanella Major Seminary celebrated the feast by cooking Pongal, and gratefully recalling the hard work done by the farmers who cultivate crops for the nation. The sweet Pongal is a symbol of happiness to sustain life and sugar cane to have a life of success. The Holy Eucharist was celebrated by Fr. Samson and he highlighted the importance of Pongal. He invited the brothers to gratefully thank the farmers and pray for them for their support and care towards the world population. During the homily Dn. C. Jesu Doss highlighted the importance and hard work of farmers and urged everyone not to forget the farmers after the celebration of Pongal but to remember and pray for them always. The day continued by playing traditional games of the local culture.
Vadapatti – On January 15th the Pongal feast was celebrated at St. John de Britto Church. That morning the Pongal was cooked by the parishioners and the Pongal ceremony was blessed by Fr. Vanathaiyan SdC, and Pongal holy Mass was celebrated. Pongal special games were played for everyone on the parish campus, many people actively participated. The whole event went well with games, yoga, and various competitions for the various age groups of people. Prizes were distributed for the winners of the games. The chief guest of the program was Fr. S. Periya Nayagam, SdC the parish priest and Mr. Ignatius. The following day Pongal was celebrated at St. Paul’s Boys Home, Krishnaperi. Pongal Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Vanathaiyan SdC in the morning and then according to class, the games were conducted for the boys. The boys very actively and enthusiastically played all the games. At the end Fr. J. David, SdC, Director, distributed prizes to the students. The boys were encouraged and elated by the programs.
– December was a month of great activity for the Latino community. Its religious activity is marked by a great variety of national devotions whose common denominator has to be found in the Blessed Virgin Mary, venerated under many names, in Christmas, the Holy Family, and the Magi. Latinos find in these religious activities their identity, and from them they draw the necessary strength to face the trials of their daily life.
“Our Lady of Journey” was the song that accompanied their spiritual journey during the month of December and its many festive celebrations that will find their conclusion on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on January 13th. Every evening, groups of families gathered together in one of their homes to pray the Rosary, to read God’s Word, and to ask for God’s help. Thus they celebrated the Christmas Novena, immersed in the warmth and usual fervor, like Mary and Joseph looking for a place to give birth to Jesus.
On Christmas Day, at noon, there was a public show of their faith, the faith of a people walking in the midst of a society closed behind the doors of conformism and cold toward Christian values. A thousand Latinos walked in the streets in a “live” representation of the Nativity, the great mystery of our redemption.
To curious spectators, the whole thing was just a colorful show worthy of a quick picture. To the faithful Latinos, it was the public proclamation of their Catholic faith and heritage.
Father Paul took the opportunity to say his good-bye to all of them after four years of pastoral ministry among them. He is going to continue his ministry in the streets of Michigan with other people who want to embrace and experience the Emmanuel, the “God-with-us”, the only God who brings salvation.