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.
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.
Cuddalore – As the great Tamil poet Bharathi says, “Young chaps must be given space to play in childhood,” boys of Don Guanella Boys Home conducted a sports meet on November 27th. Every boy contributed his utmost support to his team. The real spirit of the boys was apparent during the sports meet; the unadulterated joy on the faces of the students when they won the events was noticeable. All the fathers and chief guests encouraged the students to bring out their various talents. Sr. Josephine, DSMP; Fr. Mathias and GLM member Mr. Bosco were the judges for all the events. The sports meet came to an end by announcing the winners.
Chennai – “Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called spirit.”
A sports meet was conducted on November 17th by the Rotary Club at Leo Muthu Indoor Stadium. Our children participated in it with enthusiastic and energetic hearts competing in each sport to win the prizes. But the main purpose of taking the children is to show solidarity with the differently-abled children. It is a kind of motivation for the students to achieve a higher goal. Some of the students were qualified for the semifinals and some of them reached the final but it was very competitive for our children. The children participated all day with lively spirits and won prizes with help from their teachers.
Chennai – It is mid-November again and time for a very special occasion, November 14th is Children’s Day. The day is celebrated across the nation to commemorate the birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. On this day, Don Guanella Special School celebrated with delight by giving a meticulous program by staff. The event began with a prayer song and continued with wonderful dances by staff. All of the performances gave life to the children, who admired the teachers dance and their joy was doubled. Children had a very good time and returned home with great happiness.
Chennai – While we program a busy schedule each month, the month of November does not exempt us from visiting the cemetery to pay homage and express our love towards our beloved ones who have gone before us to heaven from our family. We also need to know that there are plenary indulgences given by the Church in visiting the graveyard on particular days to pray for the departed souls. On November 2nd, All Souls’ Day, all the brothers of the DGMS Community went to attend Holy Mass held at the local parish cemetery, it was a great chance to visit and to pray for the departed souls of their families. Also at the request of a nearby parish, the brothers went for a day to bless and pray for the dead. It was all a blissful moment to gather as one family and pray for our loved ones in heaven.
Bangalore – Don Guanella Oratory children went on an educational tour on October 28th. These slum children were so excited to go on a tour; they boarded the bus smiling. The first stop was “HAL Aerospace museum”. The guide explained to the children about the growth and achievements of the institute, “Hindustan Aeronautic Limited” which began in 1940. She passionately shared how it has supplied the nation with many defense planes, helicopters and machinery. The children learned about the evolution of flight and they received knowledge and pride. The audio visual about how each flight served the nation in various ages and sectors was inspirational and exciting. The next stop was to see for themselves the different types of flights and helicopters. Next they visited “Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium”. The children were thrilled and excited by the galaxies of stars in 3D vision. They learned many things about the galaxy and planet earth. After lunch they were taken to the Aquarium, where varieties of fish were kept for admiration and knowledge. The last stop was for free rides for the children at Cubbon Park. Being fully exhausted from the games, rides and the tour which ended at dusk, they returned cherishing evening snacks while dancing playfully on the bus. We give thanks to God the Almighty for this wonderful outing.