CHELSEA – The Servants of Charity Community in Michigan was honored to host our Superior General, Very Rev. Umberto Brugnoni and his assistant Bro. Franco Lain, for a five-day visit from Friday, October 19th through Wednesday, October 24th. The purpose of the visit was to provide the new leader of the Servants of Charity with an opportunity to visit St. Louis Center in Chelsea and the Pious Union of St. Joseph in Grass Lake, and to assess the operations of each program and visit their new facilities. Fr. Umberto and Bro. Franco were relaxed and comfortable during their stay, and enjoyed the opportunity to visit their confreres in the United States.
Preparing for Advent
Grass Lake – Fr. Satheesh Alphonse, SdC and Sr. Ann Hubler, DSMP hosted a Guanellian Family event on the First Sunday of Advent, November 30th. The families attended Mass and made Advent wreaths to use in their homes.
Pilgrims to the Shrine of St. Joseph
Grass Lake – The month of September has been a month full of activities at the Shrine. We had a day dedicated to the family. On September 13th, we invited Peter Herbeck to talk to the families who come to the Shrine regarding “Challenges American Families Face and What the Lord Asks us to do.” Peter Herbeck has been inspired by the Holy Spirit from a young age, and speaks at many conferences and on Catholic Radio around the country. It was a very informative speech followed by a question and answer session.
The month of September has also been a month for pilgrims. St. Stephens Catholic School in New Boston, MI came to visit the Shrine in two groups. The first group came on September 14th with their 1st and 2nd graders along with the chaperones and teachers. Fr. John Hedges led the group since he has been involved with the Shrine from its beginnings. He has been coming here since the time of Fr. Germano, and he directed the kids for a wonderful tour. Then the 3rd and the 4th graders came on the 29th of the month. Fr. John came along too, and both times the group participated in the Holy Eucharist. On September 15th, a group from St. Anthony’s Parish, Indiana, came to visit the Shrine. They participated in the Mass and ate their lunch in the Pastoral Center. It is always a blessing to have pilgrims come since we are inspired by their faith in the powerful intercession of St. Joseph. During these pilgrimages, the Women’s Guild actively assisted the Director.
Women’s Guild Honors Members
Grass Lake – On August 9th, the Pious Union of St. Joseph Women’s Guild hosted a four course High Tea to honor three of its members, Lana Senart, Celia Rossi, and Jacquie McGinn. They were all honored for their love, dedication, and deep devotion to the Pious Union. The tea was held in the gardens of one of the members, Susan Nabozny. The 25 ladies were all provided with an authentic Victorian hat to wear. During the tea, each honoree was toasted individually. They prayed, sang and gave thanks to Jesus for these three ladies’ devotion to the Pious Union and for all the members of the guild. Father Satheesh was present to give his blessing. The day ended with a tour of the gardens and a prayer of thanksgiving. Each guest went home with a homemade gift from the garden.
Angels Among Us
Grass Lake – To further beautify and heighten the spiritual experience of pilgrims to the Shrine of St. Joseph, two new stained glass windows were installed in the sanctuary. Generous donors provided the necessary funds that allowed the images of angels carrying the Holy Eucharist from heaven to come to fruition.
Way to Calvary
Grass Lake – After collecting costumes over the past few years and honing the script, Sr. Brenda McHugh presented the ‘Live’ stations of the Cross at the Shrine of St. Joseph on Good Friday. Several families rallied together to play the roles and make final preparations for this moving event. The stations were prayed as an outdoor procession from the Shrine steps out to the Cross at the Calvary. A large crowd of the faithful joined the Way of the Cross as part of their Good Friday devotions.
Pilgrims Flock to Shrine
Grass Lake – March 19th is the Solemnity of St. Joseph and the Shrine of St. Joseph becomes a very busy place with many pilgrims coming to visit and receive blessings from the Foster Father of Jesus. This year too there were many bus loads of pilgrims who came to the Shrine and prayed to St. Joseph. They are all Chaldean Catholics and it was wonderful to see them praying in their language which Jesus also spoke. They were also very pious to receive a blessing from the priest. Their piety and devotion to St. Joseph is outstanding and inspiring. May God continue to bless them through the powerful intercession of St. Joseph.
Christmas Youth Pilgrimage
Grass Lake – On Saturday evening, December 13 a group of sixteen young adults and high school age youth gathered at the Pious Union of St. Joseph for our first Christmas Youth Pilgrimage. Fr. Satheesh, Sr. Brenda & Sr. Ann welcomed some brand new youth, with some coming from as far as Ypsilanti. Many were youth that have grown with us through our monthly Retreat Days.
It was truly a Pilgrimage. After some introductions and a Nativity game, the evening began as the youth placed themselves on the journey with Mary and Joseph on their search for lodging in Bethlehem. With lighted candles they followed Mary and Joseph from door to door asking for a place to stay and singing carols until they were finally welcomed into our “stable” (the renovated “Barn Church”).
Then the celebration began as we welcomed the “Light of Christ” and heard the words proclaimed by Fr. Satheesh: “What has come into being in Him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
Fun and fellowship was enjoyed by all with a hearty lasagna meal. Then each member of the group made a symbol (ornament) that represented their own witness to Christ. We ended with adoration and prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
Guanellian Family Prepares for Lent
Grass Lake – The aroma of freshly cut pine and evergreen branches was in the air at the Pious Union of St. Joseph on Sunday, November 30th, the First Sunday of Advent. On that day we held a Guanellian Family Day and made Advent Wreaths from real evergreen branches.
After 10AM Mass, all were invited to the Pastoral Center where each family worked together to make an Advent Wreath for their home. It was beautiful to see each member of the family taking a turn to place an evergreen branch into the wet floral foam as the wreaths were assembled.
The Guanellian Family Day has been a tradition at the Pious Union, where we give opportunities to our area families and pilgrims to have some spiritual enrichment. We recognize the importance of our Guanellian traditions, but also that family life is the foundation of our society. As Pope Francis has emphasized, “It is in the family, with its unique capacity to form each member, particularly the young, into persons of love, sacrifice, commitment and fidelity, that the Church and society …will find the resources necessary to renew and build up a culture of solidarity.”
The custom of the Advent Wreath is a simple tradition that helps us to await the coming of Christ. It is a custom rich in symbolism, as each part of the wreath has significance. As each family finished assembling their wreath, a prayer service was held. Each part of the prayer was not only an intercession, but also contained a short explanation as to what each symbol meant. Fr. Satheesh then blessed all the wreaths with holy water and all shared a potluck meal.
A Growing Family
Grass Lake – As part of the Founder’s Triduum celebrated at the Pious Union of St. Joseph, five Guanellian Cooperators from the Chicago area professed their Promises. Fr. Fortunato and Fr. Satheesh con-celebrated the Mass for the DSMPs, cooperators and friends on October 25th.