The inspiring motto of this new campaign in favor of persons with disabilities has a clear message; share your life with them. Be supportive of disabled people, as they are friends of God and our brothers. The Archdiocese of Freiburg has launched a sensitivity campaign targeted toward different social strata in order to reach and involve all people of good will, not only Catholics. Donations and offers went to the Bavarian relief organization Renovabis, specializing in solidarity projects mostly in Eastern Europe; but also highly engaged toward the needs and of disability missions in areas of Africa and Asia. For a couple of years now, we have had a good relationship with them for our program in Skavina/Krakow, Poland. Our long attentive experience in the daily life of Germany has taught us that German society has a very strong and constructive network of relief agencies. The most active is Charitas.
I was an employee of the Charitas Verband at Freiburg in the 1960’s, and worked as a social assistant for Italian immigrants. Only in Pforzheim do we have five charitable homes for disabled, elderly and homeless families. My plan is to increase our work with Charitas, Pforzheim and our future parish in this town, when our confreres arrive. We have been very active organizing all of the necessary steps before their arrival during the month of May, with many contacts with the Archdiocese to support Fr. Arokiodoss Anton‘s visa. We hope to welcome him by the end of June, 2013. We have also undertaken steps to obtain medical insurance for him and Fr.Wieslaw Baniak from Poland, prior to their assignment in Germany. Both confreres will be accompained by Fr. Luigi de Giambattista and I following a short visit to the ecclesial authorities of our Diaconate, and to the Bishop‘s College at Freiburg for their German course. During our next meeting with Fr. Luigi, we have decided to pay a visit to the Daughters of St. Josef at the Abbey of St. Trudpert in the Black Forest at the end of June. Sister Bernita is preparing a draft for close cooperation among the Guanellians and their Pious Union Confraternity. This group was established in 1920, and was the best carrier of the Guanellian charism in Germany. It counts more than 15,000 members in the Guanellian prayer crusade for the suffering and dying.
Finally, a sensational discovery has occurred in Northern Italy. Fr. Guanella was been found to have been physically in Germany in 1912. In one dark corner of the central archive, three letters were found that our Founder had written before, during and after his trip to the ancient Treviri Romanorum where he attended the international Marian Congress. He crossed part of Switzerland and France with a small Italian delegation. During one session of events (August 3-8, 1912) he held a long conference on several Marian Themes and concluded his lecture by imploring help for his foundations in Italy and Switzerland. One sentence of his speech was particularly impressive and visionary. I’m here in the name of all of my poor elderly brothers along with my disabled and abandoned people, and I need your financial support in order to keep running these tents of charity. On the report he wrote after his return from Germany, he published on his bulletin, Providence, he appealed, Dear Excellency’s – The true reason for my visit to Treviri is to obtain your solidarity and help. I’m a poor, desperate, impotent ragamuffin, who needs help and Holy Providence. Please support the work of Holy Providence on the 25th anniversary of its foundation. The conclusion of his plea was also emotional, “ Praise the Lord and Holy Mary. Thanks to those who have allowed me to come to Treviri. I have a deep hope that once from Treviri, Holy Providence will open for the Daughters of St.Mary of Providence and the Servants of Charity, with new ways and new sources of solidarity…Funny that the Bishop’s Office of Freiburg signed our agreement in Mid October 2012. Therefore not a pure case, but the Finder of God.
How far-sighted was our Fr. Guanella! He had already known in his mind how we should go to the Americas, the Arab World and Asia to extend his tents of Charity! In the last decade of his life he visited Palestine, the U.S. and finally Germany. His plans were to secure a new tent of love, charity and fraternal love for the immigrants first, and then if God willed, also for the many other disabled and elderly centers he cared for in near future.
Join me in praise to the Lord for his love and gifts. Laudate Dominum omnes gentia, nunc et semper!
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure.