A Successful “Evening in Italy”

From our confreres in Chelsea…

St. Louis Center

The 26th Annual Fall Dinner Auction for St. Louis Center began its next twenty-five years with an Italian theme night in honor of the Servants of Charity congregation from Italy that has run this special program for persons with Developmental Disabilities since 1960. Fr. Enzo Addari, SdC., was especially proud of the local community for their support, and in particular Chelsea Community Hospital and their staff who donated their time and resources to make this event a success. “We know by your actions how much you care for our residents. Without your support, we could not provide them with the quality of life they’ve been given, and we thank you all for what you do.”

Auctioneer Joseph Merkel and his staff once again donated their services to conduct a fun and entertaining auction, both live and silent, and one of the highlights of the evening was State Treasurer Kenneth…

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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

HKSF Celebrates Friendship and Generosity

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Legazpi – The 5th Annual Dinner for a Cause to benefit Harong Kan Sagrada Familia and to reunite with the generous heart was held on October 5th. It is scheduled in the month of October so that the love of our Founder, St. Louis Guanella, can be communicated to the people of Legazpi City. It is really an act of goodwill and friendship among our benefactors, friends, fellow religious and clergy of the Diocese of Legazpi.
Nearly six hundred people of goodwill joined the Bishop of the Diocese of Legazpi, Most Rev. Joel Baylon, in making the event a success and a night to remember. A program that showcased the rich and colorful cultural heritage of different countries like the Philippines, India and Vietnam was presented by the feeding children, children with special needs, youth, seminarians and staff. Dinner for a Cause not only served as a source of income but also as a celebration of friendship and generosity.

Tribute to Benefactors

HKSF Benefactors Honored

HKSF Benefactors HonoredLegazpi – Can a simple dinner be a tribute to the people who have done great things? It might not be a sufficient show of gratitude, but on August 26th, as STEP celebrated its 10th anniversary, Benefactors at the banquet feastthe director and staff appreciatively honored all the good-hearted benefactors for the success of this program. The dinner began with a brief historical presentation of the activities of STEP over the past ten years, narrated by Fr. Battista Omodei.  He expressed his joy of being present for the blessing of the STEP building and the subsequent activities; he welcomed the guests with gratitude and the event began. Each guest was given a simple souvenir and the book “Father Louis Guanella a Priest from the Mountain Father of the Poor.” It was a tribute to the benefactors not only for their financial contributions to the program but because they have become part of the family running it. They promised to continue their support in all possible ways.

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

Germany Celebrates Disabilites Day

German ad for Disabilities Day

The inspiring motto of this new campaign in favor of persons with disabilities has a clear message; share your life with them. Be supportive of disabled people, as they are friends of God and our brothers. The Archdiocese of Freiburg has launched a sensitivity campaign targeted toward different social strata in order to reach and involve all people of good will, not only Catholics. Donations and offers went to the Bavarian relief organization Renovabis, specializing in solidarity projects mostly in Eastern Europe; but also highly engaged toward the needs and of disability missions in areas of Africa and Asia. For a couple of years now, we have had a good relationship with them for our program in Skavina/Krakow, Poland. Our long attentive experience in the daily life of Germany has taught us that German society has a very strong and constructive network of relief agencies. The most active is Charitas.German ad for Disabilities Day


I was an employee of the Charitas Verband at Freiburg in the 1960’s, and worked as a social assistant for Italian immigrants. Only in Pforzheim do we have five charitable homes for disabled, elderly and homeless families. My plan is to increase our work with Charitas, Pforzheim and our future parish in this town, when our confreres arrive. We have been very active organizing all of the necessary steps before their arrival during the month of May, with many contacts with the Archdiocese to support Fr. Arokiodoss Anton‘s visa. We hope to welcome him by the end of June, 2013. We have also undertaken steps to obtain medical insurance for him and Fr.Wieslaw Baniak from Poland, prior to their assignment in Germany. Both confreres will be accompained by Fr. Luigi de Giambattista and I following a short visit to the ecclesial authorities of our Diaconate, and to the Bishop‘s College at Freiburg for their German course. During our next meeting with Fr. Luigi, we have decided to pay a visit to the Daughters of St. Josef at the Abbey of St. Trudpert in the Black Forest at the end of June. Sister Bernita is preparing a draft for close cooperation among the Guanellians and their Pious Union Confraternity. This group was established in 1920, and was the best carrier of the Guanellian charism in Germany. It counts more than 15,000 members in the Guanellian prayer crusade for the suffering and dying.


Finally, a sensational discovery has occurred in Northern Italy. Fr. Guanella was been found to have been physically in Germany in 1912. In one dark corner of the central archive, three letters were found that our Founder had written before, during and after his trip to the ancient Treviri Romanorum where he attended the international Marian Congress. He crossed part of Switzerland and France with a small Italian delegation. During one session of events (August 3-8, 1912) he held a long conference on several Marian Themes and concluded his lecture by imploring help for his foundations in Italy and Switzerland. One sentence of his speech was particularly impressive and visionary. I’m here in the name of all of my poor elderly brothers along with my disabled and abandoned people, and I need your financial support in order to keep running these tents of charity. On the report he wrote after his return from Germany, he published on his bulletin, Providence, he appealed, Dear Excellency’s – The true reason for my visit to Treviri is to obtain your solidarity and help. I’m a poor, desperate, impotent ragamuffin, who needs help and Holy Providence. Please support the work of Holy Providence on the 25th anniversary of its foundation. The conclusion of his plea was also emotional, “ Praise the Lord and Holy Mary. Thanks to those who have allowed me to come to Treviri. I have a deep hope that once from Treviri, Holy Providence will open for the Daughters of St.Mary of Providence and the Servants of Charity, with new ways and new sources of solidarity…Funny that the Bishop’s Office of Freiburg signed our agreement in Mid October 2012. Therefore not a pure case, but the Finder of God.


How far-sighted was our Fr. Guanella! He had already known in his mind how we should go to the Americas, the Arab World and Asia to extend his tents of Charity! In the last decade of his life he visited Palestine, the U.S. and finally Germany. His plans were to secure a new tent of love, charity and fraternal love for the immigrants first, and then if God willed, also for the many other disabled and elderly centers he cared for in near future.

Join me in praise to the Lord for his love and gifts. Laudate Dominum omnes gentia, nunc et semper!


Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure.

“Youthnited with Love, Youthnited for Christ!”

Guanellian Youth Movement members at the end of their show

Guanellian Youth Movement members at the end of their showManila – On February 24th 2013, the Guanellian Youth Ministry (G.Y.M.) or “Kabataang Guanelliano” held a post-valentine mini-concert entitled “Youthnited with Love, Youthnited for Christ!” at Guanella Center, Servants of Charity.  It was actually a fundraising activity, but also served as a way of uplifting their talents in singing, dancing, as well as creative and critical thinking skills for the whole concept of the event.  It was indeed a success for all of their supportive parents and friends were there, and there were about a hundred of tickets sold.  The theme of the concert was the meaning and different kinds of love.  And it was clearly presented by the six Audio Visual Presentations (AVP’s) before every production numbers. The concert started solemnly with a doxology sung by G.Y.M. Choir and interpreted by four dancers.  Then, there was an AVP for the meaning of love as a whole and afterwards another AVP about love for family (storge), partners (epithumia and eros), friends (phillia), and love for God (agape).  As for their performance, it was executed not so perfectly but full of confidence.  Moreover, before the final song, there was a shadow play to the music “Love Never Fails” performed by all the members of the group.  In the end, the G.Y.M. wholeheartedly thanked God for giving them a chance to share their God-given talents and to all of the people who were there to share and support them before and during the concert.  They all felt blessed for the success of the concert for there was no mentor or trainer,  they were all united in giving their efforts to achieve a well-organized and wonderful mini-concert.  To a great extent, they thrived and are looking forward to other big events like this.  “We’re born alone, we live alone, and we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”

-Charmaine B. Ramirez

German Report

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The activities in January were dominated by the most important goal of our procure to complete the long silent march for legal and canonical approval of the our project of bringing the Guanellian family into Germany. Following extensive preparation, Fr. Luigi and our Polish confrere Fr. Wieslaw, reached our town on January 23, 2013. Together we traveled to Freiburg i.Br and met Vicar Bishop Rainer Klug for the second time. After the formal introduction and presentation of our first parish priest for the spiritual assistance of our large Italian community at Pforzheim/Black Forest, Mons. Klug outlined the preparatory itinerary for the two Guanellian priests who will take over the care of souls beginning in 2014. For this parish, our General House in Rome will send Fr. Wieslaw Baniak of the Polish structure at Skavina/Krakow, and a young Indian priest from our Chennai community. They will begin German lessons at the Göthe Institutes of Krakow and Chennai until the end of June. From July 1, 2013 they will attend intensive language courses at the Telekolleg University of Freiburg. Following this full immersion in German, they will get practice in the spiritual guide and administration of the sacraments. The trial phase will end on Dec.13, 2013, and we will anticipate the joyous enthroning of our confreres in mid-January 2014.

During this three-day stay, we paid a visit to Doyen Fr. Bernhard Ihle at the Francis Church as well as to Dr. Johannes Mette, parish priest of St. Anthony Church where the official seat of the Italian Catholic mission is sited. Our confreres have been heartily welcomed and invited to begin close and constructive cooperation among the German parishes and our Italian Mission. For a short time, we also paid a visit to the religious order of St. Joseph’s Daughters at the Catholic hospital of St.Trudpert in our city, who since 1920 have spread the Guanellian Pious Union in Germany. An obligatory meeting with a small Italian community of Friolzheim gave the opportunity to experience the reality of the Italian immigration in our State of Baden-Württemberg. For our German and Italian cooperators we organized a pizza dinner at il Giardino, where abundant beer and Sicilian red wine animated the conversation, sometimes with eloquent gestures. A unique experience for our confreres, Fr.Luigi and Fr. Wieslaw, was the visit of a poor person’s table which takes place every year in the Lutheran Central City Church. During extremely cold winter days, almost 500 poor people who are stranded take a warm meal for a symbolic 1 Euro. Pastor Rev. Eisinger-Gölz welcomed our confreres and stretched his hand for close cooperation in the future. The lesson they took home was that charity is a precious gift of God that we Guanellians must lavish with full hands everywhere, even in wealthy Germany. Following the motto of Fr Guanella “Distribute bread and paradise to the poor because in their features is hidden Jesus.“ And so a newly active area of the Guanellian Family has been marked onto the German map as a binding corridor between Switzerland and Poland. Will it be a future constellation in Central Europe? May God let this little shrub grow into a shadow giving tree. We wish to all of our readers to open their minds and hearts during our approaching Lent, to be regenerated with the Saviour’s Blood during Holy Week.

Misericordia Domini lavat pecata nostra!

The Mercy  of God washes our sins!

Gero Lombardo

German Guanellian Procure

Bracelets for our ‘Brothers’

BRACELETSEast Providence, RI – In light of the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook School, in Newtown, CT, the 8th Grade students of the parochial Sacred Heart School devised a way to somehow help those affected. They made, and are still making, “friendships bracelets” with the Sandy Hook School colors to sell to relatives and friends over the Christmas vacation. As of now, they have collected $450.00 to send to the fund to help the families who have suffered so much. Everyone in Newtown and especially the families intimately affected continue to be in our daily prayers.

Dinner for a Cause 2012

dinner for a cause 1Manila – On Saturday, Nov 24, Guanella Center Celebrated another wonderful Dinner for a Cause. This year’s theme was Pasta Night. The Event was scheduled to begin at 7:00 PM, with a grace filled opening prayer given by Kuya William and Ate Sonya Piralta, followed by heart-felt opening remarks delivered by Fr. Battista Omodei, SdC. After the opening remarks, the residents of Guanella Home entertained the more than 300 dinner guests—benefactors, cooperators, and friends of the institute—with a dramatic musical presentation. This year’s presentation was a variation on a theme performed by the Guanella Home boys on the Feast of Don Guanella—with a noticeable difference: Br. Bob joined the cast in a minor role. Again kudos go out to Ate Weng (Rowena Llego) for her hard work in creating, choreographing, directing, and practicing with the boys—it was another crowd favorite. Although it was hard to follow the Guanella Home presentation, if anyone could do it, it would have to be the Magis Deo Choir, who wowed the dinner participants with some inspirational songs, as the dinner began. As an appetizer, the guests enjoyed personal sized fried pizzas that received many compliments. The main course included—not just one but two—different kinds of pasta to choose from: A linguine with a homemade pesto sauce, and a corkscrew with a homemade red meat sauce. The recipes used were those of Antonietta Berardi, and were masarap (delicious)! Besides pasta, the menu included some tasty breaded fish fillets and potatoes au gratin. After dinner was served, the guests enjoyed the beautiful soprano voice of Marcy Bautista, a traditional folk dance of the Greatbilled Heron natively known as Lapay bird given by our Guanellian Youth and seminarians, a solo song by Dorothy Laguda , and a dance presentation done by Raffy Docena, from Guanella Home. Little Jerson had the crowd laughing with his characteristic wit and humor, as he answered the questions of Fr. Charlton Viray, SdC. Towards the end of the evening Engr. Elsa V. Montegrico, and the Berardi Family received awards of appreciation from the Servants of Charity. It seemed that such a wonderful evening should never have ended, but it did—with a Power point presentation and procession of our Special Children, Staff, seminarians, novices, priests and religious. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place. Once again, the event went over flawlessly—thanks to the hard work and dedication of so many people behind the scenes…a special thanks to all!