Legazpi -For the Year of Mercy, the Servants of Charity are planning to have a celebration on September 24th at the Polangi Jail. The entire Guanellian Family of the community will gather for the celebration and to show their commitment to the corporal works of mercy. We are all looking forward to the event with joyful anticipation.
Mysore – With the blessings of the Merciful Father and St. Louis Guanella, Preethiya Sevakaru Evening School was officially inaugurated for the 2016-17 school year on August 5th. The program began with fifty-eight excited children gathered. They enjoyed the simple benevolence of the Guanellian family. Miss Shilpa and Mr. Nagendra, teachers of the evening school, along with the brothers, prepared the children for the celebration. The children exhibited their talents through dancing, singing and skits. The village officials were present to honor and encourage the children by their presence. After the simple introduction the meeting was arranged to plan the new academic year focusing on behavior, studies, health and extracurricular activities. Study materials were given to the children and after a simple snack and prayer the gathering dispersed with the promise of a better future.
Manila – June 20th was the official opening of the new mission year at Guanella Center with the Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated by Fr. Charlton Viray. The Mass was attended by special students of Guanella Center with their parents and caregivers, staff, teachers, volunteers, seminarians, and young members of Guanellian Youth Ministry. The homily focused on giving thanks to the Lord for the many blessings that He continues to bestow on the Guanellian family, the importance of making our own personal contribution to the building of unity and cooperation at the Center, and not to tire of sharing our love and compassion to others: especially to the poor and needy.
Cuddalore – Members of the Guanellian family are very sensitive to the needs of the poor, especially when heavy rain poured on the people living in huts. Many lost their homes, belongings and especially their kith and kin. Groups were organized to assist these unfortunate people. They were provided material goods such as groceries, clothes and especially food. The people who received benefits belong to various religions and they really appreciated the care and concern. The people who came to help the needy brethren enjoyed the Guanellian hospitality and friendship.
Bangalore – In the special year of the Centennial celebration of the heavenly birth of St. Louis Guanella, the Guanellian family in India organized a special retreat. Guanellian fathers and sisters attended this special retreat preached by Fr. Umberto Brugnoni, the Vicar General of the Congregation, at St. Joseph Nivas August 15-20th. It was a renewal of Guanellian life and spirituality; reliving the life of the Founder according to the needs of the present day. Fr. Umberto reflected on various aspects of the Guanellian charism: the “fiery sword in the holy ministry,” Guanellian prayer, the importance of work, pray and suffer, to serve the poor and to irradiate the charity of Christ. Further, he highlighted the lives and spirituality of the first confreres and sisters: Mons. Aurelio Bacciarini, Bl. Chiara Bosatta, Bro. Giovanni Vaccari, Sr. Apollonia Bistoletti and Alessandrino Mazzucchi. The retreat activities helped participants to cherish the richness of Guanellian spirituality.
Cuddalore – On July 4th, the benefactors of St. Joseph’s Seminary gathered for a celebration with the confreres. Upon arrival they were warmly welcomed by Rev. Fr. Rector in front of the Chapel and moved inside to participate in the Holy Mass, which was celebrated by Fr. Visuvasam, Superior of the Cuddalore Community. There was a lamp lighting before Mass and again towards the end of the Mass. Mr. Bosco presented his view and experience in the Guanellian Family. After Mass, lunch was served in the Refectory with a cultural program animated by the Minor Seminarians. Fr. Rector honored all the benefactors with a shawl. Later the Benefactors cheerfully participated in a game followed by a photo session before the program ended.
Chennai – On November 20th a theological reflection was led by the students of First Year theology. They presented the theme, “Pastoral Challenges in the Family,” as Pope Francis announced this to be the year of family. It was very apt to have reflections based on family in line with our pastoral theme, “Bond of Charity.” Fr. Francis, Vice-Rector of Don Guanella Major Seminary, was the chief-guest for the event. The brothers led the community to reflect upon the basic foundations of the family. They contributed the entire negative and the positive elements of family. And as religious living family life, we should have elements of the family. There was a Q&A period for the audience to clarify their doubts. During his address, Fr. Francis also shared his thoughts about family and invited everyone to contemplate “life as the Guanellian Family.” The reflection ended with the Papal anthem.
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.
Sivagangai – It is nice when priests, brothers, and lay cooperators come together as one family. December 19th is a memorable day for all Guanellians; our founder St. Guanella was born as a light to the people who say, ‘I have no one.’ In order to celebrate the day, all Guanellian Lay Cooperators were invited to Yesuvanam. Fr. Kulandaisamy, Fr. Paulraj, Fr. Franklin, Fr. Thambu, and Fr. Anandan celebrated Mass followed by a time of thanksgiving and a discussion about the growth of Yesuvanam. Everyone was happy to be part of the Guanellian family and the milestone celebration, the 171st birthday of our founder. Fr. Kulandaisamy, local superior, cut the birthday cake during the Agape meal.