Cuddalore – The 4th Classical Academy of the 2014–2015 year was held November 8–10th at St. Joseph’s Seminary under the leadership of Fr. Ronald (Rector of Guanella Bhavan). The academy, “Annihilation of Arts,” was conducted by the higher secondary students. To invoke God’s presence into this event, brothers sang devotional folk songs. They showed their love and gratitude to the chief guest, Fr. John Paul Britto, by presenting him with a shawl. Three speeches were delivered: Bro. Idhayan (History of Arts), Bro. Kishore (How the Arts Destroy) and Bro. Ajis (How the Arts Innovate). To further entertain the audience, Bro. Antony Paul & co. performed a colorful folk dance. Last but not least the president of the academy, Fr. Ronald, evaluated the presentations and expressed appreciation to those who participated. Giving thanks is integral to Indian culture so, Bro. Vimal, with his beautiful voice, thanked the gathering and led the community in singing the papal Anthem.
Bangalore – Child abuse has become a serious problem in the present society, especially impacting the people of Bangalore. The innocence of children is used by the culprits for their own sexual gratification; destroying the lives of many young minds. Therefore in order to empower them, the Guanella Preethi Nivas community offered an awareness program for the oratory children August 31st. Ms. Stella, a GLM collaborator, gave a presentation on child abuse followed by a time of sharing. More than 120 children actively participated and benefited through this program. The children were refreshed with snacks and tea before going home.
Cuddalore -The feast of the Most Sacred Heart was celebrated in a meaningful way at St. Joseph’s seminary. The brothers prepared themselves by fasting and confession. The whole Guanellian family was present (priest, sisters and lay people) at Mass which was presided over by Fr. Visuvasam, the community superior. “The love of God has no limitation,” was the theme of his homily. “God loved the world so much, that He gave His only son to this world” (1 John). God loves us so much, but it is we who rarely realize the love of God, so we also fail to show true love to others. So, that our Lord Jesus Christ opened His heart which is so full of love and has shown it to this world through his heart. So, we must also realize the love of God towards us and learn to love one another, so that our life will be fruitful to bear the love of God to our neighbor. After the homily, the perpetually professed confreres renewed their vows with devotion before the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue. The feast ended with tea and a time of fellowship.
Cuddalore – A seminar on psycho-spiritual experience was held on June 26th at St. Joseph Seminary. The college brothers happily attended the class which was led by Fr. Antony Samy. He clearly taught that without the call of God, no one can enter the seminary. He said that one who is chosen by God is the one who is possessed by the Spirit of God. At the seminar three important aspects of religious life were revealed:
- Being with God – through a personal prayer life and true service to God.
- Being with the community – if we are not united with our confreres, then everything becomes nothing.
- Being with the poor in mission –giving to the poor what has been received from the hands of God.
Andhra – On May 13th, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima was celebrated in a grand manner. An Our Lady of Fatima image was decorated with flowers and lights for a procession around the Church. The Legion of Mary led the whole congregation in offering special prayers through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima. Fr. Bala Kiran celebrated Mass and Fr. Joseph Peter preached the homily; narrating the history of Our Lady of Fatima. People who have great devotion to Mother Mary offered special prayers for peace in the whole world.
Pforzheim – On May 27, 2014 the first Guanellian pilgrimage led by Fr. Wieslaw Baniak, parish priest of the Italian community at Pforzheim, will mark an epocal event for the whole congregation. I’m really sure that Father Guanella will be pleased to see that his dream of August 1912 has now been fulfilled. For the first time, a son of Fr. Guanella will accompany fifty-five Italian pilgrims to Lourdes. Following their return on June 2, 2014, we’ll be able to share with you many impressive and emotional pictures.
We have sent along a humble photo of our departure to Lourdes. After the joyful meetings of Palm Sunday and Easter, our Guanellian Parish of Barfüßer Church is going to prepare the celebration of our black Patron of the far and beloved home Naro: San Calogero, who for 50 years has been honored by the devoted community of Pforzheim and the hinterlands with affection. Because of this, an old project for fundraising in favor of the Guanellian missions has been re-activated. Two decades ago the San Calogero friends Club had contributed a substantial donation for the building of the new San Calogero elderly home to replace the old home for poor and abandoned children during darkest period in Sicily after WWII. It was special for me because of my birth in the Guanellian family in 1948.
The liturgical feast is June 18th but for practical reasons we’ll celebrate it on June 21, 2014. First with a solemn Mass in our small church, then a long procession with the statue of San Calogero and finally a traditional ‘spaghetti dinner’ featuring long and joyful dances. The offers donated by the devotees will be sent to our General House in Rome for the rehabilitation center for the developmentally disabled at Poonamallee. This is also an homage to our believers in India for having donated one of their sons to us, Fr. Rocky Antonyraj.
The pastoral activities of our Guanellian mission is increasing with the sympathy of our neighboring parish priests Dr. Johannes Mette and Dean Ihle, as well as that of our neighboring Italian missionary Father Antonino Grassia at Mühlacker. The counterpart of the Guanellian parish is dedicating time and efforts to provide expected financial help, allowing for the purchase of a mini-bus for the disabled boys and girls of Sivavangai. A recent call from Mrs. Lioba Stenner announced that this project will be submitted in June 2014 to the awarding commission. At the same time we are searching out new sources for the Saigon Projects.
Special thanks from Missio Munich goes out to Fr. Charlton Viray, for his initiative in dedicating two commemorative plates for their generous donations at Quezon City, Manila Main Building and the Physiotherapy center. Shortly, a report on the visit of the Kindermission Delegation to Legapzi will appear on the local German press of Aachen.
It has been announced that our great benefactor, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch is about to be replaced by a new Archbishop by the name of Domkapitular Stephan Burger. Archbishop Zollitsch has been a great ally, who formally accepted our Guanellian presence in the great Archdiocese of Freiburg. We thank Archbishop Zollitsch for his service, and welcome our new shepherd Archbishop Stephan Burger, wishing him well as he assumes his new position.
Finally, June in Germany is traditionally a harvesting month, and both German entities, the Parish and the Procure must thank the Lord for his copious signs of benevolence. May Holy Providence continue to hold its hands upon us and assist us to be true and tireless Servants of the Poor.
Benedicat Dominus operam nostram!
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procura
“No one can live without delight and that is why man, deprived of spiritual joy, goes over to fleshly pleasures” (Thomas Aquinas). Our reliance on other persons and attachment to worldly possessions in this hedonistic culture is quite normal. For some, a car is a wife for others, computers, cell phones, friends and financial security and so on and so on. I have trusted him/her like a mountain but he/she has abandoned, betrayed me… these are the desperations and cries of today’s lives. In this context, possessions lead to attachment which leads to greediness and a grabbing mentality.
Instead of relying on material security, we should rely on God and in His Providence and thus we become voluntarily poor like St. Francis of Assisi who said “My God and my all” which was his prayer. In the life of Jesus, He identified Himself with the poor and His lifestyle had no security, comfort, permanent house, and He was even buried in a borrowed grave. The followers of Jesus also left everything- nets, boats, hired servants, tax office, etc.
“Give what you have to the poor” and “poverty depends on Charity “says our father of the poor St. Guanella. His eyes were able to see Jesus in the poor, “the most abandoned of all, bring him in, sit him at your table and make him yours, because he is Jesus”. Fr. Guanella warned the religious “let the two sins against providence be avoided “spending uselessly and refusing ourselves what is necessary for food, clothing and health. Our founder underwent umpteen sufferings, miscomprehensions, the FOUR F’S (fame-hungry, freddo-cold, fumo-smoke, fastidi-adversity) He always encourages us to love poverty, love the cross, and embrace penances and thus we can ascend the ladder of perfection.
Our Holy Father’s Lenten message is an eye opener to make an examination of conscience on a life of evangelical poverty in three types (of destitution): material, moral and spiritual and show our ‘Diaconia’ in meeting the needs of the poorest and alleviate the poverty with compassion, tenderness and solidarity of His love. Lent is a fitting time for self-denial in order to enrich others by our own poverty and solidarity. The recent Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India also urged us to become an example of simplicity, transparency, justice and mercy in a society polluted by corruption and violence.
St. Joseph loved poverty and suffered the privation of life with patience and without murmur or complaint! He is a model of patience and was full of the virtue of humility and, with a righteous attitude, obeyed the plan of God. May he bless each one of us to be generous through our personal and community poverty!
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
Chennai – Don Guanella Major Seminary organized a vocation drive throughout Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh October 24th-28th. The theology students were divided into groups and set off for the dioceses of Nellore, Kadappa, Chengalpet, Vellore, Salem, Coimbatore and Tanjaur. Our brothers worked diligently and visited various schools, parishes, hostels and Catholic families to find young men willing to offer their lives in service to the poor. The vocation drive was successful and brothers have valid suggestions to improve future events. As our founder rightly points out vocation promotion is “works of works”, as the community continues to seek vocations to our religious life.