Koppaka – On July 17th, there was a Holy Spirit Mass at the Minor Seminary, Guanella Bhavan. It was the official inauguration of the academic year for the Seminary. Fr. Ronald was the main celebrant for Mass. There are twenty students from four different States: Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Karnataka and Andhra. Fr. Ronald insisted the candidates be happy and obey the formator with love. It will help them to discern their vocation. Every student likes to eat, play, and watch TV; but they must also cultivate love for prayers, study and work which are the key elements in seminary formation. May the Holy Spirit guide the seminarians throughout this year.
Manila – July 29th seven new seminarians of the Servants of Charity were accepted along with seventeen postulants at San Isidro Labrador Parish, Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The event also included the initiation of temporarily professed brother and acolyte, Bro. Alfie Matulac. The Holy Eucharistic celebration was con-celebrated by Fr. Charlton, Fr. Ronnie, Fr. Loyola, Fr. Charles, Fr. Rajesh and Fr. Battista as the main celebrant. The acceptance, initiation and the institution of the acolyte was done after the Liturgy of the Word and was followed by the Homily given by Fr. Battista. After Mass, a simple meal at the Servants of Charity covered court was served for the confreres and the families and friends of the seminarians.
Sivagangai – The finest music often comes out of the saddest moments in life. As the postulancy program began with great joy and pleasure by the ways of the heart of St. Louis Guanella, July 7th-9th a music class was conducted for the brothers to improve their quality of learning music with special care. Fr. Arputha Raj, SdC, was invited to teach the music class. He led the class with full involvement and commitment. He enlightened their minds to assimilate music in many possible ways. Karnatic and Western lessons were taught through scales and mind blowing songs. “Music is a universal language of mankind,” he said. At the very atmosphere we nourished our minds and thoughts through his homily. All those who participated benefited by this music and vocal class.
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.
Sivagangai – There are plenty of ways to attain enjoyment but a small loop is the only way to enjoy happiness. It was the greatest opportunity for postulants of Sivagangai to experience and to enjoy God’s love with practical knowledge of the mission of the Servants of Charity. Therefore Fr. Superior and the formators initiated the ministry for the postulants to experience filial affinity with those who say, ‘I have no one.’ They began this mission experience with the ‘Anbagam Special Children’ on July 6th. As part of the mission, special children were elevated through doing the charitable works and making them feel happy for the love of God. Indeed, it was a blessed day for all who recognized the charity and loveable heart of St. Louis Guanella.
Legazpi – On July 13th, the novices began their academic year with the topics Constitutions and Regulations, Formation and Basic Psychology. The Life, the Spirit and the Works of St. Louis Guanella, the Founder, is the main text for their studies.
The school year for the novices also includes their apostolate which officially kicked off by celebrating holy Mass at Purok 6, the poor area in Albay Bicol on July 22nd. The novices will accompany the poor children with games and catechism classes.
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
Ho Chi Minh City – Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior, arrived in Vietnam for his canonical visit on June 20th. His presence was very uplifting for the students. An official community meeting was held and Fr. Soosai also spoke to each confrere in the community individually, encouraging them to be a witness of Christ in the present world. We had a wonderful time during his visit. He departed for the Philippines on June 26th.
Manila – On June 23rd, our Priests and perpetually professed brothers, Fr. Charlton, Fr. Dong, Fr. Charles, Fr. Loyola, Fr. Battista, Bro. Mauro and Bro. Alfie, renewed their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Ronnie Samaniego, and was concelebrated by Fr. Charlton, Fr. Dong, Fr. Charles, and Fr. Loyola and was attended by the whole seminary community. They renewed their vows before the communion rite. The day of the renewal was also on the feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and our sisters of the Daughters of Saint Paul came to celebrate with us.