Guanellian Presence on Tanzanian Soil

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

German Guanellians as Charity Globetrotters

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 closing-holy-door-solomon-islandGuanellian 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 fr-furaha-in-germany-2014Guanellian 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

Golden October – Our Second Marian Month

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

Fr. Guanella: Passionate Hope for Amatrice Earthquake Victims

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:(pmadassery@gmail.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

Time for a New Perspective

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Pforzheim – The most important dream of my long Guanellian life has become reality. Now the two first Guanellian missionaries have started a very promising apostolate and are slowly absorbing the nuances of the German mentality and behavior. Therefore they must now start their long flight with their own wings as my mission is accomplished.
During the recent visit of Vicar General Fr. Umberto Brugnoni, we had the opportunity to discuss our next targets and projects for new Guanellian adventures in the Middle East and southern Africa. Consequently, our parish priests should continue the written dialogue with our benefactors around the world, the readers of Italian and Spanish bulletins. This should be secured by Fr. Wieslaw who is presently working amongst not only the Italians but also the Polish community. I, futhermore, encouraged Fr. Rocky to start writing for the readers of our DPP in India, USA and the Far East. The procure will concentrate all activities for strategic attempts for the Guanellian charism in new countries, places where I spent time during my business career. Principally in order to open new doors and flow the increasing Guanellian priests of India, soon also from Asia and West Africa, into these activities.
With consent and eventual permission of the Catholic bishop at Abu Dhabi/Emirates we could have easy entry into this rich and tolerant country also counting on the support of a dear personal friend, Sheik Faris Al Mazroui, close relative of the Emirates ruling Sultan Bin Sayed. During our visit in Jan. 2012 we had interesting contact with the Salesian priests at Foujarah. They are the only religious, apart from the Franciscans, operating in high schools. A German humanitarian agency, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, would support a Guanellian disabled center. In talks with Mr. Faris and resident Indian Anglican friends, we realized that there is an urgent need for such a place principally for children of the expatriates from India and the Philippines as well as for children of local parents. I have often discussed this project with Fr. Luigi, who wrote a letter last year to Bishop Paul Hinder of Abu Dhabi thanking him for his invitation!
I don’t know how long our Lord will allow me to work in His vineyard, so I invite Fr. Luigi to join me on an explorative trip to Dubai-Abu Dhabi and evaluate every possibility to seriously consider this project with a certain urgency. Meanwhile I’ll send a video of our structure in Nazareth to Mr. Faris with an invitation to visit in order to report to his cousin, the Sultan, and to the Ministry of Social Affairs.
The other very urgent project should be a visit to Mbeya to Fr. Furaha: a young, clever diocesan priest in Africa, who on his own initiative and means is guiding a disabled center and still considering becoming a Servant of Charity. I suggested that Fr. Luigi travel there personally with the assistance of my dear friend Julius Makundi at Dar es Salam. Following Fr. Furaha are other young priests wishing to join the Servants of Charity.
Finally, not an irresponsible dreamer, but with both feet on the earth I’m following projects of Africa, Philippines and now the most important one in Vietnam. Unfortunately both projects for Vatluru and Sivagangai have been denied. The first because of many discrepancies, the second because at present, Kindermission is financing other projects in North India. Our project for a minibus for the disabled at Sivagangai has been postponed until mid 2015. We’ll continue knocking on many doors for the Fr. Mimi Project at Tala /Philippines, the nutrition and PT center for children of leper parents and an efficient medical center. Therefore let us pray insistently to holy Providence and our holy Founder. I’ll personally pray in August 2014 during our stay in his chapel and ask for further assistance in our daily tasks!
Dirige me Domine per aspera ad astra: Guide me, o Lord, through all difficulties to Heaven!

Gero Lombardo,  German Guanellian Procura

A German Guanellian Reaches Pope Francis

Bishop accepts gift

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It is not an April Fool’s joke, but a joyful truth!

What a unique and precious gift. A Guanellian confrere was recently received by Pope Francis at his private residence, St. Marta House inside Vatican City. My former seminarian pupil and now director of the Mother House in Como, Fr. Angelo Gottardi, was a private guest of Pope Francis on his 70th birthday. I assisted Fr. Angelo, a Swiss confrere of Bale, in 1958-59 before he went to the novitiate at Barza. After his ordination, he was sent at length to South America, where I met him several times in Chile and Argentina. During his pastoral time at the Guanellian Basilica of St. Josef in Avenida Castro, he was often in touch with the former Archibishop and later Cardinal Bergoglio.

Since that time contact with this Church prince remained very close so that many confreres like Fr. Silvio Sperotto, Fr. Gustavo De Bonis, Carlos Blanchoud and my novitiate classmate, Fr. Settimo Zanella, have recently spoken of their edifying experiences with this great Pope, who has had the courage to burst open the windows and encrusted gate of our Church.

Following the pastoral letter of Archibishop Dr. R. Zollitsch, we have intensified our efforts in preparing a large pastoral view in our adoptive ambiance, and increased our contact with the local Charitas. Through the Guanellian charism, sensible attention is being paid to the severely disabled, care of the elderly, and the supportive initiatives of Catholic solidarity agencies like Missio and Stern Singers, who are now our best benefactors; recently awarding 40,000 Euros for a van in Kinsasha. As previously reported, Charitas Pforzheim has a large center for the disabled, which curiously was built on an ancient Roman villa. Haus am Kappelhof hosts more than 150 disabled girls and boys. Director Lemke has also constructed a special school for the physically disabled. In the two senior centers, St. Marin and Albert Stehlin Haus, many neglected elderly have found not only medical assistance; but warm, fraternity and love.

As our German Procura owes gratitude to our Salesian cousins, this month we supported their funding appeals for the street children in Congo and the victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines. But our main task was finalizing the pending projects of our mission stations. So we praise the Lord for His Providence. Fr. Battista received a donation of $20,000 for his nutrition and PT center at Legapzi, and on November 21st, Missio Munich will submit our project for PT at Quezon City, Manila. Our generous ladies there, Mrs. Heidrun and Stephanie, believe that 30,000 Euro will be approved for their project.

For our Indian confreres in Sivagangai, the hour of Providence will begin in December, when the medical commission will give the green light to purchase a van to transport the disabled. The project of Fr. Peter Sebastian for the kitchen in Vatluru has now been submitted. Pray that Providence will enlarge his maternal mantle on all our benjamins, worldwide.

The German community would like to report that both confreres are working hard. Fr. Wieslaw is at Boxberg, training for his German pastorate; including wedding celebrations, funerals,and taking Holy Communion to the sick and elderly. Fr. Rocky is becoming familiar with the German culture and receiving excellent marks in his lessons.

Finally, we congratulate Vicar Bishop Rainer Klug on his 75th birthday. As a sign of our respect, devotion and gratitude, we are asking our Curia in Rome to procure a parchment for him. We’ll miss his paternal attention and protection, and assure him of the prayers of our German community for the introduction of our Congregation into Germany. For the first time since the prophetical dream of Fr. Guanella in August 1912, during the Marian congress at Trier, we are now the carriers of Guanellian charity. We look with hope for the long line of our saints to grow. While in November we celebrated the Feast of All Saints, we now look forward with trepidation to Christmas. Let us be the silent sheperds and new evangelizing Magi at his cradle! Gaudium magnun anuncio vobis, quia hodie Verbum DEI Caro factum est! (We announce today that the Word of God has become flesh!)

Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procura

From Germany to Remote Tents of Charity

waves crashing on a rocky coast

waves crashing  on a rocky coastOur confreres at the ‘front’ of our missions and evangelization are the real heroes of our humanity, because they save innocents from famine, illness, abandonment and sin. During a recent trip to Italy, I enjoyed a common scene; three seagulls landing on a rocky cliff, with one daring a risky pirouette on a white foamy wave. At that moment, I thanked God for this metaphor of our long dream, as the birds seemed to interpret my thoughts. In July three confreres will finally arrive in Germany, as we accompany Fathers Baniak and Arokiadoss to Freiburg to begin their six month German language course. Our procure has matured after five years of effort, having finally realized ‘Project Germany.’ We will now don our wings and fly to other countries where, with God’s grace, we will pray for quick decisions.
For nearly five years, we have been negotiating the possibility of opening a center for the disabled in the Arab Emirates. In Abu Dhabi, I have been meeting with Fr. Gandolf Wild and Faris Al Mazroui, while in 2012 we visited the other Emirates, where building costs are lower and the Salesian institutions are present. The Anglican Bishop of RAK has encouraged me to actively press for the fulfillment of such an urgently needed center, and after intensive negotiations with the General Council, Fr. Luigi DeGiambattista has hinted that Bishop Paul Hinder might consider the presence of the SdC in that country. We can count on several sources of financial support, as half a million Christians and more than 300,000 Catholic expatriates from the Philippines and India live in this country. At least 5,000 disabled children and elderly would benefit from such a blessing. Fr. Gandolf is a friend of our congregation from his long stay in Rome and he updates us often with new events in their large territory. Recently on June 14th, a majestic Church was blessed and inaugurated at the RAK capital with the participation of Cardinal Fernando Filoni and the apostolic Nuncio, Petar Rajic. Emir al Qassimi also honored us with his presence. I have invited Fr Luigi to accompany Inge and I on a possible exploratory mission this fall, to provide our General Council with an objective evaluation of the needs, means and potentiality of vocation promotion among our many Catholics.
Our next target is Tanzania. Fr. Paul Oggioni visited a disabled center in Mbeya in 2010 when he visited a young priest who had shown interest in joining our congregation. After a bumpy start, Fr. Furaha has approached our procure seeking financial support. He and Sister Mary take care of about 40 disabled boys and girls, and in front of the main building they already grow a small garden with vegetables and orchards. He needs a donation of 4,000€ for building a poultry and pig farm. The egg and meat sales would also help with the center’s operating costs, and the project has been submitted to Kindermission and Bankers Sparkasse Pforzheim.
Since St. Guanella has now established himself in West Africa, this potential new tent would cover a larger area in Tanzania, where about half a million Indians are living. My friend Julius Makundi, a businessman in Dar es Salam, will support our efforts in this project if Fr. Furaha and other priests decide to enter our congregation.
May our holy Founder and the Lord link our small steps for His glory and the benefit of our suffering brothers. The whole world will become our homeland!

Gero Lombardo,  German Guanellian Procura

Spreading the Guanellian Charism to the World

Servants of Charity amongst beneficiaries in Africa

Servants of Charity amongst beneficiaries in Africa

Recently, our primary focus has been dedicated to spreading the Guanellian charism and teachings in support of disabled people through the use of our religious and  public mass media in Germany. Starting with two publications, we will produce a translation of the Spanish booklet written by our Puentes (Bridges) ONG Director and friend Juan Bautista Aguado, in German. Then we will add another booklet to profile of our Founder, St.Guanella, as written by my former teacher Fr. Piero Pellegrini. Guanellian Sister Franca Vendramin will assist us with the editing.

During the past twelve months, many regional newspapers have reported the important events of the Guanellian family that have occurred in our district capital of Pforzheim. This includes the visit of Br. Mauro Cecchinato and Mr. SilvioVerga, the coordinator of the ASCI (Association of Christian Schools International), from Como, Italy. These visits were the outgrowth of conferences conducted by first German volunteer, Robin Kreutel, who has been collecting funds to support our missions in the Democratic Republic (DR) of Congo. For this rich, troubled and tormented country,  we have started a large fundraising campaign, using the existing tools that Holy Providence has provided us here in Germany. Those who are assisting include the Guanellian Procure, the St.Lazarus Knights Order, and our Catholic Relief Agencies at Aachen, Munich and Cologne. In Berlin, Hamburg, and Freiburg/Stuttgart,  we have submitted projects for ASCI-Como to create a special professional school for boys and girls of the street, former boy soldiers, girls exposed to prostitution  and finally for disabled children  in the three centers of Kinshasa- Lemba, Limente  and Bateke. These buildings have  been very expensive to support. Our confreres have done miracles through their fundraising in Northen Italy, Spain and Germany to erect the blessed humanitarian center. As is usually done by our Founder, they have put their hope in Providence, and need strong contributions from all Guanellian laiety and friends to cover the   uncovered amount of 170,000 Euro.After the  recent visit to Kinshasa of Father General Alfonso Crippa and Sister Franca Vendramin DSMP, we received many inspiring flashes of the pure Guanellian love toward our beloved patrons in the form of witnessing real Charitas (charity). These pictures have inflammed our spirit and encouraged  us to develop a quick and constructive plan for considerable fundsraising  in our country.

We have involved all disposable means from the Guanellians in Italy and Congo, as well as our German and Congolese civil/ecclesial authorities, to set up a new file as required under German law. In these expanded efforts to open the Procura to all African countries where the Guanellians spend their entire life, love and dedication, we are working with Fr. Desmond Uche of our Nigerian structures at Nnebukwu Town and Owerri to prepare a new file for his disabled center while we encourage our confreres in Ghana to do the same for the St. Theresa Center at Abor. The early German Procura had already carried out a donation for an irrigation system at this house in 1992. We are firmly confident that in 2012, that our Procura will continue to be a useful instrument of Guanellian love toward our pioneer confreres in the promising countries of Congo,Ghana and Nigeria. And who knows; we may move into Rwanda and Tanzania next through the Order of St. Lazarus.

Finally, our Procura does not limit our tender charity to the DPP, but sends it everywhere God’s People need our help. An example is the tragedy occurring presently in war-torn Syria. We recently received an urgent request from the Catholic-Melkite Patriarch Gregorios III on March 23, 2012, for assistance in rebuilding the destroyed Christian hospital of Khabab in South Syria. We of course, will approach the German world agency responsible for Christian buildings, the General Vicariate for Weltkirchenbauten in Cologne, to try to mediate any possible help they can grant to our faith brothers there.

Your constant spiritual support would of course, speed up the intercession of our holy father St. Guanella and our much beloved patroness, Our Lady of Divine Providence.

Gero Lombardo ,   German Guanellian Procura  (GGP)