Chennai – March 19th is celebrated as Saint Joseph’s Day. This year on this special occasion the Don Guanella Major Seminary community invited the Guanellian family to be nourished spiritually and physically. A special Mass was celebrated by superior Fr. Samson along with all the community fathers and brought the blessings of the Lord amidst us. People who are sponsoring the seminarians were invited as special guests for the event. As a sign of gratitude, they were honored for their benevolence to our community and given a memento for their generous contribution to our congregation. Everyone enjoyed a delicious meal and Fr. Samson concluded the day with a final blessing.
Chennai – December is a special month for all, especially the Guanellian family, when we bring all our special children together to make them feel loved and respected in society. The people of the parishes we serve on weekends ask us about the celebration for Differently-abled day, because they know it is a traditional feast celebrated by the Guanellian family. On December 10th, Don Guanella Major Seminary held the event. It was a time of grace for all who attended and were involved in the program. The day began spiritually with Mass. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, SdC, Provincial Superior was the celebrant and he delivered a thoughtful homily, explaining the importance of the special children in and around us. He also quoted Pope Francis when he commemorated a day for the Special Children. Many dignitaries from different Government departments of Tamilnadu were present. Each of them had a chance to address the gathering, saying it is a challenging and awesome ministry that the Guanellian fathers are doing. They thoroughly enjoyed the celebration. The program continued with the special children displaying their talents: speeches, songs and performances. We thank God for the support and choicest blessings He showers on the Guanellian family. The children were fed and gifts distributed before they went home.
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.
Manila – Three Guanellian brothers renewed their vows on May 26th. The ceremony was integrated into Mass at Guanella Hall and witnessed by the whole seminary community, including the Guanellian Sisters. The Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Charlton and concelebrated by Fr. Battista, Fr. Dong, Fr. Charles, Fr. Loyola and Fr. Ronnie. Fr. Charlton, Provincial Vice-superior of the Divine Providence Province, received the vows of Brothers Alfie, Arun David and Christian. Fr. Charlton focused his homily on the three brothers and offered special words to them, and instructed them to be faithful to their vows.
Bangalore – St. Guanella Mercy Church celebrated Holy week in a prayerful manner. It was more meaningful that the entire community participated with great joy and enthusiasm throughout the events during Lent. The Way of the Cross was organized and led weekly by each different group. Each day of Holy Week was planned and executed in a way that set a bench mark for us. Both Tamil and English Masses were well attended. Mass of the Lord’s Supper and washing of the feet went well. On Good Friday the confreres, Cooperators, GLM and parishioners enacted the passion of Christ as a live Skit, touching many hearts. The scene at Calvary could be visualized by everyone who participated. Veneration of the Holy Cross followed in a service combining Tamil and English. The Easter Vigil was solemnly celebrated by the presenting of the Resurrection in an imaginative way, with thunder our Lord rose in Glory. The faithful reacted by singing the Gloria. The house was decorated beautifully with lights and flowers for this glorious occasion. After Mass we shared Easter eggs, cake and milk.
Manila – The feast day of Blessed Clare Bosatta was celebrated at Holy Family, the house of the Guanellian sisters, in Fairview and attended by the priests, brothers, seminarians and sisters of the Guanellian family. The celebration began by praying the liturgy of the hours, followed by the celebration of Holy Mass. Fr. Battista, who was the main presider, focused his homily on the life of Blessed Clare and how she fervently wanted to help other people. The evening ended with a dinner shared by the Guanellian family. The real reason for the celebration was not forgotten, Blessed Clare who with humility and courage followed the ways of the Lord.
Manila – On March 11th the priests, brothers and sisters of the Guanellian Family had family day in Noah’s Park, Montalban. All the brothers and sisters participated as soon as the games began. It was indeed a fine day for everyone, a day spent enjoying one another’s company and rejuvenating relationships in the spirit of our founder St. Louis Guanella.
Cuddalore – The Charity of Christ should urge all souls dedicated to Him to be dedicated to those who say, “I have no one in the world.” Extending charity draws souls closer to sanctity, for charity will save the world. With this spiritual vibrancy the Guanellian family under the guidance of Fr. Visuwasam SdC, with the help of local sources, has prepared a new House for the works of charity in the area. This is meant for daily evening school programs for the poor children nearby and Sunday open house ministry for the homeless without food, clothing and shelter. The house was inaugurated and blessed by Fr. A. John Bosco SdC in the honorable presence of Fr. Soosai, Provincial Superior and his Council and other Guanellian confreres. The words of the Founder, “as long as there are poor to be assisted in the world, there is no end for the works of charity” was in the hearts of those present.
On November 12, 2015, Pope Francis received in audience the participants in the Pilgrimage of the spiritual family of St. Louis Guanella on the occasion of the first centenary of Fr. Guanella’s death. Perhaps the enthusiasm, the celebrations, the traveling, the lodging, the souvenirs and other concerns placed the Holy Father’s words on the back burner. A year later is the best time to go back and meditate again on the message given to us by the Holy Father.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
You have just celebrated the first centenary of his birth in Heaven. I am going to try to imagine what he would say to you to confirm you in faith, in hope and in charity. He would certainly do so with his sincere and genuine simplicity; and then I thought of three concrete verbs: to trust, to look and to hurry.
To trust. Fr. Guanella’s life had at the center the certainty that God is a merciful and provident Father. This was the heart of the faith for him: to know himself as an always loved son, whom the Father takes care of and, therefore, brother of all, called to infuse trust. God is Father and is unable not to love us, nor is He capable of being far from His children. If we are far from Him, we are awaited; when we come close to Him, we are embraced; if we fall, He lifts us up; if we are repentant, He forgives us. And He always desires to encounter us. Fr. Guanella so believed in this concrete and provident love of the Father, that he often had the courage to surmount the limits of human prudence, to put the Gospel into practice. Providence, for him, was not “poetry” but reality. God takes care of us and wants us to trust Him.
I think the heavenly Father is very displeased when He sees that His children do not trust Him completely: perhaps they believe in a distant God more than in the merciful God. The doubt can arise in many that God, although Father, is also a master. Then it seems better not to trust Him completely, because He could ask for something that is too demanding or even send a trial. But this is a great deceit: it is the ancient deceit of the enemy of God and of man, who camouflages the reality and disguises evil as a good. It is the first temptation: to distance oneself from God, intimidated by the suspicion that His paternity is not truly provident and good. Instead, God is only love, pure provident love. He loves us more than we love ourselves and knows what our true good is. Therefore He desires that in the course of life we become what we are at the moment of Baptism: loved children, who are able to overcome fear and not fall into lament, because the Father takes care of us.
The second verb is to look. The Creator Father also arouses creativity in those who live as His children. So they learn to look at the world with new eyes, made more luminous by love and hope. They are eyes that enable one to look within oneself with truth and to see far in charity. With these eyes, others do not seem like obstacles to surmount, but brothers and sisters to welcome. Thus, as Fr. Guanella said, one discovers that “love of neighbor is the comfort of life.”
Problems are never lacking in the world and, unfortunately, our time witnesses new poverties and many injustices. However, the greatest lack is that of charity: useful above all are persons with eyes renewed by love and looks that infuse hope. Because “love will enable one to find ways and discourses to comfort those that are weak,” said your Founder. Sometimes our spiritual sight is myopic, because we are unable to look beyond our ‘I.’ At other times we are long-sighted: we want to help someone who is far away, but we are not capable of helping someone who is beside us. Sometimes, instead, we prefer to close our eyes, because we are tired, overwhelmed by pessimism
And, finally, to hurry. “The poor are the favorite children” of the Father, said Fr. Guanella, “one who gives to the poor, loans to God.” As the Father is delicate and concrete in regard to His littlest and weakest children, so we also cannot have brothers and sisters in difficulty waiting, because according to Fr. Guanella, “misery cannot wait. And we cannot stop while there are poor to be helped!” Our Lady hurried to reach her cousin Elizabeth. We also hear the Spirit’s invitation to go in haste to meet those in need of our care and our affection because, as Fr. Guanella taught, “a Christian heart that believes and feels cannot pass before the indigence of the poor without helping them.”
Your Family springs from trust in the Father, under the gaze of Jesus and in the maternal hands of Mary. I thank you for the good you do and I encourage you to continue, without tiring. I bless you all affectionately and I ask you, please, to pray for me. Don’t forget!
By Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, SdC
Vatluru – Sacred Heart Church has the biggest Oratory program of the area. There are currently 10 centers, 15 teachers and 350 students. This school is in session from July onwards. A meeting was held for the teachers to explain the importance of becoming a part of the Guanellian Family as a Cooperator or GLM member. The confreres spoke about the practice of the preventive system, joyful atmosphere and preference to the least ones in the tuition centers. The Guanellian Family has provided study materials like boards, notebooks and home work notes, pens, pencils and backpacks for the students. Regular lessons were insisted upon.