Legazpi – To commemorate the feast day of St. Louis Guanella, the Servants of Charity went on a pilgrimage to Naga City October 20th for all who had helped organize “Dinner for a Cause”. This trip was not only for relaxation, but also to discover new places and to go to the source of faith: Basilica Minore, the church dedicated to Our Lady of Penafrancia Patroness of Bicolandia. Even though everyone was tired they were very happy for visiting this church and bringing many of our confidences in prayer before Our Lady. Their hope was renewed and peace deepened in the bottom of their hearts, strengthening them to face the reality of daily life. May our Lady of Penafrancia pray for all of us and bring us to her son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Chennai – On July 19th the ‘See and Learn’ program was scheduled. About 35 special children and the staff journeyed to Besant Nagar, Our Lady of Good Health Church, St. Antony Church, Palavakkam and Athistalakshimi Temple at Chennai. The purpose of this program is to give faith formation to children. Fr. S.A. Lourduraj led the journey by explaining the purpose of this visit and they also made time for the children to enjoy relaxation of the mind. The program ended with the blessings and good experience of the children. Don Guanella Special School was happy to welcome Fr. Soosai as he made his canonical visit. After the visit Fr. Samson, community superior, and all the staff gathered for the reading of the school project and the fraternal sharing of the mission. The Provincial gave a motivational address on how a Guanellian educator should differentiate from a secular way of educating the good children. At the culmination of the meeting, the school staff presented the new proposals for the development of the school. With the celebration of Mass the canonical visit successfully came to an end and all shared a fellowship meal.
Kumbakonam – The priests, sisters and parishioners of Divine Providence Parish went on a pilgrimage during Lent. Early Saturday morning, April 1st, the pilgrims departed in two buses heading for Kalpattu. Upon arrival, they ate breakfast and prayed the Way of the Cross. Mass was celebrated at St. Paul the Hermit’s Church before journeying towards Villianur. At the Immaculate Sister’s Convent, the sisters provided the pilgrims with a meal before going to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine for personal prayer and the Rosary. The next stop of the spiritual journey was at Sacred Heart Church for an opportunity to purchase Holy articles such as Rosaries, rings and prayer books. Cuddalore Silver Beach was chosen for an evening in nature and a meditative walk. After relaxing at the beach, the pilgrims headed toward home stopping in Meensurutti for tea and vadai. Through the intercession of St. Paul the Hermit and Our Lady of Lourdes, it was a joyful and spiritual experience for all of the pilgrims.
Cuddalore – God may not give us an easy journey to the Promised Land but he will give us a safe one. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish arranged a Lenten pilgrimage on March 26th. Fourteen churches arranged to mediate on the way Jesus chose to redeem the universe. One hundred people gathered on two buses and traveled to three different dioceses. Special prayers were said for the Church, construction of a new church, our congregations, and the faithful. Reflections were made at each station to help the people understand that life passes by very quickly, and that they ought to think more of how to love than how to live.
Manila – On January 11th the postulants went on a walking pilgrimage from the Servants of Charity Seminary in Quezon City to four churches in greater Manila: St. Domingo Church in Quezon City (where they prayed the Holy Rosary), San Sebastian Church, Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene) and St. Cruz Church (Parish of Our Lady of the Pillar). The journey took about four hours of walking through the busy and polluted streets of Quezon City and Manila. Although it was quite challenging, the annual pilgrimage taught them lessons that will remain in their hearts: perseverance, patience, compassion for the poor, fraternity and the joy of communion. This is the third year of for the event; the first was in 2014 when the seminarians walked from the seminary to Antipolo Church and last year was a five hour walk to Baclaran Church, the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
Chennai – The Don Guanella Major Seminary community had fruitful experience during a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Velankanni Church, Besant Nagar. The pilgrimage began early in the morning November 10th. They started by reciting the Rosary. In spite of some hardships, they had a good experience of walking with Mother Mary. After reaching the church, the community fathers celebrated Holy Mass and offered their thanks and praise through blessed mother Mary.
Manila – The 5th Annual Guanellian Lay Cooperators’ Conference was held August 20-21st at the cool and mountainous Mariapolis Center overlooking Taal Lake in Tagaytay City, Philippines. Twenty-four Guanellian Cooperators attended the event. The theme was “Jubilee of Mercy: Becoming Merciful like the Father.” The main presentation was given by Fr. Alvin of the Focolare Movement for Priests and another topic was facilitated by Fr. Charlton on Becoming Merciful in our Relationships. They also went on a “little pilgrimage” to three beautiful chapels of sisters in Tagaytay: Pink Sisters or the Holy Spirit Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Franciscan Missionaries of Mary and the Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing. Everybody enjoyed and shared that the meeting was fruitful and inspirational in assisting them to follow the Lord in the footsteps of our founder, St. Louis Guanella.
Thalavadi – The patients began this month with God’s favor and blessings by going on a pilgrimage. In the Tamil calendar, July is known as the month of Aadi, a special month for the Hindus in Tamil Nadu. They celebrate an event called ‘Aadi Peruku’ during this month. Respecting and recognizing the religiosity of the patients, the Nazareth Illam community arranged a pilgrimage to the Bannari Amman temple where the patients worshiped their goddess with deep devotion in their own style. The other devotees, who had come to worship the goddess, were astonished on seeing the faith and devotion of the patients. The pilgrimage was a time of letting go as well as a time of spiritual inheritance for the patients. It was also the first time in this academic year that they were taken off campus. The pilgrimage ended with cake provided by the community. The pilgrimage helped everyone to relax and realize that we are all earthly pilgrims to reach the ever-living God.
Cuddalore – It is our Christian tradition to feed the seeds of faith and nurture pious tradition in the hearts of young people during their spiritual maturity. As part of this tradition, St. Joseph’s Seminary has undertaken its usual effort to help the seminarians increase their faith formation through Marian pilgrimage by cycling to Villiyanur Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. It was a revitalizing experience for all of them. The Honoring of Blessed Mary was accomplished through various charitable actions. They were happy to stop pedaling and offer a solemn rosary, celebrate Holy mass and enjoy some entertaining programs. Viva la Maria!
Manila – The Servants of Charity aspirants and postulants had a day of spiritual recollection in Tanay, Rizal July 8th. As part of the preparation for their Day of Acceptance (for new aspirants and postulants) and beginning of the new academic year (for current seminarians), the recollection was facilitated by Fr. Charlton focusing on the theme of vocation and responding to God’s invitation. During that day also, the group visited a nearby place of pilgrimage, the Regina Rica. Situated in a hilly area of Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal, the place is a sanctuary for prayer and solitude.