Two Great Feasts

Kumbakonam – Guanella Nagar Parish celebrated the feast of St. Francis Xavier in Thirupurampiam and Our Lady of Good Health in Chinammal Kallarai. The First feast at Thirupurampiam began on August 26th with flag hoisting and solemn Mass, celebrated by Fr. Amaithi Arasu, Chancellor of the Kumbakonam Diocese. The following two days events included solemn Holy Mass followed by the Car Procession Blessed by Rev. Fr. B. John Bosco. On the final day, the flag was lowered after Mass. This event brought Ecumenism among the Hindus and the Christians. It was well organized by the Hindu faithful who assisted with the grand celebration.
To mark the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Second Feast at Chinammal Kalarai began on August 29th with the flag hoisting, a penitential service and solemn Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Felix Samuel, Secretary for the Family Commission. Fr. A. John Bosco, Parish Priest, arranged for the Sacrament of Penance. Fr. Felix prepared the people spiritually for many who desired Confession. Fr. Kirubagaran, Liturgy Commission, preached the Homily. He said in his homily that the parents of our Mother Mary were simple people of great hope.
The culmination of the celebration was High Mass on August 30th. Rev. Fr. T. Devadoss, parish priest and V. F, of St. Mary’s Cathedral, was the main celebrant and Fr. B. John Bosco, Secretary for the Bible Commission, preached the Homily and blessed the Car procession which followed Mass. The statue of Our Lady of Good Health was carried through the streets. On the following day, \Fr. G. Christhu Raj, \ Director for St. Mary’s ITI, celebrated the feast day Mass and lowered the flag. Mr. Socrates and Mr. Thavidhu honored the priests, sisters and brothers with shawls. The faithful shared cake and tea to bring the celebration to a close.

The Feast of St. Francis Xavier

Vatluru – The faithful of Showripuram, one of the Sacred Heart Parish substations, celebrated the solemnity of their patron, St. Francis Xavier, on December 3rd. Fr. Peter Joseph, parish priest, blessed and began a procession of St. Francis Xavier; the faithful carrying the statue around their village with great devotion. Later, everyone gathered at the entrance to the village in order to welcome their shepherd Most. Rev. Jeyarao Polilmera, Bishop of Eluru, who was to preside over Holy Mass. They greeted him with garlands and a shawl and brought him in procession to the church. He then hoisted the flag of St. Francis Xavier and proceeded to begin the Festival Mass concelebrated by the priests. A short cultural program was performed following Mass in order to felicitate His grace. The entire village was happy and they thanked the Lord for the gift of their patron saint.

Pigrimage to Goa

Bangalore  – To celebrate the Centenary Birth of St. Louis Guanella in Heaven, the Indian confreres organized a four-day pilgrimage to Goa, to the place of St. Francis Xavier, acclaimed as “the Apostle of India.” As gift of his missionary work, God granted him an incorrupt body which is preserved in the Bom Jesus Basilica in Goa. St. Guanella himself was a great pilgrim who traveled to the Holy Land, Lourdes, Fatima, Pompeii and America. He presented pilgrimage as a model of spiritual practice to attain growth in the spiritual life and as a foretaste of our final pilgrimage to Heaven. Sixteen young Indian Guanellian priests made this special pilgrimage May 4-8th with the same sentiments of our Founder. They celebrated Mass at the main altar of the Basilica and prayed for the Congregation, the Divine Providence Province, the seminarians, beneficiaries, benefactors and the Guanellian Laity. They prayed especially that all Guanellians may be filled with the same missionary spirit of St. Francis Xavier and St. Louis Guanella.

St. Xavier’s Feast

St  Francis Xaviour FeastKumbakonam – Our  Lady of Divine Providence Church has been blessed with two substations, Velakudi and Thirupurambiam, with St. Francis Xavier as their patron and who is also patron of our nation India. The feast was celebrated on December 3 at Thirupurambiam, and December 4 at Velakudi in a simple but a solemn way. Some of the parishioners, GLM, and Legion of Mary participated actively; encouraging the people of the substations. Mr. Raphealdoss, a GLM member began the celebration with the Holy Rosary, followed by a novena prayer and the litany of St. Francis Xavier. On both the days, Fr. A. John Bosco, SdC, parish priest, celebrated the solemn Mass and preached about the life and missionary spirit of St. Xavier. He also spoke of St. Luigi Guanella who also had the missionary zeal. He exhorted the parishioners to have such a missionary zeal in proclaiming the Good News and to work for the remote people in the parish. After Mass, each village generously shared their joy offering coffee and snacks and Fr. John Bosco provided sweets for the celebration.
The people decorated the chapels with flowers and colorful lights. The Liturgy was arranged and animated by the assistant parish priest, Guanellian Sisters and the Regent Brother. While the liturgical celebrations gave the animators spiritual nourishment and a fraternal spirit, it is hoped that the villagers now feel that they are part of the big Our Lady of Divine Providence family Parish. Reaching the remote substations would have really pleased the patron of missionaries and brought the Grace of God through the intercession of St. Francis Xavier.

Pilgrimage to Goa

cudda parish - pilgrimmageCuddalore -Sahaya Matha parishioners had a long desire to visit the holy place of St. Francis Xavier. On May 12th early in the morning the dream became reality when a group of parishioners arrived at Goa accompanied by their parish priests. What a spectacular moment to see the magnificent shrine of St. Francis Xavier. They were able to celebrate the Holy Eucharist at the Shrine for four days. They could hardly believe that their own mortal feet walked on the same sand which the great saint walked. The pilgrims were deeply moved by the works and life history of the ‘Great Apostle of the East,’ during a movie in the shrine theater.  There was ample time to visit various shrines and beaches in Goa. The tour was meticulously arranged by the parish council members with the mutual support of the parish priests.

Moved by the Spirit, Urged into Action

In February 1896, Don Guanella wrote an article for the magazine “La Divina Provvidenza”, entitled “The Catholic Vision”. I quote some of his lines:

“In the past, the world was coming toward us; now it turns its back on us. In the past it was enough for us to stay inside our Churches and offices; now we must move outward, getting out of our sacristies if we don’t want to run the risk of finding ourselves guilty of being locked in dishonorable isolation. To us indeed now these words of the Gospel are addressed: “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the towns and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” (Luke 14:21).

Some may object: “We have our pulpits, our confessionals; let people come to us where we live and where we carry out our assignments”.

If they don’t come, if the voice of the bell instead of attracting them seems to chase them away, should we remain indifferent in front of such deplorable desertion, simply shaking the dust from our feet and throwing them the harsh words of Jeremiah: “Those who want to get lost, Let them get lost”.

Did it perhaps happen that the world moved first towards Jesus or is it true the other way around? Were Rome and Athens asking the apostles Peter and Paul for the Gospel? Let us imagine that in our place there are Saint Francis de Sales or St. Francis Xavier; after spending an hour of adoration, after practicing severe self-discipline and celebrating the holy mass with angelic devotion, how would they spend the rest of their day? Would they remain comfortably seated, observing the dangerous storms that afflict humankind, noticing only from which direction the wind blows, simply being content at counting how many boats are sinking, without providing any rescue to those in danger, without throwing the ropes to them and extending their helping hands?

Someone may say; “How could a few isolated individuals, cope with such a huge task? How? Bring together your human resources, join forces and orient them all toward the common goal.

We promote collaboration to develop sciences, to manage business, to dig channels, to populate newly discovered areas. Shouldn’t we join efforts likewise to populate heaven, to bring God to human hearts which are made to love and bless Him eternally? May the Lord help us!”

In these lines written more than a century ago, Don Guanella shared something of the passion for the Church’s evangelizing mission that burned within his heart and that urged him into action without hesitation or fear, neither counting the cost, nor being intimidated by the risks. What our founder felt, experienced and boldly proposed sounds so much in tune with the call of the Spirit to the Church of our time, an appeal that has been continually re-echoed and broadcasted by the pastoral ministry of Pope Benedict XVI.

The wind of the New Evangelization that has blown throughout the duration of our 19th General Chapter, is now urging us to welcome the inspirations felt and the decisions made during that assembly allowing ourselves to be continually set on fire for the beautiful mission entrusted to us, Servants of God’s Love among his poor.

Let us simply cherish in our hearts and translate into attitudes and pastoral decisions the prophetic reminders of our Saint.

  • Ours is a time of difficulties and challenges, as well as of graces and unique opportunities.
  • It’s time again for us to be evangelized and converted anew to the Lord, fascinated by the everlasting beauty of the Gospel. It’s a time to overcome fears, to put aside timidity and mere human calculations, to fight laziness, to reject temptations of mediocrity and selfishness.
  • It’s a time to go out not only of our sacristies and offices, but most of all, our “comfort zone,” individualistic habits, and self-centeredness.
  • It’s a time to take new fresh, bolder steps to be more visible and present to the poor and the marginalized with the heart, mind and hands of Jesus, to become their closest friends, companions, joyful and humble servants.
  • It’s a time to deepen our love for the Church, our mother, our home and our family. Time to insert more and more clearly our life and ministry in the living body of the Local Church which we are called to beautify and enrich with our specific vocation and charism.
  • It’s time to feel the urgency to reach out and touch the lives of many brethren who are not yet in the sheepfold, who got lost, who have never been home with the God whom we call our Father.
  • It’s time to evangelize together, making our fraternal communion the first and most credible sign of our mission.
  • It’s time to let our consecrated lifestyle speak louder than our words.
  • It’s time to help and challenge one another to throw away what is futile, worldly, un-Christian and focus instead on the essential of our public commitment.
  • And the essential is; “In Omnibus Charitas”; “To make Charity the heart of the world!”

 

Fr. Luigi