Cuddalore – The 6th Annual Guanellian Lay Movement Meeting was January 20th-21st. This two-day program allowed office bearers and the delegated members from Andra, Bangalore, Chennai and Cuddalore to gather with great enthusiasm. It was a wonderful journey for the laity to experience and share the Guanellian spirit. Fr. Visuvasam, Provincial Delegate and local Superior, welcomed the group reminding them of the words of Pope Francis about the participation of the Laity and how our Founder encouraged the participation of the Laity in the mission. He spoke of the Guanellian Charism, “Paternity of God,” encouraging the laity to live their vocation, carry their cross and walk the Calvary with Christ as the focus. Fr. Rosario gave the next talk. He spoke of Christian Virtues, quoting from the Bible how Christ Himself showed trust in Abba Father by praying in silence before doing anything. Without God at the center we are only doing social service. We must spend time in prayer to gain strength to do God’s will. In prayer God will reveal and inspire us with a plan, show us the method to execute and fulfill His will.
The second day began with Adoration and Holy Mass. Fr. Francis gave the first talk, speaking about the three Virtues taught by our Founder. He said when we allow evil to be the sower the harvest will be pride, greed and lust. Whereas, when we allow God to be the sower the harvest will be humility, poverty and mortification through which we can overcome evil and do great good. A Guanellian Cooperator shared her journey from being a benefactor, GLM member and finally a Cooperator. Her experience inspired the members and helped them to understand how they too can become Guanellian Cooperators. The members’ spirits were strengthened and renewed to continue their good work.
Cuddalore – On December 19th, our Founder’s 175th birthday, and to honor his holy birth, life and his charitable patrimony St. Joseph’s Seminary, Don Guanella Boys Home, Sahaya Matha Parish, Divine Providence Convent, Guanellian Lay Movement and all the beneficiaries joined as one family to celebrate. The celebration included solemn Mass, during which three GLM members made their promise and became Guanellian Cooperators, cultural performances, gift sharing and an Agape meal. It was a time of revitalizing the spirit, mission and vision of St. Louis Guanella.
Bangalore – On December 2nd the Guanellians celebrated World Special People’s Day in Bangalore. The celebration began with a solemn Mass celebrated by Most Rev. Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore and concelebrated by many priests. World Special People’s Day is one of the biggest and most awaited events celebrated every year at Guanella Preethi Nivas. About 2000 people, including 1,350 good children from 40 institutes around Bangalore participated and the rest were our benefactors, friends, Guanellian Cooperators and GLM members. For the past 11 years the Guanellians used this day to teach and exhibit to everyone how to accept, love and celebrate the gifts of these beloved children of God and how they are favorable to God. They were the heroes and heroines of the day. This year 190 volunteers worked selflessly for the success of this event and they are deeply touched by our mission. Guanellian Lay Movement members were happy to collaborate closely for the success of this event and set a good example for all attendees. The good children gave beautiful performances, they were entertained, honored, fed with nutritious food and given gifts. The Archbishop congratulated and thanked the Guanellians for their marvelous service to the deserving children of God.
Manila – The 6th Annual Dinner for a Cause was held at Ang Bahay ng Alumni at Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila. The Servants of Charity hold this event for the benefit of the children of Guanella Home. The evening began with a prayer led by Ate Ding Legaste, Guanellian Cooperator. Fr. Battista Omodei warmly welcomed the visitors followed by an intermission number by our special kids from Guanella Home. The money generated during the event will be saved primarily for the needs and necessities of our special kids. Fr. Charlton gave an update about last year’s Dinner for a Cause and how the funds were spent. Fr. Battista, Fr. Charlton, Fr. Charles and Fr. Loyola gave Certificates of Appreciation to people and organizations that have been constantly helping the Servants of Charity. To all the people who supported and helped in making this event a success, a simple thank you would not be enough, we really appreciate the efforts you have done.
Bangalore – Every year the Guanella Preethi Nivas family proudly celebrates the Novena to our Founder as preparation for his feast. On October 18th the Guanellian Cooperators & Guanellian Lay Movement members lead the Novena. Many members came, though it was a work-day. In our formation we are taught how our Founder clung to the Eucharist to fuel himself to do God’s work, so the evening began with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. During Adoration there was a reading from the Constitutions: articles 1 & 2 and a reading from the Gospel. Fr. Fernandez shared a reflection, he began by asking us if we were proud to be part of the Guanellian Family? When the Church did not trust his vision and his own family didn’t understand him, it was the Laity who encouraged and supported him. They knew Fr. Guanella was doing something extraordinary, good in the eyes of God and they admired his work. Hence, Fr. Guanella believed that where the Clergy & Religious cannot reach, the Laity can and they are an integral part of the Guanellian mission; each might have different opinions, but our Founder confided more in the Laity. The Laity should remember that you have not chosen to do this work but it is God alone who called each one to do his mission. We must remember always to give credit to God alone and He will reward us for our good deeds. On the day of the Feast the foundation stone was laid for a Multipurpose Hall at GPN, this hall will be utilized for the evening tuition children, activities of the aged home and more. As our Founder believed the laity are important for the mission, Fr. Gnanaraj, Superior, and Fr. Adaikalam, Delegate (GC&GLM), had the names of the members written on the bricks, which made them feel more responsible towards the mission and the house, and blessed the site for the future structure. A chariot for St. Guanella was beautifully decorated by the Guanellian Youth. It was blessed and the Religious, laity and benefactors (Christian and otherwise) processed to the Chapel reciting the Rosary. Solemn Mass was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Anthonysamy, Chancellor from the Diocese. There was a sumptuous meal offered to all Feastday participants.
Sivagangai – The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was commemorated at Guanella Yesuvanam October 7th. It was gratifying to entreat the blessings of Mary on our mission. The postulants created a ship for the Marian procession. In order to grasp the holiness of our Lord Jesus Christ, the mysteries of the Rosary were enacted by the Guanellian Cooperators and postulants during recitation of the prayer. A good atmosphere in which to contemplate the rosary was created through the repetition of words and the creative presentation by the Guanellians. All who participated felt deepened in their faith in the fidelity to God and Mary and Jesus with them in the joys and sorrows of their lives.
Chelsea – On a feast very important to the Guanellian Family, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, fifteen Guanellian Cooperators joined the seven Servants of Charity priests of the Chelsea Community in renewing their vows and promises to the Congregation. Salvatore Bessaccia made his first Promise as a Guanellian Cooperator. Fr. Joseph Rinaldo celebrated Mass in the St. Louis Center chapel giving a homily on the ‘Joy of Love.’ A time of fellowship followed Mass.
Bangalore – It was the dream of our Founder to have the laity participate in the Guanellian mission and spread charity in the world. From the time we started the Guanellian Lay Movement in Bangalore, we have seen how the laity has shown interest in growing in the mission started by our Founder. Many were introduced to the Congregation through fathers, brothers, sisters and friends. Today they stand with the Guanellian Family as one with a true spirit, participating in our celebrations and in our challenging moments. For over six years now, we have seen the spirit and enthusiasm with which the laity has embraced the mission, and they have not hesitated to step forward in their commitment. Eight members have moved from the GLM to become the first eight Guanellian Cooperators in India. We started as a small group but based on the numbers, we truly believe that the Spirit of the Lord is moving through them.
A recollection was organized and led by Fr. Ligory, who prepared the members and strengthened them with his talk. This was the preparation for the Guanellian Cooperators to renew their promise, the Guanellian Lay Movement members who were to renew and the many that were making their first pledge. The members were formed by Fr. Adaikalam, who nourished them spiritually and guided them in the Guanellian spirit. The members take up their responsibilities and participate in the planned activities.
May 31st is a very important day for the Congregation, wherein our Founder celebrated his first holy mass at Prosto. On this day, eight GC renewed their promise and seventeen GLM members made their pledge. The numbers for the GLM members who have made their pledge has moved from 10 to 17. This is only a reflection on how well the flock has kept together and formed. The credit goes to Fr. Adaikalam, Fr. Gnanaraj, Fr. Visuvasam and above all Fr. Soosai Rathinam, who has encouraged the participation of the laity. A divine spirit was in our members while saying ‘yes’ to the call and continuing their journey as Guanellians. The Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Soosai Rathinam along with his Councilors and other Fathers from the Guanellian Community. In his homily, Fr. Rathinam appreciated the commitment of the laity who have sacrificed so many things and remained committed. He said this was the vision of our Founder and it’s a joy to see how things are going in India. It was great joy for the Cooperators when Fr. Provincial released the English version of the ‘General Statutes’ of the Guanellian cooperators officially. It was also an overwhelming joy to have been part of the First Profession of our Brothers when we made our commitment. Now the Laity can spread throughout the world like yeast and share the Guanellian spirit, which is to provide special love to the one who says, ‘I have no one’.
Thalavadi – Lent is a time when everyone makes an effort to grow in spirituality. This year, the Guanellian Lay Movement (GLM) and Guanellian Cooperators (GC) from Bangalore went on a mission experience to Thalavadi to serve intellectually and developmentally disabled patients (I/DD). It was a two day program aimed at Good Samaritan work. On the first day, the members received an orientation from Fr. Lawrence, the Director of the mission house. The members were amazed to learn how our Fathers, Brothers and helpers can take this mission forward with great compassion. We also learned that some patients were transformed and returned home. Several homes catering to these patients chain them and at times treat them harshly. This was not the case here. Fr. Lawrence and Fr. Ligori told us we only give them love and dignity, and it is God who leads us all in what we do. This was a wonderful lesson learned as a Guanellian. We organized ourselves to get closer to these patients and share their stories. The members actively participated in the residents’ physical activity and we entertained them in the evening with music and dance. The following day the members cooked two sumptuous meals. The Community accommodated us with great care and we appreciate their hospitality.
Bangalore – One’s soul is nourished through spiritual formation, serving the poor with love and compassion. A first recollection was organized for our Cooperators on March 11-12th, building the group spiritually and providing an opportunity for everyone to get to know one other. The event was led by Fr. Prakash and Fr. Adaikalam. Fr. Prakash led the group with the theme, “The Aimed and Expected Purpose of a Guanellian”. He emphasized that our Founder considered relationships very important and always respected the feeling which is “Love”. He took this from scripture, where he adored the love of Abba Father, and always loved everyone. Fr. Prakash took the parable from John 15:1-17 “The Vine and the Branches” and explained how we need to stay connected to God down to the roots, so that we will bear fruit. The Cooperators meditated on each verse in the Guanellian Way and reflected on how Father Guanella would have responded. Fr. Adaikalam then emphasized the formation to help each Cooperator see God in everything. The day concluded with a talk by Fr. Gnanaraj who spoke of the Paternity of God. As a Cooperator, the life of every individual must be based on spirituality and moral values.