“Without God’s help we are incapable of doing good. Every good action is marked by His grace” -St. Louis Guanella.
Chennai: Once again by the grace of God on Jan 26th – 27th we had the annual Guanellian Cooperators and Guanellian Lay movement members meeting at Don Guanella Major Seminary. The members came from Andhra, Bangalore, Chennai, Cuddalore, Kumbakonam and Sivagangai. It was wonderful to see how each one joyfully embraced each other and what was common in them was that they were Guanellians and shared the same spirit.
The event started with invoking the Holy Spirit with a hymn and Gospel reading which gave a beautiful message to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Following this the Superior of the house Fr. Samson welcomed the Gathering and Fr. Ronald, Provincial Superior, addressed the gathering with a message in which he said that more than anything we are called to be good human beings. Each one has a call in a different way and the goal is to become a saint. As our Founder said the purpose of each House is holiness. Service takes the second place as this can be done anywhere. First we need to make ourselves holy, as holiness is the synonymous to wholeness.
With this message we moved on with a topic “Transmitting Charism & Spirit of the Founder to Laity today.” Fr. Benson explained about the charism of our Founder and the spirit with which he executed the mission. This gave great motivation to the participants. Moving on we had another talk by the Delegate, Fr. Adaikalam, whose topic was, “Learning from the Founder to be an effective GC/GLM today”. He started by saying how the laity has been playing a key role in the Church and he said Jesus Himself also involved the laity who were instrumental in spreading the Good News. Our Founder too had a great love for the laity and he understood the strength of involving the laity in the mission. There were times when none supported our Founder but the laity.
Following this the representatives from each community presented their Annual Reports which basically spoke of how they organized themselves, their Formation, Spiritual activities and the mission in their location. The day was concluded with holy Mass.
On the 2nd day we started with Praise and Worship led by Fr. Samson. The group reflected on Romans 12:9-21 which was beautifully explained by Fr. Francis who said for everything the fundamental thing is love and forgiveness. When we have this we will not take revenge, take pride, boast or nourish our own ego but will walk towards the path of Sanctification. To get the members to know each other and to understand how well each one understood the charism, mission and the call, there was a group discussion followed by each group presenting their points. Fr. Adaikalam presented the group with the General Statutes, guiding them toward the next step after GLM – becoming a Cooperator.
At the end of the session Fr. Ronald addressed and thanked everyone for participating. He extended his thanks to the Fathers and he encouraged the members who for many years have been with the Congregation to think about their vocation as a Cooperator. He encouraged the Laity to participate in the mission and take over the mission homes eventually by giving their time and connecting people. The Annual meeting concluded with holy Mass and the members left with great joy from the message.
Bangalore – The Guanellian Lay Movement held an election for the 2018 – 2021 term on August 11th and 12th at Guanella Preethi Nivas under the supervision of Fr. Visuwasam (Provincial Delegate), Fr. Gnanaraj (Superior of GPN), and Fr. Adaikalam (Local Delegate). This meeting was inaugurated by Fr. Adaikalam invoking God’s blessing in the form of a prayer. The election process was initiated by Fr. Visuwasam. On the 11th was the election for the officers for the Guanellian Co-operators. On the 12th we had the election for the officers for the Guanellian Lay Movement. Fr. Visuwasam thanked the outgoing office bearers (Ms. Stella -former GC Secretary, Mr. Hubert – former GLM President, Ms. Sharmila – former GLM Secretary, Mrs. Estelle – former GLM Treasurer) for their immense hard work. The newly elected council members were felicitated by the fathers and other members of the group. The meeting was concluded with a prayer by Estelle (GLM member).
Bangalore – Guanellian Cooperators and Lay Movement members of the Guanella Preethi Nivas community paid a Lenten visit to the GPN residents February 25th-26th. In the evening on the first day all made a pilgrim walk to St. Joseph’s Church, Soosaipuram reciting the Rosary and visiting the mother Mary statue which came from Fatima, Portugal. On the next day, members were so dynamic in doing the mission for our residents: cutting nails, giving them showers, and cooking a variety of delicious food for our residents. At noon the Holy Eucharist was offered for the intentions of the residents and the GLM. The residents thoroughly enjoyed the meal. After lunch everyone gathered for an inspirational, motivational talk by Mr. Rosario, brother of Fr. Ligory, who shared an anecdote of his life.
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.