It is with gratitude in our hearts for the many years of service from our outgoing Provincial Council that we wish them all a fond farewell as they transition into their new positions within the Congregation. With hopefulness we welcome our incoming Council and pray that they transition well into their new leadership roles.
Fr. Jesiah Ronald – Provincial Superior
Fr. Antonysamy Kulandaisamy – Vicar and First Council
Fr. John Samson Rajasegaran – Second Council
Fr. Alphonse Satheesh Caniton – Third Council
Fr. Selvaraj Francis – Fourth Council
Portraits of Councilors
The DPP Council met in a plenary meeting from June 16th to the 19th in Chelsea, Michigan and it proved to be a fruitful and productive meeting. However, prior to the meeting, there was the opportunity for attending a special event, recognizing a significant anniversary and visiting the houses within the U.S.
Fr. Gustavo De Bonis, General Secretary of the Servants of Charity, along with Frs. Rathinam, Kulandai, Visuwasam, and Dennis arrived on June 7th in Chelsea. This arrival was planned in order for all to be a part of the re-dedication and blessing, on June 8th, of the newly renovated Fr. Guanella Hall at the St. Louis Center. Bishop Earl Boyea, Bishop of Lansing, celebrated the Mass and blessed the home and this day gave Fr. Gustavo and the council members a window into the future vision of ministry and mission of the St. Louis Center in serving persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) who are aging as well as to witness the active involvement of staff and laity in the program. Fr. Rathinam met individually with all the members of the Chelsea community on June 9th and 10th and, on June 11th, the five confreres traveled to Springfield, Pennsylvania in order to visit Don Guanella Village in Springfield and to come to know of the ministry and presence of the Servants of Charity established nearly 54 years ago. For Fr. Kulandai and Fr. Visu, it continued their experience of first-time visitors to the U.S. June 12th marked the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the presence of the Servants of Charity in the Philippines and this special event was remembered at Mass in Springfield that morning. The traveling party proceeded on June 13th with a train trip to the Parish of the Sacred Heart in E. Providence, Rhode Island, to join Fr. Silvio and Fr. Peter in the 3 day celebration of the annual parish feast. It was a simple yet wonderful celebration of the parish family and again witnessed to the confreres the love and esteem that are held for the priests of the parish and the Servants of Charity. Finally, a short flight was taken to Michigan on June 15th in order to prepare to begin the plenary meeting on June 16th.
Fr. Charlton arrived in Chelsea on June 14th and the provincial council, along with Fr. Gustavo and Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, provincial treasurer, gathered for the commencement of the plenary meeting on the morning of June 16th. Fr. Joseph, superior of the Chelsea community, opened the meeting with a prayer and welcomed all to Chelsea and the U.S. For Fr. Charlton, this was also a first-time visit to the U.S. Fr. Gustavo then passed on greetings and wishes from the General Council and Fr. Dennis, link to the U.S., also welcomed all and gave a short overview of the U.S. and the Catholic Church in the U.S. Fr. Rathinam then gave a short reflection, “Feeding and Leading- Being a Good Shepherd Today.” Over the next four days, a full agenda was covered focusing on the Pastoral Plan of the congregation and province, updates from the Provincial Superior and from each of the nations, the canonical visitation of the Provincial Superior, discussion and preparation for the third Provincial Chapter, and the financial administration of the province and matters connected with it. In addition, the DPP’s statutes and committees were discussed along with the situation of the communities in the U.S., review of the new obediences and other assignments, youth and vocation ministry and various other topics such as preparation for the 100th Anniversary of the Death of the Founder, difficulties with visa processing, and various requests from the communities and the confreres.
All in all, the council members were grateful for the presence of Fr. Gustavo and his input and insights contributed greatly to the meeting. In closing the meeting, Fr. Gustavo offered his remarks and Fr. Rathinam expressed his appreciation to Fr. Gustavo, the council members, and Fr. Joseph for their participation and contribution.
Chelsea – Members of the Provincial Council gathered together at St. Louis Center in Chelsea, MI during the week of June 16-20th for their annual spring meetings after taking part in the dedication ceremony of the Grand Opening of Fr. Guanella Hall and visiting the other houses in Springfield, PA and E. Providence, RI. Many lively discussions took place during the week, and the meetings included the following participants:
Very Rev. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior
Rev. Fr. Gustavo DeBonis, Secretary General
Rev. Fr. Charlton Viray, Vicar & 1st Councillor
Rev. Fr. Visuwasam, 2nd Councillor
Rev. Fr. Dennis Weber, 3rd Councillor
Rev. Fr. Kulandaisamy, 4th Councillor
Rev. Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, Provincial Treasurer
Rev. Fr. Enzo Addari, SLC Administrator
Manila – November 18-22, 2013, the Fourth Plenary Meeting of the Provincial Council of the Divine Providence Province was presided over by Fr. Rathinam, Provincial Superior. The meeting was a good opportunity for the council to gather again, to share and experience fraternity, review its life as a Province, and envision itself in the future as consecrated men, compassionate and merciful brothers to one another, and joyful and tireless missionaries of the poor. Topics that were discussed included: updates from the Provincial Superior, updates from each nation- India, US, Philippines and Vietnam, financial administration, Commissions of the Province, possible ways of preparing the new confreres of India for the horizons of a wider mission, youth ministry, vocation promotion, and Formation centers and concerns.
The councilors celebrated daily Mass with the seminary community, the neighboring religious sisters and lay people. An evening with lay cooperators and another evening with Guanellian Sisters were enjoyed by all.
Fr. Dennis Weber, secretary and councilor from the United States was not able to attend due to some health problems.
The Divine Providence Province (DPP) Council met, via Skype, on June 26th & 28th. We were happy also to have Fr. Gustavo, General Secretary and geographical link from the General council to DPP, for a portion of the meeting on June 28th and we welcomed Fr. Joe, Provincial Treasurer, on both days for parts of the meeting. This is a summary of the meeting:
- Opening Prayer- Fr. Rathinam opened the meeting with prayer and asked that we pray for Fr. Thanasekar, the victims of the recent tsunami in India and for the drought in parts of India.
- Fr. Rathinam’s report- He spoke of his visits to the communities in India for the installation of the new superiors and for the beginning of the pastoral year. He was present in Bangalore for the renewal of vows, the first profession of the novices, and the reception of the new novices. He spoke of Cardinal Gracias’ visit to Cuddalore on the day of renewal of vows of the confreres who were perpetually professed and his meeting with the bishop of Dindigul. Also, he said that Fr. Visu visited with the Archbishop of Madurai.
- Updates for each nation were given by the council members speaking of the individual communities in their nation as well as any situations that needed to be addressed during the meeting.
- Specific situations regarding individual confreres were addressed.
- Fr. Joe joined the meeting to talk about the financial administration. The council and Fr. Joe spoke of the budget that was to be received from Rome and matters concerning the Pious Union of St. Joseph.
- The meeting ended due to technical difficulties with Skype.
- Fr. Rathinam opened with prayer and also spoke of the meeting with deacons in Chennai.
- Matters concerning financial administration were resumed during which we spoke of the distribution of the subsidies to the communities as well as the distribution of construction dollars for the purchase of land in Vietnam. Various other financial matters were discussed.
- Fr. Rathinam spoke of the formators’ course that will be offered in Rome from September 1st to the 19th and the confreres recommended by the General Council for the course.
- Fr. Joe recommended and the council approved that Fr. Dennis compose a summary of each council meeting for the DPP News and Views.