Nearly forty people gathered on the morning of Friday, June 24, 2016 to witness the leadership of the Divine Providence Province of the Servants of Charity bless the grounds of a vacant field where the new St. Louis Guanella Village will be constructed beginning this summer. Guests included seven priests, twelve residents, and the direct […]
Chennai – Don Guanella Special School grandly welcomed Fr. Soosai Rathinam for a canonical visit on July 15th. Fr. Soosai toured all the classes in the school. After the tour, Fr. Samson; Fr. S.A. Lourduraj, the director; Fr. Praveen, assistant director; Regent Bro. Rajarathnam and all the staff gathered for the examination of the school project and for fraternal sharing of the mission. Fr. Soosai gave a motivational address on how a Guanellian educator should differentiate from secular ways of educating good children. As part of the meeting the staff expressed their way of teaching, the plans they have for the children and the new proposals for the development of the school. At the end of the visit the children entertained Fr. Soosai with a cultural performance.
Chennai – The DGMS community enjoyed a provincial visit on July 14th. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, SdC, Provincial Superior, shared his reflections on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy; summarizing the 2016 CRI brochure: 5 focus areas and 40 action plans by Fr. Joe Manath, SDB. He asked us to include the works of mercy in our personal and community projects. A theological forum followed about Fr. Domenico Saginario, SdC, the pioneer spirit of the Indian mission. Fr. Francis introduced the topic of the forum; stressing the importance to learn about our own confreres.Fr. Soosai spoke in his presidential address about the deep spirituality of Fr. Saginario as a missionary. He also emphasized the missionary spirit of Fr. Saginario and advised the young seminarians to have a thirst for theological knowledge and a missionary spirit.
This month, we celebrate the loving memory of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary which looks to eternity and gives us hope. Our mother country, India, is also leaping and dancing for joy for the celebration of her 69th Independence Day. When I thought of writing this article, my eyes moved towards our DPP’S bookshelf and my attention was drawn to “The Art of Power” by Thich Nhat Hanh, a national bestselling author who promotes peace in every step. His approach towards power is different. What does power mean to us? Why are most people willing to use power and desire so much to hold onto it?
The subject of power has focused primarily on the state’s monopoly on violence, its proper legal use, and the legitimacy and behavior of those who control it. Thich Nhat Hanh begins his inquiry into power at its very base, its most “organic level” which means with the will and our deepest intention of love and goodness.
What does power mean to us? Why are most people willing to do almost anything to get it? Most of us seek to be in a position of power in order to control our life situation, namely wealth; professional success; fame; physical strength; military might and/or political control. To facilitate and maintain power, we drain and strain our relationships. The purpose of having power or freedom means to become the best version of oneself such as being free from addiction, fear, despair, discrimination, fundamentalism, or anger.
Many great teachers and leaders like Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Moses and Gandhi had their profound desires for peace; relieving the sufferings of the most vulnerable in society and to bring about religious harmony and universal brotherhood.
We will change the world and our country simply by behaving like a committed Christian and living in the presence of God by focusing on our spiritual power. When we suffer in our personal lives with heavy workloads, constant stress, unrealistic expectations, and worldly attractions, we will be bound with various slaveries. Let us be happy and relaxed so that we bring joy and hope to everyone!
Thalavadi – The Nazareth Illam community was filled with joy and happiness as a new home was opened for the mentally ill. On June 3rd Most Rev. A. Amal Raj D.D, Bishop of Ooty; and Rev. Fr. Soosai, Provincial Superior, officially blessed and opened the structure. The stone was unveiled by Mrs. Abbate Guliana, Vice President of ASCI. The local priests, religious and faithful were also present for the ceremony and Holy Mass. It was a generous gesture of the ASCI who gave a helping hand to build this beautiful home; a true example of living the Year of Mercy and the corporal work of mercy: Shelter the Homeless. Mary and Joseph struggled to find a proper place for the birth of the Child Jesus, but by the grace of the Holy Family, Nazareth Illam now has a place for the ‘little Jesus’ from the area. On behalf of the Province, the members of Nazareth Illam whole heartedly thank ASCI and all the good hearted people who “Make Charity the Heart of the World!”
Chennai – The 2016–2017 academic year at Don Guanella Major Seminary was divinely graced on 9th June by the solemn Holy Spirit Mass celebrated by Fr. Soosai, Provincial Superior, and the confreres of the community. As one family, they participated in the Holy Mass, praying for the forthcoming year. Fr. Soosai invited the confreres to be enthusiastic and innovative in their academic performance. He exhorted them to develop their conformity to Christ through their lifestyle. He commended the priests in charge of formation to educate, to accompany and to guide the seminarians by the ways of the heart in Persona Christi. After Mass, the whole campus was blessed by Fr. Samson, the superior of the community. Rationalize your faith, and spiritualize your reason, for it will lead you to have a greater experience of God within and without. Bravo!
Chennai – Many of us are aware of the flood that occurred in Chennai back in November 2015 which brought disaster and misery to many innocent people in and around the area. It also caused a loss of property, cattle and lives. Many became helpless and homeless. Through the support of good hearts and generous people, the Guanellian priests helped 13 displaced families to build new homes. It was God’s given gift to all these families through our exercise of the corporal works of mercy in their time of need. The work was completed by June 1st. Fr. Soosai Rathinam and the priests of DGMS went to bless and inaugurate the houses on June 12th. All the families expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the Guanellian Priests and those who helped them with the hearts of mercy.
July 2016 is both significant and historical for the Divine Providence Province in particular and for our Congregation in general because two of our Guanellian priests with open hands and hearts, will set foot in the Solomon Islands to be our pioneering Guanellian missionaries. Fr. Mathias Lourdusamy and Fr. Arockia Raj, both from India, heeded generously and courageously the invitation to stay, and not just to visit, and become bridges of love to a nation full of hope, beauty and gifts but not without struggles, predicaments and challenges. As religious missionaries, by vocation and mission, we are bridge-builders, bringing together in unity peoples of different origin, culture, mindset and race into the same family of God. We can do this in the measure that we are able to go out of our own comfort zones and enter into the world of others. Love is the name of bridges we build.
Our desire to be present in the Solomon Islands, is just but one of the several humble efforts that our Province would like to accomplish in faithful witness to the original wish of our founder, who pointed out clearly in the 1910 Regulations of Servants of Charity that: “the Institution can be providential for our time namely, by renewing the world with the fire of Charity and being an instrument to help spread Divine Charity throughout the world.”
We recently concluded our 12th Divine Providence Province Plenary Council Meeting and 2016 Assembly of Confreres in the United States and we have ended our meetings with renewed enthusiasm and joy in spreading the works of charity by looking more closely and creatively in engaging ourselves in new projects and “seeking out new poor and new needs for the less protected poor in our society.” (7th General Consultation)
Building bridges of love is what has also been consistently in the heart and mind of our Holy Father. With the theme “Love is our Mission,” Pope Francis’ visit to the United States last year encourages all of us to be missionaries of love: “I take this opportunity to thank all those, of whatever religion, who have sought to serve the God of peace by building cities of brotherly love, by caring for our neighbors in need, by defending the dignity of God’s gift of life in all its stages, by defending the cause of the poor and the immigrant. All too often, those most in need of our help are unable to be heard. You are their voice, and many of you have faithfully made their cry heard.” (Speech at Independence Mall, Philadelphia)
Let us continue to dream dreams and see visions. Let us make anew our commitment not to stop as long as there are poor to be assisted and distresses to be relieved. Let us never be tired of giving our best efforts in building bridges of love.
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
Chennai – In this year of the centennial heavenly birth of the Founder, St. Louis Guanella, Don Guanella Major Seminary had a big reason to celebrate: the admittance of five brothers, Bros. Jeya Seelan, Joseph, Maria Antony Rajan, Packiaraj, Vinnarasan, to the rite of Initiation by which they will be introduced to theological studies as they prepare for the priesthood. Their studies began with classes on Church documents like Pastores dabo Vobis and the document of the Congregation, Ratio Formationis. On October 15th, the second day of the novena of the Founder, Fr. Soosai joined the community in celebrating Holy Mass for these young brothers. During Mass, Fr. Rector officially presented them to Fr. Soosai and the Church. Fr. Soosai examined each brother, who then declared willingness to begin initiation to Theological studies for the priesthood. May the Lord bless their intention and motivate them towards His eternal Priesthood.
Chelsea – The Servants of Charity have been cultivating rich soil in which to plant the seeds of the Guanellian charism in Chelsea Michigan since 1960. From the humble beginnings of the institute there, faithful people have wandered into St. Louis Center and have become nourished by the spirit and mission of the spiritual sons of St. Louis Guanella who worked there. One can only imagine the bountiful garden of souls that have come to learn and live the Guanellian mission over these past 55 years. Efforts to formalize the Guanellian Lay Movement in the Chelsea Community have had varying degrees of success, but many people nonetheless have continued to be drawn into the ‘Family’ through the spiritual and volunteer opportunities offered at St. Louis Center and the Shrine of St. Joseph in Grass Lake.
This year, being the Centennial of the Birth into Heaven of St. Louis Guanella, Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, SdC wanted to truly honor his spiritual father by firmly planting seeds in the Guanellian garden that has been so carefully plowed in Michigan. He decided to invite all of the Catholic people who have been growing stronger in their commitment to living the Guanellian mission and charism to make the formal promise of Guanellian Cooperators. About 50 people gathered at SLC on September 3rd to learn more about the commitment of becoming a Guanellian Cooperator and its spiritual benefits. They shared a meal, fellowship and heard a short talk by Fr. Joseph to prepare them for making their Promise.
On September 19th St. Mary of Chelsea hosted a special Mass in Celebration of the Centennial of the Birth into Heaven of St. Louis Guanella. Special celebrants during the Mass included the Most Rev. Bishop Earl Boyea of the Diocese of Lansing, Most Rev. Alfonso Crippa – Superior General of the Servants of Charity from Rome Italy, Provincial Fr. Soosai Rathinam from Chennai, India, Provincial Treasurer Joseph Rinaldo, Fr. Enzo Addari, Fr. David Stawasz, and Fr. Satheesh Alphonse from the Chelsea Community of the Servants of Charity, and St. Mary Pastor Fr. William J. Turner. At the end of Mass 65 people officially spoke their Promise as Guanellian Cooperators, an amazing gift to Guanellian Family on this solemn occasion. Bishop Boyea gave a blessing over the entire congregation with a first class relic of St. Louis Guanella to close the ceremony. About 200 people gathered for a celebratory meal in the parish hall.
There are now many sprouts that must continue to be nurtured in order for them to blossom into true spiritual sons and daughters of the Founder.