Chennai – Though the 21st century fascinates us with all its advancements and innovations, the place to be truly happy is still reserved for the family because it is the place where everyone is recognized and strengthened. At Don Guanella Major Seminary the memory remains fresh of the Family Day celebration on August 15th with the Guanellian Lay Movement and their families. Fr. Michael was the main celebrant of the Holy Mass and other community fathers concelebrated. He rightly preached that the Family of Nazareth must be the paradigm of our families to lead ourselves to be the specially chosen people of God. After Mass, Theology brothers entertained the families with their thundering songs and colorful dances. Agape was served in the spirit of fraternity and joyfulness. Representatives from the Guanellian Lay Movement thanked Fr. Samson for hosting such a beautiful event and Fr. Francis for organizing it well.
Mysore – Don Guanella Evening School celebrated Independence Day on August 15th in Harohalli. The local Panchayat president and other councilors presided over the program. The children welcomed the gathering and honored the guests with flowers before presenting different types of programs like dancing and giving speeches about India and the freedom fighters. Brothers from Preethiya Sevakaru performed a dance for the national anthem. At the end of the program children were given cakes and sweets.
Legazpi: To help overcome the struggles and difficulties of language and culture barriers in the local area the Cooperators, Novice Master and novices organized a camping trip on February 24th for children from Purok 6. The program started with heavy rain, a sign of blessing from God, for this inaugural event. The children and their parents enjoyed putting up tents, games, cooking, swimming and so forth. The adventure came to a close by Fr. Sagayaraj thanking God for the joyful and exhausting day.
Chennai – If the world is a book, those who do not travel read only one page. To assist the theology students to read more pages, the Don Guanella Major Seminary community organized an annual two-day tour. The journey departed from DGMS on March 20th with the prayer of Fr. Samson. The first day was joyfully spent in Valparai visiting many tourist places and Churches. Breezy wind and natural sceneries offered peaceful relaxation and mesmerized the travelers. The second day journey began from Valparai to Palkad. The confreres enjoyed the day, sharing their togetherness and happiness with all the community members.
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.
Ho Chi Minh City – Fr. Felicks teaches Basic English to the initiation students in our house, to the students at the Franciscan Missionary sisters(FMM) and to some students of Benhai Church. An English Academy program was organized to hone and show off English speaking skills and singing English songs. Altogether 25 students participated in the English Academy. The judges were Br. Hoang, SdC; Sr. Vy, FMM and Mrs. Judith who is originally from the Philippines. Our Initiation students benefited from the program because it was the first one organized in our community to display their speaking and singing talents. The students who performed well received gifts. The event ended with a small agape meal and time of sharing.
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.
Legazpi – The Harong Kan Sagrada Familia community welcomed Fr. Charlton Viray for a visit November 6th–8th. During his visit, he offered a class for all the novices entitled, “Prayer with the Bible” teaching them to use this kind of prayer in their own spiritual life. He said, “once, one gets to know and apply this prayer in their spiritual life, one may discover their own self and may realize their own self with the painfulness of spirit which self needs to accept it in order to grow.” With this type of prayer, we no longer pray alone, but we listen, understand and meet Jesus in our hearts. Prayer becomes a personal dialogue with Jesus and we discover “who is Jesus in my life?” In seeking him in others: neighbors, poor, needy, we also see him in our own hearts, for He is waiting for us there. Getting to know Him is getting to know ourselves.
Legazpi – “From purgatory, which is painful and sorrowful, the crying voices of the souls resound in great sorrow, with the belief that mother Mary will have pity on those who cry for help.”
The holy souls not only wait for Mother Mary, they also wait for the prayers of their own family, their beloved ones. Unfortunately, many are forgotten by their own families, forgotten by this world. They can no longer do anything for themselves in order to get back to God, Who is the greatest desire of all souls. They suffer the great fire which burns in their hearts day after day. The only hope that they have is the Church Militant who journey together in this world to pray for them and to do acts of charity for them. We must always remember the holy souls, what they had done for us while they were in this world. After their passing from this life, they must not be forgotten but must be remembered everyday of our lives. In November especially, the novices went to many different cemeteries to visit the holy souls and to pray for them according to the teachings of the church.
We are sending you, interested readers of our large Province the latest news. World Church at Freiburg has decided to give financial support of the theology students in India and Philippines. Dr. P. Birkhofer was personally approached by Fr. Luigi during our courtesy visit on September 19th. On behalf of the Diocese of Freiburg, Dr. Birkhofer has issued a letter announcing the award of 24,000 € to support our students.
The second good news is the Media conference which was held on November 28th at the local office of Caritas at Pforzheim. The reporters detailed the project in the Solomon Islands which has been given full support by Director Lemke. Director, Johannes Frank Lemke is a good friend of the Guanellians and a personal friend of mine since I was the active social assistant at Caritas from 1966-69. Caritas is accepting donations from interested parties on behalf of the Servants of Charity for a community center in Noro, New Georgia that will provide basic services to the local people of the Solomon Islands. It is estimated that the first phase of this project can be completed with 20,000 €.
The brochure from Caritas illustrates the top corners of a true neighbor’s tender love and their commitment to serving those most in need.
Pray with me to the Lord for a positive outcome of our present intensive efforts.
During Advent let us focus our intentions for a good and coordinated development of Guanellian intensive engagement in neighboring European countries such as France and Great Britain.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure