Legazpi – Harong Kan Sagrada Familia held a seminar on health awareness July 23rd. The seminar was given by the group from Alliance Global Company. The participants were confreres, novices, seminarians and Guanellian youth. The speaker gave a PowerPoint presentation titled “Heath Information Drive and Cancer Prevention Seminar.” She presented signs and symptoms of cancer and the factors that trigger its onset. According to the speaker, STRESS is one of the main factors that weaken the immune system thus the body becomes vulnerable to many diseases including cancer. She said cancer has no status and no age limits, whether rich or poor all might become victim of it. People develop different kinds of cancer in their life span due to various reasons. After having the presentation, the group proposed certain preventive systems to the audience which might bring about sound health care. After the session many questions were raised by the participants to elaborate the topic.
Bangalore – The word Ashram is an Indian word which originally means ‘religious hermitage’ or in a modern sense ‘spiritual retreat center.’ Ashram is a place of spiritual retreat; usually there are permanent residents and they welcome visitors for an experience. To experience the Ashram way of life as part of their novitiate program, for 10 days four of our novices stayed at Anjali Ashram in Mysore, run by a holy Catholic priest, Fr. Louis. He helped them to realize the intervention of God in their personal life. Through his teachings he also helped them to attain spiritual power. He enkindled the hearts and minds of the novices to heighten their self-realization, to lead a simple way of life and to respect and inherit the spiritual values of other religions. At Anjali Ashram they learned the importance of solitude, virgin silence, beauty of Nature, simple vegetarian food, an austere lifestyle and long hours of personal prayer to enhance one’s religious life.
Saigon – The purpose of this visit was to solidify plans for the land and future construction. Their visit was truly providential, they arrived on the Feast of Our Lady of Divine Providence, the day after our new land was registered, a nearly 7 month process. Fr. Rathinam and Fr. Joseph met the engineer and they were satisfied with the proposals. Mass was celebrated by Fr. Rathinam for the feast day. During his homily he shared the providential care of Mother Mary in our lives and in the life of our Founder.
It was a blessing to have Fr. Joseph, who was recently recognized for his lifetime achievements, present. Fr. Felicks presented as a role model of commitment and the missionary spirit to our students. He was given a small gift, wished well and asked for his continuous service. Fr. Rathinam and Fr. Joseph met Sr. Soi and Sr. Sang, the sellers of the recently registered land, and a fraternal dinner was shared. Upon their departure the confreres invited us to pray more and increase our trust in the providence of God for our project.
Mysore – ‘Preethiya Sevakaru’, the house for vocation discernment, was excited to host Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior. He brought joy to the brothers with his inspiring words during Mass and the conference. The first academy for this year was presented on the topic, ‘Stress – Make it Easy’. Fr. Provincial was invited as the special guest. Three brothers shared their reflections based on the topic, and some brothers entertained the participants with song and dance. Fr. Soosai ended the academy with his presidential address.
Quezon City – As of June 30, 2013, nine new seminarians have been accepted at the Servants of Charity House of Formation: two novices, one postulant, and six aspirants.
On May 24th, Adornaldo Jacob and Alfie Matulac advanced to the Novitiate after a year of formation as postulants in the House of the Holy Family in Bicol. Fr. Charlton Viray celebrated the mass on acceptance day, beginning his homily by challenging novices with a question, “Are you ready to die?” Novitiate, as Alfie remembers, is “dying within yourself,” a “time of gradually detaching from the world.” Matulac points out that “Becoming Christ is the main point of the novitiate.” Many religious sisters also attended mass and the supper that followed.
A week later, five new aspirants – Filbert Maxino, Elijah De Gula, E.Z. Boquiron, Lester Nebra, Butch Mendones and a postulant, Erwin Azurin, were welcomed. Azurin did his aspirancy in Legazpi City and the others completed their Immersion Program in May. Fr. Charlton, main celebrant of the Mass, stressed three things to the seminarians: live dedicated to God through prayer, live a life of compassion, and embrace community life; he challenged them to live a life of love, always seeking the good of others. Fr. Charlton ended his homily with the story of Tomas, a resident of the Guanella Home, who brought home two cans of soda from a party as “pasalubong” for a Guanella Home resident volunteer that didn’t go. Fr. Vincent Selveraj and Fr. David Anburaj were also present to concelebrate the mass. Dinner and a short program followed mass.
Atanacio Manalastas, who was unable to attend on Acceptance Day, also entered as an aspirant in June. There is now a total of 15 seminarians in Quezon City.
Saigon – The 2013–2014 Academic year started with the inauguration mass on June 21st, the feast day of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. Fr. My, SdB, spiritual director of the Servants of Charity, celebrated the Mass and prayed for the new students. Fr. My also welcomed the new students by giving each of them a new cross to wear. There was a ceremony of initiation to help them understand the seriousness of their vocation discernment. The four new students are Dao, Dau, Trung and Dung. The whole Guanellian family welcomes them and assists them with our prayers.
Saigon – From the academic year 2012–2013, one student has discerned that he will continue his journey in the Guanellian religious life. Hoang left his job and lived with the Servants of Charity for one year for his initial Guanellian experience. Hoang is a brilliant student. He studied one year of English and was introduced to many works of mercy during formation. He likes the Guanellian way of life and wants to continue his formation. He had a one week retreat with Fr. Felicks and prepared himself spiritually. He left for Manila on June 10th to further his Guanellian formation. Please pray for him that he may experience God and the charism of St. Guanella in a very deep way in the Philippines.
Saigon – There are 20 foreign congregations living in Ho Chi Minh City. Every third Sunday they gather to discuss formation programs and experiences in Vietnam. They also decided to create an opportunity for the students to get together. Last year they began an annual sports fest, in which all the students are gathered and divided into 4 or 5 groups. The groups compete and at the end of the day the winners are rewarded. This year the event was held on April 30th with the theme ‘Creating a Lively Faith through Sports’. It was not only a chance to play together but also an opportunity to expose them to various sports and grow in team spirit; which is beneficial to community life.
Cuddalore – “Vocations are a sign of hope founded in faith,” said Pope Francis. In India, intensive vocation drives started in the heat of summer around Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Karnataka. The Guanellian confreres and some lay friends went to familiar places and proclaimed the goodness of our congregation; sowing the seeds of vocations. On April 14th, 23 boys from the various dioceses arrived at St. Joseph’s Seminary for the 4 day Summer Vocation Camp, organized for boys who finished their 10th and 12th grade studies.
Different sessions were presented: ‘Discernment on Religious Vocation,’ ‘The call of different Prophets in Scripture’ and ‘Synthesis on life and Spirit of St. Louis Guanella.’ There was time for gathering, cultural night and competitions on different subjects. On the final day, Fr. Provincial encouraged the boys to follow the charism of the Congregation and interviewed the students regarding their intentions.
Fr. Rajesh and his team travelled to Sivagangai for another Summer Vocation Camp looking for candidates from southern Tamil Nadu. There were only a few good hearts wanting to say yes to the Lord’s call. A pilgrimage to Oriyur, to the Shrine of St. John De Britto, and Idaikattur, to the shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, helped to verify intentions.
Elsa Montegrico, a Guanellian Cooperator, was the organizer: she coordinated with Saint Martin’s Foundation—a charitable group formed by a joint effort between the Dominican Sisters and a number of lay medical professionals such as doctors, dentists, and nurses.
There were three doctors assigned to examine and treat the nearly 100 elderly patients; three doctors to examine and treat the 170 children; and two dentists to offer tooth extraction to more than 75 patients (including 16 special boys and men from Guanella Home.) Besides the free medical and dental services offered during the mission, Saint Martin’s Foundation also provided free prescription medication to those who needed them.
Guanellian seminarians, novices, and religious brothers were on hand to assist in any way that they could such as setting up, directing patients, giving water to the thirsty, and providing sanitizing agents for the medical instruments. The day ended with a delicious lunch prepared by the kitchen staff.