Chennai – Come away to a Deserted Place by yourselves and rest for a while,” Mk: 6:31. According to St. Louis Guanella, “The enrichment of one’s consecrated life is met through diagnosing the health of body, mind and soul through ‘annual spiritual exercises’, and it is a promising Way to Holiness”. Therefore, the Divine Providence Province offered the Annual Spiritual Exercises ‘17 for all priestly confreres in order to enrich their Religious Consecration. So that all confreres could participate, the Retreat was held on two different occasions. It was the choice of the confreres and the decision of superiors to shuffle their members according to the needs and requirements of the community. The preachers were Fr. Jesu, SVD; and Fr. Soosairaj, SJ. The retreat created a suitable ambience to rest in God, renew the soul in the Holy Spirit and project for a better religious life.
Manila – April 3rd-8th, the aspirants of the Servants of Charity went on a week-long retreat. On the last day, the seminarians, Fr. Charlton, Fr. Loyola and Bro. Mauro went to Pangasinan for a pilgrimage and to visit the Archbishop of Lingayen, Dagupan His Excellency Socrates Villegas. For the seminarians, it was indeed a very good way to end a meaningful retreat. It was also a great privilege to hear words of advice from the bishop and to hear him share about his vocation story.
Kumbakonam – The priests, sisters and parishioners of Divine Providence Parish went on a pilgrimage during Lent. Early Saturday morning, April 1st, the pilgrims departed in two buses heading for Kalpattu. Upon arrival, they ate breakfast and prayed the Way of the Cross. Mass was celebrated at St. Paul the Hermit’s Church before journeying towards Villianur. At the Immaculate Sister’s Convent, the sisters provided the pilgrims with a meal before going to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine for personal prayer and the Rosary. The next stop of the spiritual journey was at Sacred Heart Church for an opportunity to purchase Holy articles such as Rosaries, rings and prayer books. Cuddalore Silver Beach was chosen for an evening in nature and a meditative walk. After relaxing at the beach, the pilgrims headed toward home stopping in Meensurutti for tea and vadai. Through the intercession of St. Paul the Hermit and Our Lady of Lourdes, it was a joyful and spiritual experience for all of the pilgrims.
Chennai – The Divine Providence Province in India inaugurated a Structured Guanellian Study Center March 3rd. During the inaugural ceremony Fr. Soosai, Provincial Superior, narrated the significance and benefits of the center in India. He also exhorted the confreres and young scholastics to educate themselves and to infuse their lives with the spirit of the Founder. Fr. Francis, coordinator of the Center, explained the purpose and objectives: to know the Founder, to preserve Guanellian traditions and to live the spirit and charism in our Context today. To memorialize the inauguration, a precious manuscript of our Holy Founder was presented by Fr. Fabio Pallota from Spain to be archived at Guanellian Study Center, India.
By Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, SdC
In a landmark document, Pope Francis has called for the Catholic Church to revamp its response to modern family life, striking a delicate balance between a more accepting tone towards homosexual people and the defense of traditional church teachings on issues such as abortion.
In the document entitled The Joy of Love, Pope Francis outlined his vision for the church on family issues, urging priests to respond to their communities without mercilessly enforcing church rules. He wrote, “Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs”.
The apostolic exhortation concludes a two-year consultation that saw bishops gather twice in Rome to debate issues affecting the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
In comments likely to be welcomed by some organizations, Francis urged the church to “reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while every sign of unjust discrimination is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence.”
But the pope stopped short of pushing for a change in church doctrine. Same-sex unions, for example, may not simply be equated with marriage. Such families should be given respectful pastoral guidance, so that those who manifest a homosexual orientation can receive the assistance they need to understand and fully carry out God’s will in their lives.
Following lengthy debate about the role in the church for remarried divorcees, who are not allowed to take Holy Communion, Francis did not call for the rules to be changed but said such parishioners must be made to feel part of the church. They should not be confined into overly rigid classifications leaving no room for a suitable personal and pastoral discernment. Divorce was described as an evil that priests should help Catholics avoid, while being understanding towards those whose marriages have broken down.
This document shows something has changed in the church discourse. Pope Francis speaks about families with a clarity that is not easy to find in the magisterial documents of the church. In an era of global crisis in which families often suffer, the exhortation takes a positive look at the beauty of married love and the family.
The broader document saw Pope Francis recognize the Catholic Church’s waning appeal to young people, urging churchmen to present a more appealing view of marriage. I think of St. Valentine’s Day. In some countries, commercial interests are quicker to see the potential of this celebration than the leaders of the church. When I was a kid in Sicily, I used to bring flowers to all the girls of the neighborhood, whether I liked them or not. It was just a sign of respect and admiration
The Pope also dedicated two pages to the erotic dimension of love within marriage, promoting a positive vision of sexuality which must be seen as a gift from God that enriches the relationship of the spouses.
The Pope voiced the Church’s opposition to abortion in all circumstances. No alleged right to one’s own body can justify a decision to terminate that life. He also showed no opening towards fertility treatment, describing creation as something which must be received as a gift and suggested infertile couples to adopt babies or children who need parents.
Much hurt and many problems result when we stop looking at one another, listing a string of common complains of family members feeling invisible or uncared for. Technology affects relationships, such as when people stay on their mobile phones during meal times. The fast pace of the online world is impacting people’s approach to relationships. They believe, along the lines of social networks, that love can be connected or disconnected at the whim of the consumer, and the relationship quickly blocked.
Dear Confreres, we were loved even before our parents dreamed of us. This love fills us with joy. The joy of being loved by God, family and friends. The joy of belonging to a Church that accompanies us with the Sacraments from birth to death. The joy of one day being called by God and seeing Him face to face as He is and do the same with our beloved who have gone ahead of us or will join us later on. Sometimes joy is mixed with tears: in this way we imitate Christ who suffered, died and rose from the dead to restore our real joy. In this beautiful month of May, I pray that we all experience the joy of love while pondering how much we love and how much we are loved whether it is human love or divine love.
Fr. Furaha Ntasamaye, a young diocesan priest in Tanzania, through his own initiative scoured Europe to obtain substantial contributions to help care for almost 250disabled girls and boys in a very vast region of West Tanzania.
This is the first Guanellian settlement in this beautiful country.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
Manila – The Way of the Cross this year was a bit different than past years. For this year, they related the events to modern daily life circumstances so that the people could understand more genuinely what Christ’s Passion means for each of us. On April 12th, the way of the cross was held in the different areas of the servants of charity compound. The event was presented by the Guanellian Youth Ministry (GYM), Guanellian Altar Servers’ Guild, Guanellian Oratorio Ministry, some from the Guanellian Lectors and Commentators and the seminarians. Though not trained actors, they effectively portrayed the beauty of Christ’s sacrifice. The goal of the presentation was achieved, and the audience deeply understood the Lord’s loving sacrifice for us. Fr. Charlton Viray congratulated everyone who participated and those who exerted efforts that made the event a successful one.
Chelsea – Here in Michigan, we were finally able to say goodbye to our cold winter weather during the month of April, and an explosion of activity took place in the creation of St. Louis Guanella Village. Because of all of the preparation work that had been done, the first children’s home began going up fast during the third week of the month, as exterior and interior walls were built on top of the foundation, and roofing materials were added to the roof joists. The foundation was poured for the second home, and tangible results can now be seen on a daily basis.
Bangalore – “Until there are no longer poor and neglected to be assisted there is no end to our charity,” this is an inspiring quote from our Founder that motivates every Guanellian. The Cooperators and Lay members in Bangalore are working towards experiencing the true Guanellian spirit. Following their mission experience in Nazareth Illam, they spent a day at Don Guanella Aged home which cares for abandoned elderly men. The day was spent with the Grandpa’s grooming them, chatting with them, feeding them and cleaning their worship space. It is absolutely true that you can only understand the feelings of others when you spend time with them. As a regular practice we gather for an hour of Adoration on the last Sunday of every month, helping to spiritually nourish the Grandpa’s. Most Saturdays the members volunteer to do service. These Good Samaritan acts by the Cooperators and Lay members’ draws the attention of their family and friends who are awestruck by the service and in turn wins many good hearts that come forward to support the mission.
Cuddalore – God may not give us an easy journey to the Promised Land but he will give us a safe one. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish arranged a Lenten pilgrimage on March 26th. Fourteen churches arranged to mediate on the way Jesus chose to redeem the universe. One hundred people gathered on two buses and traveled to three different dioceses. Special prayers were said for the Church, construction of a new church, our congregations, and the faithful. Reflections were made at each station to help the people understand that life passes by very quickly, and that they ought to think more of how to love than how to live.