Fr. Furaha Ntasamaye, a young diocesan priest in Tanzania, through his own initiative scoured Europe to obtain substantial contributions to help care for almost 250disabled girls and boys in a very vast region of West Tanzania.
This is the first Guanellian settlement in this beautiful country.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
On March 15th during a meeting at the St.Trudpert Abbey in Münstertal, we celebrated the 80th birthday and 50 years of Religious Profession of the Pious Union Director, Sister Bernita A generous donation for our Good Samaritan Pharmacy has been transferred to Brother Mauro in Manila as a result. With these funds, he’ll be able to purchase more life saving medicine. Just this week a young boy was successfully treated; thanks also to continuous support of the Pious Union and two German doctors he survived the complicated operation.
On March 16th we paid a visit to the bishop’s office in Freiburg to hand over a formal request for financial sponsorship of the 26 Indian and 4 Filipino Theology Students.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure.
For five years the eyes of the civil and especially the Christian world have been on a tormented country, where an infamous genocide is perpetrated while the Great Policy dispute for a ridiculous cease fire that only lasted a couple of hours continues. We Christians watch the events through the window, and we do not move a single finger! This is the sad reality which the Patriarch of about 4 million Melchite Catholics in Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq is condemning in his desperate appeals to the remaining people of good will in Western Christianity. In his recent Christmas letter addressed also to our German Entity, he pointed out an often forgotten step of our history: Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Palestine; but Christianity was born and raised in Syria.
I have personally visited that region many times while acting as export manager of my former company. During that time I had many contacts in the capital, Damas, Aleppo and in the neighboring Lebanese Beka Valley, now the biggest refugee camp after that in TR. Through these former business partners we started a risky effort to bring substantial help to these stranded Christians. In fact after first our personal meeting with Patriarch Gregory in Munich in July 2010 in cooperation with the Knights of St. Lazarus of Prior, Mr. Folker Theis, former chaplain of this order, we collected medical equipment for the Catholic Hosptial at Khabab near Damas. Unfortunately was damaged by the war and reconstructed later on with generous help of Melchite Communities in Germany, Austria and also Catholics of Poland. The most efficient contribution of the German Guanellian laity was coordinated by our first councillor Dr. Helmut Müller and hospitals of the German Pious Union at Münstertal. Containers arrived in Damas via our friends in Lattakia, Syria and Beirut, Lebanon. This has been a fulgent Morning Star, a hidden path to Syria of our fledgling German Procure.
We recently sent an invitation to His Beatitude Gregory III, to visit our Guanellian entities in Pforzheim and Tiefenbronn in order to further develop solidarity programs for Syria. “Guanellian engagement” in Middle East is an inspired effort found hidden in Father Guanella’s personal journey to Palestine and Damas in 1902! He was the real designer of our path around the globe. Why did he visit Treviri in 1912? Why at the end of his tireless earthly life did he visit the USA? I guess he was able to see all the future carriers of his charism in all those countries. And I, as an old dreamer, still have a burning dream to link Guanellians from Nazareth to the old roots of our Faith! But how? By reversing the ancient journey of the three Magi from the cradle of Jesus, to the cradle of Christianity. Patriarch Gregory III could be a real bridge for a Guanellian shelter of charity on the border to Syria, in the green Beka Valley, where we both still have contacts in the city of Zahle, who could contribute to making this dream a reality. From there the path of Fr. Guanella into the Emirates is not far, because in 2009 our General Council received a formal invitation to establish a fully financed disabled center from the Apostolic Vicariate Msgr. Paul Hinder validated by a factive promise from Sheik Faris el Marzroui, Cousin of the Ruler, Sultan Mohammed Al Zayed, at Abu Dhabi.
May God grant the entire Guanellian family His privileged grace. At the beginning of Lent we wish all our readers a fruitful and blessed spiritual journey.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
The Advent season in Germany is a month of rich harvest for religious orders engaged in fundraising campaigns for solidarity projects around the globe. Therefore every household will soon be overflowing with appeal letters. We have also been busy for the past four weeks, and holy Providence seems to hear our sorrowful knocking.
Both Guanellian entities have been hard at work. The Italian Mission had to face a long convalescence of our Polish confrere, Fr. Wieslaw. Meanwhile Fr. Rocky has covered the Italian community, Masses at area German chapels and assisted in a yearly retreat for the neighboring Italian mission of Mühlacker.
The Procura has been working on a multilingual brochure profiling the Founder and Guanellian mission to easily spread his charism throughout German speaking regions. A constant source of support and funding has been the German Pious Union. These sisters collected funds from their confraternity members, the first donation went to the Good Samaritan Pharmacy in Manila. Brother Mauro was able to open the Pharmacy as a result. We have been introduced to a pharmaceutical producer who could supply medicine for Manila as well as other Guanellian missions globally. The German Pious Union has also made a donation to the new shelter in the Solomon Islands.
Meanwhile, we have concentrated further efforts to draw the attention of our German donors and of the Catholic solidarity to the next Guanellian disabled center in Mbeya, East Tanzania. I am convinced of what the Bible says, “I called my Son out of Egypt” and that on the Via Dolorosa not an Israeli nor a Roman nor Greek, but a poor African farmer of Cyrene accepted the task of carrying the Cross for our Lord. For this reason our Procure has developed a special attention to Guanellian Africa; convinced that Africa will be strong for the future of our Christian faith.
2016 was the Year of Mercy and we were abundantly blessed in our constant efforts to open windows of hope and love around the globe. Fr. Guanella must have smiled from above when his sons arrived in Oceania and begin to set up a new mission near Kilimanjaro. Who could have imagined that his charism would spread from his native Mount Spluga to Central Africa and beyond into the periphery of the World?
For all these unmerited gifts we praise and thank the Lord, who will soon return to humanity and share our weakness. Let us properly prepare to meet the Divine Child in the manger. Let our hearts burn with tender love and blow a warm breath toward His innocent body. We wish a joyful and peaceful Christmas and a blessed healthy 2017 to all our readers.
Gero Lombardo Guanellian German Procure
Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Mt 4:4). Pilgrimage to Marian Shrines is spiritual food that nourishes our soul. I accompanied a group of pilgrims to Medjugorje November 1st-5th. With deeply motivated spiritual quest we all participated in the spiritual activities such as Holy Mass, Eucharistic adoration, Confession, Veneration of the Cross, Way of the Cross, climbing to the mountain of the White Cross, Holy Rosary climbing to the mountain of Apparition. We were also enriched by an organized meditation of the Marian Way of the Cross and by a witness of conversion. Above all we were really blessed to participate in the apparition of Mary, Queen of Peace to Myriyam. Though disturbed by photographs and videos, I just closed my eyes and experienced the atmosphere of peace during the time of apparition. Then Myriyam communicated the message that has been translated into many languages and announced to the people over there. I thank God for this gracious moment and thank Mother Mary for her motherly blessings.
If only man accepts her invitation to fight against evil with five spiritual arms, he will definitely find peace and he will lead a meaningful life on earth according to the will of the Heavenly Father. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground (Eph 6:12-13).
Fr. A.M. Arokiadoss, SdC
I guess that October is really the brother of May. Not only because both are Marian months, but also because in a certain way they are climatically similar. Metaphorically one is a symbol of the explosive beginning of spring and new birth; while the other is a sign of the decline of summer and life. The month of October has enriched our Guanellian entities with many signs of the benevolence of Holy Providence.We in fact have experienced that what we do is ultimately the work of God. Our fund raising efforts were abundantly remunerated by the Catholic Solidarity agencies for small projects in the Philippines, Soloman Islands and India.
Following our announcements in previous reports, we can inform the DPP that the formal request of sponsoring support for our theological students has been submitted, and in the next few weeks we’ll pay a personal visit to the Bishop‘s Office in Freiburg. A similar request for four theology students in the Philippines will be submitted separately in order to increase the chance of a positive approval.
Meanwhile the Christmas cards made by our special children in Legapzi have arrived. Sisters Bernita, Gertraud and Emanuela are also preparing a surprise for Bro. Mauro’s pharmacy before Christmas. During a spiritual retreat, they have collected small offerings among the attending believers. Then they’ll add their personal gifts! Therefore, our gratitude goes to the three Sisters as well as to their re-elected Mother General Simone, who is approving all initiatives which her sisters at the St. Josef Confraternity are starting in favor of Guanellian projects in Asia and Africa. As we always say, Holy Providence is often good for a surprise.
Our Procure has also been active for the theology students in Guanellian Africa. Fr. Uche, the Delegate for Ghana, Nigeria, RD Congo, has submitted the paperwork for the theology students in Nigeria and Congo. These have been conveyed already to the Bishop‘s office.
As a strongly active entity in East Africa, our Procure is very happy to announce that a new charity shelter will be opened in West Tanzania by the end of November 2016. The initiated exploration by Fr. Oggioni has been continued by our Procure in the last five years. But the linking angel is Fr. Furaha, a diocesan priest, entirely in love with our Founder and the Guanellians. We had promised total availability and renewed our engagement to help him and his numerous disabled centers. Another dream of Fr. Guanella becomes reality; from his Alpine Spluga to the bottom to Mt. Kilimanjaro. Safari Jambo, Fr. Guanella!
During the past month an international meeting of former alumni of the Guanellian Sicilians took place, and one of these German/Sicilians has expressed his secret wish to become a permanent deacon.The seeds of our long work are beginning to spread!
Finally just before the liturgical Feast of Fr. Guanella, we had received a copy of a nice portrait of Fr. Guanella, which our procure had prepared with the help of Fr. Bruno Capparoni SdC. The Catholic Week newspaper of the Diocese had just published this portrait on October 23rd! This small but long lasting homage has been our tangible sign to belong to a great family; Father Louis Guanella!
Soon on November 12th, we’ll celebrate the feast of our patroness, St. Mary, Mother of Divine Providence. Let us put all our actions, joys, sufferings, hopes and sorrows in Her hands. She and her silent husband have never disappointed our Founder. She will also surely do this for us.
Gero Lombardo Guanellian German Procure
This past September has been a month full of surprises; rich with events and wonderful visitors.
The feedback from our DPP confreres and those from Guanellian Africa has in a certain way, remunerated our constant engagement and close attention toward our missions. New projects from their stations have reached the Procure. We are now hopefully waiting for a positive response from our German Catholic agencies.
As announced in previous German reports, we have received the biographies of the theology students in our DPP, as well as those of our theological students in Africa. Now after the joyful visit of relatives and friends from the USA and Sicily, we are preparing for the submission of a funding request through the treasury of our Archdiocese in Freiburg. Responsible chief clerks there will seriously consider our request and give a signal to the other dioceses for the approval of a new generation of priests from outside of Germany for the re-evengelization of old Europe. Two projects from India will be submitted to the commission in October 2016, and we are encouraging Fr. Eduardo Dong to establish a new project for nutrition and physiotherapy for the disabled center at Legazpi to be conveyed to Kindermission.
From there the St. Josef German Confraternity has received and paid 1000 Christmas cards. Brother Mauro Cecchinato has also been generously granted donations for the new Good Samaritan Pharmacy in Manila from the German Pious Union. The simultaneous visit of Fr. Luigi DeGiambattista and Fr. Joseph Rinaldo have brought hilarity, joy and hope in confirming that our long efforts are now starting to open a good harvesting season.
The last gift goes to the newborn shelter of charity in the Solomon Islands. The German Pious Union has requested and paid for commemorative Masses for their living and deceased members.This gesture will be continued for two months. From the other side, our confreres at the Guanellian Mission at Pforzheim have begun a well organized cycle of conferences for the recently founded GLM. Also, an intensive pastoral ministry for the Catholic refugees of Syria will soon be begun. This includes my personal commitment to teach German to them, as we did some fifty years ago for the first immigrants from our sunny island of Sicily.
This month, we’ll celebrate the liturgical feast of St. Louis Guanella. This year for the first time in Germany, upon request of a Catholic publisher in Munich, we are preparing a portrait of our Founder which later will be included in all German missals when the “Saint of the Day” is commemorated. This special flyer will be translated later into English for all of our readers and confreres in the Guanellian Missions of the DPP.
All these events will allow us to reflect and thank Fr. Guanella for his brilliant vision, trusting the generosity of German Catholics during his short and historical stay at Treviri in August 1912.
May the Lord and Holy Mary of Divine Providence send more workers into His vineyard, because the harverst has increased but the old Guanellian “Front soldiers” are diminishing.
Gero Lombardo Guanellian German Procure
It could be that in the last few days Fr. Guanella received special permission to return to Earth to visit his tortured homeland. It’s easy to imagine that he would be working beside the first responders during the recent Earthquake in Central Italy, just like he did at an advanced age in Avezzano in 1915. Earlier, he ran into a similar tragedy that occurred in Messina, Sicily in 1908. Our first thought following that terrifying instant went to our House in Perugia; very close to the epicenter of the quake. Fortunately, nothing has happened there so far. A fire brigade from our town immediately organized a convoy to help a sister community near Amatrice. Some German GLM friends volunteered, taking a small picture of Fr. Guanella for their identity, in case other Guanellians were within the search parties; as Fr. Piero Lippoli has done before.
Our recent daily work has been more than satisfactory due to a series of good events. We organized a barbecue to benefit the Good Samaritan Pharmacy in Manila with a few friends. And we were pleased with the exchange of ideas between the Procure and several DPP missions in India asking for financial support for their centers for people with I/DD and religious structures. The Guanellian delegation in West Africa has also resumed close contacts with the Procure to insure major financial support from our German solidarity agencies.
Fr. Uche is efficiently preparing his African confreres for the future by initiating activities for his pastoral needs as well as for their structures, using diversified sources from abroad. We recently learned that Fr. Furah, a Tanzanian diocesan priest, is preparing a residence for our Confreres at Mbeya, using his contacts in Central Europe and the mediation of our Procure. We can also inform you that our Procure has made formal attempts, through the Archdiocese of Freiburg, for periodic support of the Guanellian Major Seminaries in Africa and India to benefit our theological students. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior, and Fr. Uche, African delegate, are working together to prepare a proposal for funding. This is happening because since their arrival, the Servants of Charity have been recognized for their commitment, and because they are also interested in placing more Guanellian priests throughout our Diocese, due to a scarcity of vocations to the diocesan priesthood in Europe.
More good news is a joint effort between the German Pious Union and our entity for a new branch of the Confraternity of St. Joseph in the Province of St. Marc in Kerala and Andra Pradesh, India. Cardinal Mar George Alencherry of Kochi/Kerala and Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal of Indore Diocese, will be asked for their approval to open a branch of the German Pious Union in their dioceses. If approved, an offical request will be transferred to Fr. Mario Carrera in Rome at the Central Office of the Guanellian Pious Union.
Our confreres in India, principally Fr. Rathinam, were asked to consider this initiative involving the SdC and later the DSMP‘s for this opportunity to join our forces for good, and to eventually benefit our own financial needs. Please contact Sister Pushpa Madassery of the St. Marc Province via email:(email@example.com).
Let us conclude this report with a simple prayer of soon to be canonized Mother Teresa of Calcutta:
Lord,through your intercession and our Mother Mary, let us become the little pencil in your hand in order to spread throughout the world your merciful tenderness toward the voiceless, suffering and abandoned children in this egotistical society.
As a new season begins. Let us mobilize all of our resources for God’s greater glory and passionate love for His Son, Jesus Christ.
Gero Lombardo Guanellian German Procure
Fr. Guanella first dreamed of beginning his charity march northward into German speaking Grison (the easternmost canton in Switzerland), but for him, the Alpine barrier was too narrow. He dreamed of other ways for his daughters and sons to expand, and in 1903, went on a pilgrimage to Damas, Palestine, showing us the way to Asia. Then in 1912 he came to Germany, and shortly after that blessed visit, he journeyed to the United States in 1913 to visit the Italian immigrants who were there asking for help. In a certain way, he had drawn a master itinerary for where his missionaries needed to move and establish new shelters of charity!
According to his letters published in the Divine Providence Newsletter of Sept. 1912, he was invited to participate in the International Marian Congress, held in the former capital of the Western Roman Empire. At the end of his intervention he addressed the assembly of Marianists, and implored his Patroness, Holy Mary of Providence, to channel a generous flow of funds to his numerous institutions, celebrating them during the days the Silver Jubilée. This was a clear revelation of his German Dream, dreamed since the first years of his priesthood, and looking northward from his native Alps. During that stay he visited the Cathedral where the Empress Helena brought the Tunic of Jesus in 312 C.E., which also contains splinters from the Holy Cross. He then visited the birth place of St. Ambrose, the Porta Nigra (city gate), and many first Christian churches.
His dream started to become reality, exactly five years after his physical presence on German soil, on January 20, 1917. His brilliant inspiration of the Prayer Chain for a Good Death arrived in the former German region of Alsace. The present German Pious Union of St. Joseph Confraternity moved in January 1920 to the Black Forest, and from there it expanded into neighboring countries. Because of its continuous growth, the St. Joseph Daughters became the hidden hand of Holy Providence during the slow march of the former Guanellian alumni into Germany.
From the St. Trudpert Abbey, our Procure is still receiving generous donations for the new Good Samaritan Pharmacy at our disability center in Manila. Sister Bernita has also entirely financed the printing of our first German biography of Fr. Guanella. Since the arrival of our confreres at Pforzheim in 2014, we began searching for aspirants among both ethnicities in order to stick with our expansion efforts elsewhere in Germany. The selection of collaborators to become friends of the Guanellian family always takes place at Guanellian House, the Lombardos home. This photograph shows the promising members of our newly founded German Guanellian Lay Movement, (GLM), under a German flag and the laughing eyes of our Founder. On July 16th a group of eleven aspirants of the GLM received the devotional scapular of our Lady of Mount Carmel in the small Italian community of Friolzheim.
Our daily work here has concentrated on reactivating old contacts. We have received no further projects from our DPP Missions in India/Philippines, but we can only help others if we receive projects for submission. When that happens, attentive follow-up will occur through our generous Catholic solidarity agencies like Missio/Munich and Kindermision/Aachen.
As we approach the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, I am reminded that Nov. 1, 1950 was an unforgettable day for me as an altarboy taking part in a unique procession behind the gestatorial chair of Pope Pius XII in front of a half million believers in St. Peter‘s Square. The celebration was an appeal for peace following the destruction of WWII.
May God’s Protection, implored by our Patroness and our Saints, Louis and Clara, accompany all of us, and reinforce our spirit and hearts for a new loving charity season! Remain blessed, and remember that we are here, waiting with confidence for any future requests.
Gero Lombardo Guanellian German Procure
June was filled with an intensive program. Starting at the end of May with our visit at the Abbey of Münstertal, an annual meeting was held for two Guanellian entities with different origins but the same goal: find and fund charity projects with immediate results, like the shelter in Manila completed with the sisters of the German Pious Union. A substantial donation was made which will allow Br. Mauro to buy some urgently needed life saving medicine locally. With a strong commitment from our Procura, we suggested to call this endeavor ‘The Good Samaritan Pharmacy,’ a place for the poorest families with children, to get medicine and other basic necessities. Through a fundraising campaign, supported by a new flyer, we have approached all Catholic hospitals in the State of Baden-Württemberg and members of the St. Josef confraternity. We are hoping that this will create a continous flow of financial resources providing assistance to our confreres in Manila.
General Councilor, Fr. Luigi deGiambattista, arrived after several months of preparation to assist with situations, perspectives and orientation of both Guanellian entities in Germany. During his stay, we had the opportunity to visit some area refugee camps and see firsthand the problems they face; not only the financial and political instability but mainly the sense of abandonment by God … and the world. The Guanellians in Pforzheim pledge to reduce or diminish their isolation and search for ways to be united to their sufferings, as humans first aside from religious beliefs. Fr. Rocky and myself will join the efforts of the local church to assisist Syrians, Iraquis and Chaldean and Melchite Catholics.
The next task was the creation of the first group of Laity willing to spread the Guanellian charism. On June 9th twenty German-Italian ladies and gentlemen gathered with Fr. Luigi, Fr. Wieslaw and Fr. Rocky at the Guanellian Mission Pforzheim and officially founded the Guanellian Lay Movement in Germany. Councillors Dr. Müller and Banker Stemmler, four German couples and some Sicilian Guanellians of Naro shared pizza and sang popular songs. We established the foundation for a strong effort to increase hands, minds, hearts, ready to support and diffuse the charism of our Founder among all those who need our loving approach. During the meeting, two pilgrimages were planned. The first will be to the St. James Path/Spain beginning August 16th with Diocesan parish priests and German friends; the second will be to our Polish House at Skavina September 16th.
The final task during Fr. Luigi’s visit brought us to the Archbishop’s office in Freiburg, where we have enjoyed great hospitality, friendship and firm cooperation. Deacon Eiermann, director of non-German missionaries, longtime supporter Deacon Roth and Sr. Theresita, who is truly helpful for our confreres, welcomed our visit. During the presentations, it was revealed that there is hope of the SdC to extend their presence elsewhere in this diocese. All dreams will be put in the hands of Holy Providence, hoping for the project to mature soon. After exchanging small gifts, we spent time with our mentor, Bishop Emeritus Klug, the first supporter of this Guanellian Adventure in Germany.
We discussed our mission work in Africa and Asia with Fr. Luigi; lamenting the long silence from all provinces for the past two years. Thanks be to God it seems like projects from missions in India, Philippines and Africa are falling from the sky. The first project is for a place for disabled children in Sivagangai which has already been submitted.
As a surprise for Fr. Luigi after all the busy days, a ‘Fr. Guanella Flag’ was hoisted under the German flag at his first residence in Germany since 1962: our home garden. May this tangible sign wave to all passing viewers as a silent message: Yes we are there for all!
With God’s blessings and the maternal protection of St. Mary let us confidently approach our holidays
Gero Lombardo Guanellian German Procure