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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How is Fr. Guanella connected with the missions? He never went to any mission country as a missionary does. Since his years in the Como Seminary, he had a soft spot, a strong desire to join PIME, and go to India or China. He even asked his Bishop to have the opportunity to fulfill his dream, but he was denied. “Your India will be here at home”, his Bishop replied. His strong missionary desire was passed on to his Religious, “The whole world is your homeland”. The first mission territory he served was Switzerland, filled with many Protestants, which was just outside of his own native place. There, he sent his priests to take care of the Italian immigrants plus the few native Catholics. A small step, but a step that became a big one when, later on, his Religious crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to bring Catholic and non-Catholic alike, the message of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and Good Samaritan, to His creatures in need of faith, hope and love.
Recently his Religious even touched the ‘Solomon Islands’ in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia are now the homeland of a great number of Servants of Charity and Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. They are the fulfillment of Fr. Guanella’s dream, bringing “Bread and the Lord, to those who need them, material bread and spiritual bread.
Was Fr. Guanella a missionary? A resounding “YES” is his presence in 24 nations through his spiritual children, religious and laity. He wrote, “We are Servants of Charity, because the Charity of Jesus Christ has called us. Let us practice with fervor the works of mercy, and we will obtain the mercy of the Lord! The poor are our favored ones. They are our masters. We must work and suffer for them. Is it not what Jesus, the Divine Missionary, has done for us by His mission of Salvation?
As we celebrate 102 years since the heavenly birth of our Holy Founder, let us resolve to re-incarnate his presence, vision and mission contextually. Thus we become a border-crossing person: across cultures, religions, genders, race!
Vatluru – It is an amazing gift of God. A well wisher donated 300 Bibles for the people of Sacred Heart Church. They were distributed in more than 8 villages. The people are very happy to hold the whole Bible in their hands during Mass as well as read them at home. Special thanks to the donor and the Guanellians. This is the work of Evangelization.
Chennai – On July 19th the ‘See and Learn’ program was scheduled. About 35 special children and the staff journeyed to Besant Nagar, Our Lady of Good Health Church, St. Antony Church, Palavakkam and Athistalakshimi Temple at Chennai. The purpose of this program is to give faith formation to children. Fr. S.A. Lourduraj led the journey by explaining the purpose of this visit and they also made time for the children to enjoy relaxation of the mind. The program ended with the blessings and good experience of the children. Don Guanella Special School was happy to welcome Fr. Soosai as he made his canonical visit. After the visit Fr. Samson, community superior, and all the staff gathered for the reading of the school project and the fraternal sharing of the mission. The Provincial gave a motivational address on how a Guanellian educator should differentiate from a secular way of educating the good children. At the culmination of the meeting, the school staff presented the new proposals for the development of the school. With the celebration of Mass the canonical visit successfully came to an end and all shared a fellowship meal.
Eluru – As the scholastic year was about to begin, we received 1000 notebooks from our donors to give to the poor students. The children were happy to receive them just in time to use them and study well. Please pray for these students and for a better future. Here in Eluru very few students study after they reach high school.
Kumbakonam – Guanella Nagar Parish celebrated the feast of St. Anne in the substation Santhanalpuram with great joy. The feast began on July 18th with a flag hoisting and solemn Mass celebrated by Fr. A. Antoine, parish priest of Mathur. The homily was preached by Deacon Martin, SJ, in which he said that the parents of our Mother Mary were simple people of great hope. Each day of the novena, the Rosary was prayed, Sacrament of Reconciliation was offered and then the Holy Mass was celebrated by different priests from the Diocese of Kumbakonam. Day seven was a special devotion to St. Paul the Hermit. Fr. S. Felix Samuel, Trust Director of Kumbakonam, gave a reflection on reconciliation, peace and unity that God alone can give. After Holy Mass there was a music program and a fellowship meal was provided for more than two thousand people. Devotees came from many different places.
The culmination of the celebration was on July 25th. Msgr. A. Amirthasamy, Vicar General of Kumbakonam, presided over the High Mass and blessed the car procession which followed. The statue of St. Anne was taken around the streets of all the substations. On the following day, Fr. Philip Santiagu, Procurator of Kumbakonam, celebrated the feast day Mass and in his reflection said, “We thank our grandparents for their prayer and good example.” The flag was lowered officially ending the celebration.