We are sending you, interested readers of our large Province the latest news. World Church at Freiburg has decided to give financial support of the theology students in India and Philippines. Dr. P. Birkhofer was personally approached by Fr. Luigi during our courtesy visit on September 19th. On behalf of the Diocese of Freiburg, Dr. Birkhofer has issued a letter announcing the award of 24,000 € to support our students.
The second good news is the Media conference which was held on November 28th at the local office of Caritas at Pforzheim. The reporters detailed the project in the Solomon Islands which has been given full support by Director Lemke. Director, Johannes Frank Lemke is a good friend of the Guanellians and a personal friend of mine since I was the active social assistant at Caritas from 1966-69. Caritas is accepting donations from interested parties on behalf of the Servants of Charity for a community center in Noro, New Georgia that will provide basic services to the local people of the Solomon Islands. It is estimated that the first phase of this project can be completed with 20,000 €.
The brochure from Caritas illustrates the top corners of a true neighbor’s tender love and their commitment to serving those most in need.
Pray with me to the Lord for a positive outcome of our present intensive efforts.
During Advent let us focus our intentions for a good and coordinated development of Guanellian intensive engagement in neighboring European countries such as France and Great Britain.
Since last August, we have been attentively following the slow increase of this mission which is really at the end of the world. Our Catholic agencies are also open to Oceana. Since the beginning of the new mission shelter on the Solomon Islands, our Procura was feeling committed there for several reasons. Among them the fact that for a short period part of this new state was German Territory until 1920. During the last visit of Fr. Luigi, we felt compelled to create a new charity bridge and proposed a joint visit to Caritas Pforzheim Management. The new Guanellian priest from Noro to the director of CPM to accept this Guanellian ‘newborn’ as a target of a fundraising campaign before Christmas.
Meanwhile a new flier in German containing relevant news from Msgr. Luciano Capelli, Salesian Bishop of the Gizo Diocese, along with drawings of the common shelter will be printed in a few days for mass publication among the generous Catholics in our district. This campaign will start mid-November and the amount raised will be directly transferred to the account of the Gizo Diocese. Photos received from our confreres on the Solomon Islands will adorn the German flier. We hope that this campaign will be useful for the start of the Guanellian presence at the end of the world.
May the Lord bless this charity campaign as a sign of our long commitment in all new DPP charity missions there, but also in the Philippines and recently also in Tanzania.
We would also like to thank confreres in the USA and personnel involved in the DPP News for diffusing our small contribution in creating new missions of charity at the periphery of the world. Let us commit in doing good before approaching His birth.
A life long acquired experience in the poor countries of Africa and the Far East have taught me to keep my mind and eyes open. A simple consideration is the fact that in the opulent West, the god Mammon is often the only ruler. We are all blind and deaf. But there, where poverty is at home and everyone must fight daily for their basic survival, one is inclined to reflect and act in a different manner. Because of this serious contraditional attitude, we have noticed an increasing spiritual poverty in the West during the past thirty years. On the other side, there is an increasing spiritual thirst for God! In Old Europe, the enormous scarcity of religiosity produces a great decrease in vocations. The logical consequence is that Europe needs more priests from Africa, India and the Philippines. Nowadays in the south German regions of Badenia and Bavaria, many churches could not exist without the massive presence of ‘foreign priests’ supporting the serious attempts at a real new evangelization.
Consequently during these past months, I have reflected deeply on the intrinsic meaning of the Mission Procure. Our vocation as the third branch of the Guanellian Family is to act as ‘Procurator’ of urgently needed funds in our Missions around the Globe.
After mature consultation with my friends and supporters in the Catholic solidarity agencies, we have decided to attempt a project based on the formal request of our DPP Council to seek funding for the twenty-six Indian Theology students and the four Filippinos in Manila. The first project was handed over to Dr. Peter Birkhofer on March 15th at the World Church Office in the Archdiocese of Freiburg. We are expecting a grant sometime soon for an annual sponsorship of these thirty theology students from our Province.
Due to this initial attempt we have encouraged the African Delegation to submit a similar project. Delegate Fr. Uche Desmond recently submitted the documents. The specific project will be conveyed this week to the very generous Msgr. Thomas Schlichting from the Bishop’s Office of Munich-Freising, and who has recently approved another promising project in our Province at Manila. The Good Samaritan Pharmacy is a real gift of Holy Providence in the Township of Quezon City.
For a good outcome of both projects let us pray and ask the Lord to send more workers to his increasing Vineyard; because a great harvest is ready to be gathered. Soon we’ll celebrate the Dogma of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven. I was there on Nov. 1, 1950, as an altar boy, seated near the gestatorial chair of Pope Pius XII! Fr. Guanella put all his projects in the hands of Our Holy Mother of Divine Providence and of Our Patriarch, St. Joseph. Therefore join us in this hopeful prayer
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
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.
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