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.
First Profession in Manila
July was a special month for our congregation. On July 1st, Br. Dao, Br. Dien and Br. Mark, made their first profession of vows. Although they are from Viet Nam and Philippines with many differences they are united as one in the congregation, the Servants of Charity. With hearts full of love they professed their faith to God who will always be with them during their times of need. That day was a special mark for them because they officially started a life of a religious with the vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience. Through and in these vows, they will live a life which no longer belongs to them but to Jesus Christ who has called them and continues to call them again and again to follow Him and serve Him through the charism of the Servants of Charity.
Besides that, we also were glad to welcome six new Vietnamese novices who have been in formation in Manila. They will be guided by Novice Master Fr. Sagayaraj, SdC who is from India. With his guidance, they will learn more about the religious life through which they want to dedicate themselves to the Lord whom they love.
Provincial Superior, Fr. Soosai Rathinam, told them, “In this particular year, you will search for the Lord and answer the question ‘who is he?’” The novices were touched by this because as the apostles did, the novices need to answer this question, “But who do you say that I am?”(Luke 9,20). Novitiate is a special and beautiful year for them to understand the life which they desire to live and to serve through God’s love.
On another special occasion with Fr. Gustavo, the novices received a beautiful message from him:
“At the beginning of this new year of novitiate, what I desire is that you be open to the Holy Spirit, who is the one that shapes your person for consecration.
If we want the Lord to consecrate us like the Virgin Mary, we have to be docile and so in this way the Holy Spirit can penetrate our souls.
The novitiate is a particular stage of our formation that requires openness to His action to live more deeply the grace of this particular call in our lives.
Dear novices, remember that you were the ones who committed yourselves to this particular year. If you give great importance to it you will be successful in your future religious life.
A religious vocation is like a seed, that, watered by grace, sets good roots and we hope you can develop good soil so in this way the strong plant of religious life may grow fruitful.
The Blessed Virgin, St. Louis Guanella and St. Joseph be not only your constant intercessors, but also your models by indicating how to surrender your lives to the Lord as they have done.”
Let us continue to pray for them, so that the Lord will guide them, make them understand His call through the year of Novitiate, and then, they will respond to His call as our beloved Mother responded to the greeting of the angel Gabriel and trusted in the will of God in her life with the heart of humility.
First Visit of the Guanellian Sisters to Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City – Guanellian Sisters, Sr. Victoria and Sr. Malini, accompanied Fr. Rathinam on his canonical visit. They stayed in our community in order to visit some missionary sisters and get some idea of how they can start their own community in Vietnam. On the final day of their visit, we went on pilgrimage to Mount Vung Tàu, about 100kms from Ho Chi Minh City. A statue called Christ the King of Vũng Tàu stands 32 meters (105 ft) high on the top of 170 meters (558 ft) Nho Mount in Vũng Tàu with Jesus extending his 18.3 meter (60 ft) long arms. The nearby Mount also has a big statue of Mother Mary. We prayed to Christ the King and Mother Mary for the success of the 20th General Chapter.
Visit of Fr. Provincial
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.
Cause for Celebration
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.
Next Step of Journey Begins
Ho Chi Minh City – On May 23rd two students, Trong and Toan, who completed two years of priestly formation in Vietnam, left for the Philippines to continue their studies. Both Trong and Toan were well prepared in English and spiritual formation. They will spend two years in the Philippines for postulency and Novitiate. Please pray for them to have a wonderful Guanellian experience in the Philippines and be well-trained as workers for the Lord’s harvest.
Formation of the Formator
Ho Chi Minh City – Fr. Sahayaraj, SdC, from the Legazpi community in the Philippines, visited for a month to experience the Vietnamese culture. He wanted to understand the culture more since he will be the Novice Master for the six Vietnamese students in Legazpi beginning in July 2017. During his stay, he visited the families of some of the students’. Before his departure for Manila on May 1st the Vietnam community went on a picnic to a nearby river. It was a wonderful day of relaxation and fraternity.
Celebrating Vietnamese New Year
Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnamese New Year is a special day for all the people of Vietnam. It is interesting to notice how Vietnamese people give respect to the elderly and get blessings from them. The Servants of Charity celebrated Mass for the elderly poor people and gave them lucky money to help with their needs.
Fr. Felicks visited the family of Br. Khiet bringing greetings for the New Year. Fr. Felicks received special blessings from his grandfather who is more than 85 years old.
Experience with Good Children
Ho Chi Minh – As the Servants of Charity slowly start venturing into Vietnam, Br. Khiet, SdC (Vietnamese confrere) had the opportunity to spend 30 days assisting the special children in a school and rehabilitation center run by the St. Paul Sisters in Bau Loc Town, a place 200km from Hochiminh City. He was given warm hospitality at the center. He contributed his talents in working, teaching them songs, organizing games and entertaining them in many ways from our the Guanellian style. This experience has given our Vietnamese confrere more hope for our Guanellian mission in Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh – Our Engineer, Mr. Toan, was blessed by the birth of his second baby boy. He wished to Baptize his child in our Chapel. He is from North of Vietnam and received permission from his parish priest to have his baby baptized here. Mr. Toan asked Fr. Jerin to be his Godfather, so, on June 19th, the ordination anniversary of Fr. Jerin, he celebrated the Holy Mass and Fr. Felicks administered the sacrament. It’s a historical event for the community since it was the First Baptism in our Chapel.