Grass Lake – On the March 19th Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary, the Shrine of St. Joseph was filled with a constant flow of pilgrims. The Women’s Guild prepared the Shrine by stocking the gift shop, setting up St. Joseph’s table and filling the place with votive candles for the pilgrims to light in honor of their loved ones. Pilgrims arriving in the morning were blessed with the celebration of the Holy Mass and the sacrament of Confession. They also had time to enjoy lunch and refreshments offered by the Women’s Guild. The Chaldean pilgrims arriving in the afternoon had time to visit all areas of the Shrine, pray for their loved ones, light candles and receive blessings from Fr. Satheesh, Shrine Director. Many of our Chaldean sisters pray for the safety of their husbands still living in Iraq. A total of eleven buses visited the Shrine that day.
Rome, Italy: During the first week of July four confreres from the Divine Providence Province (Fr. James Stanley Babu, Br. Jesu Arokia Doss, Br. Augustine Joseph Abraham, and Br. Bob Niemeyer) arrived at the Msgr. Michele Bacciarini International Theological Seminary, in Rome, to begin their Italian Language studies. They are learning to speak and write in Italian in order to prepare them for their upcoming studies in Rome. Fr. James will be studying for his Licentiate, and the brothers will begin their first year of theology studies (classes will commence at the beginning of October.)
The four confreres were met (and given a hearty international welcome) by a houseful of Guanellian priests and theologians, hailing from all parts the congregation. Later in the week, the brothers were joined by two other first year theologians (Brothers Giscard from Congo, and Achillus from Nigeria) from the Our Lady of Hope Delegation.
The brothers did not have a chance to experience jetlag, because they arrived at the beginning of a pilgrimage in Rome for young people who are discerning their vocations to either the priesthood and/or religious life, and the Guanellian seminarians were asked to participate in and to help with the pilgrimage (which lasted from Wednesday, July 4th until Sunday, July 7th). The days were full of activities, catechesis, and prayer. The highpoints of the pilgrimage were when Pope Francis decided to join the pilgrimage and share his thoughts on vocation, and the closing Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.
After that event packed initiation, the brothers began their Intense Italian Language Program, at the Urbaniana Pontifical University (which is the former seat of the Propaganda Fidei). The classes lasted from 8:30AM-12:00PM (Monday thru Friday) for the month of July. Each of the brothers did well in the course.
Towards the end of the month, the confreres from the Divine Providence Province were overjoyed to meet, visit, and share a meal with the members of the Divine Providence Provincial Council (Fr. Soosai, Fr. Kulandai, Fr. Visu, Fr. Charlton, and Fr. Dennis), as well as Fr. Joseph, the provincial treasurer.
Fr. James and the brothers are looking forward to the opportunity given by Fr. Allesandro Allegra (the rector of the seminary) to stay one month in a Guanellian house in Perugia, Italy (close to Assisi). During this time they will begin the next level of Italian Language studies At the University for Foreigners, in Perugia.
The four confreres feel blessed and are grateful to God for the wonderful opportunities that Divine Providence has bestowed upon them.