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.
Chennai – The Don Guanella Major Seminary community gave a farewell to Fr. Praveen who has been serving in the community as the assistant director of the Don Guanella Rehabilitation Center. He is transferring to the Mysore formation house. The good children and teachers from DGRC participated in the program, making the event a colorful one. Brothers and teachers from DGRC felicitated Fr. Praveen with flattering words for his admirable services that he rendered to the good children. At the culmination of the program, Fr. Samson thanked him for what he has been to the community for the past two years and presented him a gift.
Kallathupatti – Don Guanella Illam is thankful to God’s magnificent grace for the new mission in the Dindigul Diocese. On June 9th a long anticipated desire was fulfilled a house for the poor and needy was officially opened. The house is named in honor of our Founder ‘DON GUANELLA ILLAM’. This is a historical moment for the diocese and the Congregation. The new Bishop of Dindigul, Most. Rev. P. Thomas Paulsamy D.D., officiated the blessing and opening ceremony in the presence of Provincial Superior, Fr. Soosai Rathinam, SdC. Nearly 50 priests and religious from various congregations as well as diocesan priests participated in the event. About 300 parishioners also attended the program.
My head was aching, heart was heavy, spirit quite low and there was a spiritual desertification! I felt that I needed a spiritual revitalization and then I went for an annual retreat to research the traces of God’s presence in my consecrated life journey. I thought that this desire would be helpful due to the unfavorable situation around me, negative criticism, unfair and unloving attitudes. A deep despair was setting in… and I knew I could not change this situation. When I attended the retreat and listened to the preacher and spent more hours in silence I got this unexpected surprise! The Lord said, “My son, it’s not the lovelessness, imperfections of others or your non-stop visits causing this pain, you are in pain, you have withdrawn your love from Me and, are focusing on others’ momentous concern, love and friendship. And whenever anyone blocks the free flow of this energy of love they are bound to suffer.” By becoming hard, insensitive, unloving, and judgmental, we harm ourselves and become nervous but often we do not realize this. The master creator has designed us very wisely. In our bodies, there is a system of ‘chemical reward/punishment’ that acts instantly. A single negative thought about someone is enough to generate toxins in our body that manifests itself not only in our emotions, but also on our very countenance!
Since I am on my canonical visitation in Vietnam/Philippines I would like to emphasize the aspect of ‘interculturality’. Today our Congregation is made up of members from many different countries, that is international/multicultural. Now-a-days no one is surprised to hear questions like: present society bets on mono-culture or multicultural? Internationality is not just an accidental happening, related to the numerical composition of the groups and communities, but it is leading people to make valuable choices, being capable of appreciating in them the birth of a very positive missionary attitude, such as: tolerance, openness, receptivity, dialogue, creativity, appreciating of whatever is different in others. As W.H. Auden says “civilization should be measured by the degree of diversity attained and the degree of unity retained.”
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.
Manila – Three Guanellian brothers renewed their vows on May 26th. The ceremony was integrated into Mass at Guanella Hall and witnessed by the whole seminary community, including the Guanellian Sisters. The Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Charlton and concelebrated by Fr. Battista, Fr. Dong, Fr. Charles, Fr. Loyola and Fr. Ronnie. Fr. Charlton, Provincial Vice-superior of the Divine Providence Province, received the vows of Brothers Alfie, Arun David and Christian. Fr. Charlton focused his homily on the three brothers and offered special words to them, and instructed them to be faithful to their vows.
Bangalore – On May 31st, the feast of “The Visitation of Mother Mary,” the anniversary when our Founder celebrated his first Holy Mass in 1866, six of our Novices successfully completed their novitiate and made their first Religious profession, saying ‘yes’ to the call of the Lord ‘to be His witnesses’. The Brothers looked like angels in their Cassocks. The Congregation and especially Fr. Adaikalam, who led the Brothers throughout the year of Novitiate giving them the experience of the Institute and forming them to be beautiful Flowers offered to God. Bro. At Guanella Preethi Nivas holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Soosai Rathinam. His Councilors Fr. Kulandai and Fr. Visuvasam; Superior and Rector of GPN, Fr. Gnanaraj; Novice Master, Fr. Adaikalam and other Guanellian Fathers concelebrated. During his homily, Fr. Rathinam told the Brothers they must always look forward to the driving force in the religious life and walk toward the destined end. He added, during the time of St. Guanella, they did not have big celebrations, in fact he recalled how after the good children fell asleep they quietly made their vows. The parents of the brothers were acknowledged and thanked by Fr. Rathinam for having encouraged their children to say ‘yes’ to the Divine call. The Community was vibrant with joy and happiness to have this celebration and welcoming the new precious gifts.
Manila – May 23rd-26th the seminarians from Legazpi and Quezon City shared time together. The primary purpose of the event was for the seminarians to develop a strong fraternity towards the Guanellian mission. The seminarians were given talks by Bro. Mauro, SdC, who presented some of the Guanellian Mission Principles, and Sr. Marivic, CM, who talked about discipleship. Team-building activities were conducted by Fr. Ronnie preceded by a fraternal night which allowed the seminarians to show off their talents and skills. Tita Alice and Tito Jun went with the seminarians to Batangas for a relaxing getaway. A tree-planting was the final activity that symbolizes the relationship between the two communities that will continue to grow.
Chennai – On May 26th, for the occasion of the 151st Ordination Anniversary of St. Guanella, 25 of our temporary confreres joyfully renewed their vows by pronouncing ‘Yes’ to the Lord to keep vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior, presided over Holy Mass and received the vows of the confreres. In his homily, he focused on the faithfulness of the confreres to the Congregation. He stressed that faithfulness is one of the important aspects of living a Guanellian religious life. On behalf of the brothers and the community, DGMS Superior Rev. Fr. Samson thanked God and the Provincial Superior with his grateful heart. To make the celebration more grand, Rev. Fr. Gnanaraj, GPN community Superior, Fr. John Peter and Fr. Anil and the DGMS community fathers, con-celebrated with Fr. Soosai.
Manila – Flores De Mayo, which means “flowers of May,” was celebrated by the Filipinos throughout the month of May in honor of and gratitude for the Virgin Mary. The Servants of Charity and San Isidro Labrador Parish offered this annual program for the children of Pantanco, San Agustin, Roque and the ‘good children’ from Guanella Center and Guanella Home. The purpose is to emphasize the Catechism and educate them about celebrating the month of May in honor of Mary. For the first time, the San Isidro Labrador Parish conducted a quiz bee which focused on topics in the Bible. All of the children participated. May 26th was the culmination of the Flores De Mayo celebrations, beginning with a question period by the seminarians. They quizzed the children on their knowledge of Flores De Mayo. Prizes were given to those children who were able to answer the questions. A series of presentations given by the children who participated in the Flores De Mayo program brought the month to a close.