Ho Chi Minh – Our Engineer, Mr. Toan, was blessed by the birth of his second baby boy. He wished to Baptize his child in our Chapel. He is from North of Vietnam and received permission from his parish priest to have his baby baptized here. Mr. Toan asked Fr. Jerin to be his Godfather, so, on June 19th, the ordination anniversary of Fr. Jerin, he celebrated the Holy Mass and Fr. Felicks administered the sacrament. It’s a historical event for the community since it was the First Baptism in our Chapel.
Ho Chi Minh – Br. Hoang made his first Religious vows in Legazpi on June 3rd and returned to Vietnam for Philosophy studies. His family arranged a Thanksgiving Mass for him in their village in the Dong Nai Province. The priests and all the students attended the Mass celebrated by the Parish Priest with Br. Hoang’s spiritual Father concelebrating and preaching the homily. We had a chance once again to introduce our congregation to his parish. The family prepared a wonderful breakfast and lunch and we enjoyed the day.
Saigon – This was the first Christmas in our new house and to celebrate, the community organized a small program for the street children of the area on Christmas day. Not all the children are Catholics, some are Buddhist and some don’t follow any religion. The students played party games with the children on a football court near the house. The place was beautiful and more safe. After the games and dancing Christmas gifts were shared with all the children. Most of them are from a simple and poor families. The new students were very happy about sharing their time, energy and gifts with the children. May this year of mercy be full of sharing little things with others.
Saigon – Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, Provincial Treasurer, visited Vietnam September 27-30th. His visit was a blessing and especially enriching for the students. The Vietnam community thanks him from the bottom of their hearts for his hard work in finding money to build the House of Providence in Saigon. Thank you also to the American benefactors who contributed to the new house. May God bless all the generous hearts who help to build His Kingdom.
Saigon – A benefactor of the Vietnam Community organized a pilgrimage to some of the Marian shrines of Vietnam. He invited the priests and students of the House of Providence to join the group. It became a journey in honor of the Centennial Birth into Heaven of St. Louis Guanella. Throughout the five day pilgrimage they continued to thank God for the blessing of St. Guanella and prayed for their own intentions and those of the congregation.
Saigon – The fourth Sunday of Easter is called Good Shepherd Sunday and it is also called Vocation Sunday.
Fr. Felicks went on a vocation drive to central Vietnam to the Vinh Diocese. He was in a village called ‘Dan Sa’ for Vocation Sunday. There are about 4000 parishioners in the parish. The parish priest Fr. Binh invited Fr. Felicks to give a talk to a group of students who are interested in religious life. He stayed there for about four days looking for students and meeting young people. Let us pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers to vineyard.
Saigon – The words of Fr. Guanella are being realized in Vietnam; the first house of St. Louis Guanella is now established to open his arms, embrace and guide young men. After 6 years of hard work and rented houses, the confreres are finally resting under a roof of their own, a great sacrifice of our benefactors and friends from all over the world. On March 24th (which is Foundation Day of the congregation) the Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, Most Rev. Paul, blessed the new house. His Grace along with Fr. Gustavo De Bonis, Fr. Soosai Rathinam, and Fr. Truong (the local Parish priest) cut the ribbon and blessed the house. After the blessing ceremony, everyone processed to Ben Hai parish for a Thanksgiving Mass. His Grace, Bishop Paul presided over the Eucharistic celebration. After Mass, a simple meal was shared with 20 priests, 30 religious and about 350 friends. With God’s grace the blessing ceremony went on well. Now, the Servants of Charity open wide the doors and heart of the “House of Providence” to the young people.
by Fr. Joseph Rinaldo
Saigon – On March 24, Congregation Day, the Servants of Charity dedicated their first formation House in Vietnam. The choice of this day was extremely meaningful. On this day in 1908, St. Louis Guanella and ten of his religious companions professed their vows at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Como, Italy.
The red ribbon, as the local custom calls for, was cut by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Saigon, Paolo Bui Van Doc. In attendance were Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior of the Divine Providence Province (USA, Philippines, India and Vietnam), and Fr. Gustavo De Bonis, Secretary General. Besides the local pastor, many religious from other institutes, in a communion of faith, blessed the chapel, the sacred vessels and the living quarters. Mass was celebrated at the nearby local parish church.
The three story building, with 250 square feet on each floor, was built in a small area donated by two former Vietnamese sisters. It can house up to twenty young men discerning the Guanellian religious vocation. In the future, they would like to serve the poor in their country according to the charism and the tradition of St. Louis Guanella.
The facility is dedicated to Mary, Mother of Divine Providence. In her honor a large statue was placed at the entrance. Presently, it is not possible for us to open any activities of charity. It is necessary to wait for the young Vietnamese to be ready to take over and spread the Guanellian charism in their own society. The Guanellians have been working in Vietnam for the last four years. Fr. Felicks was the first Guanellian to enter Vietnam. The following year he was helped by Fr. Jerin. In the beginning they relied on the Salesian community until they rented a modest house where they lived with a group of young men. The difficulties in the beginning were overcome with prayer, sacrifices and an adjustment to the new culture. They had to learn the language and develop a relationship with the local youth as well as their neighbors who accepted them with generosity and friendship.
The young men’s formation and education is proceeding well. One of them is in Legazpi, Philippines for his Novitiate. Two others are getting ready for it. The faith in Vietnam is very strong. We hope that our Congregation will be enriched and increased by the love, enthusiasm and the work of these young men, the pioneers of the Guanellian Charism in Vietnam.
Saigon – Fr. Felicks attended the Eucharistic Congress for Children in the Phan Thiat Diocese on June 13th at Tapao Hill. Tapao Hill is a place where people believe that the Blessed Mother appeared. More than 15,000 children gathered for the Eucharistic Congress. It was an amazing experience witnessing how children are brought up in faith in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Saigon – Every newborn child reveals that God still loves us, and the construction of a new church reveals that people are growing in their faith. Fr. Jerin attended the consecration of a new Church located on the top of the mountain amidst the ethnic people. The bishop of Buon Me Thout Diocese, Rev. Bishop Ban consecrated the Church. Fr. Hai, the Parish Priest, Hoa An Parish, faced many difficulties from the officials to construct the church, but he realized the importance of the church in that location. He put all his effort and trust in God. Through the support of the Bishop and brother priests he was able to finish what he started. He is really a missionary in his own country.