Let us Thank, Appreciate and Celebrate

“I did not change the whole world but I changed the world for a few.”

In 1997, St. John Paul II established the special Day of Consecrated Life to coincide with the Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem (February 2nd). The Pope gave three reasons for his selection of February 2nd as a special day for religious women and men: first, to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of consecrated life; second, to promote the knowledge and appreciation of consecrated women and men by all People of God; and third, to invite all those who have dedicated their life to the cause of the Gospel to celebrate the wonderful ways the Lord has worked through them.
Along with mother Church we thank the Lord as the Divine Providence Province for all the graces we received throughout these years, especially the gift of vocations, hundreds of young men saying “Yes” to follow and serve the Lord in and through the Guanellian Charism and Spirit.
Secondly the Presentation of the Lord invites all of us to appreciate and to assert who we are. What is our identity? In other words we must speak boldly about the goodness of religious life. At times along with the tides of competitive society, people may make a comparison of our religious life with other walks of life and we may fall prey to their calculations saying what is so special in this life? But we all know deep down that this life is the prototype of the heavenly table, the continuation of the early Christian community, the antidote to the divisive world, the real globalization, we go where the Lord sends us and still we own people as our children and others own us as their fathers and mothers. We left one family but we are part of many families around the world.
Thirdly it is a moment of celebration and sharing with others what the Lord has done in and through me. I did not change the whole world, but I changed the world of at least a few people, I was the eye for the blind, I was the hand and leg for the crippled, I was the mind for the intellectually disabled.
At this juncture we thank the Lord in a special way for the special grace that has been given to our confrere. Bro. Praveen, who met with a road accident, has been freed of all charges. We appreciate all those who involved themselves in this process and accompanied our confrere.
Let us celebrate the sacerdotal ordination of eight confreres on February 11th and their first Eucharistic celebrations in the following days. We thank and appreciate all the formators and in a special way the formation team of DGMS for their accompaniment and stewardship in the final phase of their preparation.
Let us welcome and celebrate the presence of the DSMP superiors who are on their Canonical Visit. Let us keep them in our prayers and sustain them.
Fr. Ronald J, SdC
Provincial Superior

Father Guanella a Sword of Fire!!!

Dear confreres, brothers, novices,  GLM, benefactors and friends,
Peace and Joy of the Holy Spirit! I am gladdened with joy and peace as we are celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the ordination of our holy founder St. Louis Guanella.
Who is a priest?
Priest is an “alter Christus” another Christ. A priest is a sacred person set apart from the world, consecrated to God and entrusted with sacred duties. He carries a pledge of divine authority to teach, govern and administer the sacraments. He is wholly immersed in the divine love of God.
God takes great pleasure in dwelling perpetually in the heart of a priest. Every priest is the expression of God’s love for humanity. He adorns his soul with pure love and self-sacrifice.
When Pope Pius XI wrote a deeply moving encyclical on the Catholic priesthood, he addressed the priests of the world telling them that they were the ministers of Christ, instruments in the hands of the Redeemer, continuing the work of Redemption in all its world-embracing universality and divine efficacy; the work that brought so marvelous a transformation in the world.
In one of her dialogues, Saint Catherine of Siena was told by Christ what He thinks of priests. “They are My anointed ones,” the Savior said, “and I call them My Christs, because I have given them the office of administering Me to you. The angels have no such dignity. I have given it to those men whom I have appointed as earthly angels in this life.”
Father Guanella
Father Louis Guanella made the resolution in front of God for his ordination, “I resolve to be a fiery sword in my holy ministry. I want to be salt of the earth.” The love of Christ moved Father Guanella; making him restless, sleepless, a worm circled by the divine fire. This love and union with God showed him the broken face of Christ in the suffering and abandoned around him which changed his entire life dedicated to save and serve those souls. His soul was constantly charged and focused in sanctifying his entire action and thought.
Though the first part of his priestly ministry was challenging with constant criticism, poverty, doubt; tension of the future and his love and trust in Divine providence was increasing and encouraging.
His deep trust in God, his life of holiness and heart on fire for the suffering impressed the people who contradicted his vision and brought them back to faith and charity.
This is the invitation to follow our holy founder to give testimony to Christ by our life of true commitment and union with Christ as we celebrate his 150th ordination anniversary. Let us renew our consecration with the spirit of our Father who showed us the way to holiness and heaven. He was resolute in doing everything in his power to help those in need, and to bring back to God all those who were away from the faith. Without wasting time, he also discovered vocations to consecrated life and the priesthood.  Let us have the passion to pray and promote vocations. We wish all the brothers who renew their profession, the novices who are ready to embrace the Guanellian way of consecration and those who enter into the Postulancy to clarify their vocational motivations.

First Mass Celebrated

cuddalore - new priests 1Cuddalore  – Early in the morning on August 28th the entire community including priests, brothers, sisters, Lay Movement members, children of the Boys Home and Girls Hostel gathered in the St. Joseph Seminary chapel for Holy Mass celebrated by the newly Ordained Priests. After Mass the GLM members bestowed gifts upon the newly ordained priests. In the refectory, the priests celebrated by cutting and serving cake.

Anniversary Celebrated

Sivagangai -anniversary 2Sivagangai  – The entire Yesuvanam community celebrated the Ordination Anniversary of Fr. Paul Raj and Fr. Franklin on August 6th beginning with solemn mass which they presided over at Anbagam. After Mass cake was cut and distributed to all the children. A short program followed by the seminarians and good children to honor the priests. In this program Fr. Superior welcomed everyone and congratulated the celebrants for their service to the Yesuvanam community. The event ended with lunch in the afternoon.

I was a Pastor of Sheep and Now I am the Pastor of a People

by Fr. Joseph Rinaldo

P1010521May 26, 2015 is the149th anniversary of St. Louis Guanella’s ordination. For the Guanellian family, the anniversary of Fr. Louis Guanella’s ordination to the priesthood is celebrated with special intimacy. Often, to experience the same emotions as the Founder, important events of the Congregation are celebrated on this day: professions, ordinations and renewal of religious vows. We all know of the fervor and also of the responsibility that the Founder felt on this solemn day. In a letter to Fr. Adamini, the homilist at his First Mass, Fr. Guanella wrote: “When in the years to come, I think back to that most holy and glorious day, the most beautiful day of my life, I must forget every anxiety in order to leap with joy and gratitude. However, it prepares me to enter this ministry which is a tremendous and frightening responsibility.” With these words Fr. Guanella apparently perceives the difficulties waiting for him, which certainly could be dispelled in the love of the Eucharist and the celebration of Holy Mass.
The anniversary of the Founder’s Ordination can therefore help us too to discover the meaning of our mission, on the basis of the sources from which the grace of the Lord springs.

The church in Prosto where St. Guanella celebrated His first Mass.
The church in Prosto where St. Guanella celebrated His first Mass.

Fr. Guanella describes the greatness, value and mission of the priest in The Mountaineer, a little book he published in 1886. “That young son of a mountaineer who, in offering himself to God said: ‘Father, I want to be a priest’. Now here he is, and having overcome many obstacles, he exclaimed at last: ‘I am a priest forever. Blessed be the Lord!’ I was a pastor of sheep and now I am the pastor of a people. My people, my people, pray for your pastor! Let us praise the Most High who has made me great. I want to be angelic in my habits; I want to be a sword of fire in the holy ministry. This is our priest! Let us be moved by him to the very depths of our heart… Let him be a priest. He discloses to us the true source of eternal temporal goods.”
We have always held these words to be autobiographical and they enable us to understand some of the most significant features of Fr. Guanella’s spirituality, as if to confirm that God always makes use of the gifts of nature to create his plan of grace. It is precisely the environment in which Fr. Guanella lived which prepared him to be a priest. He wanted to live amidst his people.  He understood their needs, the priest with “the smell of the sheep.”
“You remember when as a shepherd boy you tended your flock; your thoughts then quickly turned to your father and your home; the mind rushes down the path made by one’s father, the heart stores up his love; and your eyes brimmed with tears, like two streams and you cried: ‘I shall soon see my beloved parent again!’” In fact, Fr. Guanella wrote these words in Let us go to the Father, a booklet in which he expresses the full warmth of his spirituality founded on God’s fatherhood.

St. Guanella the day of his first Mass.
St. Guanella the day of his first Mass.

Like many saints, he learned from the natural and cultural environment of his early years.
We know that these were experiences that forged his character. They made him available for the Lord’s project. Each and every one of us can very easily be an expression of the Guanellian charism and spirituality without having the same experiences as the Founder. Let us accept today the invitation Fr. Guanella makes to all of us: “You must proceed with all kinds of beautiful virtues, especially humility and kindness.” To his priests he said: “You must be Christians for yourselves and priests for others; you must be in a holy way keen to distribute the spiritual and material fruits of your holy ministry.”

Prayer for the Intercession of Saint Louis Guanella

O Saint Louis Guanella, apostle of charity, you spread the treasures of your heart to the poor and suffering, whom you dearly loved, in a world filled with hatred and selfishness. Obtain for us from Divine Providence an ever increasing love for God and our neighbors.
Obtain for us also the favor we are asking for…and the grace of final perseverance. Amen.

Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be …
St. Louis Guanella, pray for us!

FREEDOM OF HEART

Fr. Soosai Rathinam, SdC

As India prepares to solemnly celebrate its 67th Independence Day in a grand manner, filling each and every citizen of the country with pride; let us take a moment to consider the current state of the world. We continue to advance in technology, scientific research, space exploration, reproductive technology, the accumulation of weapons, nuclear arms race, missile race and launching satellites into space for various reasons. There is excessive use of mass media communications via the internet and cloud technology. People die every day as a result of natural calamities such as floods, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes and so on. There is a degradation of the moral identity of human beings, their image and likeness to God is thrown into the dust bin because many treat others as sub-human beings. Equality, fraternity and justice has lost its flavor; sadism, cruelty, assassination, murder, rape, terrorism, hijacking and other malpractices have the “ball in their own court” and people are flocking towards it.

At this juncture, our beloved pope, in his first encyclical letter Lumen Fidei, says, “Only love can strengthen our faith. Our hearts are imprisoned, our human minds are corrupted, our emotions are massacred and humaneness is broken, so it is the appropriate time to have a freedom of heart as St. Paul said beautifully, “let us bear one another’s burden because we have come to fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6,2).

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin MaryHoly Mother Church rejoices with the celebration of the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who conquered the world by her love, simplicity and total surrender to the will of God. That’s why she was taken up to heaven with her body and soul. Therefore, our beloved mother teaches us to choose freedom of heart in order to orient ourselves fully and absolutely to broken humanity and our founder would say to “Those who cry, ‘I have no one,’” let us turn our hearts as a beacon to radiate the light of faith and to show love in fullness to broken humanity. This is the gift we offer to the whole world which is in an arms race rather than the race of love. “Let us have one heart and one mind” (Acts 4,32) to resolve the annihilating methods of mind and to have the heart of love which led the freedom fighters of India to shed their blood for India’s independence and the love of Mary who watched her son shed his blood on the cross to redeem us from the slavery of sin. Let us come out of our “locked-up” mentality and become universal lovers.

My heartfelt wishes go to the 12 New Evangelizers from the Divine Providence Province who will be ordained on August 6th! What a blessing while, at the same time, a great responsibility! “It is good for us to be here”- the awesome experience of the disciples! There is hope for all of us as God has promised his abiding presence. Thus, we have the assurance in Jesus Christ that the twelve will become Holy and Humble Priests in the vineyard of the Lord!

DGRC Welcomes New Assistant Director

Fr. Dominic Sebastin Baskar

Chennai – On September 15, 2012 the newly ordained priest Rev. Fr. Dominic Sebastian Baskar was officially welcomed to the Don Guanella Major seminary during a Eucharist celebration. At the beginning of Mass, Fr. Ligory, the superior, Fr. Dominic Sebastin Baskarwelcomed him on behalf of the whole community. Fr. Dominic offered the mass for the good of the DGMS community and thanked the various formators who guided him on his journey to the priesthood. He is very grateful to God and the congregation for his vocation to the Guanellian way of religious life. He is assigned to do his ministry at Don Guanella Rehabilitation Center as the Assistant Director.

Reception for Newly Ordained Priests

Four Indian priests at the altar celebrating mass.

Bangalore – GPN community welcomed the newly ordained Priests, Fr. Kanikkai and Fr. John Peter. To congratulate them, a grand Mass was celebrated in the evening by Fr. John Peter. A profound and thoughtful homily was given by Fr. Kanikkai. He shared their life journey towards priesthood, enlightening the mind and hearts of all. He ended his homily by saying “abide in him and bear much fruit.” After Mass, a meal was shared and a program presented. Felicitation, dances and songs were offered to the new priests binging joy and harmony to the gathering. Our sisters, Sr. Petci and Sr. Shanthi, and the lay people joined in this festival. The program ended with a blessing by Fr. John Peter.

New Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord

India – On September 15th, our three newly ordained confreres will start their priestly ministry within their assigned communities. Fr. John Peter in Vatluru, Fr. Kanikkai Raj at GPN Bangalore and Fr. Domenic Baskar at DGRC, Poonamallee. To each of them our warm wishes for a fruitful and joyful service to Jesus, the Church, the Congregation and to the poor. We accompany them with our love and prayers. ( A more detailed report and photos will soon follow.)

Moved by the Spirit, Urged into Action

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!”

 

Fr. Luigi