Chennai – How wonderful it is to rejuvenate oneself with the energy that is passed on by our Holy Mother Church! In accordance with the formative program of Don Guanella Major Seminary, the Second Annual Don Mimi Theological forum was held on November 29th under the leadership of Bro. Raja Rathinam. The topic “New Wine in New Wineskins,” was inspired by a famous Church document given by Pope Francis to the Congregation of Consecrated Life. There were different speakers to present the topics of the document from different perspectives. Fr. Periyanayagam, Vice Rector, was the chief guest of the day; helping the forum by clarifying the doubts raised by the brothers. Fr. Samson, Rector, was also present and helped the forum with his insights to be a better person during formation. The forum also included evaluations and some entertainment in the form of party games. Overall it was a worthwhile forum in which brothers explored their knowledge of the Church. The forum ended with an expression of thanks proposed by Bro. Praveen.
Chennai – As the part of the program of theological formation, Don Guanella Major Seminary Brothers went on a four day vocation promotion to different parts of Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh during their semester holidays. It is the practice of the Major seminary to send brothers to encourage young boys who show an interest to become future priests. This year five groups were organized to go, to invite and encourage the youngsters to serve the Lord through the Servants of Charity congregation. Brothers were organized in a systematic way to approach different parishes, schools and boarding schools to collect the names of the interested. After four days, the brothers returned to the seminary for their academic program. Thanks to the vocation promoter of the province and the good hearts of the seminarians who helped in this endeavor.
Kopakka – Religious life is a journey towards holiness and every dimension is an important tool to reach the threshold. Having this significance and to make all the dimensions holistically sound, the Divine Providence Province began the ‘Tutelage Program – an ongoing formation’ for the first five years of the priesthood. The Tutelage Program is under the guidance of Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior. Sixteen priests participated this year at Guanella Bhavan, Andhra Pradesh with the theme “Rekindling the Divine Gift for an Eternal Sanctification”. The five-fold mercy of Jesus was stressed and challenges and crisis in priestly life were well addressed by Most Rev. Dr. Jaya Rao, Bishop of Eluru; Rev. Fr. Matthew, OCD and Rev. Fr. Inje Paul. The program ended with a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Gunadhala Shrine.
Rome – It was a gift of grace to experience and look back at the formative program using the text, Ratio Formationis. We thank the General Council for their effort to equip formators through this program to provide us with a solid accompaniment for seminarians. With grateful hearts, we thank the Provincial and his Council for allowing confreres Fr. Samson DGMS Chennai, Fr. Gnanaraj GPN Bangalore, Fr. Adaikalm GPN, Bangalore, Fr. Vincent Philippines, Fr. Jerin, Vietnam, and Fr. Francis, Rome, from the Divine Providence Province to spend 23 days in Rome. Fr. Umberto Brugnoni, the formator in charge, arranged everything with care and participated in every program, while the involvement of entire General Council was notable. Every daily meditation was led by General councilors, Guanellian sisters and other Guanellian fathers.
The first two days were about sharing the socio-political, cultural and religious backgrounds of the Asian, European, African and South American cultures and we shared our joys and difficulties about vocation promotion and formation. We deepened our knowledge in Ratio and shared our concerns. During the second week, scholars from Gregorian University, Fr. Victorio and Fr. Healy SJ, were invited to help us to understand the science of human formation. The General Council dedicated a very useful day for questions and answers, and we dedicated our last two days to meditating on the life of the great masters of Charism; confreres Piero Pellegrini and Attilio Beria. Among other experiences we participated with the Holy Father in fasting and in prayer for world peace and we attended a papal audience with Pope Francis, who spoke of the Church as “Mother.” We thank Fr. Alessandro and the community for their hospitality and welcome, and we thank God and all those contributed for this beautiful experience.
The most important things that we discussed in the final meeting were;
- Creating a missionary spirit in the candidates.
- Developing criteria for selecting the candidates for Rome.
- Sending theological Regents to other parts of the Guanellian World.
- Reading the Ratio on a provincial, community and personal level.
- Encouraging regular personal prayer and Spiritual Direction.
- Placing Residential Spiritual Directors in the major seminaries.
- Learning the Italian language.