Chennai – The DGMS community enjoyed a provincial visit on July 14th. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, SdC, Provincial Superior, shared his reflections on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy; summarizing the 2016 CRI brochure: 5 focus areas and 40 action plans by Fr. Joe Manath, SDB. He asked us to include the works of mercy in our personal and community projects. A theological forum followed about Fr. Domenico Saginario, SdC, the pioneer spirit of the Indian mission. Fr. Francis introduced the topic of the forum; stressing the importance to learn about our own confreres.Fr. Soosai spoke in his presidential address about the deep spirituality of Fr. Saginario as a missionary. He also emphasized the missionary spirit of Fr. Saginario and advised the young seminarians to have a thirst for theological knowledge and a missionary spirit.
Pforzheim – June was an intensive month. It was rich in events and new experiences, but it also provided us with an opportunity to reflect deeply to rediscover our old roots, our own DNA. We found our traditions, family ties, and devotion to our saints with plenty of hilarity! After the first pilgrimage to Lourdes, our two Guanellian parish priests accompanied an additional pilgrimage to a famous German shrine. This one is known as, Our Lady of Zwiefalten, where more than 1000 Italian devotees of our confederate State of Baden-Württemberg met with the archibishop of our original diocese in Agrigento; Monsignor Montenegro. The Pforzheim Group enjoyed the opportunity and made our confreres happy by demonstrating so much faith and devotion to God’s Mother!
In mid-June we had the pleasure of a visit from Vicar General Fr. Umberto Brugnoni, who stepped onto German soil for the first time and felt with his hands and heart the progress of our presence in this beautiful and generous country after only six months. After a casual meeting at our Procure in Tiefenbronn, we toured the northern part of the large Guanellian parish, which will be served by Fr. Rocky after his vacation in India.
On June 21st we celebrated the traditional St. Calogero Feast. Father Umberto presided at the solemn Mass, and was assisted by Frs. Wieslaw and Rocky. Every last seat in the small Church was full. A short procession with the statue of our black patron, Calogero, took place through the city center of Pforzheim, and ended with the benediction of homemade devotional bread. As Sicilians practice around the globe in all Naresi communities, many devotees offered donations. At the end, our co-organizer and President of the St. Calogero Committee, Mr. Ignazio Minotta, presented an envelope with 400 Euros for the disabled children at Poonamallee, India. My emotion and that of our confreres, was overcome by the presence of twelve former alumni of the St. Calogero Institute at Naro; crowning the feast with a souvenir picture of he and our confreres. Most of them arrived in Pforzheim in the early 60s, and are still great supporters of the Guanellian parish along with their growing families and friends. The next appointment will be at the 2015 St. Calogero Feast when the newly re-founded Commitee of the Friends of St. Calogero will be more active in fundraising for other Guanellian projects in the missions of Africa and/or Asia.
As far as our work at the Procure is concerned, we patiently wait for an answer concerning the Sivagangai Projects. We spoke recently with Fr. Kulandaisamy during the Provincial Meetings in the USA, and asked for his patience until the end of June. Please pray that this project, the other new projects for Vietnam and the supported “Don Mimi Leprosy Center at Tale/Mindanao, Phil.” may find generous donors in the coming weeks. For these specific projects, we have entered a new phase with Sr. Cecille, FMM, who is coordinating the documents with Fr. Charlton Viray so that the testament of Fr. Mimi can be combined with them.
I would like to say a few words about beloved Sr. Giulietta Saginario, the last surviving member of this generous family who has granted the Guanellian family three priests and a nun. She has given a testament and left the inheritance of her family to the Leprosy Center at Tala for children of leper parents. She is very sick and all the friends of Fr. Mimi should accompany her in this delicate moment of her earthly life. As an adopted brother of the Saginarios, I invite you to join me in this prayer crusade around the world: But Fiat Voluntas Dei also for Sr. Giulia!
Let us praise the Lord that he allows us to be his “cooperators” in seeking and distributing funds to his “precious and weak sisters and brothers.”
Laudate Dominum quia mirabilia fecit :
Praise the Lord Who works miracles every day!
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procura
Germany – It was not quite time for our vacation so we kept our staff and cooperators busy by packing and loading relief goods which, in cooperation with the Lazarus Order, are being shipped to Romania. Some of them are designated for the Guanellian sisters in Jasi and Scheia, Romania. During the annual vacation we invited our cooperators to our regional garden show which this year was held in the charming little city of Nagold in the Black Forest, Folk music, cold beer and blonde ladies in traditional costume were the highlights for our German and Italian friends; we ended the day with a pizza dinner.
This year we assisted with the celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. With the German ladies of our parish, we collected herbs in the neighboring fields and gardens and made fresh flower bouquets. More than 100 bouquets were placed before the beautiful altar in Saint Magdalena Basilica, the mother Church of the Guanellian Procura and of the St. Lazarus Knights. In the near future we’ll celebrate our meetings and religious festivities. Although it is not a civil holiday, for the Catholic population of our district, it is a great event. The flower bouquets were offered to those present. Small donations were collected for the Baby Hospital of Bethlehem, proof that after 2000 years no Catholic believer forgets the Holy Child, son of the Blessed Virgin on the annual feast of her Assumption into Heaven. This ceremony brought me back to November 1, 1950 when, as a young seminarian in Rome, I attended the proclamation of this important Dogma by Pope Pius XII. At that time at least fifteen Guanellian seminarians were serving Mass in Saint Peter‘s Basilica; we stood behind the Baldachin of the Pontiff in front of more than 150,000 pilgrims from around the world. Just 5 years after the end of World War II.What an opportunity! I still thank the Lord and his Beloved Mother for having granted me such a privilege!
Since the world cannot be changed simply with empty words after the Assumption Mass, the cooperators gathered to discuss the so called “Don Mimi Testament.” He wrote to the German Procura just fifteen days before he died revealing his deepest wish: starting a project for children of lepers in Mindanao, Philippines. The project will be submitted on October 12th to Kinder Mission at Aachen, who made many donations to Guanellian projects in Legapzi and Mexico City in 2011.
May Mary of Nazareth cover all our benefactors, cooperators and supporters under her protective mantle during this blessed and relaxing time.