Cuddalore – On the great celebration of Republic Day in India, Don Guanella Boys Home also celebrated Alumni day, with 29 former students participating. This is a day in which the history of DGBH was reviewed and refreshed. It is a meeting of the past and present for the future. The program was organized by Fr. Peter Sebastian, the superior and director, with the community and it was presided over by Mr. Durairaj, the HOD. The testimony by the Alumni was mind-blowing and inspiring. The key points were: renewal of the relationship among the alumni; being grateful to the institute and memories imprinted on the minds of the Alumni. The younger brothers (the present students) honored their elder bothers with their performances. The Alumni inspired the younger ones with their eye-opening speeches. Finally the Alumni proved that they are not only made of words but also of actions by their generous hands.
Traditions of India Honored
Cuddalore – St. Joseph’s Evening School celebrated the Pongal feast and Republic day on January 26th. Children from four different branches gathered for the fruitful and memorable event. All the children had very joyful moments throughout the day. There were around 120 together with the children, teachers and parents. The national flag was hoisted by Fr. Mathias, SdC, chief guest of the day. Afterwards he encouraged the children to always be happy, kind hearted and talented persons in their accomplishments and to aim for a bright future. Then the Pongal Celebration started. Games and sports were organized for the students, teachers and parents like pot breaking, rongoli for parents, musical chairs and many other competitions for the children. Then children from each branch presented their programs. Fr. Mathias, Fr. Anandhan and Fr. Amalraj distributed gifts for all the ninety students. Then they also distributed prizes for the winners of different competitions. Finally, Fr. Arockia Raj, the evening school director, thanked the gathering and encouraged the new branch students and teachers to make use of the opportunity for a better future. At the end, everyone enjoyed the sweet Pongal, sugarcane, tea and puffs. Thus the day went on happily and successfully.
Annual GLM Meeting
“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.
Cuddalore – St. Joseph’s Seminary held a scholastic fraternal gathering on January 25th. The event was organized under the topic “Mercy and Compassion” by Fr. Vincent, SdC. Pondy- Cuddalore Minor Seminarians, SultanPet diocesan minor seminarians and St. Joseph’s Seminary students participated in the event. The spiritual session nurtured the hearts of the young chaps to march forward in their call. The sacrament of reconciliation was available to help the seminarians to become pure and holy. After the tea break, there was a friendly volleyball match. Therefore, this gathering boosted the seminarians both spiritually as well as physically.
CHENNAI – In an era when everyone feels bound to compete for survival, sometimes it is easy to forget that we are with fellow companions. Amidst a tight schedule the DGSS staff, students and parents allotted January 23rd as a day for the amusement of the special children, taking them to a nearby theater for a film screening. The event was organized by the of DGSS director, Fr. S. A. Lourduraj. It was a time of making melody to the children.
Ministry Gives Bread and the Lord
Dindigul – A new ministry of giving bread and the Lord to the poor, elderly & differently-abled personalities began on January 20th at Guanella Illam, Kallathupatti. The ministry of giving a midday meal on Sundays for the poor began with fifteen people from the area irrespective of religion. People were given space to spend time with one another and share joyous moments with each other. A few moments of prayer and worship was conducted by Fr. Lawrence. The meal was offered by a volunteer. The people were very happy and went home satisfied.
MYSORE – A long awaited celebration at the evening school took place on January 14th to encourage school going children who frequent Don Guanella Evening School in Harohalli. All the villagers and the panchayat leaders were invited for this simple New Year and Pongal celebration. The program began with a prayer song and followed by a variety of cultural and traditional amusements presented by the children. The celebration was really an opportunity for them to exhibit their talents. Parents were happy to see their kids performing dances, skits and singing. To encourage the children, gifts were distributed. Fathers were honored with a small gift for their service. The teachers who help the kids in their academic career were also honored. The Pongal feast ended with a dance performance by the brothers and evening school kids.
Month Begins with Blessings
Chennai – The Tamil festival of harvest, Pongal, was celebrated at Don Guanella Special School on January 12th infused with Indian culture and tradition. On this special day, the entire DGSS community celebrated Pongal by sharing Indian traditions. The children participated in the program with their parents. The staff and children dressed up in dhoti and saree creating a complete festive mood on campus. The celebration began with traditional games and competitions for the parents. Then some traditional games like pot breaking, musical chairs and Rongoli competition were organized for the children. Traditional dances were performed and singing resounded. The program ended with a thanksgiving prayer. God, nature and all those who helped organize the festive were recognized and thanked in a meaningful way.
Festival of Farmers
Chennai – The month of January remains ever-special and unique for many, in particular for farmers because it is the month where the state gratefully thanks all the farmers. It is the day of celebration of harvest known as Pongal in Tamilnadu. This is the three-day celebration where each day has its significance and history to be felicitated. On January 17th, Don Guanella Major Seminary celebrated the feast by cooking Pongal, and gratefully recalling the hard work done by the farmers who cultivate crops for the nation. The sweet Pongal is a symbol of happiness to sustain life and sugar cane to have a life of success. The Holy Eucharist was celebrated by Fr. Samson and he highlighted the importance of Pongal. He invited the brothers to gratefully thank the farmers and pray for them for their support and care towards the world population. During the homily Dn. C. Jesu Doss highlighted the importance and hard work of farmers and urged everyone not to forget the farmers after the celebration of Pongal but to remember and pray for them always. The day continued by playing traditional games of the local culture.
Kulithurai – The dance competition held in the parish is not just about trophies. It is highly rewarding and a worthwhile activity to make youth take part in the liturgy. Our neighboring parish Swamiyarmadam celebrated their annual feast, and on the 8th day of the feast the youth of the parish conducted dance competition. Our youth participated and won first prize, RS 10000. To double their joy we arranged a tour to Ramesahwaram during Pongal holidays.