Bangalore – Guanella Preethi Nivas was filled with joy December 5th by the visit of Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, Provincial Treasurer. The occasion was the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, a delight and festival to all. The whole community took endeavors to solemnize and congratulate him. Children offered their felicitation in the form of flowers, dancing, singing and party games. All gathered to thank God for His mercies to Fr. Joe and his glorious jubilee of 50 years, which is 18,250 days or 438,000 hours. More than this we admired his dedication to the congregation for the growth of our mission in USA which will be historically unforgettable. Fr. Joe was very happy to share his experiences with the Evening school children, giving them encouragement for their futures. At the end children were given sweets and they were sent safely home.
We are going to memorialize the 149th ordination anniversary of Father Guanella on May 26th. It is worth reflecting on his vision and virtues of the priesthood and, above all, of his aspirations, attitude and motto “a fiery sword” in the divine ministry. What was his lifestyle and way of holiness and perfection? Nothing but the way of the cross, self-denial, struggle and mortification- his 49 year priesthood experience was both a tremendous and terrible one.
We could analyze three phases of his priesthood:
- Before the failure of Traona (Prosto, Savogno, Turin and Traona);
- After Traona- the nine months of confusion and humiliation (Morbegno, Milan, Gravedona, Olmo) and
- The years of his adventure (Pianello, Como, etc.)
There were internal as well as external hurdles and difficulties Father Guanella underwent- a wall of opposition expressed in distrust, envy, suspicion, malice, and prejudice. He also faced disappointing divisions, conflict, resentment, and discontent in many of the communities.
What is the “key word” Father Guanella used? This is none other than “God is good”- trust in God and His Providence. The so called evil forces had been transformed into graces because of his faith experience in the kneeling position before the holy tabernacle which led him to hope and certainty. A month before his Sacred Ordination, Father Guanella wrote about the gift of Priesthood as the “Blessed and glorious and the most beautiful day of my life!” The anointing is for a prophetic mission and, like Jesus, suffering in favor of the poor. Therefore our founder served with dedication, divine jealousy, burning zeal, maternal tenderness and, above all, the goodness of heart. As the sons of this affectionate father, let us resolve to renew our enthusiasm and our conviction.
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
Cuddalore – It was an amazing moment to witness ten deacons being ordained to the priesthood. This wonderful event took place on August 22nd at St. Joseph Seminary. Most Rev. Dr. Antony Anandarayar, Archbishop of Pondicherry–Cuddalore, ordained the deacons for the Servants of Charity in particular for the Divine Providence Province. Fr. Soosai Rathinam,Provincial Superior, and two of his councilors were present amongst the huge number parents, relatives, friends, benefactors, GLM members, priests, nuns and faithful to witness the beautiful occasion.
Rev. Fr. Arul, one the newly ordained priests, spoke his sentiments concerning the greatest gift, priesthood, has raised in his heart:
“Someone asked me what makes your priesthood different than other professions in the world. I waited for a while and replied, a priest is a priest forever, and it’s neither a title given nor a privilege. It’s a state of life following the one and only master, Jesus Christ. A priest is a priest 24/7. Priesthood is a gift from God. We ten newly ordained are very happy to receive this precious gift from the Lord, to follow Him and serve His kingdom. God has a plan of salvation for each one of us. We have discovered this plan for salvation in our lives through the amazing gift of the priesthood.
“Our priesthood is a being, not an isolated event, not a profession. This being involves the past, present and future. Christ, whom we loved so dearly, has called us to join His priestly ministry. This ministry begins on the day of ordination and continues through the resurrection until the whole universe is reconciled with the Father. Thus the priesthood we have received is eternal.
“Today we have many priests in the Catholic Church, but priestliness is missing in some of them. Priesthood is not the failure because it belongs to Christ the eternal priest, but individuals have failed. Knowing this, we the newly ordained priests have taken resolutions to secure and share our amazing gift:
- Holy Mass will be the sun of our day. We will celebrate every Mass as if it were to be our first, last and the only mass of our life. We will transform Mass into life lived and all our life into a continual Mass.
- The Divine Office is the best thermometer of our sacerdotal fervor. We will love it as a shield of our chastity. The Divine Office is a nuptial ring that binds us to the church, our spouse.
- Confessions will save our priesthood from illusions, superficiality and distractions.
- Souls will be our one and only passion.
- Charity will be the soul and the style of our priestly life.
- Our homilies will be drawn from personal meditations.
We are priests for people of God, not for ourselves. We will be always and everywhere, truly a priest. We are at the service and disposal of all. We will be men of God knowing the needs of the times.”
Sivagangai – On August 14th twelve new apostles (ordained to the priesthood on August 6th) of our Guanellian family visited Guanella Anbagam and the ‘good children.’ To show their love and concern for the special children they mingled with them, and served them lunch with their hands; not only serving food but love care, concern, and security. These priests not only have love for the congregation, but also for nature and to prove it, they each added 12 plants to the landscaping around Anbagam. They will always be remembered when the plants are smiling in front of Anbagam.