Chennai – Suppose Christmas was celebrated with the Don Guanella Evening School students December 22nd. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior was the guest of honor. He delivered the message that sharing gives true joy and everlasting happiness like Santa Claus (St. Nicholas). Every student was given a blanket for a Christmas gift. The celebration was grand and enjoyable with colorful dances and drama performances by the students. The celebration concluded with the exchange of gifts with ‘chrisma christi friends.’
Legazpi – The jubilation continued for several days when the Annual STEP Christmas Party was celebrated with the families of our students. The traditional “Nativity-Tableau” performed by the “good children” solemnly opened the program of the day. At the same time, the Physical Therapy department celebrated their Christmas Party with patients who had been coming for treatment. Soon the merrymaking began with Christmas songs, dances and games to give life to everyone. There was never a dull moment, although there was stormy weather outside. The simple joys of gift giving filled everyone’s hearts with gratitude for the coming of the Lord Jesus who is the source of all joys and hopes.
Thalavadi – A group of students from St. John De Britto School, Sathy, brought the Christmas message to our residence on a recent visit. Around 80 students of 6th-10th standard prepared a cultural program to bring the Christmas message alive for our residents. They enjoyed the dancing and singing, helping them to forget the worries, anxiety and trauma of their daily lives. It was also a good chance for the young students to learn the life situation of the patients and gain knowledge of their lives. This visit made an impact on them and inspired St. Joseph’s Matriculation School, Sathy, to also come for a visit, providing much needed rations and basic necessities for the residents. They are now able to give witness to the ministry.
Solomon Islands – The feast day of St. Stephen, the first martyr and patron of Sulumoni Christian Community on Kolombangara Island, was celebrated on December 26th. The simple chapel was decorated and the liturgy was well prepared by the community members. The Guanellian Fathers from Noro Parish traveled 45 minutes by the Parish boat on the open sea and celebrated the feast day Mass for about 55 people, 7 families from Sulumoni and 5 families from Nugusu Village participated and received the feast day and Christmas special blessings.
Bangalore – Guanella Preethi Nivas celebrated suppose Christmas, Family Day and the birthday of our Founder on December 19th. GPN was opened to all the GC, GLM, Youth, Sisters, beneficiaries, staff, and all well wishers for the occasion. It was an event to rekindle the spirit of St. Guanella and evangelize the Charism in his footsteps. The event began with Solemn Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Jegan. Following this spiritual nourishment, physical nourishment was provided in the form of cultural programs and a delicious meal. Gifts were given to the staff, GC, GLM and youth as tokens of the love of St. Guanella.
Solomon Islands – The word carol actually means dance or song of praise and joy. The idea of Christians caroling brings to mind jolly bands of Church-goers, dressed in shawls and hats, going door-to-door, also known as wassailing, an old Norse term to spread the spirit of Christmas.
In this spirit-filled tradition, the carolers of St. Eusebius Parish, consisting of youth, catechists, children and two Guanellian Fathers, visited 197 families of Noro, Canaan, Rawaki, Malluke and Munda Islands from December 10th-17th. All the families were overwhelmed with joy to receive the Christmas blessing and Father Christmas (Santa Claus) who accompanied the carolers merry making with his Jingle bell dance. The presence and fortification of God was felt through the fine weather and gave Him thanks for the warm welcome by other denominations like Anglican and United Church families to sing and bless their houses too.
Legazpi – The holidays were here again which made our children and youth with special needs rejoice when they rendered a musical skit, sang carols and played their musical instruments during the program during our observance of National Catholic Disability Day December 3rd held at Harong Kan Sagrada Familia. They not only enjoyed mingling with other persons with disabilities from different Special Education Centers in Legazpi City, but they were also grateful for the goodies given as gifts from generous benefactors. It was worth the effort of the many days of practices in order to come up with a meaningful and enjoyable stage presentation. Indeed it was applauded and appreciated.
Ho Chi Minh City – Fr. Felicks teaches Basic English to the initiation students in our house, to the students at the Franciscan Missionary sisters(FMM) and to some students of Benhai Church. An English Academy program was organized to hone and show off English speaking skills and singing English songs. Altogether 25 students participated in the English Academy. The judges were Br. Hoang, SdC; Sr. Vy, FMM and Mrs. Judith who is originally from the Philippines. Our Initiation students benefited from the program because it was the first one organized in our community to display their speaking and singing talents. The students who performed well received gifts. The event ended with a small agape meal and time of sharing.
Legazpi – Fr. David Stawasz was a brother in the Legazpi community nine years ago. He paid a visit to share his own vocation story with the novices. God’s love calls many to step out of their own way to follow His way, the way which He has prepared. We don’t know what will happen in this life, but we do know that we must trust in His call and do our best to follow it. This call can only be found through prayer. Moreover, through prayer we trust in God little by little and believe that God will help us to realize His call and to keep forming us according to His will. Sometimes, we might not know where God is. These are the times we need to pray harder and to keep ourselves from getting lost in this life. To stay on the right track keep in mind Who you belong to. Time has passed since Fr. David was here, but he did not forget how much he loves HKSF and its people. The heart of love is tireless and full of gratitude and faithfulness for the people of God.
Cuddalore – On November 24th the Silver Jubilee of the Guanellian presence in India and Priestly Golden jubilee of Fr. Joe started with decorations, rangoli, songs, and programs at St. Joseph’s Seminary. After the conclusion of the Provincial Chapter the celebration began with Holy Mass presided over by Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, as thanksgiving to God for all that we received in these years of mission, years of grace and fraternal love among us and with all the people he has met. After Mass everyone gathered in the auditorium where Fr. Joe cut and served the anniversary cake. A cultural program dedicated to the Golden Jubilarian was performed and Fr. Soosai Rathinam recounted the history of St. Joseph’s Seminary and the pioneers to India. The celebration ended with the thanksgiving note of Fr. Visuwasam, Superior of the Cuddalore community.