Chennai – On October 11th the DGMS Campus celebrated the birthday of Fr. S.A Lourduraj, director of Don Guanella Special School. In the morning he was greeted by the good children and their teachers with prayers and gifts. The school put on a cultural program wishing him well and praying for his ministry. In the evening, he celebrated Mass with the community as a thanksgiving offering for the gift of his life and for Providence in his life. He also prayed for the congregation, the community and its welfare. The birthday celebration continued with a special program by the community. Fr. Lourduraj cut the birthday cake. Bro. Kumar felicitated him with poetic words on behalf of the community and the superior acknowledged him in a special way. With a delicious dinner and thanks from Fr. Lourduraj, the celebration came to an end.
Legazpi – Part of the ministries of the novices during this remembering year for them is ministry to poor children. In this modern life, many children are lacking in love, which must start from their own family but reality is a bitter pill. Instead of receiving the love of their parents, they are neglected by their parents. Many spend the greater part of the day as orphans. We bring them what we have, holy Mass, with the hope of a bright future. We hope that through Mass they could see that life still has love for them through the ministry of the Servants of Charity who are now with them and bringing them love. What we have, we share as St. Louis Guanella said “if we receive from the Providence of God with two hands, we should give to the poor with four hands”. We not only bring them love but also hope for their future.
Sivagangai – The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was commemorated at Guanella Yesuvanam October 7th. It was gratifying to entreat the blessings of Mary on our mission. The postulants created a ship for the Marian procession. In order to grasp the holiness of our Lord Jesus Christ, the mysteries of the Rosary were enacted by the Guanellian Cooperators and postulants during recitation of the prayer. A good atmosphere in which to contemplate the rosary was created through the repetition of words and the creative presentation by the Guanellians. All who participated felt deepened in their faith in the fidelity to God and Mary and Jesus with them in the joys and sorrows of their lives.
Legazpi – To commemorate the feast day of St. Louis Guanella, the Servants of Charity went on a pilgrimage to Naga City October 20th for all who had helped organize “Dinner for a Cause”. This trip was not only for relaxation, but also to discover new places and to go to the source of faith: Basilica Minore, the church dedicated to Our Lady of Penafrancia Patroness of Bicolandia. Even though everyone was tired they were very happy for visiting this church and bringing many of our confidences in prayer before Our Lady. Their hope was renewed and peace deepened in the bottom of their hearts, strengthening them to face the reality of daily life. May our Lady of Penafrancia pray for all of us and bring us to her son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Yesuvanam – “Strike the rock and water will flow so that the people may drink”. On October 7th a project to quench the thirst of God’s most special children of Anbagam was officially inaugurated by Fr. Gnana Pragasam, recollection master of the Yesuvanam community. All the confreres were delighted to work on the bore well for the benefit of thousands of good children in the future. Water sprung on day seven of digging, symbolizing the water that flowed from the holy temple. The hard work of the community paid off despite many impediments. Through the intercession of St. Louis Guanella with the help of the Holy Spirit the well succeeded. Yesuvanam thanks those people who contributed to this success with their prayers and wishes.
Manila – The Ven. Aurelio Bacciarini Theologate (VABT) in the Philippines under the supervision of Fr. Rajesh conducted its 1st Theological Symposium on October 13th. The topic was ‘The Childhood of Fr. Guanella’ 1842-1854. Br. Mark Lanuza, 1st year theology student, presented the story of the early life of young Louis, and it was followed by Br. Erwin Azurin, 2nd year theology student, with his theological perspective. Br. Christian Magdaong, 2nd year theology student, facilitated the simple panel discussion with Fr. Charles, Fr. Charlton and Br. Mauro as special guests. The VABT community is grateful for the active participation of the confreres and seminarians. This event prepared them for a solemn celebration of the feast of St. Louis Guanella this year.
Kumbakonam – Guanella Nagar Parish joyfully celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary at Jebamalaipuram. This substation has more than 30 Catholic families and is the only church dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary in the Kumbakonam Diocese. The feast began on October 5th with a flag hoisting by Rev. Fr. K. Arockia Samy, Chancellor & Minister. Then he celebrated Holy Mass during which he gave an inspiring homily on Mother Mary and the importance of reciting the Rosary. The celebration continued on October 6th when Fr. Rex Alex Silvester, Vice Rector of Sacred Heart Minor Seminary, Kumbakonam, blessed the car and the faithful prayed the Rosary while processing through the streets of Jebamalaipuram. He also celebrated Mass and preached the homily. On October 7th Fr. Ansel Antony CMF, Superior of Claret Illam, Kumbakonam, celebrated the feast day Mass and addressed current problems of the world in his homily. He also gave two solutions; first it is possible by the Word of God and second by the recitation of the Holy Rosary. Many faithful attended the Holy Mass and the flag was lowered which brought the celebration to an end.
Legazpi – “The Human Heart is made to Love and Share with Others” was the theme of the annual ‘Dinner for a Cause’ held on October 7th at Harong Kan Sagrada Familia. The event was to benefit our mission of caring for those who are in need, a voice for the voiceless in society. It woke up the hearts that are sleeping in the busy-ness of society. By doing the work of special education for special children, the Servants of Charity strive to give them what they deserve to have in life. Through simple teaching, they are guided to do the simplest things which are necessary for them to support themselves in daily life. As Cardinal Francis Savier Nguyễn Văn Thuận wrote in his book The Way of Hope, “The hopeful way starts by every single dot of hope. The hopeful life starts from every hopeful minute.” The program was successful by the many small presentations by the special kids, the people from the feeding program, youth choir, parents, residents with physical disabilities and staff … We put our hope in what we are doing in order to serve them as best as we can. Many thanks to our benefactors.
Vatluru – On October 4th the community bid farewell to Fr. Peter Sebastian, former superior, who served the community for the past four years. To express gratitude and commemorate his good works the confreres, sisters, boys and seminarians gathered at Guanella Bhavan. There was a cultural program organized to felicitate him. The dances and songs expressed deep sentiments of sorrow for missing him and at the same time wishing him well for a greater mission. Fr. Sunil Francis shared his experience with him and thanked him for being a model priest to all. Fr. Peter Sebastian was very emotional and he expressed his heartfelt thanks to all for being supportive. “Though I fly to a far off nation, still my heart remains here. I will miss you all,” he said. The evening came to an end with a sumptuous meal.
When my father died, I cried, I suffered and I missed him. But soon I moved on, came back to the States and my usual work. But when my mother died I had a different reaction. My mother, lying in a darkened room, was close to death. But as she reached for my hand and looked at me intently, she was fully aware that her youngest son, the one who left her many years ago, was at her side. She was ready to begin her journey home to God. The woman who had given me birth, nurtured me, taught me how to pray and read, was gone. I was fifty-five years old, but I felt orphaned. We may live to old age but we will always be a child in relation to our parents. Seldom, as adults, are we ready for a parent’s death. We may be busy building our careers, raising our families, traveling or seeking to settle down. Whatever the circumstances, it is virtually impossible to prepare ourselves emotionally for the loss.
Ironically, our society shows very little understanding about the unique pain of losing a mother or a father. However, in my heart I felt that I have every reason to grieve. My mother’s death left me with a sense of abandonment and even panic that caught me by surprise.
Well meaning friends and others tried to console me by saying, “Your mother lived a long, full life, she was suffering so much; surely it’s a blessing.” But those phrases ring hollow: my dear mother lies in the casket.
I felt that I had every reason to grieve but I felt the need to move on and get out of the vacuum in which I was caught. Finally, I started to cry and talk with other relatives and friends. I visited the cemetery every day and imagined my mother talking to my father and other relatives. She was in a great place and in good, heavenly company. Calling aloud many times the word “Mom” was remarkably consoling and healing.
But despite our tears and sense of loneliness, we need to move to center stage to leave our mark in the world. But we do not move forward alone. We bring along with us a rich store of treasures from our childhood on; hard lessons learned and principles, fond and painful memories, family celebrations and traditions. We bring who we are, thanks to the love, nurturing and guidance we received in our formative years from the parents whose presence we now miss.
I was never able to assure my mother that I would accompany her on the final leg of her journey home. But as I continue the second half of my life’s journey, I can feel the power of her presence. She is my Mother!