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
On March 15th during a meeting at the St.Trudpert Abbey in Münstertal, we celebrated the 80th birthday and 50 years of Religious Profession of the Pious Union Director, Sister Bernita A generous donation for our Good Samaritan Pharmacy has been transferred to Brother Mauro in Manila as a result. With these funds, he’ll be able to purchase more life saving medicine. Just this week a young boy was successfully treated; thanks also to continuous support of the Pious Union and two German doctors he survived the complicated operation.
On March 16th we paid a visit to the bishop’s office in Freiburg to hand over a formal request for financial sponsorship of the 26 Indian and 4 Filipino Theology Students.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure.
For five years the eyes of the civil and especially the Christian world have been on a tormented country, where an infamous genocide is perpetrated while the Great Policy dispute for a ridiculous cease fire that only lasted a couple of hours continues. We Christians watch the events through the window, and we do not move a single finger! This is the sad reality which the Patriarch of about 4 million Melchite Catholics in Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq is condemning in his desperate appeals to the remaining people of good will in Western Christianity. In his recent Christmas letter addressed also to our German Entity, he pointed out an often forgotten step of our history: Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Palestine; but Christianity was born and raised in Syria.
I have personally visited that region many times while acting as export manager of my former company. During that time I had many contacts in the capital, Damas, Aleppo and in the neighboring Lebanese Beka Valley, now the biggest refugee camp after that in TR. Through these former business partners we started a risky effort to bring substantial help to these stranded Christians. In fact after first our personal meeting with Patriarch Gregory in Munich in July 2010 in cooperation with the Knights of St. Lazarus of Prior, Mr. Folker Theis, former chaplain of this order, we collected medical equipment for the Catholic Hosptial at Khabab near Damas. Unfortunately was damaged by the war and reconstructed later on with generous help of Melchite Communities in Germany, Austria and also Catholics of Poland. The most efficient contribution of the German Guanellian laity was coordinated by our first councillor Dr. Helmut Müller and hospitals of the German Pious Union at Münstertal. Containers arrived in Damas via our friends in Lattakia, Syria and Beirut, Lebanon. This has been a fulgent Morning Star, a hidden path to Syria of our fledgling German Procure.
We recently sent an invitation to His Beatitude Gregory III, to visit our Guanellian entities in Pforzheim and Tiefenbronn in order to further develop solidarity programs for Syria. “Guanellian engagement” in Middle East is an inspired effort found hidden in Father Guanella’s personal journey to Palestine and Damas in 1902! He was the real designer of our path around the globe. Why did he visit Treviri in 1912? Why at the end of his tireless earthly life did he visit the USA? I guess he was able to see all the future carriers of his charism in all those countries. And I, as an old dreamer, still have a burning dream to link Guanellians from Nazareth to the old roots of our Faith! But how? By reversing the ancient journey of the three Magi from the cradle of Jesus, to the cradle of Christianity. Patriarch Gregory III could be a real bridge for a Guanellian shelter of charity on the border to Syria, in the green Beka Valley, where we both still have contacts in the city of Zahle, who could contribute to making this dream a reality. From there the path of Fr. Guanella into the Emirates is not far, because in 2009 our General Council received a formal invitation to establish a fully financed disabled center from the Apostolic Vicariate Msgr. Paul Hinder validated by a factive promise from Sheik Faris el Marzroui, Cousin of the Ruler, Sultan Mohammed Al Zayed, at Abu Dhabi.
May God grant the entire Guanellian family His privileged grace. At the beginning of Lent we wish all our readers a fruitful and blessed spiritual journey.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
The Advent season in Germany is a month of rich harvest for religious orders engaged in fundraising campaigns for solidarity projects around the globe. Therefore every household will soon be overflowing with appeal letters. We have also been busy for the past four weeks, and holy Providence seems to hear our sorrowful knocking.
Both Guanellian entities have been hard at work. The Italian Mission had to face a long convalescence of our Polish confrere, Fr. Wieslaw. Meanwhile Fr. Rocky has covered the Italian community, Masses at area German chapels and assisted in a yearly retreat for the neighboring Italian mission of Mühlacker.
The Procura has been working on a multilingual brochure profiling the Founder and Guanellian mission to easily spread his charism throughout German speaking regions. A constant source of support and funding has been the German Pious Union. These sisters collected funds from their confraternity members, the first donation went to the Good Samaritan Pharmacy in Manila. Brother Mauro was able to open the Pharmacy as a result. We have been introduced to a pharmaceutical producer who could supply medicine for Manila as well as other Guanellian missions globally. The German Pious Union has also made a donation to the new shelter in the Solomon Islands.
Meanwhile, we have concentrated further efforts to draw the attention of our German donors and of the Catholic solidarity to the next Guanellian disabled center in Mbeya, East Tanzania. I am convinced of what the Bible says, “I called my Son out of Egypt” and that on the Via Dolorosa not an Israeli nor a Roman nor Greek, but a poor African farmer of Cyrene accepted the task of carrying the Cross for our Lord. For this reason our Procure has developed a special attention to Guanellian Africa; convinced that Africa will be strong for the future of our Christian faith.
2016 was the Year of Mercy and we were abundantly blessed in our constant efforts to open windows of hope and love around the globe. Fr. Guanella must have smiled from above when his sons arrived in Oceania and begin to set up a new mission near Kilimanjaro. Who could have imagined that his charism would spread from his native Mount Spluga to Central Africa and beyond into the periphery of the World?
For all these unmerited gifts we praise and thank the Lord, who will soon return to humanity and share our weakness. Let us properly prepare to meet the Divine Child in the manger. Let our hearts burn with tender love and blow a warm breath toward His innocent body. We wish a joyful and peaceful Christmas and a blessed healthy 2017 to all our readers.
Gero Lombardo Guanellian German Procure
Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Mt 4:4). Pilgrimage to Marian Shrines is spiritual food that nourishes our soul. I accompanied a group of pilgrims to Medjugorje November 1st-5th. With deeply motivated spiritual quest we all participated in the spiritual activities such as Holy Mass, Eucharistic adoration, Confession, Veneration of the Cross, Way of the Cross, climbing to the mountain of the White Cross, Holy Rosary climbing to the mountain of Apparition. We were also enriched by an organized meditation of the Marian Way of the Cross and by a witness of conversion. Above all we were really blessed to participate in the apparition of Mary, Queen of Peace to Myriyam. Though disturbed by photographs and videos, I just closed my eyes and experienced the atmosphere of peace during the time of apparition. Then Myriyam communicated the message that has been translated into many languages and announced to the people over there. I thank God for this gracious moment and thank Mother Mary for her motherly blessings.
If only man accepts her invitation to fight against evil with five spiritual arms, he will definitely find peace and he will lead a meaningful life on earth according to the will of the Heavenly Father. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground (Eph 6:12-13).
Fr. A.M. Arokiadoss, SdC
This past September has been a month full of surprises; rich with events and wonderful visitors.
The feedback from our DPP confreres and those from Guanellian Africa has in a certain way, remunerated our constant engagement and close attention toward our missions. New projects from their stations have reached the Procure. We are now hopefully waiting for a positive response from our German Catholic agencies.
As announced in previous German reports, we have received the biographies of the theology students in our DPP, as well as those of our theological students in Africa. Now after the joyful visit of relatives and friends from the USA and Sicily, we are preparing for the submission of a funding request through the treasury of our Archdiocese in Freiburg. Responsible chief clerks there will seriously consider our request and give a signal to the other dioceses for the approval of a new generation of priests from outside of Germany for the re-evengelization of old Europe. Two projects from India will be submitted to the commission in October 2016, and we are encouraging Fr. Eduardo Dong to establish a new project for nutrition and physiotherapy for the disabled center at Legazpi to be conveyed to Kindermission.
From there the St. Josef German Confraternity has received and paid 1000 Christmas cards. Brother Mauro Cecchinato has also been generously granted donations for the new Good Samaritan Pharmacy in Manila from the German Pious Union. The simultaneous visit of Fr. Luigi DeGiambattista and Fr. Joseph Rinaldo have brought hilarity, joy and hope in confirming that our long efforts are now starting to open a good harvesting season.
The last gift goes to the newborn shelter of charity in the Solomon Islands. The German Pious Union has requested and paid for commemorative Masses for their living and deceased members.This gesture will be continued for two months. From the other side, our confreres at the Guanellian Mission at Pforzheim have begun a well organized cycle of conferences for the recently founded GLM. Also, an intensive pastoral ministry for the Catholic refugees of Syria will soon be begun. This includes my personal commitment to teach German to them, as we did some fifty years ago for the first immigrants from our sunny island of Sicily.
This month, we’ll celebrate the liturgical feast of St. Louis Guanella. This year for the first time in Germany, upon request of a Catholic publisher in Munich, we are preparing a portrait of our Founder which later will be included in all German missals when the “Saint of the Day” is commemorated. This special flyer will be translated later into English for all of our readers and confreres in the Guanellian Missions of the DPP.
All these events will allow us to reflect and thank Fr. Guanella for his brilliant vision, trusting the generosity of German Catholics during his short and historical stay at Treviri in August 1912.
May the Lord and Holy Mary of Divine Providence send more workers into His vineyard, because the harverst has increased but the old Guanellian “Front soldiers” are diminishing.
Gero Lombardo Guanellian German Procure
It could be that in the last few days Fr. Guanella received special permission to return to Earth to visit his tortured homeland. It’s easy to imagine that he would be working beside the first responders during the recent Earthquake in Central Italy, just like he did at an advanced age in Avezzano in 1915. Earlier, he ran into a similar tragedy that occurred in Messina, Sicily in 1908. Our first thought following that terrifying instant went to our House in Perugia; very close to the epicenter of the quake. Fortunately, nothing has happened there so far. A fire brigade from our town immediately organized a convoy to help a sister community near Amatrice. Some German GLM friends volunteered, taking a small picture of Fr. Guanella for their identity, in case other Guanellians were within the search parties; as Fr. Piero Lippoli has done before.
Our recent daily work has been more than satisfactory due to a series of good events. We organized a barbecue to benefit the Good Samaritan Pharmacy in Manila with a few friends. And we were pleased with the exchange of ideas between the Procure and several DPP missions in India asking for financial support for their centers for people with I/DD and religious structures. The Guanellian delegation in West Africa has also resumed close contacts with the Procure to insure major financial support from our German solidarity agencies.
Fr. Uche is efficiently preparing his African confreres for the future by initiating activities for his pastoral needs as well as for their structures, using diversified sources from abroad. We recently learned that Fr. Furah, a Tanzanian diocesan priest, is preparing a residence for our Confreres at Mbeya, using his contacts in Central Europe and the mediation of our Procure. We can also inform you that our Procure has made formal attempts, through the Archdiocese of Freiburg, for periodic support of the Guanellian Major Seminaries in Africa and India to benefit our theological students. Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior, and Fr. Uche, African delegate, are working together to prepare a proposal for funding. This is happening because since their arrival, the Servants of Charity have been recognized for their commitment, and because they are also interested in placing more Guanellian priests throughout our Diocese, due to a scarcity of vocations to the diocesan priesthood in Europe.
More good news is a joint effort between the German Pious Union and our entity for a new branch of the Confraternity of St. Joseph in the Province of St. Marc in Kerala and Andra Pradesh, India. Cardinal Mar George Alencherry of Kochi/Kerala and Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal of Indore Diocese, will be asked for their approval to open a branch of the German Pious Union in their dioceses. If approved, an offical request will be transferred to Fr. Mario Carrera in Rome at the Central Office of the Guanellian Pious Union.
Our confreres in India, principally Fr. Rathinam, were asked to consider this initiative involving the SdC and later the DSMP‘s for this opportunity to join our forces for good, and to eventually benefit our own financial needs. Please contact Sister Pushpa Madassery of the St. Marc Province via email:(email@example.com).
Let us conclude this report with a simple prayer of soon to be canonized Mother Teresa of Calcutta:
Lord,through your intercession and our Mother Mary, let us become the little pencil in your hand in order to spread throughout the world your merciful tenderness toward the voiceless, suffering and abandoned children in this egotistical society.
As a new season begins. Let us mobilize all of our resources for God’s greater glory and passionate love for His Son, Jesus Christ.
Gero Lombardo Guanellian German Procure
June was filled with an intensive program. Starting at the end of May with our visit at the Abbey of Münstertal, an annual meeting was held for two Guanellian entities with different origins but the same goal: find and fund charity projects with immediate results, like the shelter in Manila completed with the sisters of the German Pious Union. A substantial donation was made which will allow Br. Mauro to buy some urgently needed life saving medicine locally. With a strong commitment from our Procura, we suggested to call this endeavor ‘The Good Samaritan Pharmacy,’ a place for the poorest families with children, to get medicine and other basic necessities. Through a fundraising campaign, supported by a new flyer, we have approached all Catholic hospitals in the State of Baden-Württemberg and members of the St. Josef confraternity. We are hoping that this will create a continous flow of financial resources providing assistance to our confreres in Manila.
General Councilor, Fr. Luigi deGiambattista, arrived after several months of preparation to assist with situations, perspectives and orientation of both Guanellian entities in Germany. During his stay, we had the opportunity to visit some area refugee camps and see firsthand the problems they face; not only the financial and political instability but mainly the sense of abandonment by God … and the world. The Guanellians in Pforzheim pledge to reduce or diminish their isolation and search for ways to be united to their sufferings, as humans first aside from religious beliefs. Fr. Rocky and myself will join the efforts of the local church to assisist Syrians, Iraquis and Chaldean and Melchite Catholics.
The next task was the creation of the first group of Laity willing to spread the Guanellian charism. On June 9th twenty German-Italian ladies and gentlemen gathered with Fr. Luigi, Fr. Wieslaw and Fr. Rocky at the Guanellian Mission Pforzheim and officially founded the Guanellian Lay Movement in Germany. Councillors Dr. Müller and Banker Stemmler, four German couples and some Sicilian Guanellians of Naro shared pizza and sang popular songs. We established the foundation for a strong effort to increase hands, minds, hearts, ready to support and diffuse the charism of our Founder among all those who need our loving approach. During the meeting, two pilgrimages were planned. The first will be to the St. James Path/Spain beginning August 16th with Diocesan parish priests and German friends; the second will be to our Polish House at Skavina September 16th.
The final task during Fr. Luigi’s visit brought us to the Archbishop’s office in Freiburg, where we have enjoyed great hospitality, friendship and firm cooperation. Deacon Eiermann, director of non-German missionaries, longtime supporter Deacon Roth and Sr. Theresita, who is truly helpful for our confreres, welcomed our visit. During the presentations, it was revealed that there is hope of the SdC to extend their presence elsewhere in this diocese. All dreams will be put in the hands of Holy Providence, hoping for the project to mature soon. After exchanging small gifts, we spent time with our mentor, Bishop Emeritus Klug, the first supporter of this Guanellian Adventure in Germany.
We discussed our mission work in Africa and Asia with Fr. Luigi; lamenting the long silence from all provinces for the past two years. Thanks be to God it seems like projects from missions in India, Philippines and Africa are falling from the sky. The first project is for a place for disabled children in Sivagangai which has already been submitted.
As a surprise for Fr. Luigi after all the busy days, a ‘Fr. Guanella Flag’ was hoisted under the German flag at his first residence in Germany since 1962: our home garden. May this tangible sign wave to all passing viewers as a silent message: Yes we are there for all!
With God’s blessings and the maternal protection of St. Mary let us confidently approach our holidays
Gero Lombardo Guanellian German Procure
After a long silence we are back with some precious and interesting news on our past weeks after the echo of congratulations for the summit has ceased.
I was honored with personal greetings and thanks by our new Archbishop, Stephan of Freiburg, and other key religious and civil authorities for the solidarity work accomplished over the past 50 years in this blessed and generous region of Germany.
New requests for financial help have reached our entity, mainly from Africa but recently also from DPP structures in India especially from Sivagangai for their disabled center. We are quite sure to succeed at Mission Munich. We have been asked by em. Bishop Rainer Klug, during his visit to the Procure and to St. Louis Guanella Mission at Pforzheim on April 13, 2016, to stay and get more involved in the daily life of the neighboring German parishes and the Polish immigrant centers in our district, as well as Catholic refugees from Syria and Iraq relocated to the area.
The last opportunity was to join local pastors and other Catholics from E.C. in celebrating Corpus Domini in the small town of Hamberg on a splendid sunny day, crossing colorful walkways decorated with fresh flowers ending in an altar carpet of flowers with the symbols of the Mercy Jubilee. We listened and meditated on the Gospel of St. Luke 9-1-17.
During this time, I was concerned about a sad story I heard from Brother Mauro in Manila: a young woman who died simply because she and her family could not buy Penicillin. Immediately we, Puentes/Spain and the Sisters of the German Pious Union at Münstertal-Black Forest, began to make plans. We would begin an intensive fundraising campaign with them in their four hospitals, with the help of their almost 70,000 members in the St. Josef Confraternity, with doctors, and the support of the families of Italian immigrants. The specific purpose is to create at Guanella Center, Quezon City a large, well supplied pharmacy, offering necessary medicine against TBC and other infectious illnesses. This new medical center should operate as a “Good Samaritan Pharmacy” for the poor of greater Manila. We are going to print 1000 small fliers for distribution in Spain, Italy, France, Germany.
During our meeting on May 30, 2016, with General Mother Simone of the St. Josef nuns who promised that their congregation will continuously support our projects and immediately they offered Mrs. Inge Lombardo as lay ambassador for this initiative.
A painting by “Joey” one of the squatters, shows a poor child offering to the condemned and enchained Jesus a mere small glass of water. We should reflect on this gesture and on the skeletal, dying Emy, in front of her children. Emy did not need to die, simply for being too poor without an advocate. No one was there offering even a small bottle of penicilin.
We therefore encourage our confreres wherever they are, in the Name of the Merciful God and our Founder, St. Louis Guanella, to knock at our door, that of Puentes and the Abbey of our beloved and generous Daughters of St. Josef in Germany. We promise to do our best to support you in your daily efforts, tender love toward the poorest among the poor, because Jesus is hidden within them.
Mary, Mother of Holy Providence will do the rest, linking our hearts, hands and feet…
Let us thank God for His copious grace and gifts.
Guanellian German Procure
Pforzheim – Yes, we were there! Germany, 23rd charity shelter and last born in the Guanellian family!
With two well established entities: the Guanellian Procure and the Italian Catholic Mission for the Italian, Polish and soon also for Syrian Melchite and Chaldean Iraqi Catholics, joined the 7000 joyful and enthusiastic assembly, around our beloved Holy Father, Francis, who greeted, embraced and even kissed around 500 disabled people sitting in their wheelchairs, crying with emotion for being embraced by a tired and apparently suffering Pope.
In a certain way this pilgrimage to the roots of the Christian faith happens also as physical presence at the conclusion of the Centennial birth into Heaven of our Founder, attended by Guanellians from around the globe but also as final target of my Guanellian life.
Since his visit in August 1912 to Trier, Fr. Guanella’s vision to be present in Germany has become a tangible and fruitful reality. Both German entities celebrated this unique anniversary with many initiatives in seminaries, for interested people at nearby parishes, pilgrimages to Lourdes and Medjugorie but also with the translation and printing of an Italian biography of Fr. Guanella into German. The first edition of 1500 copies was distributed to our strategic meeting point of German visitors like the St. James Path at Santiago/Spain, Grison County at the border of Guanella’s birthplace, in German speaking Switzerland as well as Barza and Como.
Our German pilgrims included 5 nuns of the German Pious Union who have been carrying the Guanellian charism since 1920 in a German speaking area, and a few friends of our procura who wish to become Guanellian Cooperators in the near future.
The highlights of my return to Rome,where my Guanellian life began in August 1949, were the meeting with my former seminarian pupils of Anzano in 1958-60 after 55 years. I taught them French, History and Geography. Ten of them became Guanellian priests with interesting activities in South America, Balkan and Afghanistan. The others remained firmly connected to Guanellian Houses near their homes.
During the 5-day stay in Rome we also attended the special GLM assembly where we met many confreres from the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Guanellian Africa and Latin America. In several brief conversations they explained the basic problem: the need of funding for their projects. The German Procure was conceived initially as a fundraising center for the DPP, but since the beginning of 2015 has been recognized by the General Council as a general office open for all Guanellian structures globally. A new procedure for seeking funds for these projects will be implemented by the General Council with recommendations coming from the Provincial Superiors.
My message to the confreres that I met, “Knock, the door is open. Even though there are new procedures, do not hesitate to contact us for advice! Simply because even in my advanced age I do not want to rest as long as there are hands begging for our love and help. Our inbox is always online to all requests from the DPP or other provinces.” We assure our professional assistance to bring positive results for their requests.
With this message I would like to march with and for you for the Reign of God and for the benefit of the good people entrusted to our sensible heart, open eyes and ears!
May the coming Advent be a source of reflection and healing Grace. Till the next meeting on DPP news all German and Italian friends wish you a Merry Christmas and a Fruitful 2016. Stay blessed, through the intercession of our Mother of Divine Providence and our Saints, Fr. Guanella and Blessed Clare.
Gero Lombardo, Guanellian German Procure