Kumbakonam – It was a great joy for Guanella Nagar Parish. Nineteen of the parish children received their First Holy Communion. Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. A. John Bosco. In his homily he taught that the first Holy Communion is a Catholic ceremony in which a child is given the Sacrament of the Eucharist for the first time. The Holy Eucharist is Christ’s body and blood present in the consecrated host on the Altar, and we believe that the consecrated bread and wine are actually the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ. Fr. Vincent and Sr. Christy prepared the children spiritually for the past twenty-seven days for this great event. The first Holy Communion is without question a time of great joy. Hence, their parents, god-parents, relatives and friends were very happy. The children smiled exuberantly upon reception of the Eucharist.
Cuddalore – God is yearning to be with us. It is through the Eucharistic Lord, we are able to encounter Jesus and feel His presence. He calls out for us to come and see Him. The people of Our Lady of Perpetual Succor Church celebrated the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus on June 18th. The Eucharistic Procession began at the parish. Fr. A. Periyanayagasamy, the Parish Priest, gave a blessing in the Church. Then the people piously moved towards Don Guanella Boys Home. Fr. Lawrence, the director of DGBH conducted half an hour of Adoration with the help of the boys home students. Eventually, the Eucharist was taken to St. Joseph Seminary. Fr. Amal Raj beautifully ended the ceremony with five lessons that we have to learn from the Eucharist: care, unity, sharing, humility and sacrifice.
Fr. Guanella had a well focused dream when he decided to, “Go North,” adapting his feeling compass to a genial intuition during the Int. Marian Congress at Treviri, a part of the former Roman Province. At a very crowded assembly in the Cathedral of St. Helena, he implored the Forum to help his charitable work, which by August 1912 was quite established. In his prophetic allocution he was begging for ‘small streams of charity’ for his daughters and sons at his Italian and Swiss institutions from Germany. We believe that he intended to give this message and roadmap to a flock of former Sicilian alumni first. After a century, this has become a tangible reality through God’s Providence: his sons carrying out his dream!
After ten years of baby steps, Guanellians have made giant progress in weaving a blessed net of benefactors among the generous Catholic solidarity agencies. The Guanellian Procure was diligent in seeking and finding ‘busy bees’ at Catholic Missio agencies, first at Aachen in 2008. The present Salesian General Treasurer, Bro. Jean Paul Muller, introduced us and mediated the first donation of a mini-bus for Fr. Frantellizzi Hogar at Ciudad DF, Mexico. Convinced by this successful trial, the DPP Provincial Council courageously established the Missions Procure in March 2009. The strong insistence of Fr. Mimi from Manila and a ‘good word’ of Fr Joseph Rinaldo at the General Council in Rome made the rest possible.
This is a real charity Telenovela! Now after the first decade, it is time to thank Divine Providence which continuously opens doors and incredible possibilities for all projects presented to the Procure from the Guanellian provinces. The most generous Institution in fundraising is Missio Munich supported by Bavarian Catholics of the Archdiocese of Munich. To their President, Msgr. Wolfgang Huber, and his amazing assistants, Mrs. Heidrun Göttler and Stephanie Schüller, goes our deepest gratitude. Since 2009, Missio Munich financed the construction of the new, modern Fr. Guanella Disabled Center in Quezon City; and later, the well-equipped physiotherapy wing.
Recently, after an intensive search of donors, Msgr. Thomas Schlichtig of the Awarding commission in the Munich Archdiocese, accepted the challenge of Missio to create a great stock of life-saving medicine for the Guanellian ‘Good Samaritan Pharmacy!’ To him, his archdiocese, the Missio staff and to all Bavarian donors, “Vergelt’s Gott!” which means Blessings will remunerate your generosity.
We also convey our sincere thanks to Missio at Aachen, which in the past 10 years has been an attentive partner for our presence in Legazpi with five nutrition programs, physiotherapy of special children. They also pioneered support in many Guanellian Projects in Central Africa. In 2014-15 a new ambulance for transporting children, AIDs sufferers, and the poor from the infernal streets of Kinshasa, RD Congo, through a 24-hour daily service was purchased and Bro. Mauro can fill their listening hears and open hearts. Thanks also to Mrs. Beate Jantzen for projects within Kinshsa and Mrs. Elaine Steiner for supporting the projects of Fr. Battista Omodei at Legapzi Philippines.
This story contains an encouraging message to our confreres in Africa and Asia to be confident that every request, every small project, has for us absolute priority! This is our vocation and commitment, to be the ‘third child in the Guanellian family!’ We do not baptize, nor confess, nor preach, but all our mental resources and ‘savoir faire’ are in service to the poor, because they reflect the image of God on Earth!
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus bless all our donors, supporters and friends of our Procure for remaining beside us as bridges to the German charity sources.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
Ho Chi Minh City – On May 27th Br. Khiet and Br. Hoang renewed their religious vows. Fr. Anthony Quyen, SVD, was invited to preside over the Mass. He preached a good, inspirational homily. Fr. Felicks, the house in-charge, received their vows. Two local religious sisters were also present during the Holy Mass. After Mass, a beautiful dinner was shared in honor of the momentous occasion.
E. Providence – To celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord on Thursday, May 25th, the students of Sacred Heart School planned a May Crowning and special Mass. The tradition is to crown a statue outdoors, but this year the weather did not cooperate. Mass and the Crowning were held inside. Fr. Franklin Michael, SdC, who was visiting the Rhode Island Community assisted Fr. Silvio at the school Mass.
Bangalore – On May 31st, the feast of “The Visitation of Mother Mary,” the anniversary when our Founder celebrated his first Holy Mass in 1866, six of our Novices successfully completed their novitiate and made their first Religious profession, saying ‘yes’ to the call of the Lord ‘to be His witnesses’. The Brothers looked like angels in their Cassocks. The Congregation and especially Fr. Adaikalam, who led the Brothers throughout the year of Novitiate giving them the experience of the Institute and forming them to be beautiful Flowers offered to God. Bro. At Guanella Preethi Nivas holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Soosai Rathinam. His Councilors Fr. Kulandai and Fr. Visuvasam; Superior and Rector of GPN, Fr. Gnanaraj; Novice Master, Fr. Adaikalam and other Guanellian Fathers concelebrated. During his homily, Fr. Rathinam told the Brothers they must always look forward to the driving force in the religious life and walk toward the destined end. He added, during the time of St. Guanella, they did not have big celebrations, in fact he recalled how after the good children fell asleep they quietly made their vows. The parents of the brothers were acknowledged and thanked by Fr. Rathinam for having encouraged their children to say ‘yes’ to the Divine call. The Community was vibrant with joy and happiness to have this celebration and welcoming the new precious gifts.
Manila – May 23rd-26th the seminarians from Legazpi and Quezon City shared time together. The primary purpose of the event was for the seminarians to develop a strong fraternity towards the Guanellian mission. The seminarians were given talks by Bro. Mauro, SdC, who presented some of the Guanellian Mission Principles, and Sr. Marivic, CM, who talked about discipleship. Team-building activities were conducted by Fr. Ronnie preceded by a fraternal night which allowed the seminarians to show off their talents and skills. Tita Alice and Tito Jun went with the seminarians to Batangas for a relaxing getaway. A tree-planting was the final activity that symbolizes the relationship between the two communities that will continue to grow.
Chennai – On May 26th, for the occasion of the 151st Ordination Anniversary of St. Guanella, 25 of our temporary confreres joyfully renewed their vows by pronouncing ‘Yes’ to the Lord to keep vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior, presided over Holy Mass and received the vows of the confreres. In his homily, he focused on the faithfulness of the confreres to the Congregation. He stressed that faithfulness is one of the important aspects of living a Guanellian religious life. On behalf of the brothers and the community, DGMS Superior Rev. Fr. Samson thanked God and the Provincial Superior with his grateful heart. To make the celebration more grand, Rev. Fr. Gnanaraj, GPN community Superior, Fr. John Peter and Fr. Anil and the DGMS community fathers, con-celebrated with Fr. Soosai.
E. Providence – The second grade students of Sacred Heart School had the culmination of their year-long preparation for Holy Communion on Sunday, May 7th. It is a parish tradition for the children to experience the miracle of transubstantiation on the altar up close to Fr. Silvio. This year there was a special priest present to concelebrate the Mass, Fr. Jeremy Rodrigues, uncle of one of the first communicants. At the same celebration the children in their First Communion attire crowned the Blessed Mother statue following the tradition of the Catholic Church.
During the Marian Month of May both Guanellian entities in the Black Forest have been very active.
Fr. Rocky accompanied a group of Italian pilgrims to Fatima. Fr. Wieslaw went for the annual pilgrimage to Our Lady of Lourdes. Confreres of the Italian Mission have been busy preparing children for First Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage. On June 2nd subsidiary Bishop Gerber will celebrate the confirmation of many youth of our district. Guanellian Alumni of Naro are organizing a solemn feast and procession of St. Calogero, patron of Naro, through the streets of Pforzheim mid-June.
The other half of the Procura has been busy raising funds and refreshing contacts with our best donors: Missio, Munich; Kindermission, Aachen; the Bishop’s office, Freiburg; and the charitable nuns of the Pious Union in the Black Forest.
New projects from the Philippines have been submitted and partially funded. The Good Samaritan Pharmacy has received sufficient donations to purchase life-saving medicine for a long time. The astonishing thing is that even agnostic friends of Guanella Works have opened their pockets. New sources of charity have become members of the GLM, increasing the circle among professional and influential pesonalities from the Italian community.
We are following the development of missions in West Africa, encouraging confreres to send well documented projects for submission to agencies in Germany. As The most recent in Africa is the Guanellian shelter in Mbeya, West Tanzania. There is an urgent need of sufficient drinking water for the disabled communities as well as for the neighboring Christian villages.We’ll apply for support at Missio, Munich. We are closely connected since we ‘adopted’ a young boy, whom Fr. Furaha has given my first name. Little Gero is a sunny disabled boy, who has become in Germany the symbol of Guanellian loving attention toward God’s neglected children in Africa and beyond.
The last coordinated activity is with the German Pious Union and the establishment of a branch of the St. Josef Confraternity in Indore/Madhya Pradesh. Mother General Simone has obtained approval of Bishop Chacko Thottumarical, the local bishop. The German Procure plans to submit the project to the Pious Union in Rome for Canonical approval. We hope that this will foster practical cooperation among Guanellians with the efforts of the Daughters of St. Josef in South India to increase the veneration of the Holy Patriarch, great St. Josef, and promote the blessed apostolate for the salvation of the suffering and dying around the world. This brillant inspiration of our Founder should become an imperative act of all Guanellians practicing his maxim, “The worry for the dying of this day is an important duty of true Christian love toward our neighbor.”
May the Holy Spirit this Pentecost inflame our hearts and turn our thoughts to be attentive to the poor.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure