Yesuvanam – A five-day seminar ‘Psycho – Sexual Development and Personality Building’ was presented to motivate and shape Postulants in their religious life. The course, led by Fr. Samson, SdC, ran September 17-24th. Topics included understanding women; healthy relationships between the genders and the importance of sexuality in human nature. The Postulants were guided to personally delve into the natural beauty of their character, and the behavior they own by nature. It was really an eye opener to help them freely develop healthy relationships equally with all.
In February 1896, Don Guanella wrote an article for the magazine “La Divina Provvidenza”, entitled “The Catholic Vision”. I quote some of his lines:
“In the past, the world was coming toward us; now it turns its back on us. In the past it was enough for us to stay inside our Churches and offices; now we must move outward, getting out of our sacristies if we don’t want to run the risk of finding ourselves guilty of being locked in dishonorable isolation. To us indeed now these words of the Gospel are addressed: “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the towns and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” (Luke 14:21).
Some may object: “We have our pulpits, our confessionals; let people come to us where we live and where we carry out our assignments”.
If they don’t come, if the voice of the bell instead of attracting them seems to chase them away, should we remain indifferent in front of such deplorable desertion, simply shaking the dust from our feet and throwing them the harsh words of Jeremiah: “Those who want to get lost, Let them get lost”.
Did it perhaps happen that the world moved first towards Jesus or is it true the other way around? Were Rome and Athens asking the apostles Peter and Paul for the Gospel? Let us imagine that in our place there are Saint Francis de Sales or St. Francis Xavier; after spending an hour of adoration, after practicing severe self-discipline and celebrating the holy mass with angelic devotion, how would they spend the rest of their day? Would they remain comfortably seated, observing the dangerous storms that afflict humankind, noticing only from which direction the wind blows, simply being content at counting how many boats are sinking, without providing any rescue to those in danger, without throwing the ropes to them and extending their helping hands?
Someone may say; “How could a few isolated individuals, cope with such a huge task? How? Bring together your human resources, join forces and orient them all toward the common goal.
We promote collaboration to develop sciences, to manage business, to dig channels, to populate newly discovered areas. Shouldn’t we join efforts likewise to populate heaven, to bring God to human hearts which are made to love and bless Him eternally? May the Lord help us!”
In these lines written more than a century ago, Don Guanella shared something of the passion for the Church’s evangelizing mission that burned within his heart and that urged him into action without hesitation or fear, neither counting the cost, nor being intimidated by the risks. What our founder felt, experienced and boldly proposed sounds so much in tune with the call of the Spirit to the Church of our time, an appeal that has been continually re-echoed and broadcasted by the pastoral ministry of Pope Benedict XVI.
The wind of the New Evangelization that has blown throughout the duration of our 19th General Chapter, is now urging us to welcome the inspirations felt and the decisions made during that assembly allowing ourselves to be continually set on fire for the beautiful mission entrusted to us, Servants of God’s Love among his poor.
Let us simply cherish in our hearts and translate into attitudes and pastoral decisions the prophetic reminders of our Saint.
- Ours is a time of difficulties and challenges, as well as of graces and unique opportunities.
- It’s time again for us to be evangelized and converted anew to the Lord, fascinated by the everlasting beauty of the Gospel. It’s a time to overcome fears, to put aside timidity and mere human calculations, to fight laziness, to reject temptations of mediocrity and selfishness.
- It’s a time to go out not only of our sacristies and offices, but most of all, our “comfort zone,” individualistic habits, and self-centeredness.
- It’s a time to take new fresh, bolder steps to be more visible and present to the poor and the marginalized with the heart, mind and hands of Jesus, to become their closest friends, companions, joyful and humble servants.
- It’s a time to deepen our love for the Church, our mother, our home and our family. Time to insert more and more clearly our life and ministry in the living body of the Local Church which we are called to beautify and enrich with our specific vocation and charism.
- It’s time to feel the urgency to reach out and touch the lives of many brethren who are not yet in the sheepfold, who got lost, who have never been home with the God whom we call our Father.
- It’s time to evangelize together, making our fraternal communion the first and most credible sign of our mission.
- It’s time to let our consecrated lifestyle speak louder than our words.
- It’s time to help and challenge one another to throw away what is futile, worldly, un-Christian and focus instead on the essential of our public commitment.
- And the essential is; “In Omnibus Charitas”; “To make Charity the heart of the world!”
Orissa is a state in North India known for atrocities against Christians. The seed of Catholicism in Orissa can be traced back to the 17th Century, when it was under the care of the Madras – Mylapore Diocese. By 1845, the region transferred to the Vishakapattinam Diocese. In time, the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, MSFS, evangelized the hilly regions including the diocese of Berhampur. In 1992, Spanish Vincentian fathers took over the mission.
On July 6th, Frs. Charles and Rajesh went to the Diocese of Berhampur and were cordially welcomed by Most Rev. Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak. He directed them to Mohana, a very large, traditional parish. The congregation gave them a warm welcome and expressed enthusiasm for the ‘New Evangelization.’ The following day featured the diaconate Ordination of three brothers from that parish. Frs. Charles and Rajesh were able to meet many priests of the diocese who offered them assistance. Thus began visits to families of the boys recommended by their parish priests. With permission from their families and approval from their priests, three boys returned to Cuddalore with Frs. Charles and Rajesh to discern a call to the Servants of Charity. Divine Providence was truly their guide.
Legazpi – On June 15th, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, two seminarians Adornaldo O. Jacob and Alfie S. Madulac were formally accepted into the Postulancy program. In a Eucharistic celebration held at the community chapel, presided over by Fr. Battista Omodei, Sdc, the local community superior and director of Postulants, the seminarians were officially initiated to the rite of Postulancy. The Eucharistic celebration also marked the renewal of vows of the confreres and the commitment of three aspirants.
Sivagangai – A solemn Eucharistic celebration welcoming seven brothers (three from Andhra Pradesh and four from Tamilnadu) into postulancy took place on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 15th in the Yesuvanam community. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Vice Provincial, Fr. Paul Arockiaraj, Rector of the Minor Seminary in Cuddalore, and Fr. Thomas, the Spiritual Director, were the celebrants. During the Homily Fr. Soosai addressed the Postulants insisting that they learn to be meek and humble like Jesus and encouraging them to grow in spiritual, charismatic and human qualities. After the homily, Fr. Soosai presented each postulant with a Holy Cross as a sign of official entrance into postulancy. The celebration ended with a fellowship meal.
– After extensive preparation two students, Thien and Khiet, from Vietnam were chosen and sent to the Philippines for a deeper Guanellian experience. In the Philippines they will complete their Postulancy and Novitiate formation. The Guanellian family is asked to support them with prayers for a thourough discernment to Guanellian Religious life.
Manila – On May 26th, Seminarians Dennis Barquilla and Gilbert Bea were accepted to the Novitiate by Fr. Battista Omodei, SdC, the Provincial Councilor of the Divine Providence Province in a solemn mass concelebrated by the Guanellian priests. The Novitiate is the third stage of formation during which the candidates of a religious institute undergo training and preparation to help discern their call to religious life before they take vows. Fr. Charlton Viray, SdC will be their Novice Master and spiritual guide; giving them direction and helping them to deepen their relationship with the Lord. The Guanellian Sisters, GLM, Benefactors, family, friends and the ‘Good Children’ participated in the celebration. Let us pray for these novices that they come to know Christ more deeply as they journey through this phase of formation. Congratulations!
Bangalore – St. Guanella celebrated his first mass in Prosto on May 31, 1866. Here in India on the Anniversary of St. Guanella’s first mass, nine novices made their first religious profession in the presence of Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Vice Provincial of the Divine Providence Province. Many religious sisters were present as well as the families, relatives and friends of the professed. It is God who makes the Province flourish with the young, willing confreres to add flavor. The nine brothers pronounced their vows and are ready to imitate Jesus and to proclaim the Gospel with their very lives. Let us wish them well and accompany them with our prayers.
The month of May has been marked by abundant graces. The Divine Providence Province has again witnessed the renewal of vows of more than fifty young confreres in India and in Rome‘s International Seminary. New novices were welcomed in Manila and Bangalore on May 26th and 30th. In Springfield, Bro. Bob completed his philosophy studies and is preparing for his regency assignment in the Philippines. Thirteen brothers from India will be scattered for the same mission exposure. New aspirants have been screened and are preparing to start their initial formation in India and Philippines. For the first time two young men from Vietnam will start their Guanellian religious training in Manila. For all these blessings that bring new hope and energy into our young province, we thank Divine Providence and we assure our young confreres and seminarians of our fraternal accompaniment.