Vatluru – On October 9th the boys of Guanella Karunalaya went on pilgrimage to Gunadala, the Marian Shrine at Vijayawada about 60 kms away. The pilgrimage began at Sacred Heart Parish with prayer. The boys and their guides made their journey by train. Fr. Bernandas, Fr. Christuraj, Fr. Bala and Deacon Rambabu accompanied them. The pilgrimage was a grace filled one since the boys prayed the Rosary at the shrine, Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Christuraj and the boys had a Calvary journey to reach the hill top where the Blessed Mother appeared. “The little child lets himself be gently guided by his mother’s voice,” St. Guanella. The boys were overjoyed to spend time with Mary.
Chennai – In the month of Mother Mary’s birth, brothers from Don Guanella Major Seminary went on a pilgrimage to the Marian shrine at Besant Nagar. On September 3rd, one of the novena days, the brothers walked the shrine. They stopped for breakfast at St. Patrick’s Church at the foot of St. Thomas Mount. After walking thirty kilometers through Porur, Adiyar and Gandhimandapam, the group reached the shrine and Fr. Francis, vice rector, offered Holy Mass; praying for our congregation with the faithful gathered there. Brothers each offered a Rosary to the Blessed Mother. The long walk, prayers offered to Mary, and the Eucharistic celebration nourished the brothers spiritually and brought many blessings to our congregation in this centennial year of the Founder’s birth into heaven.
Grass Lake – The month of May, being dedicated to the Blessed Mother, was an encouraging phenomenon. Here at the Pious Union of St. Joseph, the month opened with a solemn celebration to St. Joseph, the Worker, on May 1st. The evening began with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and solemn evening prayer. Then the St. Joseph chaplet was recited; devotions concluded with benediction. The evening continued with snacks and a time of sharing how each person came to be a member of the Pious Union of St. Joseph.
May Crowning was on Sunday, May 3rd with Mass celebrated in the Grotto. After Mass, the Rosary was recited followed by the crowning of the Blessed Mother. The crown was presented by Annalise, who received her first communion the day before; Mary Parrish climbed up to place the crown on the Blessed Mother. The weather was perfect for May crowning. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Vatluru – Fr. Moses and Fr. Vijay Anand, Redemptorist priests from Tenali, were invited to Sacred Heart Parish for a 5 day mission of house counseling and preaching. They visited every home in the village, praying and counseling the families; accompanied by the Legion of Mary. In the evenings they preached the word of God and celebrated the holy Mass. Also during the Month of October, which is especially dedicated to praying the Rosary, the faithful in the parish showed their devotion to our Blessed Mother. According to tradition, a ‘one day one house’ prayer meeting was arranged. The members of the Legion of Mary carried the statue of Mother Mary to each house; praying the Rosary devotedly, sharing the word of God, and receiving the prayers and blessings from the priests.
Bangalore – The elderly of the aged home organized a novena for the Nativity of Mother Mary with intention of praying for the construction of a new facility. Every day as a family they gathered, recited the Rosary and offered special prayers for the same intention. Some of the lay cooperators also participated. At the culmination, the feast was celebrated on September 9th. Mother Mary processed around the campus in a decorated car, blessed by Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior. It was vivifying to see the Guanellian family walking along with Mary, praying the Rosary. As recommended by Pope Francis, they also prayed for peace in the world, especially in Syria. The procession ended at the chapel for Benediction, in which all received the blessings of the Lord. The elderly continue to pray for the dying in the Wednesday Mass and during the daily Rosary. Prayer intentions are welcome.
The first pilgrimage was on May 29th. The residents, staffs and volunteers of Guanella Home joined Fr. Charlton Viray, staff of the Guanella Center, and other members of the Guanellian community on a journey to the province of Bulacan for the Year of Faith pilgrimage. They left at around nine o’clock in the morning traveling first to Our Lady of Guadalupe. There they prayed the rosary and enjoyed lunch. The next church they visited was Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Barasoain Church, famous for being the Philippines’ most important religious building. Here they finished praying the rosary. The day ended with their return to the Servants of Charity compound around five. The day-long event allowed everyone to come in closer contact with God, more time to pray. As Maria Luisa Sumaoang, Guanella Home volunteer, said, “Have faith!”
On June 29th, the group again went on pilgrimage for the Year of Faith to intensify their relationship with God. The pilgrimage began with a mass at the Servants of Charity compound presided by Fr. Vincent Selveraj. Their first destinations were churches in the province of Bulacan. The first stop was the Divine Mercy Shrine, the second Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish or Barasoain Church, and finally the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception or Malolos Cathedral. Lunch followed to reenergize the faithful as the whole day event continued. They travelled next to the province of Pampanga to see the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando City, San Guillermo Parish Church, the Parish Church of St. James the Apostle (or Betis Church), and the Immaculate Conception Church in Guagua. The Rosary was prayed in each church to deepen each one’s desire to be more faithful. Personal reflections by the seminarians and lay cooperators also helped to intensify the atmosphere of prayer. The pilgrims returned to the Servants of Charity compound around eight that evening.
According to Fr. Charlton Viray, the Year of Faith pilgrimages were conducted as directed by the Generalate and also by the parish where the Guanellian community is located. The pilgrimages were done in the hope of renewing and deepening the faith of the Guanellian community.
Saigon – The Servants of Charity in Vietnam usually start Holy Week with a pilgrimage. This year the destination was a Benedictine Monastery located in Thu Duc District of Ho Chi Minh. The journey began at 5 am on Sunday, March 24th, setting out on foot to the monastery; walking in silence and praying the rosary. The walk was reminiscent of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Upon reaching the monastery, Rev. Sr. Trinh (Benedictine Nun) gave a recollection to the boys based on the preparation for Easter celebration. Palm Sunday Mass was celebrated at the Monastery before heading home by bus. It was a meaningful day for everyone.