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)