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.
Bangalore – Recollection is a time to build up our personality and spirituality. Individuality is assembled with all the little pieces collected from the past and through in depth spiritual reflection. Therefore, the past can help us to bring changes in our lives for the spiritual enrichment. The body and soul are inseparably united, the purification of which is essentially demanded of us as Christians. While the inner spirit is revived, both soul and body are cleansed of all stains of sin. To achieve this goal, St. Guanella Mercy Church planned a Recollection on April 2nd for the Guanellian Lay Movement and parishioners. Fr. Benson, SdC, was invited as preacher, motivating the group with his Spiritual sessions by making them realize their journey of life and prompted each to come closer to God. During Eucharistic Adoration in a special way people praised and thanked God. Meanwhile, they were meditating and preparing themselves for Confession, the most important Spiritual activity to prepare them for Holy Week and peaceful participation in the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord. The day ended with the solemn Eucharistic Mass celebrated by Fr. Gnanraj, Rector and Superior of the GPN Community. The faithful had a fruitful experience through this Spiritual event.
Manila – The Way of the Cross this year was a bit different than past years. For this year, they related the events to modern daily life circumstances so that the people could understand more genuinely what Christ’s Passion means for each of us. On April 12th, the way of the cross was held in the different areas of the servants of charity compound. The event was presented by the Guanellian Youth Ministry (GYM), Guanellian Altar Servers’ Guild, Guanellian Oratorio Ministry, some from the Guanellian Lectors and Commentators and the seminarians. Though not trained actors, they effectively portrayed the beauty of Christ’s sacrifice. The goal of the presentation was achieved, and the audience deeply understood the Lord’s loving sacrifice for us. Fr. Charlton Viray congratulated everyone who participated and those who exerted efforts that made the event a successful one.
Bangalore – “Until there are no longer poor and neglected to be assisted there is no end to our charity,” this is an inspiring quote from our Founder that motivates every Guanellian. The Cooperators and Lay members in Bangalore are working towards experiencing the true Guanellian spirit. Following their mission experience in Nazareth Illam, they spent a day at Don Guanella Aged home which cares for abandoned elderly men. The day was spent with the Grandpa’s grooming them, chatting with them, feeding them and cleaning their worship space. It is absolutely true that you can only understand the feelings of others when you spend time with them. As a regular practice we gather for an hour of Adoration on the last Sunday of every month, helping to spiritually nourish the Grandpa’s. Most Saturdays the members volunteer to do service. These Good Samaritan acts by the Cooperators and Lay members’ draws the attention of their family and friends who are awestruck by the service and in turn wins many good hearts that come forward to support the mission.