Legazpi -For the Year of Mercy, the Servants of Charity are planning to have a celebration on September 24th at the Polangi Jail. The entire Guanellian Family of the community will gather for the celebration and to show their commitment to the corporal works of mercy. We are all looking forward to the event with joyful anticipation.
Year of Mercy Pilgrimage
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.
Be Merciful as Your Father is Merciful
On December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis solemnly opened the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, ushering in the Jubilee Year of Mercy. On the following Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, December 13th, the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Rome, the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, was opened. In the following weeks, the Holy Doors of other Papal Basilicas and local cathedral churches in every country will be opened. The Year of Mercy will close with the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 20, 2016.
Imagine that as the cascade of church doors open around the world, God is lavishing gifts of mercy and love on all who come to Him. Like the father in the prodigal son parable, God not only waits for us but actually runs to us when we turn and come near.
Receiving God’s love opens the doors of our hearts to our sisters and brothers so that we might share with them the love and mercy we have received in such abundance. This is “a program of life as demanding as it is rich with joy and peace,” says Pope Francis. It is demanding because yielding to God always entails a process of ongoing conversion. It is joyful and peaceful because we walk together in the work of God in our world.
Pope Francis’ teaching on divine mercy in The Face of Mercy is profound and worthy of contemplation. We are moved to prayer as we consider how God’s mercy both fills us and goes even beyond justice in bringing us to full communion with God. “No one can be excluded from God’s mercy,” the Holy Father added in his surprise announcement of this special time of grace and spiritual renewal for the people of God.
God’s mercy has been certainly a hall mark of Pope Francis’ entire pontificate. He has unceasingly preached and promoted this theme in interviews, homilies, addresses and writing. It is a consistent message that he often references in his almost daily correspondence.
Reading the document The Face of Mercy we come across some beautiful and touching statements. “Mercy is the bridge that connects God and Man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.
“Mercy is the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life.
“God’s mercy is the mark of His omnipotence, rather than a sign of weakness.
“In mercy, we find proof of how God loves us. He gives His entire self, always, freely, asking nothing in return.”
My prayer is that we engage this time of grace to deepen our appreciation of God’s tremendous love for us and that we commit to extend that compassion to those who live in such great need these days.
By Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, SdC
Life Lessons for 2016…
We embrace this 2016 by joining hands with an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. How God loves us and tirelessly showers us with His Divine Mercy and with His grace and blessings! We mark this New Year by celebrating the Solemnity of the Mother of God, the Theotokos, which means “God’s Bearer.” Mother Mary was “full of grace” and no one has penetrated the profound mystery of the Incarnation like Mary. Therefore, throughout this year, we can feel her joy of God’s tenderness and merciful eyes towards us.
What does it mean to welcome the New Year? It does not consist only in having a new calendar and changing the dates but to grow in God-given responsibility in our partnership with Him being single-minded, wholehearted and generous! Our sense of responsibility should not allow us, in this New Year, to be absent from our primary responsibilities and absent from spiritual, community and mission activities. It is sad to hear that “there is no fuel” in the ministry and that one is lethargic in service, uninspiring in animation, and spiritless in religious commitment. “Be renewed in the spirit of your minds!” (Ephesians 4,23).
In 2016, God is very generous with us and draws from what is best in us, therefore let us face the challenges and never lose heart. We are all undergoing an environmental crisis so let us be conscious about fresh water and care for agriculture and industry.
In this New Year, I would like to share with you 10 powerful life lessons from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, one of the bestselling books in history.
- Fear is a bigger obstacle than the obstacle itself
- What is “true” will always endure
- Break the monotony
- Embrace the present
- Your success has a ripple-effect
- Make the decision
- Be unrealistic
- Keep getting back up
- Focus on your own journey
- Always take action
Fr. Soosai Rathinam