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.
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
Bangalore – It was the dream of our Founder to have the laity participate in the Guanellian mission and spread charity in the world. From the time we started the Guanellian Lay Movement in Bangalore, we have seen how the laity has shown interest in growing in the mission started by our Founder. Many were introduced to the Congregation through fathers, brothers, sisters and friends. Today they stand with the Guanellian Family as one with a true spirit, participating in our celebrations and in our challenging moments. For over six years now, we have seen the spirit and enthusiasm with which the laity has embraced the mission, and they have not hesitated to step forward in their commitment. Eight members have moved from the GLM to become the first eight Guanellian Cooperators in India. We started as a small group but based on the numbers, we truly believe that the Spirit of the Lord is moving through them.
A recollection was organized and led by Fr. Ligory, who prepared the members and strengthened them with his talk. This was the preparation for the Guanellian Cooperators to renew their promise, the Guanellian Lay Movement members who were to renew and the many that were making their first pledge. The members were formed by Fr. Adaikalam, who nourished them spiritually and guided them in the Guanellian spirit. The members take up their responsibilities and participate in the planned activities.
May 31st is a very important day for the Congregation, wherein our Founder celebrated his first holy mass at Prosto. On this day, eight GC renewed their promise and seventeen GLM members made their pledge. The numbers for the GLM members who have made their pledge has moved from 10 to 17. This is only a reflection on how well the flock has kept together and formed. The credit goes to Fr. Adaikalam, Fr. Gnanaraj, Fr. Visuvasam and above all Fr. Soosai Rathinam, who has encouraged the participation of the laity. A divine spirit was in our members while saying ‘yes’ to the call and continuing their journey as Guanellians. The Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Soosai Rathinam along with his Councilors and other Fathers from the Guanellian Community. In his homily, Fr. Rathinam appreciated the commitment of the laity who have sacrificed so many things and remained committed. He said this was the vision of our Founder and it’s a joy to see how things are going in India. It was great joy for the Cooperators when Fr. Provincial released the English version of the ‘General Statutes’ of the Guanellian cooperators officially. It was also an overwhelming joy to have been part of the First Profession of our Brothers when we made our commitment. Now the Laity can spread throughout the world like yeast and share the Guanellian spirit, which is to provide special love to the one who says, ‘I have no one’.
Bangalore – St. Guanella Mercy Church celebrated Holy week in a prayerful manner. It was more meaningful that the entire community participated with great joy and enthusiasm throughout the events during Lent. The Way of the Cross was organized and led weekly by each different group. Each day of Holy Week was planned and executed in a way that set a bench mark for us. Both Tamil and English Masses were well attended. Mass of the Lord’s Supper and washing of the feet went well. On Good Friday the confreres, Cooperators, GLM and parishioners enacted the passion of Christ as a live Skit, touching many hearts. The scene at Calvary could be visualized by everyone who participated. Veneration of the Holy Cross followed in a service combining Tamil and English. The Easter Vigil was solemnly celebrated by the presenting of the Resurrection in an imaginative way, with thunder our Lord rose in Glory. The faithful reacted by singing the Gloria. The house was decorated beautifully with lights and flowers for this glorious occasion. After Mass we shared Easter eggs, cake and milk.