Legazpi – An Advent Recollection, General Assembly and Christmas Party was held at St. Agnes Academy for all religious communities in the Legazpi Diocese. Most Rev. Monsignor Weng started the recollection by sharing the meaning of the Advent season. He summarized and addressed the readings and Gospels during Advent. Mass was the next activity, presided by the Most Rev. Joel. Z. Baylon, D.D. After that, every member finalized the regulations and the name of the new organization. At the end of the event, everyone exchanged gifts with one another.
Manila – The annual Advent recollection of the Servants of Charity was held December 5th. It was attended by the Guanellian Lay Cooperators, staff and volunteers, friends of the community, benefactors, seminarians and the religious community. About sixty people participated in the retreat, focusing on the challenge of Advent waiting in joyful expectation of the coming of the Messiah and having a change of heart. The event began with Holy Mass. The recollection was facilitated by Sr. Julie Popera, a Carmelite Missionary Sister. The Sacrament of Reconciliation was also made available after lunch.
Grass Lake – Fr. Satheesh Alphonse, SdC and Sr. Ann Hubler, DSMP hosted a Guanellian Family event on the First Sunday of Advent, November 30th. The families attended Mass and made Advent wreaths to use in their homes.
Pforzheim – The weather has become really chilly, but the squares of our adoptive town are decorated with many splendid arches. Every corner attracts with illuminated windows, and the air smells of fresh Christmas cakes. The Old German Christmas traditions are still alive, although old Pforzheim has become a cosmopolitan ambiance; especially on weekends when you meet people from all four corners of the globe. This is because Germany is still an open society and offers many employment opportunities to thousands of new Italian immigrants. As you see I’m not a missionary at the Guanellian front narrating religious events, but a simple layman who is trying to bring Germany and its traditions closer to the readers of the DPP newsletter.
During the first Sunday of Advent, Inge and I made a promenade into downtown. The pictures we’re sending you should bring you to the place where our two confreres have created the 21st tent of charity. Pforzheim has become the German “motherhouse” for present and future activities. On December 14th we’ll have the honor and pleasure of introducing the successor of Father Guanella to his 21st daughter. During their visit to the MCI Italian mission, they and our confreres as well the Guanellian Procura will meet with Dean Berhard Ihle and his Vice-Dean Dr. Johannes Mette who is the parish priest of St. Anthony Church. It is just 100m from the offices of the first Guanellian mission in our beloved country.
Furthermore, we are going to accompany Fr. Alfonso and Fr. Luigi to the annual Lutheran Desk caring for homeless people, poor and abandoned children, and immigrant families under the significant Motto, “I was hungry and you invited me to share with you bread and water.”
Other intended meetings will be with the local Charitas because of its impact in the city spectrum as a lantern of charity. Mr. Lemke, Director of Charitas Pforzheim, is a friend of our MCI because he has known the charism of the Guanellians from my former employment at Charitas since 1966.
Before next Christmas, we will re-activate our old contacts at Missio-Munich, Kindermission at Aachen, Adveniat and Miserere Catholic and Lutheran Solidarity agencies. As thanks for their constructive help during the past year, we’ll send them a Sicilian almond cake so that in 2015 when we knock at their door, they will not disregard our applications and requests for financial help for our Missions.
Finally we have the pleasure of informing our English readers that our Procura has been officially incorporated into the entities depending on the General House in Rome. We intend to continue sharing our activities with all Guanellian provinces. Therefore we’ll also send our news stories to our Spanish and French publications, as well as to the official Guanellian News.
May the start of Advent link us to prepare our hearts and minds to the arrival of the Savior Child.
Venite adoramus Dominum, qui hodie pro nobis natus est.
Come and adore the Lord, because today he was born for us.
With best wishes for a grace filled Christmas Night, we offer our prayers for a new, holy and blessed 2015.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procura
Grass Lake – The aroma of freshly cut pine and evergreen branches was in the air at the Pious Union of St. Joseph on Sunday, November 30th, the First Sunday of Advent. On that day we held a Guanellian Family Day and made Advent Wreaths from real evergreen branches.
After 10AM Mass, all were invited to the Pastoral Center where each family worked together to make an Advent Wreath for their home. It was beautiful to see each member of the family taking a turn to place an evergreen branch into the wet floral foam as the wreaths were assembled.
The Guanellian Family Day has been a tradition at the Pious Union, where we give opportunities to our area families and pilgrims to have some spiritual enrichment. We recognize the importance of our Guanellian traditions, but also that family life is the foundation of our society. As Pope Francis has emphasized, “It is in the family, with its unique capacity to form each member, particularly the young, into persons of love, sacrifice, commitment and fidelity, that the Church and society …will find the resources necessary to renew and build up a culture of solidarity.”
The custom of the Advent Wreath is a simple tradition that helps us to await the coming of Christ. It is a custom rich in symbolism, as each part of the wreath has significance. As each family finished assembling their wreath, a prayer service was held. Each part of the prayer was not only an intercession, but also contained a short explanation as to what each symbol meant. Fr. Satheesh then blessed all the wreaths with holy water and all shared a potluck meal.
Manila – Advent is a time of preparation—for preparing our hearts to receive the Precious Gift of The Father: Jesus, Our Lord and Savior. While many of us seem to get caught up in the materialistic side of the Christmas holiday by spending Advent in the malls buying gifts, it is refreshing to see that there are also many persons of good-will who are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to bring some holiday joy to those who are less fortunate.
Such was the case during the last month or so here at Guanella Home. Throughout Advent, the boys were visited by various church groups, organizations, and families who generously gave of their time, treasures, and talents in order to bring joy to our special children. During the last few weeks we were inundated with gifts and food galore, not to mention warm feelings of Christmas cheer—brought to (and reciprocated by) our residents.
Observing the many groups that came and went, one could see the connection and bond of love being developed between the visitors and the residents. There were even times when some of the visitors were caught wiping tears of love from their eyes before leaving Guanella Home. It was in these precious moments that awareness of Saint Guanella’s advice —that you should see the face of Christ in each ‘good child’—became real to the guests. And thus, by spending time with the residents, visitors were able to experience the Incarnation of the Word in a most profound way—made present to them in the boys. And after all, that is what Advent is all about, isn’t it?
God bless all those kind and generous persons who spent time at Guanella home during this season.