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.
E. Providence – Under the direction of the Sacred Heart School music teacher, Paul Desrosiers, the school presented its 10th Annual Spring Concert on Tuesday, May 23rd. To the delight of the parents and parishioners, student band and choir performed in the church.
Bangalore – No one can deny God’s call since His love is amazing forever. On May 30th amidst Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior, seven brothers entered the Novitiate. They all come from various backgrounds, experiences and expectations just for the Love of Christ. It is a demanding world and finding true vocations is a big challenge today. The Novices had a Benediction followed by the Evening Prayer where they consecrated themselves to Mary our Mother. The official entrance into the Novitiate was initiated by Fr. Soosai who handed over their charge and canonical guidance to the Novice Master, Fr. Adaikalam. The entire Guanellian family is praying for these young brothers. How great is our Lord for He listened to our prayers, saw our hard work and granted us a good harvest of laborers for His vineyard. We wish all the best for the new novices in the school of holiness.
Manila – May 23rd-26th the seminarians from Legazpi and Quezon City shared time together. The primary purpose of the event was for the seminarians to develop a strong fraternity towards the Guanellian mission. The seminarians were given talks by Bro. Mauro, SdC, who presented some of the Guanellian Mission Principles, and Sr. Marivic, CM, who talked about discipleship. Team-building activities were conducted by Fr. Ronnie preceded by a fraternal night which allowed the seminarians to show off their talents and skills. Tita Alice and Tito Jun went with the seminarians to Batangas for a relaxing getaway. A tree-planting was the final activity that symbolizes the relationship between the two communities that will continue to grow.
Chennai – On May 26th, for the occasion of the 151st Ordination Anniversary of St. Guanella, 25 of our temporary confreres joyfully renewed their vows by pronouncing ‘Yes’ to the Lord to keep vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior, presided over Holy Mass and received the vows of the confreres. In his homily, he focused on the faithfulness of the confreres to the Congregation. He stressed that faithfulness is one of the important aspects of living a Guanellian religious life. On behalf of the brothers and the community, DGMS Superior Rev. Fr. Samson thanked God and the Provincial Superior with his grateful heart. To make the celebration more grand, Rev. Fr. Gnanaraj, GPN community Superior, Fr. John Peter and Fr. Anil and the DGMS community fathers, con-celebrated with Fr. Soosai.
E. Providence – The second grade students of Sacred Heart School had the culmination of their year-long preparation for Holy Communion on Sunday, May 7th. It is a parish tradition for the children to experience the miracle of transubstantiation on the altar up close to Fr. Silvio. This year there was a special priest present to concelebrate the Mass, Fr. Jeremy Rodrigues, uncle of one of the first communicants. At the same celebration the children in their First Communion attire crowned the Blessed Mother statue following the tradition of the Catholic Church.
During the Marian Month of May both Guanellian entities in the Black Forest have been very active.
Fr. Rocky accompanied a group of Italian pilgrims to Fatima. Fr. Wieslaw went for the annual pilgrimage to Our Lady of Lourdes. Confreres of the Italian Mission have been busy preparing children for First Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage. On June 2nd subsidiary Bishop Gerber will celebrate the confirmation of many youth of our district. Guanellian Alumni of Naro are organizing a solemn feast and procession of St. Calogero, patron of Naro, through the streets of Pforzheim mid-June.
The other half of the Procura has been busy raising funds and refreshing contacts with our best donors: Missio, Munich; Kindermission, Aachen; the Bishop’s office, Freiburg; and the charitable nuns of the Pious Union in the Black Forest.
New projects from the Philippines have been submitted and partially funded. The Good Samaritan Pharmacy has received sufficient donations to purchase life-saving medicine for a long time. The astonishing thing is that even agnostic friends of Guanella Works have opened their pockets. New sources of charity have become members of the GLM, increasing the circle among professional and influential pesonalities from the Italian community.
We are following the development of missions in West Africa, encouraging confreres to send well documented projects for submission to agencies in Germany. As The most recent in Africa is the Guanellian shelter in Mbeya, West Tanzania. There is an urgent need of sufficient drinking water for the disabled communities as well as for the neighboring Christian villages.We’ll apply for support at Missio, Munich. We are closely connected since we ‘adopted’ a young boy, whom Fr. Furaha has given my first name. Little Gero is a sunny disabled boy, who has become in Germany the symbol of Guanellian loving attention toward God’s neglected children in Africa and beyond.
The last coordinated activity is with the German Pious Union and the establishment of a branch of the St. Josef Confraternity in Indore/Madhya Pradesh. Mother General Simone has obtained approval of Bishop Chacko Thottumarical, the local bishop. The German Procure plans to submit the project to the Pious Union in Rome for Canonical approval. We hope that this will foster practical cooperation among Guanellians with the efforts of the Daughters of St. Josef in South India to increase the veneration of the Holy Patriarch, great St. Josef, and promote the blessed apostolate for the salvation of the suffering and dying around the world. This brillant inspiration of our Founder should become an imperative act of all Guanellians practicing his maxim, “The worry for the dying of this day is an important duty of true Christian love toward our neighbor.”
May the Holy Spirit this Pentecost inflame our hearts and turn our thoughts to be attentive to the poor.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
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.
Manila – Flores De Mayo, which means “flowers of May,” was celebrated by the Filipinos throughout the month of May in honor of and gratitude for the Virgin Mary. The Servants of Charity and San Isidro Labrador Parish offered this annual program for the children of Pantanco, San Agustin, Roque and the ‘good children’ from Guanella Center and Guanella Home. The purpose is to emphasize the Catechism and educate them about celebrating the month of May in honor of Mary. For the first time, the San Isidro Labrador Parish conducted a quiz bee which focused on topics in the Bible. All of the children participated. May 26th was the culmination of the Flores De Mayo celebrations, beginning with a question period by the seminarians. They quizzed the children on their knowledge of Flores De Mayo. Prizes were given to those children who were able to answer the questions. A series of presentations given by the children who participated in the Flores De Mayo program brought the month to a close.
By Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, SdC
I was ordained on December 21, 1967. The preparations, the emotions and the reality of the priesthood lifted me to another planet. I felt like a jumping robot moving from one event to another, one celebration to another. The Christmas holidays made the days even more crowded.
The New Year brought me back to the reality and the consciousness of having been ordained a priest and all the duties and responsibilities connected to it. I was so happy. I felt so blessed and tried to imagine my future life, duties and assignments. My parents and relatives treated me like an extraterrestrial. The celebrations were over and I was prepared to report to my superior. I was still preparing when I got a letter from my superior. Thirty five words told me to report to the Mother House and prepare myself to move to the United States as soon as possible. I could not believe it! What happened to my dreams, my teaching certificates? My degrees, my languages! I did not know a word of English as opposed to Italian, French and Spanish. These are not my fathers, they are my torturers! Why are they punishing me? What happened to charity, compassion, human understanding? These were my feelings: anger, discouragement and a sense of emptiness.
And so, incapable of understanding my emptiness, I arrived in the United States. I knew no one. I felt lonely and isolated. And where was God in my suffering? In Philadelphia I had the grace to meet Bishop Sheen. I remember his words: “I am glad you are not spiritually comatose. It is normal to question and to doubt when you are hurting and feeling vulnerable. You have to look deeper inside, seek out the place of faith in your heart and re-examine the promises of your ordination and the vows of your religious life. God does not promise you will never suffer; life is joy and sorrow. However God does promise to remain with you in your suffering. Bishop Sheen asked me to reconnect that invisible cord that bonded me to God. I soon found my connection with God. My job was to take care of forty children with intellectual and physical disabilities. They quickly understood that I needed more help than they did. They kindly and gently told me where everything was located. They taught me the English words of items and things. They showed how things were done and what my job was. They became the greatest gift God gave me. I loved them like they were my children. They stopped calling me ‘Father’ but Joe, and I loved it. I learned in this way that God stays with us even when the road gets rocky. When you reach those dark and rough places, doubt can still creep in. God doesn’t abandon us. If we remain open and allow God to enter our pain, we can experience God’s compassionate presence. God touches us through other people.
As I sat with Bishop Sheen, crying and distraught, he suddenly got up from his chair, dropped to one knee in front of me, and just put his arms around me. I held on tightly. That comfort, that healing touch of love, was just what I needed.
I am so grateful to Bishop Sheen and the special children who continued to show me their love. In time I also learned that their love was God’s love. Fifty years later I am so grateful and happy for giving all my life caring for special children. They were God’s messengers who taught me to love and how to love by understanding that God is love and wants us to exchange this love with Him.