Andhra Pradesh – The Guanellian Lay Movement and Guanellian Cooperators from Bangalore paid a visit to the Andhra Mission house October 8-9th. An orientation was given by Fr. Sunil about what mission activities are carried out by Guanellian priests and sisters in Andhra. The Bangalore group had an opportunity to meet with the GLM members of Andhra to exchange experiences and address questions. Amongst them were some youngsters who were inclined to join GLM. They will soon begin formation in the Guanellian Youth Movement, eventually with membership in the GLM. The seminarians spoke with the members from Bangalore and learned the involvement of lay persons within the Guanellian family and how they form the 3rd leg of the Congregation. There was also time to spend with the differently-abled who joined in the Eucharistic celebrations and lunch. The Andhra & Bangalore GLM, 35 members strong, visited the village, extending their support to a poor family where the breadwinner was differently-abled. This mission experience which integrated Bangalore and Andhra was organized by Fr. Peter Sebastian and executed by Fr. Ronald and Fr. Sunil. Special thanks to Fr. Visuvasam and Fr. Adaikalam for bringing the group together.
Bangalore – “It is God who works!” Greetings come from Sr. Victoria William. Let us be happy and proud that our St. Joseph Special School, Bannargatta, Bangalore, along with its principal, Sr. Jeya Malini DSMP, has been awarded for its outstanding achievement. Let us thank the Lord for this gift. The Indian Solidarity Council, New Delhi, a national body comprised of eminent social leaders, bureaucrats and entrepreneurs, honored Sr. Malini, our Principal with the ‘NATIONAL MAHILA RATTAN GOLD MEDAL AWARD’ in the field of Education, in recognition of her meritorious services, at a function held in New Delhi on September 30th. The JEWEL OF INDIA AWARD has been also given to the school by the International Institute of Education and management, New Delhi. God gives us enormous strength to do mighty things and to glorify Him, if we are faithful to Him.
We begin this month by solemnizing “All Saints Day.” The communion of saints refer to believers in the past, believers in the present, and believers in the years to come sharing a common salvation in our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The nature of that communion, cited by St. John, is a fellowship with one another because it is a fellowship with the Father and with His Son.(1 John 1:3)
We read in our Constitutions number 18:“our fraternity, considered by the founder is a small communion of saints.” We have our heavenly friends in heaven especially our Founder and many other holy confreres and brothers and sisters and even our own family members. Father Louis Guanella, in establishing his missions, felt himself surrounded and helped by heavenly friends. He believed that through devotion to the saints faithful people, in particular the poor and the sick of his houses, could find an easier way to reach the Lord. In the regulations he also mentions “a host of saints were recalled to be an example and protection to the houses.”In his book, The Mountaineer he wrote, “conversation with the living and the deceased is a true school of virtues, a true comfort of the soul.”
On the second of November, we commemorate all the faithful departed and we have a practice of offering the holy Mass for the repose of the souls of deceased brothers and sisters. We cannot forget in our day life, death and eternal life. Death is not the end but the beginning. Martin Luther King said to his people “what is our prize, our destination?” It is divine life, eternal life, and life with and in God.
Do we have a clear goal in our life and a befriending attitude of our death? How can I make my life fruitful? How can my dying be not the end of fruitfulness but rather its fullest realization? How much can I still accomplish before I die or will I be a burden to others? How can my death be a gift for my loved ones, so that they can reap the fruits of my life after my death? Therefore, preparing ourselves for death is the most important task of life, at least when we believe that death is not the total dissolution of our identity but the way to its fullest revelation-“a going home experience.”
As our Daughters of St. Mary of Divine Providence are going to celebrate their 18th General Chapter beginning on November 21st with the theme, “For a creative fidelity to the charism which has been entrusted to us: in communion of life and in the search for management alternatives,” we pray and wish them to have a research on a more inculturated expression of the charism of the Founder. “Creative fidelity to the Charism” means a call to go back to “Como” that is returning to the roots in order to drink from the same spring as the Founder. At the same time, are we brave enough today to take the raw and unpopular initiatives of our Founder in new situations? Pope Francis calls all of us to “move to the peripheries.” Let us listen to the motherly tenderness of our Mother of Divine Providence “to do whatever He tells you.”
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
(Image by Ira Thomas and can be found at CatholicWorldArt.com)
Chennai – To make the year of mercy more meaningful, the Chennai Guanellian community arranged a free medical and eye camp September 3rd-4th. It was mainly set up for the poor in and around Poonamallee, including the homeless, slum dwellers, special children and other destitute. This program was efficiently run by the confreres, staff, and various volunteer groups such as, ‘Feed the Needy’ and ‘Care and Welfare’. In particular, the contribution of Guanellian Youth member Dr. Maria was indispensable. Hundreds of people benefited from this work of mercy. Mercy is contagious, it just passes from hearts to hearts; a divine infection for a divine healing. All praise be to God!
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
Thalavadi – August 15th is an important and unforgettable day for all Indians and was very special this year at Nazareth Illam with three reasons to celebrate. The first salutation was for India and the freedom fighters as we celebrated the 70th Independence Day with various colorful cultural events. A parade was conducted and the chief guest was Mr. Shiva Shankar, the vice-principal of Don Bosco School. He was awestruck by and congratulated our patients for their talents and discipline. In the afternoon, the community saluted Fr. Gabriel on the first anniversary of his ordination and Bro. Deva on his birthday. Our patients enthusiastically participated in the cultural events, making the day joyful and colorful. The celebrations ended with cake and vadai. The events of the day helped everyone ponder the sacrifice of noble dignitaries of our nation, our church and our congregation.
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:(email@example.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
In a very remarkable event, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, canonized Mother Teresa (St.Teresa of Calcutta) during this extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. There are many similarities between the two saints of charity. “It is God who works”-our founder had an unshakable faith in Divine Providence. “Carrier of God’s tender and merciful love” – this is a theme for the canonization of Mother Teresa. She totally abandoned herself by saying, “I am a little pencil in God’s hand- that is, He does all of the thinking and He does the writing.” Father Guanella said, “abandon yourself confidently in the loving arms of Providence, because we are chicks under the wings of Divine Providence. I do not move a hand or take a step without being sure that God is explicitly calling me.”
Father Guanella founded the “Servants of Charity” and Mother Teresa the “Missionaries of Charity.” Charity is the foundation for both toward brothers and sisters in difficulty and in crises of any kind: spiritual, moral, emotional or material. They discovered the pearl of dignity in every disabled and marginalized person- that of being a child of God.“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Both cherished in their hearts this Gospel passage and gave life to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
For Father Guanella, “The Eucharist is the treasury of God’s love and life of the institute, a day without Holy Communion is like a day without the sun.”
“The Mass is the spiritual food that sustains me without which I could not get through one single day or hour in my life,” Mother Teresa said and confirmed that His presence was the reason for her work.
Regarding holiness, our founder said, “Personal Holiness lived in joy produces peace and souls dedicated to God are purified through suffering so as to be holy and to make others holy.” For Mother Teresa, “Holiness is not the privilege of the few but the need for all. Holiness means carrying out God’s will with joy and faithfulness and it forges saints.”
In both of their lives, they faced countless hardships, suffering, and enormous criticism but actually opposition only served to strengthen their dependence on God and reach monumental achievements in favor of the least in society.
Let us praise and thank God for the gift of the Modern Apostles of Charity as the Church canonizes Mother Teresa and has already recognized our founder. Following their inspiration and the fire of charity we can rekindle our Religious life.“We are not called to be successful, but faithful”- Mother Teresa
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
Fr. Guanella first dreamed of beginning his charity march northward into German speaking Grison (the easternmost canton in Switzerland), but for him, the Alpine barrier was too narrow. He dreamed of other ways for his daughters and sons to expand, and in 1903, went on a pilgrimage to Damas, Palestine, showing us the way to Asia. Then in 1912 he came to Germany, and shortly after that blessed visit, he journeyed to the United States in 1913 to visit the Italian immigrants who were there asking for help. In a certain way, he had drawn a master itinerary for where his missionaries needed to move and establish new shelters of charity!
According to his letters published in the Divine Providence Newsletter of Sept. 1912, he was invited to participate in the International Marian Congress, held in the former capital of the Western Roman Empire. At the end of his intervention he addressed the assembly of Marianists, and implored his Patroness, Holy Mary of Providence, to channel a generous flow of funds to his numerous institutions, celebrating them during the days the Silver Jubilée. This was a clear revelation of his German Dream, dreamed since the first years of his priesthood, and looking northward from his native Alps. During that stay he visited the Cathedral where the Empress Helena brought the Tunic of Jesus in 312 C.E., which also contains splinters from the Holy Cross. He then visited the birth place of St. Ambrose, the Porta Nigra (city gate), and many first Christian churches.
His dream started to become reality, exactly five years after his physical presence on German soil, on January 20, 1917. His brilliant inspiration of the Prayer Chain for a Good Death arrived in the former German region of Alsace. The present German Pious Union of St. Joseph Confraternity moved in January 1920 to the Black Forest, and from there it expanded into neighboring countries. Because of its continuous growth, the St. Joseph Daughters became the hidden hand of Holy Providence during the slow march of the former Guanellian alumni into Germany.
From the St. Trudpert Abbey, our Procure is still receiving generous donations for the new Good Samaritan Pharmacy at our disability center in Manila. Sister Bernita has also entirely financed the printing of our first German biography of Fr. Guanella. Since the arrival of our confreres at Pforzheim in 2014, we began searching for aspirants among both ethnicities in order to stick with our expansion efforts elsewhere in Germany. The selection of collaborators to become friends of the Guanellian family always takes place at Guanellian House, the Lombardos home. This photograph shows the promising members of our newly founded German Guanellian Lay Movement, (GLM), under a German flag and the laughing eyes of our Founder. On July 16th a group of eleven aspirants of the GLM received the devotional scapular of our Lady of Mount Carmel in the small Italian community of Friolzheim.
Our daily work here has concentrated on reactivating old contacts. We have received no further projects from our DPP Missions in India/Philippines, but we can only help others if we receive projects for submission. When that happens, attentive follow-up will occur through our generous Catholic solidarity agencies like Missio/Munich and Kindermision/Aachen.
As we approach the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, I am reminded that Nov. 1, 1950 was an unforgettable day for me as an altarboy taking part in a unique procession behind the gestatorial chair of Pope Pius XII in front of a half million believers in St. Peter‘s Square. The celebration was an appeal for peace following the destruction of WWII.
May God’s Protection, implored by our Patroness and our Saints, Louis and Clara, accompany all of us, and reinforce our spirit and hearts for a new loving charity season! Remain blessed, and remember that we are here, waiting with confidence for any future requests.
Gero Lombardo Guanellian German Procure
Madurai – St. Guanella Karunai Illam is a place for the homeless which is currently housing fifteen people who do not have family to support them; some like to roam the streets and highways. We have started a project for the vagrants; half of which is already complete. The whole project will include space for 60 people and at present four rooms, accommodating four persons each, are in use and according to local culture they are very comfortable. The next phase, the dormitory, will house 40 persons. A day care center for differently challenged and intellectually disabled people is currently caring for 30 persons at this House. Some are elderly and some are deserving youth and good children. The local Government is very pleased with our service to the vagrants and the deserted youth. They also asked us to include whoever comes to our home as homeless.