Legazpi – On December 19th the Servants of Charity celebrated Christmas and the end of 2017 in the presence of Fr. Dong, SdC, Fr. David, SdC, and Fr. Sagayaraj, SdC, opened a year-end Christmas Party to give thanks to the staffs who have dedicated themselves to the service of the community. Practically, gifts could not be absent from the party because they are a sign of bringing good luck and joy to others.
Legazpi – An Advent Recollection, General Assembly and Christmas Party was held at St. Agnes Academy for all religious communities in the Legazpi Diocese. Most Rev. Monsignor Weng started the recollection by sharing the meaning of the Advent season. He summarized and addressed the readings and Gospels during Advent. Mass was the next activity, presided by the Most Rev. Joel. Z. Baylon, D.D. After that, every member finalized the regulations and the name of the new organization. At the end of the event, everyone exchanged gifts with one another.
Legazpi – Fr. David Stawasz was a brother in the Legazpi community nine years ago. He paid a visit to share his own vocation story with the novices. God’s love calls many to step out of their own way to follow His way, the way which He has prepared. We don’t know what will happen in this life, but we do know that we must trust in His call and do our best to follow it. This call can only be found through prayer. Moreover, through prayer we trust in God little by little and believe that God will help us to realize His call and to keep forming us according to His will. Sometimes, we might not know where God is. These are the times we need to pray harder and to keep ourselves from getting lost in this life. To stay on the right track keep in mind Who you belong to. Time has passed since Fr. David was here, but he did not forget how much he loves HKSF and its people. The heart of love is tireless and full of gratitude and faithfulness for the people of God.
Pondicherry – The Divine Providence Province’s Fourth Provincial Chapter began as the chapter fathers gathered at Prsahanth Vanam on November 20th. Fr. Alphonso Crippa, Superior General, enlightened the confreres with inspiring thoughts during his recollection talk. He highlighted three important points: Wisdom of God, Guanellian Simplicity and Mission. He underlined the fact that we are gathered here not merely just to make some governing proposals or administrative rules, but to seek what the Lord wants from us. He stressed the importance of dialogue and fraternity. The chapter continued until the evening of the 24th. The chapter fathers went to St. Joseph’s Seminary for the Silver Jubilee of their presence in India and Golden Jubilee celebration of Fr. Joe.
Celebrating fifty years in the priesthood is a huge milestone for anyone who has dedicated a lifetime of service to others through his faith. But two priests celebrating 50 years together from the same ordination class in Chiavenna, Italy would be even more remarkable. On Saturday, December 16, 2017, Fr. Joseph Rinaldo and Fr. Fortunato […]
Cuddalore – St. Joseph’s Seminary, the formation house for Aspirants, organized the ‘Annual Parents Meet’ for the current scholastic year on October 24th. Since it was the feast day celebration of our holy Founder, it was more pertinent for the young scholastics to make their personal and collective assessment of their initial formation with the parents and formators. The day began with a prayer service and Eucharistic Adoration. There was a conference by the Rector, Holy Mass and time for personal dialogue with the parents and seminarians. This particular program for the students helped them to make a triple examination of their formation through retrospection, introspection and prospection. Their parents realized that family is the first place of priestly formation; and spiritual parenting is the very basic phase for human, Christian, religious and apostolic progression. Everyone in the program was content and happy.
Chennai – After the flag Hoisting, the Don Guanella Major Seminary community organized a novena and prayed for the intercession of the Holy Founder each day. The confreres gave a reflection each day on different topics. On the 21st the evening school children participated in the novena. Fr. A. C. Periyanayagam shared his reflection on the Founder. On the 22nd, GYM and GLM celebrated the novena with a special prayer service and adoration followed by dinner with the community. October 24th was the grand celebration of the feast. The religious from the area, GLM, GYM gathered for the Eucharistic Celebration celebrated by Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior. Fr. Tony, who has been ministering in the Solomon Islands, gave testimony of his experience there. The novena closed with dinner in the name of St. Louis Guanella.
Chennai – On October 11th the DGMS Campus celebrated the birthday of Fr. S.A Lourduraj, director of Don Guanella Special School. In the morning he was greeted by the good children and their teachers with prayers and gifts. The school put on a cultural program wishing him well and praying for his ministry. In the evening, he celebrated Mass with the community as a thanksgiving offering for the gift of his life and for Providence in his life. He also prayed for the congregation, the community and its welfare. The birthday celebration continued with a special program by the community. Fr. Lourduraj cut the birthday cake. Bro. Kumar felicitated him with poetic words on behalf of the community and the superior acknowledged him in a special way. With a delicious dinner and thanks from Fr. Lourduraj, the celebration came to an end.
Vatluru – On October 4th the community bid farewell to Fr. Peter Sebastian, former superior, who served the community for the past four years. To express gratitude and commemorate his good works the confreres, sisters, boys and seminarians gathered at Guanella Bhavan. There was a cultural program organized to felicitate him. The dances and songs expressed deep sentiments of sorrow for missing him and at the same time wishing him well for a greater mission. Fr. Sunil Francis shared his experience with him and thanked him for being a model priest to all. Fr. Peter Sebastian was very emotional and he expressed his heartfelt thanks to all for being supportive. “Though I fly to a far off nation, still my heart remains here. I will miss you all,” he said. The evening came to an end with a sumptuous meal.
When my father died, I cried, I suffered and I missed him. But soon I moved on, came back to the States and my usual work. But when my mother died I had a different reaction. My mother, lying in a darkened room, was close to death. But as she reached for my hand and looked at me intently, she was fully aware that her youngest son, the one who left her many years ago, was at her side. She was ready to begin her journey home to God. The woman who had given me birth, nurtured me, taught me how to pray and read, was gone. I was fifty-five years old, but I felt orphaned. We may live to old age but we will always be a child in relation to our parents. Seldom, as adults, are we ready for a parent’s death. We may be busy building our careers, raising our families, traveling or seeking to settle down. Whatever the circumstances, it is virtually impossible to prepare ourselves emotionally for the loss.
Ironically, our society shows very little understanding about the unique pain of losing a mother or a father. However, in my heart I felt that I have every reason to grieve. My mother’s death left me with a sense of abandonment and even panic that caught me by surprise.
Well meaning friends and others tried to console me by saying, “Your mother lived a long, full life, she was suffering so much; surely it’s a blessing.” But those phrases ring hollow: my dear mother lies in the casket.
I felt that I had every reason to grieve but I felt the need to move on and get out of the vacuum in which I was caught. Finally, I started to cry and talk with other relatives and friends. I visited the cemetery every day and imagined my mother talking to my father and other relatives. She was in a great place and in good, heavenly company. Calling aloud many times the word “Mom” was remarkably consoling and healing.
But despite our tears and sense of loneliness, we need to move to center stage to leave our mark in the world. But we do not move forward alone. We bring along with us a rich store of treasures from our childhood on; hard lessons learned and principles, fond and painful memories, family celebrations and traditions. We bring who we are, thanks to the love, nurturing and guidance we received in our formative years from the parents whose presence we now miss.
I was never able to assure my mother that I would accompany her on the final leg of her journey home. But as I continue the second half of my life’s journey, I can feel the power of her presence. She is my Mother!