‘In every human person there is the imprint of God’- Pope Francis. The statement reminds us that each of us is created in God’s image and likeness. Our province has given birth to new houses for the good children in the United States and in India, on June 12th a formal dedication of ST. LOUIS GUANELLA VILLAGE along with the grand opening of four new CHILDREN’S HOMES for children with Intellectual and developmental disabilities and on June 29th, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, DON GUANELLA RESIDENTIAL HOME for the orphaned special children respectively. These are the outcomes of the untiring efforts of our confreres along with the Staff, Parents, GLM, Benefactors and well-wishers. It is realized after 58 & 20 years of our ministry presence in USA and Chennai as per the sayings of our Founder St. Luigi Guanella, ‘A new house develops little by little according to the ways of Divine Providence.’ It is also a miracle of Providence. Fr. Luigi invites us not to put our trust in economic security or fixed revenues or human protection but in prayer, work, sacrifice and poverty. He not only expressed this by his words but by deeds of trusting in God and soliciting help from the people.
Every human person is born with a heart of compassion which reacts in accordance with the feelings of fellow humans. Compassion, love, affection and care are the innate qualities which make us human. It is these qualities that define the human person. All world religions ecumenically share and support this concept of treating others with courtesy and kindness. The best example of humaneness is the parable of “The Good Samaritan” in which a lowly Samaritan assisted a helpless man who had been waylaid and injured.
Therefore my humble reminder to all those associated with the Guanellian Mission in our province as we remember the foundation day of our ministry on July 3rd to inculcate a heart of compassion, love, affection and care to the differently-abled people who need love and compassion. Pope Francis rightly said in one of his audiences when he directly met the sick and the differently-abled people: “God has a special place in His Heart for differently-abled people.” Dalai Lama said: “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries… without them humanity cannot survive.” So let’s always strive to be persons filled with compassion and love for humanity without any distinctions. Having the imprints of God in us, let’s see God’s imprint in our fellow humans.
Fr. Soosai Rathinam, SdC
Cuddalore – On March 22nd, to conclude the academic year, Annual Day was celebrated with the Evening School Children in the auditorium of St. Joseph’s Seminary. The celebration began with the welcome address given by the rector of the seminary, Fr. Assisi. Fr. Amal Raj, vice-rector of the seminary, was also present and Sr. Maria, Principal of St. Mary’s Mat. High Secondary School was the chief guest. In her speech, Sr. Maria spoke about the Evening School as a great opportunity for the children as well as for their families. She invited the children to make good use of it for a better future. One of the parents shared her feelings and her gratitude to the Institute and to St. Guanella for the precious service given to their children. Fr. Assisi distributed prizes for various the competitions: regular attendance, best student, best attitude. After the vote of thanks given by Fr. Arockia Raj, Annual Day concluded by sharing a delicious meal. The children were very happy. They made the celebration much more joyful with their cultural programs.
Cuddalore – The 6th Annual Guanellian Lay Movement Meeting was January 20th-21st. This two-day program allowed office bearers and the delegated members from Andra, Bangalore, Chennai and Cuddalore to gather with great enthusiasm. It was a wonderful journey for the laity to experience and share the Guanellian spirit. Fr. Visuvasam, Provincial Delegate and local Superior, welcomed the group reminding them of the words of Pope Francis about the participation of the Laity and how our Founder encouraged the participation of the Laity in the mission. He spoke of the Guanellian Charism, “Paternity of God,” encouraging the laity to live their vocation, carry their cross and walk the Calvary with Christ as the focus. Fr. Rosario gave the next talk. He spoke of Christian Virtues, quoting from the Bible how Christ Himself showed trust in Abba Father by praying in silence before doing anything. Without God at the center we are only doing social service. We must spend time in prayer to gain strength to do God’s will. In prayer God will reveal and inspire us with a plan, show us the method to execute and fulfill His will.
The second day began with Adoration and Holy Mass. Fr. Francis gave the first talk, speaking about the three Virtues taught by our Founder. He said when we allow evil to be the sower the harvest will be pride, greed and lust. Whereas, when we allow God to be the sower the harvest will be humility, poverty and mortification through which we can overcome evil and do great good. A Guanellian Cooperator shared her journey from being a benefactor, GLM member and finally a Cooperator. Her experience inspired the members and helped them to understand how they too can become Guanellian Cooperators. The members’ spirits were strengthened and renewed to continue their good work.
Cuddalore – On December 19th, our Founder’s 175th birthday, and to honor his holy birth, life and his charitable patrimony St. Joseph’s Seminary, Don Guanella Boys Home, Sahaya Matha Parish, Divine Providence Convent, Guanellian Lay Movement and all the beneficiaries joined as one family to celebrate. The celebration included solemn Mass, during which three GLM members made their promise and became Guanellian Cooperators, cultural performances, gift sharing and an Agape meal. It was a time of revitalizing the spirit, mission and vision of St. Louis Guanella.
Bangalore – Guanella Preethi Nivas celebrated suppose Christmas, Family Day and the birthday of our Founder on December 19th. GPN was opened to all the GC, GLM, Youth, Sisters, beneficiaries, staff, and all well wishers for the occasion. It was an event to rekindle the spirit of St. Guanella and evangelize the Charism in his footsteps. The event began with Solemn Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Jegan. Following this spiritual nourishment, physical nourishment was provided in the form of cultural programs and a delicious meal. Gifts were given to the staff, GC, GLM and youth as tokens of the love of St. Guanella.
“LIFE” is explained as Love In Full Experience. It’s an opportune time to retrospect and look back at the attitudes which guided our life journey in 2017 in order to approach 2018 with an optimistic attitude. The world in 2017 encountered various tragedies like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, landslides, other natural disasters in Tamil Nadu (OCKHI Storm) at Kanyakumari district and faced challenges in the present political scenario (RK Nagar election). This must not hinder our progress and let our attitude falter. Rather we must march forward at the right altitude and with a positive attitude. When we focus on the tragedies and disasters we cannot get in line with our journey of life as happy and joyful human beings on earth. Therefore, this New Year is an invitation to each of us to count the blessings of 2017 by being grateful to God in the words of St. Paul, ‘in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’ (1Thes 5,18) and welcome the New Year with vigour, hope, courage and strength. Once we start appreciating all the blessings bestowed by God, our attitude changes, we stop complaining and finally we become thankful, which produces Joy.
Life completely depends on our attitude. Why depend on our attitude? From where does our attitude arise? In this New Year I intend to focus on our attitude because the present scenario is all about instant news through TV, computer, network, mobile phones, tablets and so on. We hear bad news much more quickly. We are bombarded with negative information from every direction and there is a possibility of slipping into an emotional mood. We will easily be worried about the situation of the country and society; politically and economically but what change will we see personally? During difficult times, each of us likes to choose the better and have a positive outlook. Having encountered various disasters and changes in the past, are we going to face the upcoming year with gloom and doom? Are we going to feel that nothing will work out for us? When we are deep into our problems and unable to find solutions we will sink into discouragement. To avoid this ill feeling and overcome it we need to be prepared with an attitude adjustment called optimism.
“OPTIMISM” means the confidence to transform the worst into the best. It is like the seed that has fallen from the beak of the bird, which does not complain rather begins to grow into a big tree that gives shade and shelter to many. At the closure of 2017, it is high time to check how optimistic we are in our daily life. Do we go on cursing people and situations or do we try to make the best out of every event that happens in life? In line with this thought I remember an Ancient African proverb, “even in hell there is a little corner known as heaven.” It means that in difficult times we need to march with a positive attitude so that we can receive blessings for ourselves and others. Therefore I would like to bring to your attention that attitude has a drastic impact on life (both positive and negative attitudes). What do we choose: Positive or Negative? Positive – will lead to success, make us humble in our dealings, develop faith in God & others, become content with what we have and finally we become thankful personalities. Negative – will lead to unhappiness, poor relationships, difficulty at work and ultimately poor health.
Our attitude arises from within not from external circumstances/people. Let’s choose our attitude by being mindful of the blessings we have received: life, parents, kith and kin, relatives, friends, vocation to married and religious life and good health. We shall learn this choosing of the right and positive attitude from our Holy Founder, St. Louis Guanella, who was a merciful father because of his gratefulness for everything. He possessed the special power of healing souls, of dispelling their difficulties without ever recalling them. He was generous in forgiving his adversaries and he implied the very motto ‘Mercy more than justice’ all though his life where he experienced love in full and transmitted to the very needy people of his time. Hence, like our founder and other great personalities let’s keep the mercifulness at the center and dwell with a positive outlook, moving forward with an optimistic attitude to become successful in 2018. May I wish you all an optimistic and a prosperous New Year. May God reward you with more blessings.
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
Legazpi – “Zumba” is the new fitness activity of the staff and members of SAGRADA FAMILIA which they are enjoying it with all their strength. They dance not only for relaxation, but they also to build relationships in the spirit of “SAGRADA FAMILIA”. There is no distinction between priests, seminarians, teachers, staff, social workers or therapists, but all are “Family”. We work not for our own good but for the common good of others, coming together as a community to improve the lives of those who are lacking in society.
On the occasion of the feast of Fr. Guanella, we also needed to acknowledge the staff at HKSF. Many of the staff were inspired by Fr. Guanella to dedicated themselves for this work of charity. The strong witness is the length of time which they have been working here in this community. Through many difficulties, challenges and lack of material goods in the very beginning, they and the Guanellian priests worked tirelessly to develop the community not only for the present but for the future good of all.
Cuddalore – On November 24th the Silver Jubilee of the Guanellian presence in India and Priestly Golden jubilee of Fr. Joe started with decorations, rangoli, songs, and programs at St. Joseph’s Seminary. After the conclusion of the Provincial Chapter the celebration began with Holy Mass presided over by Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, as thanksgiving to God for all that we received in these years of mission, years of grace and fraternal love among us and with all the people he has met. After Mass everyone gathered in the auditorium where Fr. Joe cut and served the anniversary cake. A cultural program dedicated to the Golden Jubilarian was performed and Fr. Soosai Rathinam recounted the history of St. Joseph’s Seminary and the pioneers to India. The celebration ended with the thanksgiving note of Fr. Visuwasam, Superior of the Cuddalore community.
Cuddalore – To make the feast of St. Louis Guanella a remarkable one and on account of the silver jubilee year of the Guanellian presence in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, India, St. Joseph’s Seminary was pleased to enthrone a beautiful and sanctimonious statue in the campus on October 25th. The statue was blessed and enthroned by local community superior Fr. Visuwasam, SdC. Fr. Francis Assisi, SdC, Rector of the seminary, thanked and acknowledged all those who provided the means and blessings to actualize the project. In a special way he thanked Mr. John Bosco and his family from Velikoonankurichy, the sole sponsor of the statue. A solemn Mass was celebrated and fraternal Agape shared. Giving ‘Bread and the Lord’ in the footsteps of St. Louis Guanella was accomplished.
Chennai – After the flag Hoisting, the Don Guanella Major Seminary community organized a novena and prayed for the intercession of the Holy Founder each day. The confreres gave a reflection each day on different topics. On the 21st the evening school children participated in the novena. Fr. A. C. Periyanayagam shared his reflection on the Founder. On the 22nd, GYM and GLM celebrated the novena with a special prayer service and adoration followed by dinner with the community. October 24th was the grand celebration of the feast. The religious from the area, GLM, GYM gathered for the Eucharistic Celebration celebrated by Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior. Fr. Tony, who has been ministering in the Solomon Islands, gave testimony of his experience there. The novena closed with dinner in the name of St. Louis Guanella.