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.
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.
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.
Vadapatti – On January 15th the Pongal feast was celebrated at St. John de Britto Church. That morning the Pongal was cooked by the parishioners and the Pongal ceremony was blessed by Fr. Vanathaiyan SdC, and Pongal holy Mass was celebrated. Pongal special games were played for everyone on the parish campus, many people actively participated. The whole event went well with games, yoga, and various competitions for the various age groups of people. Prizes were distributed for the winners of the games. The chief guest of the program was Fr. S. Periya Nayagam, SdC the parish priest and Mr. Ignatius. The following day Pongal was celebrated at St. Paul’s Boys Home, Krishnaperi. Pongal Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Vanathaiyan SdC in the morning and then according to class, the games were conducted for the boys. The boys very actively and enthusiastically played all the games. At the end Fr. J. David, SdC, Director, distributed prizes to the students. The boys were encouraged and elated by the programs.
Chennai – The second plenary Council meeting of the Divine Providence Province took place at the provincialate house from January 11 – 13th. Fr. Satheesh and Fr. Dennis Weber joined the meeting from the US. It was a moment of prayer, fraternity and discernment. The agenda and the schedule was prepared in advance by the provincial secretary and sent to the council members. The meeting gave the council the opportunity to look at the future of the province from different aspects through the prism of the XXth General Chapter. The council appreciated the hard work of the individual communities and confreres and concluded on a note of hope and surrender to the Lord.
Cuddalore – A remarkable Pongal celebration was celebrated including paddy harvesting on January 11th at St. Joseph’s Seminary. It was truly a thanksgiving feast as we reaped the paddy and celebrated the Tamilan’s feast. The St. Joseph’s Seminary confreres and staff toiled to gather the harvest from the fields. Holy Mass was also celebrated for the welfare of all the farmers in Tamilnadu. We shared the precious Pongal feast with one another, increasing the joy and excitement. Afterwards, everyone tasted sugarcane and entered the fields to collect the paddy bundles one by one. As Jesus says, “The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few,” was well understood on that day. By the grace of God we collected about 40 sacks of rice for the pantry. We truly thanked the Lord for His abundant blessings and graces showered upon us.
Chennai – On January 4th, all the brothers of Don Guanella Major Seminary returned after their Christmas vacation. It is the custom of the House to begin the New Year with High Mass celebrated by the Provincial Superior. On January 5th Fr. Ronald, Provincial Superior, presided over the Mass and imparted his blessings to be prosperous in the holy ministry of the Lord. Fr. Samson took the opportunity to thank the Provincial for his support and prayers for the community. He also wished everyone God’s choicest blessings and gifts in the days to come.
“I did not change the whole world but I changed the world for a few.”
In 1997, St. John Paul II established the special Day of Consecrated Life to coincide with the Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem (February 2nd). The Pope gave three reasons for his selection of February 2nd as a special day for religious women and men: first, to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of consecrated life; second, to promote the knowledge and appreciation of consecrated women and men by all People of God; and third, to invite all those who have dedicated their life to the cause of the Gospel to celebrate the wonderful ways the Lord has worked through them.
Along with mother Church we thank the Lord as the Divine Providence Province for all the graces we received throughout these years, especially the gift of vocations, hundreds of young men saying “Yes” to follow and serve the Lord in and through the Guanellian Charism and Spirit.
Secondly the Presentation of the Lord invites all of us to appreciate and to assert who we are. What is our identity? In other words we must speak boldly about the goodness of religious life. At times along with the tides of competitive society, people may make a comparison of our religious life with other walks of life and we may fall prey to their calculations saying what is so special in this life? But we all know deep down that this life is the prototype of the heavenly table, the continuation of the early Christian community, the antidote to the divisive world, the real globalization, we go where the Lord sends us and still we own people as our children and others own us as their fathers and mothers. We left one family but we are part of many families around the world.
Thirdly it is a moment of celebration and sharing with others what the Lord has done in and through me. I did not change the whole world, but I changed the world of at least a few people, I was the eye for the blind, I was the hand and leg for the crippled, I was the mind for the intellectually disabled.
At this juncture we thank the Lord in a special way for the special grace that has been given to our confrere. Bro. Praveen, who met with a road accident, has been freed of all charges. We appreciate all those who involved themselves in this process and accompanied our confrere.
Let us celebrate the sacerdotal ordination of eight confreres on February 11th and their first Eucharistic celebrations in the following days. We thank and appreciate all the formators and in a special way the formation team of DGMS for their accompaniment and stewardship in the final phase of their preparation.
Let us welcome and celebrate the presence of the DSMP superiors who are on their Canonical Visit. Let us keep them in our prayers and sustain them.
Fr. Ronald J, SdC