Manila – July 27th-28th the new seminarians and postulants of the Servants of Charity went on recollection at the Augustinian nuns’ retreat house, Mother of Good Counsel Monastery in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan with Fr. Ronnie Samaniego as the main facilitator of the retreat. The recollection was designed to help the seminarians become well-oriented and informed about the stage they were about to enter and to develop a deep sense of fraternity to enhance community life. The first day was for aspirants and the next day was for postulants.
July was a special month for our congregation. On July 1st, Br. Dao, Br. Dien and Br. Mark, made their first profession of vows. Although they are from Viet Nam and Philippines with many differences they are united as one in the congregation, the Servants of Charity. With hearts full of love they professed their faith to God who will always be with them during their times of need. That day was a special mark for them because they officially started a life of a religious with the vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience. Through and in these vows, they will live a life which no longer belongs to them but to Jesus Christ who has called them and continues to call them again and again to follow Him and serve Him through the charism of the Servants of Charity.
Besides that, we also were glad to welcome six new Vietnamese novices who have been in formation in Manila. They will be guided by Novice Master Fr. Sagayaraj, SdC who is from India. With his guidance, they will learn more about the religious life through which they want to dedicate themselves to the Lord whom they love.
Provincial Superior, Fr. Soosai Rathinam, told them, “In this particular year, you will search for the Lord and answer the question ‘who is he?’” The novices were touched by this because as the apostles did, the novices need to answer this question, “But who do you say that I am?”(Luke 9,20). Novitiate is a special and beautiful year for them to understand the life which they desire to live and to serve through God’s love.
On another special occasion with Fr. Gustavo, the novices received a beautiful message from him:
“At the beginning of this new year of novitiate, what I desire is that you be open to the Holy Spirit, who is the one that shapes your person for consecration.
If we want the Lord to consecrate us like the Virgin Mary, we have to be docile and so in this way the Holy Spirit can penetrate our souls.
The novitiate is a particular stage of our formation that requires openness to His action to live more deeply the grace of this particular call in our lives.
Dear novices, remember that you were the ones who committed yourselves to this particular year. If you give great importance to it you will be successful in your future religious life.
A religious vocation is like a seed, that, watered by grace, sets good roots and we hope you can develop good soil so in this way the strong plant of religious life may grow fruitful.
The Blessed Virgin, St. Louis Guanella and St. Joseph be not only your constant intercessors, but also your models by indicating how to surrender your lives to the Lord as they have done.”
Let us continue to pray for them, so that the Lord will guide them, make them understand His call through the year of Novitiate, and then, they will respond to His call as our beloved Mother responded to the greeting of the angel Gabriel and trusted in the will of God in her life with the heart of humility.
A life long acquired experience in the poor countries of Africa and the Far East have taught me to keep my mind and eyes open. A simple consideration is the fact that in the opulent West, the god Mammon is often the only ruler. We are all blind and deaf. But there, where poverty is at home and everyone must fight daily for their basic survival, one is inclined to reflect and act in a different manner. Because of this serious contraditional attitude, we have noticed an increasing spiritual poverty in the West during the past thirty years. On the other side, there is an increasing spiritual thirst for God! In Old Europe, the enormous scarcity of religiosity produces a great decrease in vocations. The logical consequence is that Europe needs more priests from Africa, India and the Philippines. Nowadays in the south German regions of Badenia and Bavaria, many churches could not exist without the massive presence of ‘foreign priests’ supporting the serious attempts at a real new evangelization.
Consequently during these past months, I have reflected deeply on the intrinsic meaning of the Mission Procure. Our vocation as the third branch of the Guanellian Family is to act as ‘Procurator’ of urgently needed funds in our Missions around the Globe.
After mature consultation with my friends and supporters in the Catholic solidarity agencies, we have decided to attempt a project based on the formal request of our DPP Council to seek funding for the twenty-six Indian Theology students and the four Filippinos in Manila. The first project was handed over to Dr. Peter Birkhofer on March 15th at the World Church Office in the Archdiocese of Freiburg. We are expecting a grant sometime soon for an annual sponsorship of these thirty theology students from our Province.
Due to this initial attempt we have encouraged the African Delegation to submit a similar project. Delegate Fr. Uche Desmond recently submitted the documents. The specific project will be conveyed this week to the very generous Msgr. Thomas Schlichting from the Bishop’s Office of Munich-Freising, and who has recently approved another promising project in our Province at Manila. The Good Samaritan Pharmacy is a real gift of Holy Providence in the Township of Quezon City.
For a good outcome of both projects let us pray and ask the Lord to send more workers to his increasing Vineyard; because a great harvest is ready to be gathered. Soon we’ll celebrate the Dogma of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven. I was there on Nov. 1, 1950, as an altar boy, seated near the gestatorial chair of Pope Pius XII! Fr. Guanella put all his projects in the hands of Our Holy Mother of Divine Providence and of Our Patriarch, St. Joseph. Therefore join us in this hopeful prayer
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
Manila – The Guanellian Youth Camp 2017 happened in Pavilion Campsite, Banaba Cerca, Indang, Cavite May 29th-June 1st with the theme “Guanellian Youth: Bellwethers of the Flock.” Being compared with a bellwether, a leader sheep, each of the member of the Guanellian Youth Ministry (GYM) is being moulded to be a leader and role model of faith to his/her family, friends and community through good deeds and following the life of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
The participants listened to a series of talks and activities to enhance their leadership skills equipping them with wisdom and knowledge. Bro. Mark Jay Gensis shared that being brave, positive, responsible, accepting opinions and challenges, and believing in your God-given potentials will help you become a happy and productive leader/member. Bro. Harry Indonilla talked about the importance of commitment and how to stay committed in order to keep the faith burning while following our Lord Jesus Christ. Lastly, Ms. Charmaine Ramirez shared that having a good character is an essential part in being a good leader this means that one should be trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair, caring and a good citizen, this also includes constantly doing the right things and following the golden rule, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Divided into three mini teams named after the Young Three Seers of Fatima, St. Francisco, St. Jacinta and Blessed Lucia, Guanellian youths enjoyed and showed their competitive spirit in different team building activities including the ‘Amazing Race’. Running while blindfolded, crawling through mud, and answering logical questions tested each of the team’s physical and mental capability to work as one.
Aside from physical and mental activities participants did not forget to strengthen their faith through praying the rosary and other devotions that help them endure all unnecessary challenges especially bad weather. The last day was spent swimming at Layu-Layo beach in Nasugbu, Batangas.
GYM would like to thank all the people who supported us financially to make this activity possible.
Chennai – The DGMS community began the new academic year by celebrating Mass to the Holy Spirit on the Solemnity of Pentecost, June 4th. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior, presided over the Eucharistic celebration and brought the blessings of the Holy Spirit to all the brothers and community members. After Mass, Fr. Samson, Superior of the DGMS community, thanked the provincial and all other fathers who participated in the Eucharistic banquet. With the blessings of the Holy Spirit DGMS community stepped into the new academic year joyfully.
Cuddalore – The St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary for Guanellian Aspirancy Formation happily began the 2017-2018 academic year on June 3rd with a solemn Eucharistic celebration presided by Rev. Fr. Visuwasam, SdC, superior of the Cuddalore Community. Fr. Visuwasam exhorted the seminarians during his homily to be open vessels, to be filled with the three important nourishments of religious formation such as Spiritual, Human and Charismatic dimensions. Fr. Assisi, rector of the seminary, presented the formation project for the year which seems to be in Line with the theme of our general chapter, “Going Back to the Roots of Guanllian Formation – By Ways of Heart”. He then welcomed all the candidates to live their lives in Conformity with Jesus Christ. Let the future pillars of Guanellian life and mission be strongly rooted in the spirit of Christ and the footsteps of our Holy Founder.
Ho Chi Minh City – On May 27th Br. Khiet and Br. Hoang renewed their religious vows. Fr. Anthony Quyen, SVD, was invited to preside over the Mass. He preached a good, inspirational homily. Fr. Felicks, the house in-charge, received their vows. Two local religious sisters were also present during the Holy Mass. After Mass, a beautiful dinner was shared in honor of the momentous occasion.
Ho Chi Minh City – On May 23rd two students, Trong and Toan, who completed two years of priestly formation in Vietnam, left for the Philippines to continue their studies. Both Trong and Toan were well prepared in English and spiritual formation. They will spend two years in the Philippines for postulency and Novitiate. Please pray for them to have a wonderful Guanellian experience in the Philippines and be well-trained as workers for the Lord’s harvest.
Bangalore – No one can deny God’s call since His love is amazing forever. On May 30th amidst Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior, seven brothers entered the Novitiate. They all come from various backgrounds, experiences and expectations just for the Love of Christ. It is a demanding world and finding true vocations is a big challenge today. The Novices had a Benediction followed by the Evening Prayer where they consecrated themselves to Mary our Mother. The official entrance into the Novitiate was initiated by Fr. Soosai who handed over their charge and canonical guidance to the Novice Master, Fr. Adaikalam. The entire Guanellian family is praying for these young brothers. How great is our Lord for He listened to our prayers, saw our hard work and granted us a good harvest of laborers for His vineyard. We wish all the best for the new novices in the school of holiness.
Ho Chi Minh City – Fr. Sahayaraj, SdC, from the Legazpi community in the Philippines, visited for a month to experience the Vietnamese culture. He wanted to understand the culture more since he will be the Novice Master for the six Vietnamese students in Legazpi beginning in July 2017. During his stay, he visited the families of some of the students’. Before his departure for Manila on May 1st the Vietnam community went on a picnic to a nearby river. It was a wonderful day of relaxation and fraternity.