Fr. Guanella is Provided with German Philanthropy

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

Fr. Guanella: Passionate Hope for Amatrice Earthquake Victims

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:(pmadassery@gmail.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

Germany: Still an Unexplored Potential

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

German Events and Solidarity behind the Curtain

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.
Gero Lombardo
Guanellian German Procure

In the Shadow of the Papacy

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

Feast of St. Calogero

Pforzheim  – For 55 years the Italian migrants have celebrated their patron, St. Calogero, who is venerated in Sicily with impressive processions and celebrations typical of that culture. The Guanellians missionaries assisted at the celebration June 20th in Barfüßerkirche. Fr. Wieslaw Baniak celebrated Holy Mass. In his homily Fr. Rocky sought to reawaken the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. A short procession through town followed Mass. The men carried St. Calogero and shouted, “È viva Dio e San Calo!”
The people on the one hand are joyful, cheerful and very devoted to St. Calogero, on the other hand they are plagued by the various ills, demons and superstitions. Some suffer various forms of hatred, division, defamation, revenge, jealousy, and desire to impose their ideas at any cost. In spite of these evils Christian hope is never extinguished. If these people imitated the virtues of St. Calogero, fasting, prayer and reading Scripture, I think many evils would disappear and even an army of people (magicians, fortune tellers, and the like) would end up jobless as they give stronger witness to the Christian faith with their lives.
A collection was taken up to help a needy family in Bretten. A meal and time of song and dance was shared. Thank you to the Committee for organizing the event. May you all participate in the Holy Mass more frequently. “È viva Dio e San Calo!”

Calogero procession 2 Calogero procession 1

Corpus Christi Celebration

Tiefenbronn – The Guanellian missionaries in Pforzheim, are not only ministering to Italian migrants but also to the German faithful in the deanery. On the solemnity of Corpus Domini, June 4th, Fr. Rocky celebrated Holy Mass followed by a Eucharistic Procession in Tiefenbronn, home of Gero Lombardo, German Procura. Besides the many people of God, several boys and girls were Altar servers and prayed at the Procession. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ has been extinguished in some people, yet kept alive in others. Thanks to these faithful people; may the Lord make use of them to re-evangelize those who lose faith! And let me be a useful instrument in the hands of the Lord to rekindle the joy of the gospel in their midst.

Tiefbr 060415 Fronleichn Monstr Tiefbr 060415 Fronleichn Tep vdK Tiefbr 060415 Fronleichn TeppvdK

Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Pforzheim  – The Guanellian community, including the Catholic Italian migrants in Pforzheim, Germany, went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in May 2015. Fr. Rocky accompanied 54 pilgrims for his first visit to Lourdes, he found the journey spiritually profound and would like to share two messages that are the fruits of the pilgrimage.
“The pilgrimage experience led me to reflect upon the Word of Jesus who says: “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” It means to me that food will not keep me alive unless God says that I am to live; and if God says that I am to live, I will live, whether I have food or not. In fact, I saw thousands of people finding inner joy and peace that billions of Euros or dollars can never do. We should be very grateful to our Mother Mary who with much care never stops inviting us to convert from the devil’s temptations (money, power and sex) and to live out Jesus’ teaching (love, mercy, and solidarity).
“I also took time to reflect once again upon the Word of Jesus who says: “Seek above all the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you.” This means to me that in my missionary work I may have difficulties and worries, but fidelity to God’s call and to the mission entrusted to me is seeking above all the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Mother Mary inspires me in this direction. Thanks to her for this gracious experience at her feet and for her motherly blessings.

Lourdes pilgrimage 1 Lourdes pilgrimage 2 Lourdes pilgrimage 3

From Germany

Pforzheim – The past year has been a real balancing act for our DPP confrere Fr. Rocky, because every day he has had to deal with the Italians, German parish priests and German Catholic believers. On Ash Wednesday he said Mass with a distribution of ashes in the M.E. Basilca of St. Magdalena in our tiny town of Tiefenbronn. And during the vacancy of our pastorate, there was a sympathetic Indian priest from Tamil Nadu who assisted our more than 5000 catholics on an interim basis.
Recently there was an informal meeting between Frs. Lawrence, David and Rocky; all three from Tamil Nadu, to coordinate their pastoral services in the neighboring parishes of Tiefenbronn, Neuhausen and Heimsheim. The Archidiocese of Freiburg will soon send us a new German parish priest, and Fr. Rocky will finally start his apostolate among the 120 Italian families living in the northern part of our vicariate.
Guanellians in Germany
The activities of our procura recently have been extremely intense, because many things have changed within the German solidarity agencies. The General Council has opened access to all Guanellian provinces. In my five years  as a Guanellian fundraiser I feel that there is a great opportunity for our confreres in several missions. One expects that Manna rains from the heavens without any substantial contribution. I repeat an old saying, Help yourselves and God will help you. Holy Providence needs effort and humble action. In other words, we are not jobless. We continue to repeat and kindly ask the readers of our DPP bulletin to think about the possibility Missio Munich Marchof obtaining donations through this providential presence of the generous Germans. Currently, we only have projects from Mexico/Amazoc, Bateké/RD Congo, and Legapzi/Philippines. Meanwhile we have formal invitations for closer cooperation with Kindermision in Ghana and Nigeria (Mrs. Diez); for Tamil Nadu in India (Missio – Mrs. Gudrun /Stephanie); and Vietnam (Archdiocese of Cologne). The new link with our similar Spanish Puentes (Bridges) has been renewed after the resignation of our dear friend Juan Bautista Aguado. We hope that Mrs. Martinez will continue our team work, and we wish her all the best and copious blessings from God! Through Juan Bautista, we have obtained many interventions in our DPP area for the Manila and Legapzi homes. We thank him for his long passionate social and solidarity work in the Guanellian mission stations.
Inge and I are planning to re-start our personal visits to Missio-Munich in March, and in April we will visit Kindermission in Aachen and the Archdiocese of Cologne for the Amazoc/Mexico and Saigon/Vietnam projects.
May the Lent season give us time to reflect on a deep, inner change to renew our burning love for the poorest who have no lobbyists protecting them.
Have pity on us, O Lord, because our sins have caused Your Death!
And at the end we will be filled with joy from the bottom of our hearts on the night of His Resurrection! He arose! Glory to You O Lord, because Jesus remains forever with us sinners!

Gero Lombardo,  German Guanellian Procura

Canonical Visit to 21st Daugther of Guanellian Family

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Pforzheim – It all began on December 19, 1842 in Fraciscio, cradle of the Guanellian family and root of the charitable charism.The tiny town at the Swiss-Italian border crowned with the majestic Alps, has become the homeland of the many sons of St. Louis Guanella, light to generations of Servants of Charity and Daugthers of St.Mary of Providence. Now, after 100 years since his visit to Treviri/German Palatinate, the charism has also arrived with God’s grace to Pforzheim. Just days before celebrating St. Louis Guanella’s birthday, the German entities MCI confreres Frs. Wieslaw and Rocky, Inge and Gero, the Procura founders, were pleased and honored to receive the first canonical visit by Fr. Alfonso Crippa, Superior General, and his councilor Fr. Luigi De Giambattista. In a casual atmosphere they met some of the Italians at Pforzheim, Bretten. A fraternal agape was offered in honor of our friend Dean Bernard Ihle on December 13. The previous day Vice-Dean, Dr. Johannes Mette, parish priest of St. Antony Church, met our Superiors. During holy Mass on December 14, Fr. Alfonso explained to the Italian faithful the essence of the Guanellian charism and thanked the lively alumnus of the Sicilian boarding school in Naro, who has held the torch of the Guanellian flame high in this hospitable country since 1962.
They praised the enormous and involved pastoral work of the confreres who will begin to help German parish priests in vacant pastoral sites around our vicariate. In January, Fr. Rocky will celebrate Holy Mass at our parish church, St. Alexander, Tifenbronn. Fr. Alfonso and Fr. Luigi have re-confirmed their decision to officially incorporate our Procura to the General House of Rome. Therefore we invite all confreres in Latin America, Africa,and Asia to contact us and send their projects, because with the Procura’s new status, we will approach all solidarity agencies at Munich, Aachen and Cologne, who, for 5 years, have been supporting Guanellian projects from Mexico to Kinshasa, Manila, Cuddalore and Saigon.
With enthusiastic praise of our Procura for having mediated the arrival of two Guanellians to the Diocese of Frieburg and for the intensive activities of our confreres during their first year of mission among Italian, Polish immigrants, the local vicariate priests sent a personal letter of thanksgiving to our new archbishop, Stefan Burger. Both Fr. Wieslaw and Arokiadoss have done a good job and have won the sympathy of their parishioners.
We have now the chance to submit the request for the minibus needed at Sivagangai to our friends Mrs. Heidrun and Stephanie of Missio-Munich. Patriarch Gregory III sent a sorrowful appeal for the 3 million Melchite Catholics in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palistine asking our Procura to mediate funds for the destroyed hospital of Damas and for Catholic refugees in Jordan and Turkey. With friend organizations in our state, Baden-Württemberg, and the Archdiocese of Freiburg we’ll do our utmost to collect donations from Christian hospitals. Through this German relief association many 40 “Containers have been sent to Lattakia/Syria. Medical equipment and furniture has been donated by the Daugthers of St. Josef from  St.Trudpert Hospital, which is related to the German Pious Union.
2015 is the Year of Consecrated Life. May the Lord through the intercession of our Patroness, Our Lady of Divine Providence, and our Founder send many more “arms, minds and hearts burning with charity” to His vineyard because as Jesus pointed out to His apostles, “Pray because the harvest is quite big, but the laborers are few!
Oramus fratres, ut operatores pacis et amoris ad acerem suum veniant! Brothers let us pray the Lord to call more workers to His vineyard of peace and love. May the new year be a year of peace, love and charity!
Gero Lombardo,  German Guanellian Procura