“Counting your Blessings, March with an Optimistic Attitude”

“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

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Strengthening Harong Kan Sagrada

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.

Jubilee Celebration

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.

Enthronement of the Apostle of Charity

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.

Feast of the Apostle of Charity

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.

Children Celebrate a Saint

E. Providence – Students at Sacred Heart School prepared for the feast of St. Louis Guanella by learning more about his life. Each grade did projects for the event. First graders drew portraits and created alphabet books that used words to describe the life of the saintly Founder. The entire school community celebrated solemn Mass in his honor.

Flag Hoisting, Novena and Rites

Chennai – In the footsteps of St. Guanella we walk to Christ. October is a special month in his honor at Don Guanella Major Seminary. A novena to the Founder began on October 15th when Fr. Soosai, Provincial Superior, hoisted the flag. Mass followed, celebrated by Fr. Soosai and during which three brothers received rites in the Church: Bros. Anil Merugu and Raja Rathinam received the declaration of Intent and Bro. Thambusamy received the order of Acolyte to serve the Lord at the Altar. After Mass, the community gathered for a meal and to congratulate the brothers.

Theological Symposium

Manila – The Ven. Aurelio Bacciarini Theologate (VABT) in the Philippines under the supervision of Fr. Rajesh conducted its 1st Theological Symposium on October 13th. The topic was ‘The Childhood of Fr. Guanella’ 1842-1854. Br. Mark Lanuza, 1st year theology student, presented the story of the early life of young Louis, and it was followed by Br. Erwin Azurin, 2nd year theology student, with his theological perspective. Br. Christian Magdaong, 2nd year theology student, facilitated the simple panel discussion with Fr. Charles, Fr. Charlton and Br. Mauro as special guests. The VABT community is grateful for the active participation of the confreres and seminarians. This event prepared them for a solemn celebration of the feast of St. Louis Guanella this year.

Fr. Louis Guanella: Universal and Intercultural Missionary!!!

How is Fr. Guanella connected with the missions? He never went to any mission country as a missionary does. Since his years in the Como Seminary, he had a soft spot, a strong desire to join PIME, and go to India or China. He even asked his Bishop to have the opportunity to fulfill his dream, but he was denied. “Your India will be here at home”, his Bishop replied. His strong missionary desire was passed on to his Religious, “The whole world is your homeland”. The first mission territory he served was Switzerland, filled with many Protestants, which was just outside of his own native place. There, he sent his priests to take care of the Italian immigrants plus the few native Catholics. A small step, but a step that became a big one when, later on, his Religious crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to bring Catholic and non-Catholic alike, the message of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and Good Samaritan, to His creatures in need of faith, hope and love.
Recently his Religious even touched the ‘Solomon Islands’ in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia are now the homeland of a great number of Servants of Charity and Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. They are the fulfillment of Fr. Guanella’s dream, bringing “Bread and the Lord, to those who need them, material bread and spiritual bread.
Was Fr. Guanella a missionary? A resounding “YES” is his presence in 24 nations through his spiritual children, religious and laity. He wrote, “We are Servants of Charity, because the Charity of Jesus Christ has called us. Let us practice with fervor the works of mercy, and we will obtain the mercy of the Lord! The poor are our favored ones. They are our masters. We must work and suffer for them. Is it not what Jesus, the Divine Missionary, has done for us by His mission of Salvation?
As we celebrate 102 years since the heavenly birth of our Holy Founder, let us resolve to re-incarnate his presence, vision and mission contextually. Thus we become a border-crossing person: across cultures, religions, genders, race!

Music Class

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.