Thalavadi – Nazareth Illam inspires people to come forward and show their love toward the needy. People from Sathy, Erode and other districts all the way come climbing the mountain to visit our home. Justice Selvam, Division Court Judge Sathy, and some of the lawyers visited our home. He and his team met the residents and spoke to them. The residents welcomed them with joy and danced and sang for them. The whole team was glad to see firsthand the mission and the work we do. Justice Selvam in his talk said, “If you take medicine without fail and eat well, you’ll be cured. Listen to the priests and obey the staff.” After a while they served snacks to all the residents, who enjoyed the snacks and thanked the officials.
Since last August, we have been attentively following the slow increase of this mission which is really at the end of the world. Our Catholic agencies are also open to Oceana. Since the beginning of the new mission shelter on the Solomon Islands, our Procura was feeling committed there for several reasons. Among them the fact that for a short period part of this new state was German Territory until 1920. During the last visit of Fr. Luigi, we felt compelled to create a new charity bridge and proposed a joint visit to Caritas Pforzheim Management. The new Guanellian priest from Noro to the director of CPM to accept this Guanellian ‘newborn’ as a target of a fundraising campaign before Christmas.
Meanwhile a new flier in German containing relevant news from Msgr. Luciano Capelli, Salesian Bishop of the Gizo Diocese, along with drawings of the common shelter will be printed in a few days for mass publication among the generous Catholics in our district. This campaign will start mid-November and the amount raised will be directly transferred to the account of the Gizo Diocese. Photos received from our confreres on the Solomon Islands will adorn the German flier. We hope that this campaign will be useful for the start of the Guanellian presence at the end of the world.
May the Lord bless this charity campaign as a sign of our long commitment in all new DPP charity missions there, but also in the Philippines and recently also in Tanzania.
We would also like to thank confreres in the USA and personnel involved in the DPP News for diffusing our small contribution in creating new missions of charity at the periphery of the world. Let us commit in doing good before approaching His birth.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
Chennai – A free Medical Camp was held on July 15th for Don Guanella Special School children. Children were given an open invitation to take part in the medical camp. The medication was provided freely and the children and needy brethren of the surrounding area made good use of this chance. Doctors and nurses provided exams, diagnoses and medicine. They expressed their joy and happiness for the opportunity to give their service for the special children. They also added that it is a great blessing for them. Finally, Fr. Lourdu Raj, Director of DGSS, thanked all the doctors, nurses and the staff for their kindness. He assured them of the special prayers of the good children
For the first time in my life, I did not carry any books to read on my journey. There were works to be completed as I was going to visit different communities. On the way back home, I was stuck! So many hours of travel…and no company to talk to, no book to read, no Ipod to listen to! How long to do the self-talk! My mind was driving me crazy…with an uncontrolled flood of unnecessary and wasteful thoughts. I was strongly regretting my decision of not carrying any books to pass the time.
In the meantime, a voice from within whispered, “You are fed up with hearing the sounds…why don’t you listen to the SILENCE for a change? Enough watching the sights and focusing on the invisible SPACE between!” And behold…a new world began to emerge altogether! The deeper I dived, the stronger it pulled me in. My mind had gone blank! And here in this space, I was merging into the heart of the cosmos…no more me-thou, but one! The experience of being complete…being fulfilled…being peaceful…and being filled with bliss! Indeed it was causeless happiness at an experiential level! Here I found ‘the missing rib’…the single solution to all the problems, whatsoever! And then, the rest of the journey was in complete grace!
In the global village which we live in today all distance is set at zero. But at the same time freedom is the main concept we have to understand well. It is the absence of undue restriction and an opportunity to exercise one’s rights and powers. It may refer to freedom of conscience, religion, education, speech and political freedom.
The Emmy Award-winning Hispanic actor, Ricardo Montalban of the last century, affirms the natural affinity between freedom and discipline. He says, “Only through self-discipline can we achieve true freedom”. And he uses the analogy of water and a cup: “pour water into a cup, and you can drink. Without the cup, the water would splash all over. The cup is discipline.” Freedom is not the right to do as a person pleases, but the liberty to do as he ought. Freedom is best when it is reasonably restrained and rationally made use of.
As we celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption, she gives us the message of total liberation through her “Magnificat” both on a personal as well social level. As St. Ambrose once said in referring to this wonderful prayer, “Let Mary’s soul be in us to glorify the Lord; let her spirit be in us that we may rejoice in God our Savior.”
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
On March 15th during a meeting at the St.Trudpert Abbey in Münstertal, we celebrated the 80th birthday and 50 years of Religious Profession of the Pious Union Director, Sister Bernita A generous donation for our Good Samaritan Pharmacy has been transferred to Brother Mauro in Manila as a result. With these funds, he’ll be able to purchase more life saving medicine. Just this week a young boy was successfully treated; thanks also to continuous support of the Pious Union and two German doctors he survived the complicated operation.
On March 16th we paid a visit to the bishop’s office in Freiburg to hand over a formal request for financial sponsorship of the 26 Indian and 4 Filipino Theology Students.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure.
Manila – On February 18th, the Guanellian Seminarians and professed brothers joined the “Walk for Life” against the culture of death such as extra-judicial killings that are becoming rampant in the Philippines, and the threat to bring back the death penalty. It was organized by the Council of the Laity Philippines and supported by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). The participants from the Servants of Charity began their journey very early in the morning; the usual time when the dead bodies were being found in the streets, and joined the gathering held at Quirino Granstand in Manila. This advocacy is an invitation to respect, defend and promote life by filling the streets with prayer. There were more than twenty thousand people who responded to this call as a sign that Filipinos are not silent on this matter and still believe in the sanctity of life.
Manila – The Guanellian Cooperators organized a Christmas Gift Giving and Outreach Program for the Guanella Homes Housing Project. The beneficiaries of the Housing Project are poor families with a special child/children who do not have decent housing. The children and parents also receive services at Guanella Center. Fifteen families received gifts and food and enjoyed several games and presentations during the event. Thank you to our Guanellian Cooperators who continually support the activities of the Servants of Charity and Guanella Center.
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.
By Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, SdC
Dear Bothers and Sisters in Christ, as I prepared the homily for the first Sunday of Advent, I came across one of the concepts of celebrating the birth of Jesus, the second coming and my personal encounter of the Lord when He will call me, sooner than later at my age. I realized that I needed to examine myself. I would like to share the result with you.
Ah, Christmas! “The most wonderful time of the year.” Of course, it’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” but we must not forget what really matters. A time to gather with family and friends and, with smiles on our faces, pretend we aren’t quietly measuring who received the best present and which of our relatives really, really needs to stop drinking. A time to hang tinsel and baubles from the tree, and a time to hang up our hopes of losing those last 10 pounds this year.
Such a joyous season! The real point here is Christmas is what we make of it.
For Christians, however, there are some very specific things you can’t do if you want to actually honor and follow the person we say we celebrate this season.
So, I give myself and other Christians five things we should do at Christmas.
1) Remember Those Without Food
Jesus once said that when we feed the hungry we are feeding Him. Anyone want to guess what it means when we ignore the hungry? How about forgetting about hungry children and their families as we scrape the leftover Christmas ham from our plates into the trash? Maybe we need to change the name of the season to Gluttonousmas? Too many presents, too much food, too little consideration for those in need.
2) Remember Those Without Shelter
One of the key moments in the story Christians celebrate is the moment when Jesus was almost born in the streets of Bethlehem. Our need to clean up the Christmas story assumes that the innkeeper told them to use the manger but the Bible says no such thing. There was no room at the inn, leaving Mary to place her newborn child in a smelly feeding trough. For that night they were without shelter. Throughout His life Jesus would spend His ministry with no place to lay His head. This time of year we celebrate a homeless man. Do our actions, do the places we spend our money, honor that?
3) Remember the Message about Resisting Abusive Power
Mary and Joseph and their family had to flee their homeland because King Herod strong-handedly used his power to squash out what he saw as a threat to his power. I can guarantee you two things: One, in the house where Jesus grew up, the narrative of why they had to flee to Egypt and of the senseless deaths imposed on other families by the powerful was a story that was told time and time again. Two, the focus on abuse of power in Jesus’ teaching and His constant willingness to confront it was no accident. Christmas should cause Christians to recommit to confronting those who abuse power.
4) Remember Those Without Presents
If you have two coats give one away. In announcing the coming of Jesus, John the Baptist told us what God was asking of us. Coats are just an example, a placeholder if you will. If you have two Christmas presents, give one away.
5) Distinguish the Religious Observance with the Secular Holiday
It may be that December 25th was picked as the date to celebrate Jesus’ birth to compete with or even to adopt the followers of the pagan celebration of Saturnalia, which included decorating with evergreens, gift giving and parties. Why does that seem so familiar? I bring this up to make a simple point. A lot of our “War on Christmas” problems would rightfully go away if we simply acknowledged that there are two celebrations of Christmas each year. One is religious and one is not.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Chennai – On “World Mental Health Day” an awareness camp was conducted by the Taluk Legal Service Committee, Poonamallee October 22nd. Seven judges were present from the district civil court. The camp was held at Don Guanella Special School. It was an awareness camp on the rules, regulations and facilities that are provided by the government for special people. In addition, awareness was given to the participants on how to consult officials when the basic needs are not served by the government. After the awareness talks by the judges, time was allotted for the teachers, parents and students to clarify doubts about social, civil and moral concerns. It was an informative and successful event.