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.
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.
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.
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.
Ho Chi Minh – On June 12th, we said farewell to the second year students (Tung, Tam, Thang and Duong). A beautiful Mass was celebrated and dinner with some benefactors followed. After dinner the students shared their experience in the community. The community presented them with gifts. The following day they flew to Philippines for further formation in Religious Life.
Ho Chi Minh – Heeding the words of Pope Francis in his Papal Bull “Misericordiae Vultus”, Our community went on a pilgrimage during this Jubilee Year of Mercy to Our Lady of Ta Pao Mountain. On June 11th we traveled about 100 km from Ho Chi Minh City for our spiritual retreat. During the pilgrimage we prayed for our sins and for the sins of the whole world and to rededicate our lives to God as Religious. A thanksgiving mass was also offered to God for His miraculous providence we have received over the past seven years in Vietnam. May God continue to help us through the His beloved Mother, Mary.
Ho Chi Minh – Br. Hoang made his first Religious vows in Legazpi on June 3rd and returned to Vietnam for Philosophy studies. His family arranged a Thanksgiving Mass for him in their village in the Dong Nai Province. The priests and all the students attended the Mass celebrated by the Parish Priest with Br. Hoang’s spiritual Father concelebrating and preaching the homily. We had a chance once again to introduce our congregation to his parish. The family prepared a wonderful breakfast and lunch and we enjoyed the day.
June 22-23, 2016 eight Guanellian priests participated in the Annual Assembly of Confreres in the U.S.A. The Assembly is an opportune time to be together for spiritual renewal and evaluations of our prayer life, brotherhood and missionary activities. Some of the topics that were discussed were as follows: situations of our parish in Rhode Island-future and options, strengthening our presence in Michigan and the Legacy Project campaign, preparing our new Indian missionaries who will be coming to the U.S., and facing some challenging situations like lack of local vocations and advancing age of confreres.
After the Assembly, the Provincial Council had their Plenary Meeting from June 27-30. Similar to the Assembly, the Plenary Council meeting is a moment where we review our life and mission but in a wider scope, that is, within the Province, that includes USA, India, Vietnam and the Philippines. Decisions also that are important for the Province and respective communities and individual confreres were finalized to ensure the good harmony of the different realities we are in. Revised formation programs for aspirants and a new program for candidates to final vows were shared. Several new possible projects for the poor were proposed during the meeting such as helping aging persons with disabilities together with their aging parents, taking over the administration of a mission school for the poor, better organizing a program of distribution of medicines for the poor, caring for children with HIV, etc. These are just but a few items that were discussed during the Plenary Council Meeting. Although there are challenges and difficulties that we face, (and there will always be) we continue to hope and dream. Quoting Fr. Silvio de Nard’s words from his report to the Assembly, he said “Our future is in God’s hands, first of all. Our job is to give Him a hand in doing His divine job, together with our lay people. We will have a lot to do among the patients, the local faithful, the local parishes, the local nursing homes, hospitals and prisons.
Our charism of charity should be open to the needs of our time here and now.
God wants it; people want it; we want it.
Let us be courageous and united. Let us dream big!”
Saigon – This was the first Christmas in our new house and to celebrate, the community organized a small program for the street children of the area on Christmas day. Not all the children are Catholics, some are Buddhist and some don’t follow any religion. The students played party games with the children on a football court near the house. The place was beautiful and more safe. After the games and dancing Christmas gifts were shared with all the children. Most of them are from a simple and poor families. The new students were very happy about sharing their time, energy and gifts with the children. May this year of mercy be full of sharing little things with others.