First Residential Home in India

Chennai-House dedicationlChennai – God is ever-faithful to those who call on Him with hope. Don Guanella Major Seminary is ever thankful to God for helping them realize His work. In fact it took many long years to actualize this project. With all the strenuous efforts taken by the community fathers and the major superiors, the work to build a residential home for the first time in India began February 12, 2017 when the foundation stone was laid. It is a memorable day in the history of the Guanellian family as the work was finished June 29, 2018. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, the Provincial Superior, unveiled and blessed the house. He celebrated the holy Mass in the august presence of 30 priests, other religious and the faithful. During his homily Fr. Rathinam expressed his sincere thanks to the community fathers for carrying out this project meticulously; he presented them a gift as a token of appreciation. Fr. Samson, Community Superior, thanked all the benefactors and well wishers for their generosity towards God’s work for the needy and unloved in society. And he also said that Fr. Guanella is happy and blessing us from above for this work. A fellowship meal was shared in remembrance of this celebration.

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Good-Bye and Hello

Dindigul - good bye helloDindigul – It was in 2013 that the Guanellians took over a new parish, St. Antony’s Church, Kallathupatti. Fr. John Paul was the first parish priest and has successfully completed five years of shepherding the parish. On June 10th he was given a farewell after Mass. Fr. Lawrence Thambusamy was appointed second parish priest of St. Antony’s Church. Before the inaugural and installation ceremony there was a procession from the main road of the village welcoming the Provincial Superior, Fr. Soosai Rathinam, and Fr. Lawrence with a garland. Then the installation ceremony began. Fr. M. A. Antony, the Vicar Forane, conducted the ceremony. Fr. Lawrence presided over the mass. Fr. Soosai preached the homily, explaining the Word of God, thanking the people for their support and insisting that they extend their full cooperation to the new parish priest. After Mass the people thanked Fr. John Paul and welcomed Fr. Lawrence with a shawl. They also honored all the fathers who were present especially Fr. Visuwasam and Fr. Kulandai Samy, Provincial councilors. Thereafter sisters from religious communities thanked and welcomed the parish priests with a shawl. Hearty congratulations and a sense of gratitude to Fr. Achariyam who served as the assistant parish priest for the past two years. To close the event, Fr. Visuwasam thanked the gathering and advised the people to grow in spirituality and unity.

Back to Usual

Chennai-school opensChennai – After a six week summer vacation Don Guanella Special School reopened on June 6th. Fr. Samson, Superior, celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit in the presence of Fr. S. A. Lourdu Raj, the director, Fr. Michael the assistant director, staff, children and their parents. It was a grace filled time for the children and parents, after the long gap of their summer holidays. There were 30 new admissions this year, which is a sign of God’s desire for the Guanellian mission to extend to far places. During the inaugural Mass Fr. Samson emphasized that God loves us and therefore He entrusts the vulnerable to our loving care, hence with joy and vigor we need to love our mission.

Never Weary of Learning

Chennai-natural healingChennai – Don Guanella Major Seminary organized a workshop on Siddha Medicine (a Tamil form of natural medicine) June 1st – 4th. Dr. B. Sundhara Meenal BSMS was the presenter. She started the course by explaining the importance of the natural herbs that are available in and around us. She further taught that though it takes time to heal, there will surely be an effect on the diseases. She mentioned many times, health is wealth and it needs to be well cared for and above all, we need to show love and care because it is God’s unique gift to each individual. Brothers were happy that she taught them how to administer first aid with the natural herbs available in our garden. When there was time for questions, she clarified their doubts and the brothers benefited greatly. Towards the end, Fr. Samson, Superior, thanked Dr. Meenal for spending her time teaching the brothers the value of Tamil natural medicines available all around us.

Camping for Interculturality

Legazpi: To help overcome the struggles and difficulties of language and culture barriers in the local area the Cooperators, Novice Master and novices organized a camping trip on February 24th for children from Purok 6. The program started with heavy rain, a sign of blessing from God, for this inaugural event. The children and their parents enjoyed putting up tents, games, cooking, swimming and so forth. The adventure came to a close by Fr. Sagayaraj thanking God for the joyful and exhausting day.

Helping those in Need

Legazpi: The Servants of Charity community performed an act of charity on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, February 2nd. They gave a helping hand to relieve the burden of the evacuees of a natural disaster, the Mayon volcanic eruption. The evacuees received rice, milk and biscuits which are their primary needs while they remain at the evacuation center.

Spiritual Awakening – Desert Experience

Bangalore – The seven novices of the Guanella Preethi Nivas community went on a ten-day desert experience under the guidance of Fr. Gnanaraj. They went to the Servarayan Hills, at Sagayapuram in the Thiruvannamali District. It is a desolate mountain top with a substation church. They had a spiritual awakening by spending lot of time in prayer, meditation, discerning their vocation, speaking to God and journeying into one’s own self. It was an atmosphere conducive to listening to the voice of God and to be enlightened to one’s true self. After morning Eucharist and instruction all went into the forest, having no contact with anyone except God in solitude. Fr. Gnanaraj beautifully guided each novice to discern their vocation through fasting, prayer and spiritual direction. Everyone would return in the evening, share their experiences and collectively prepare dinner. They had inexplicable Tabor experiences on that mountain. On the way down the mountain, they visited the Cloister of Poor Clare nuns. Talking to those spiritual giants was awesome and enlightening for the novices at the threshold of their Religious profession.

Annual Day Closes the Year

Cuddalore – On March 22nd, to conclude the academic year, Annual Day was celebrated with the Evening School Children in the auditorium of St. Joseph’s Seminary. The celebration began with the welcome address given by the rector of the seminary, Fr. Assisi. Fr. Amal Raj, vice-rector of the seminary, was also present and Sr. Maria, Principal of St. Mary’s Mat. High Secondary School was the chief guest. In her speech, Sr. Maria spoke about the Evening School as a great opportunity for the children as well as for their families. She invited the children to make good use of it for a better future. One of the parents shared her feelings and her gratitude to the Institute and to St. Guanella for the precious service given to their children. Fr. Assisi distributed prizes for various the competitions: regular attendance, best student, best attitude. After the vote of thanks given by Fr. Arockia Raj, Annual Day concluded by sharing a delicious meal. The children were very happy. They made the celebration much more joyful with their cultural programs.

In Honor of St. Joseph

Chennai – March 19th is celebrated as Saint Joseph’s Day. This year on this special occasion the Don Guanella Major Seminary community invited the Guanellian family to be nourished spiritually and physically. A special Mass was celebrated by superior Fr. Samson along with all the community fathers and brought the blessings of the Lord amidst us. People who are sponsoring the seminarians were invited as special guests for the event. As a sign of gratitude, they were honored for their benevolence to our community and given a memento for their generous contribution to our congregation. Everyone enjoyed a delicious meal and Fr. Samson concluded the day with a final blessing.

Evening School Children go on a Picnic

Cuddalore – March 11th was a great day for St. Joseph’s Evening School, the children, teachers, staff and Fr. Arockia Raj went on an outing. The tour began with an amazing boat trip through the canals of Pichavaram Mangrove Forest. The second stop was at Poombuhar where everyone ate lunch and enjoyed taking photos at the sea. But the best part of the day was when they reached Tharangambadi beach: the children were so happy and joyful, playing in the waves and sand, collecting seashells, and running on the seashore. When it came time to leave, it was really hard to get them out of the water. Everyone enjoyed the entire day, every place they visited and playing songs, singing and dancing during the travel. They arrived home that night, tired but happy to have spent a wonderful day out.