Koppaka – On July 17th, there was a Holy Spirit Mass at the Minor Seminary, Guanella Bhavan. It was the official inauguration of the academic year for the Seminary. Fr. Ronald was the main celebrant for Mass. There are twenty students from four different States: Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Karnataka and Andhra. Fr. Ronald insisted the candidates be happy and obey the formator with love. It will help them to discern their vocation. Every student likes to eat, play, and watch TV; but they must also cultivate love for prayers, study and work which are the key elements in seminary formation. May the Holy Spirit guide the seminarians throughout this year.
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.
Kopakka – June 27th was a great day for Ankanagudem Guanella Bhavan seminary officially kicked off the feast day of St. John Maria Vianney on Aug. 4th. There are 29 first year students and two college students from various Indian states. This one-year program is considered an orientation which aims at initiating the youngsters into seminary life while verifying their inner motivations and enriching their knowledge and skills. Fr. Peter Sebastian along with other community members celebrated the Holy Eucharist and inaugurated the scholastic year entrusting the formation program into the hands of the Mother of Divine Providence.
Kopakka – Mr. David Raj, the beloved father of our confrere Fr. Sunil Francis died suddenly on May 26th. The Andhra community organized a memorial mass in his honor on July 21st at Guanella Bhavan. His mother, other siblings, relatives and friends along with neighboring priests, sisters, catechists and GLM members participated and prayed for the repose of his soul and expressed their sentiments of grief and condolences to the family. He was a renowned catechist of the diocese and one of the pioneers of the evangelization among the poor in the diocese of Eluru. All who attended remembered and recollected his faith-filled life and staunch affinity to the church.
Kopakka – Guanella Bhavan opened its doors on July 17th for service to children with disabilities. The GLM assisted the community in gathering children with disabilities, their parents and caregivers for the event titled, “Celebrating You and Me,” to pray with them, to socialize with them and to share a meal with them. Fr. Peter Sebastian conscientized attendees on the importance of human dignity and God’s unconditional love. Fr. Superior gave a formal, open invitation and warm welcome to everyone, especially disabled children to feel at home. The seminarians and oratory children helped make this inaugural moment a joyful festivity. Every Sunday the seminarians and confreres will offer this ministry with help from the GLM in the feeding program. May God bless this simple seed and fructify it into a greater charitable activity in the future.
Koppaka – Guanella Bhavan (Minor Seminary) is winding up its formation program for the 2015-2016 scholastic year as summer vacation approaches. The entire family gives thanks to the Lord for the many blessings the Lord has showered upon the students throughout the year. The seminary fondly remembers with thankfulness the support of the Provincial and his team and the benefactors for their generosity. Special gratitude goes to the Superior, Fr. Peter Sebastian, and the entire community for their guidance and cooperation. The seminary holds in great esteem the domestic staff, parents of the seminarians and the entire resource team who nurtured them. The seminarians truly invested their time and energy into discerning their vocation while improving their basic life skills and human qualities. They went through a well tailored formative program with freedom and responsibility and tried their best to grow in various dimensions of human life.
Koppaka – The Annual Day celebration of St. Guanella Evening School was held at Guanella Bhavan March 19th. At least 200 children from 6 villages participated. The function began with a prayer song followed by cultural items performed by children from the different tuition centers. Fr. Peter Sebastian, Superior of the community, gave lunch boxes to the children as an annual gift and he delivered the presidential address. He thanked the animator, teachers and the children, encouraging them to make use of the opportunities that come up in their lives. Fr. Shantham thanked everyone, bringing the function to an end. Snacks and sweets were provided to all the children.
Koppaka – On November 21st, the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was commemorated in a very humble but meaningful way at Guanella Bhavan. Some of the seminarians made decorations from coconut branches for the Marian photo on the lawn. Students were seated before her image to recite each decade of the Rosary in five different languages and to sing Marian Hymns. The seminarians took part with great devotion and offered the decades for various intentions.
Cuddalore – “Use your mother tongue for better relating, but use English for better living.” With these words, St. Joseph’s Seminary offered an “Intensive Phonetics Course” for initiation candidates of both St. Joseph’s Seminary and Don Guanella Bhavan. The young seminarians partook in this two-week course enthusiastically. Fr. Ronald, the resource person, handled the classes in an interesting and exciting way; covering the topics of syllabication, phonetic symbols, sounds, accent and rules for pronunciation. All the participants were enlightened by this course as witnessed by their renowned speech, dialogue and conversation. Guanella Bhavan initiation candidates departed on October 17th with fond memories.
Koppakka – Raju Ashok is one among the new candidates from Andhra Pradesh discerning his vocation to religious life with the Servants of Charity. From the time he entered Guanella Bhavan he befriended Mr. Krupava Rao, an older adult from the neighborhood who comes over daily for food and other assistance. Adults and children would find it very difficult to deal with him because he is hard of hearing. But Raju has been of great help to him and developed a good rapport with him within a few weeks. They sit together at table for lunch and Raju assists him while eating, then he parcels his supper and walks him to the main road while chatting. Raju is the only child of his farming parents and is known for sociability and jovial nature.