Nearly forty people gathered on the morning of Friday, June 24, 2016 to witness the leadership of the Divine Providence Province of the Servants of Charity bless the grounds of a vacant field where the new St. Louis Guanella Village will be constructed beginning this summer. Guests included seven priests, twelve residents, and the direct care and administrative staff of St. Louis Center who witnessed a special blessing given by Most Rev. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior. The St. Louis Guanella Village will be a new community built on the grounds of the existing St. Louis Center. The Village will allow for a full continuum of care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities of all ages. It will also include housing opportunities for families caring for their loved ones with I/DD. The St. Louis Guanella Village will be built in phases; the first phase will begin in summer 2016 and will include infrastructure work and the construction of four homes designed for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Attending the ceremonies along with Fr. Soosai were Fr. Joseph Rinaldo – Provincial Treasurer, Fr. Enzo Addari – Administrator of SLC, Fr. Satheesh Alphonse – Director of the St. Joseph Shrine in Grass Lake, Fr. David Stawasz – Asst. Admin. SLC, Fr. Silvio DeNard – Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Providence, RI, and Fr. Visuwasam and Fr. Kulandaisamy – Provincial Councillors from India.
Fr. Addari began the ceremony by expressing his gratitude for the simple ceremony, which, he said, “marks a simple sign for the future.” He quoted from 1st Corinthians, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Fr. Soosai continued by quoting Fr. Louis Guanella, Founder of the Servants of Charity, “We are offering this ground as a citadel of charity. We give thanks to our benefactors and ask the Lord to bless their families.” Fr. Soosai then blessed the ground with Holy Water and closed with the “Our Father” prayer.
Watch the video here: Ground Blessing Video