A packed St. Mary Parish in Chelsea, MI was the scene of a special 4:30 p.m. Mass and dinner to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the passing of St. Louis Guanella into the heavenly arms of God on September 19, 2015.(St. Guanella actually died on October 24, 2015.) Special celebrants during the Mass included the Most Rev. Bishop Earl Boyea of the Diocese of Lansing, Most Rev. Alfonso Cripp
a – Superior General of the Servants of Charity from Rome Italy, Provincial Fr. Soosai Rathinem from Chennai, India, Provincial Treasurer Joseph Rinaldo, Fr. Enzo Addari, Fr. David Stawasz, and Fr. Satheesh Alphonse from the Chelsea Community of the Servants of Charity, and St. Mary Pastor Fr. William J. Turner.
The purpose of the Mass was twofold, as it gave the followers of the local Guanellian Community an opportunity to celebrate the life and passing of St. Louis Guanella, (canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 23, 2011); and sixty-five (65) members of the laity made the “Guanellian Promise” after Mass, which committed them to an authentic Christian life, paying attention to disabled persons in need, deepening the charism (spirituality) of St. Louis Guanella in their lives, and “cooperating” to support the Guanellian Family. St. Guanella lived from 1842-1915, and made it his life’s work to care for the poorest of the poor, especially the frail elderly and persons with disabilities.
Following the Mass, 200 guests of the Guanellian Family enjoyed a catered meal donated by Gina Pantely and the staff of the Chelsea Grill, and Fr. Joseph Rinaldo passed out certificates to the new Cooperators who were present at the dinner. Fr. Guanella established the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence in 1886, the Servants of Charity in 1908, and the Guanellian Cooperators (lay association) in 1910. St. Louis Center, a Guanellian operation, was established in Chelsea, MI in 1960 and now cares for 52 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Pious Union of St. Joseph in Grass Lake, MI, is a special Guanellian mission of prayer and comfort for the suffering and dying. For more information about the Guanellian Family and St. Louis Center, please visit http://www.stlouiscenter.org.