Bangalore – Guanellian Cooperators and Lay Movement members of the Guanella Preethi Nivas community paid a Lenten visit to the GPN residents February 25th-26th. In the evening on the first day all made a pilgrim walk to St. Joseph’s Church, Soosaipuram reciting the Rosary and visiting the mother Mary statue which came from Fatima, Portugal. On the next day, members were so dynamic in doing the mission for our residents: cutting nails, giving them showers, and cooking a variety of delicious food for our residents. At noon the Holy Eucharist was offered for the intentions of the residents and the GLM. The residents thoroughly enjoyed the meal. After lunch everyone gathered for an inspirational, motivational talk by Mr. Rosario, brother of Fr. Ligory, who shared an anecdote of his life.
Cuddalore – The 6th Annual Guanellian Lay Movement Meeting was January 20th-21st. This two-day program allowed office bearers and the delegated members from Andra, Bangalore, Chennai and Cuddalore to gather with great enthusiasm. It was a wonderful journey for the laity to experience and share the Guanellian spirit. Fr. Visuvasam, Provincial Delegate and local Superior, welcomed the group reminding them of the words of Pope Francis about the participation of the Laity and how our Founder encouraged the participation of the Laity in the mission. He spoke of the Guanellian Charism, “Paternity of God,” encouraging the laity to live their vocation, carry their cross and walk the Calvary with Christ as the focus. Fr. Rosario gave the next talk. He spoke of Christian Virtues, quoting from the Bible how Christ Himself showed trust in Abba Father by praying in silence before doing anything. Without God at the center we are only doing social service. We must spend time in prayer to gain strength to do God’s will. In prayer God will reveal and inspire us with a plan, show us the method to execute and fulfill His will.
The second day began with Adoration and Holy Mass. Fr. Francis gave the first talk, speaking about the three Virtues taught by our Founder. He said when we allow evil to be the sower the harvest will be pride, greed and lust. Whereas, when we allow God to be the sower the harvest will be humility, poverty and mortification through which we can overcome evil and do great good. A Guanellian Cooperator shared her journey from being a benefactor, GLM member and finally a Cooperator. Her experience inspired the members and helped them to understand how they too can become Guanellian Cooperators. The members’ spirits were strengthened and renewed to continue their good work.
Cuddalore – On December 19th, our Founder’s 175th birthday, and to honor his holy birth, life and his charitable patrimony St. Joseph’s Seminary, Don Guanella Boys Home, Sahaya Matha Parish, Divine Providence Convent, Guanellian Lay Movement and all the beneficiaries joined as one family to celebrate. The celebration included solemn Mass, during which three GLM members made their promise and became Guanellian Cooperators, cultural performances, gift sharing and an Agape meal. It was a time of revitalizing the spirit, mission and vision of St. Louis Guanella.
Bangalore – Every year the Guanella Preethi Nivas family proudly celebrates the Novena to our Founder as preparation for his feast. On October 18th the Guanellian Cooperators & Guanellian Lay Movement members lead the Novena. Many members came, though it was a work-day. In our formation we are taught how our Founder clung to the Eucharist to fuel himself to do God’s work, so the evening began with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. During Adoration there was a reading from the Constitutions: articles 1 & 2 and a reading from the Gospel. Fr. Fernandez shared a reflection, he began by asking us if we were proud to be part of the Guanellian Family? When the Church did not trust his vision and his own family didn’t understand him, it was the Laity who encouraged and supported him. They knew Fr. Guanella was doing something extraordinary, good in the eyes of God and they admired his work. Hence, Fr. Guanella believed that where the Clergy & Religious cannot reach, the Laity can and they are an integral part of the Guanellian mission; each might have different opinions, but our Founder confided more in the Laity. The Laity should remember that you have not chosen to do this work but it is God alone who called each one to do his mission. We must remember always to give credit to God alone and He will reward us for our good deeds. On the day of the Feast the foundation stone was laid for a Multipurpose Hall at GPN, this hall will be utilized for the evening tuition children, activities of the aged home and more. As our Founder believed the laity are important for the mission, Fr. Gnanaraj, Superior, and Fr. Adaikalam, Delegate (GC&GLM), had the names of the members written on the bricks, which made them feel more responsible towards the mission and the house, and blessed the site for the future structure. A chariot for St. Guanella was beautifully decorated by the Guanellian Youth. It was blessed and the Religious, laity and benefactors (Christian and otherwise) processed to the Chapel reciting the Rosary. Solemn Mass was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Anthonysamy, Chancellor from the Diocese. There was a sumptuous meal offered to all Feastday participants.
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.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
Sivagangai – The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was commemorated at Guanella Yesuvanam October 7th. It was gratifying to entreat the blessings of Mary on our mission. The postulants created a ship for the Marian procession. In order to grasp the holiness of our Lord Jesus Christ, the mysteries of the Rosary were enacted by the Guanellian Cooperators and postulants during recitation of the prayer. A good atmosphere in which to contemplate the rosary was created through the repetition of words and the creative presentation by the Guanellians. All who participated felt deepened in their faith in the fidelity to God and Mary and Jesus with them in the joys and sorrows of their lives.
Legazpi – “The Human Heart is made to Love and Share with Others” was the theme of the annual ‘Dinner for a Cause’ held on October 7th at Harong Kan Sagrada Familia. The event was to benefit our mission of caring for those who are in need, a voice for the voiceless in society. It woke up the hearts that are sleeping in the busy-ness of society. By doing the work of special education for special children, the Servants of Charity strive to give them what they deserve to have in life. Through simple teaching, they are guided to do the simplest things which are necessary for them to support themselves in daily life. As Cardinal Francis Savier Nguyễn Văn Thuận wrote in his book The Way of Hope, “The hopeful way starts by every single dot of hope. The hopeful life starts from every hopeful minute.” The program was successful by the many small presentations by the special kids, the people from the feeding program, youth choir, parents, residents with physical disabilities and staff … We put our hope in what we are doing in order to serve them as best as we can. Many thanks to our benefactors.
How is Fr. Guanella connected with the missions? He never went to any mission country as a missionary does. Since his years in the Como Seminary, he had a soft spot, a strong desire to join PIME, and go to India or China. He even asked his Bishop to have the opportunity to fulfill his dream, but he was denied. “Your India will be here at home”, his Bishop replied. His strong missionary desire was passed on to his Religious, “The whole world is your homeland”. The first mission territory he served was Switzerland, filled with many Protestants, which was just outside of his own native place. There, he sent his priests to take care of the Italian immigrants plus the few native Catholics. A small step, but a step that became a big one when, later on, his Religious crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to bring Catholic and non-Catholic alike, the message of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and Good Samaritan, to His creatures in need of faith, hope and love.
Recently his Religious even touched the ‘Solomon Islands’ in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia are now the homeland of a great number of Servants of Charity and Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. They are the fulfillment of Fr. Guanella’s dream, bringing “Bread and the Lord, to those who need them, material bread and spiritual bread.
Was Fr. Guanella a missionary? A resounding “YES” is his presence in 24 nations through his spiritual children, religious and laity. He wrote, “We are Servants of Charity, because the Charity of Jesus Christ has called us. Let us practice with fervor the works of mercy, and we will obtain the mercy of the Lord! The poor are our favored ones. They are our masters. We must work and suffer for them. Is it not what Jesus, the Divine Missionary, has done for us by His mission of Salvation?
As we celebrate 102 years since the heavenly birth of our Holy Founder, let us resolve to re-incarnate his presence, vision and mission contextually. Thus we become a border-crossing person: across cultures, religions, genders, race!
Chelsea – On a feast very important to the Guanellian Family, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, fifteen Guanellian Cooperators joined the seven Servants of Charity priests of the Chelsea Community in renewing their vows and promises to the Congregation. Salvatore Bessaccia made his first Promise as a Guanellian Cooperator. Fr. Joseph Rinaldo celebrated Mass in the St. Louis Center chapel giving a homily on the ‘Joy of Love.’ A time of fellowship followed Mass.
Cuddalore – On June 23rd, 12 members of the Guanellian Lay Movement were presented for the renewal of their commitment to the GLM. They promised that they would commit themselves totally and wholeheartedly for the charism and mission of our Congregation. They were aware of their position in the congregation and with whom they are. They promised to do everything with a joy filled heart and full involvement. The evening ended with an agape meal for GLM members, brothers, and Boys Home students.