German Guanellians as Solidarity Globetrotters

During the Marian Month of May both Guanellian entities in the Black Forest have been very active.
Fr. Rocky accompanied a group of Italian pilgrims to Fatima. Fr. Wieslaw went for the annual pilgrimage to Our Lady of Lourdes. Confreres of the Italian Mission have been busy preparing children for First Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage. On June 2nd subsidiary Bishop Gerber will celebrate the confirmation of many youth of our district. Guanellian Alumni of Naro are organizing a solemn feast and procession of St. Calogero, patron of Naro, through the streets of Pforzheim mid-June.
The other half of the Procura has been busy raising funds and refreshing contacts with our best donors: Missio, Munich; Kindermission, Aachen; the Bishop’s office, Freiburg; and the charitable nuns of the Pious Union in the Black Forest.
New projects from the Philippines have been submitted and partially funded. The Good Samaritan Pharmacy has received sufficient donations to purchase life-saving medicine for a long time. The astonishing thing is that even agnostic friends of Guanella Works have opened their pockets. New sources of charity have become members of the GLM, increasing the circle among professional and influential pesonalities from the Italian community.
We are following the development of missions in West Africa, encouraging confreres to send well documented projects for submission to agencies in Germany. As The most recent in Africa is the Guanellian shelter in Mbeya, West Tanzania. There is an urgent need of sufficient drinking water for the disabled communities as well as for the neighboring Christian villages.We’ll apply for support at Missio, Munich. We are closely connected since we ‘adopted’ a young boy, whom Fr. Furaha has given my first name. Little Gero is a sunny disabled boy, who has become in Germany the symbol of Guanellian loving attention toward God’s neglected children in Africa and beyond.
The last coordinated activity is with the German Pious Union and the establishment of a branch of the St. Josef Confraternity in Indore/Madhya Pradesh. Mother General Simone has obtained approval of Bishop Chacko Thottumarical, the local bishop. The German Procure plans to submit the project to the Pious Union in Rome for Canonical approval. We hope that this will foster practical cooperation among Guanellians with the efforts of the Daughters of St. Josef in South India to increase the veneration of the Holy Patriarch, great St. Josef, and promote the blessed apostolate for the salvation of the suffering and dying around the world. This brillant inspiration of our Founder should become an imperative act of all Guanellians practicing his maxim, “The worry for the dying of this day is an important duty of true Christian love toward our neighbor.”
May the Holy Spirit this Pentecost inflame our hearts and turn our thoughts to be attentive to the poor.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure

German Antenna Broadcasts

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Pforzheim – The beginning of a new year full of dreams and hope obliges us to reflect upon the past 12 months and the cold experiences of a troubled world. But between the ashes of our dreams and memories, every day it rains new wishes and graces as a timid attempt to exorcize the days to come as an impulse to retake our walk along old itineraries always listening to the new growing seeds, which grow up without rumors. This suggests a Poet! We have dreamed and listened to what other religious orders do in our country, what is the aptitude and response of the conscience of the German Catholics towards increasing poverty, naked desperation, the destruction of families, and the total disorientation of an entire generation. These are the facts. We have learned what the others do and we tried to imitate their decisions. The motto for 2015 is, “Be a carrier of faith, but first become yourselves a personification of God’s blessing and loving Fatherhood.” This message of Kindermission – Aachen was mobilized on January 6th to more than 75,000 young boys and girls, who traveled thousands of streets in our cities and villages; begging financial support for the poor, sick, and disabled children around the world. Every year their carols in front of each building touch the hearts of believers and non-believers alike; each small coin helping to carry out prestigious projects, like ours in Legapzi, Manila, Congo and India.
Our structure at Legapzi was selected as the best developed project in the Philippines, with support from the Stern Singers and the help of Mrs. Steiner of Aachen for 3 long years! An interesting article was written by the Kutsch Family reporters of Aachen, who had visited Sagrada Familia in 2013. The news appeared in the local press on January 5, 2015. Fr. Battista Omodei, with one of his special pupils, is happy and his smile speaks for itself! Mrs. and Mr. Kutsch also organized a private Charity Gala and collected 5000 Euros for the a.m. Sagrada Famila at Legapzi.
Following this appreciation we have proposed to Mrs. Beate Jantzen to select both our projects in RD Congo for 2016. There, Kindermission has donated a brand new ambulance for the Lemba Mission which collects Aids patients, street stranded and abandoned youth 24 hours/day.
Now we await the authorization from the Bishop’s Office at Freiburg in order to continue our activity as agreed “Mission Procura.” The General Council has already appointed our entity as an integral part of the missionary Guanellian work in Germany in favor of our missions around the Guanellian provinces.
Therefore during Lent let us pray, “Indue me Dominen, novum hominem.”
O Lord make of me a new charitable person!

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

Guanellians in Germany Discover Christmas Traditions

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Pforzheim – The weather has become really chilly, but the squares of our adoptive town are decorated with many splendid arches. Every corner attracts with illuminated windows, and the air smells of fresh Christmas cakes. The Old German Christmas traditions are still alive, although old Pforzheim has become a cosmopolitan ambiance; especially on weekends when you meet people from all four corners of the globe. This is because Germany is still an open society and offers many employment opportunities to thousands of new Italian immigrants. As you see I’m not a missionary at the Guanellian front narrating religious events, but a simple layman who is trying to bring Germany and its traditions closer to the readers of the DPP newsletter.
During the first Sunday of Advent, Inge and I made a promenade into downtown. The pictures we’re sending you should bring you to the place where our two confreres have created the 21st tent of charity. Pforzheim has become the German “motherhouse” for present and future activities. On December 14th we’ll have the honor and pleasure of introducing the successor of Father Guanella to his 21st daughter. During their visit to the MCI Italian mission, they and our confreres as well the Guanellian Procura will meet with Dean Berhard Ihle and his Vice-Dean Dr. Johannes Mette who is the parish priest of St. Anthony Church. It is just 100m from the offices of the first Guanellian mission in our beloved country.
Furthermore, we are going to accompany Fr. Alfonso and Fr. Luigi to the annual Lutheran Desk caring for homeless people, poor and abandoned children, and immigrant families under the significant Motto, “I was hungry and you invited me to share with you bread and water.”
Other intended meetings will be with the local Charitas because of its impact in the city spectrum as a lantern of charity. Mr. Lemke, Director of Charitas Pforzheim, is a friend of our MCI because he has known the charism of the Guanellians from my former employment at Charitas since 1966.
Before next Christmas, we will re-activate our old contacts at Missio-Munich, Kindermission at Aachen, Adveniat and Miserere Catholic and Lutheran Solidarity agencies. As thanks for their constructive help during the past year, we’ll send them a Sicilian almond cake so that in 2015 when we knock at their door, they will not disregard our applications and requests for financial help for our Missions.
Finally we have the pleasure of informing our English readers that our Procura has been officially incorporated into the entities depending on the General House in Rome. We intend to continue sharing our activities with all Guanellian provinces. Therefore we’ll also send our news stories to our Spanish and French publications, as well as to the official Guanellian News.
May the start of Advent link us to prepare our hearts and minds to the arrival of the Savior Child.
Venite adoramus Dominum, qui hodie pro nobis natus est.
Come and adore the Lord, because today he was born for us.
With best wishes for a grace filled Christmas Night, we offer our prayers for a new, holy and blessed 2015.

Gero Lombardo,  German Guanellian Procura

Blessings Abound at HKSF

Legazpi City – The Special Therapy and Education Program (STEP) held its 9th recognition exercise and blessing of the Special Learning Room(SLR) April 7, 2014. Participants in the event were the priests, children with special needs, their parents, caregivers, teachers and guests. The distinguished guest was Mr. Nick Atos, the parent of a former STEP student, Francis Atos, who is now in college. The SLR, which was funded by German Kindermission and contributions of the parents, was blessed in a simple way by Fr. Battista Omodei, SdC. Everyone then assembled in the HKSF Pavilion for the recognition program. The children put on a performance to showcase their talents. Mr. Atos praised STEP in his speech because of his son’s ability to reach college level as a result of STEP; and he encouraged the parents to believe in their children and give the teachers proper support. He invited everyone to strive for their goals. The awards were distributed to the children based on their class performance. It was a joyful family celebration.

First Steps at Pforzheim

Bishop Ranier Klug

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Time to withdraw and leave younger people to building the future in this new tent of charity. As the rumors of the official introduction of our new confreres has passed and all visitors have returned to their apostolate domiciles, the daily normality has begun for Fr.Wieslaw as the director of the Guanellian community, while Fr. Rocky continues his German lessons at Freiburg until April 1st. Everyone knows that new beginnings are quite difficult, and one must be careful moving during the first steps in an unknown environment. But our two pioneers are doing their best to obtain sympathy in their new pastoral field.
The daily work of the MCI absorbs the attention of Fr. Wieslaw, and the weekends also fulfill the apostolate of Fr. Rocky, who is working between Freiburg and Pforzheim.
New relationships have been established with the St. Josef nuns at St.Trudpert Catholic Hospital, where our confreres are celebrating Holy Mass twice a month for the thirty sisters there; most of them from Kerala, South India.
Fr. Wieslaw has been introducted to the director of Charitas Pforzheim, Mr. Lemke, who during the meeting on February 6, 2014, made a surprising offer to help our confreres obtain practical experience in his numerous disabled and elderly homes. He also offered to channel the efforts of our Procura into a districtwide fundraising campaign in favor of the project which Fr. Mimi had so longingly dreamed; the creation of a special center for the children of parents with leprosy on Mindanao in the Philippines. He was also open to eventually support our new presence in Ho-Chi-Mihn, Vietnam. Meanwhile we are waiting for feedback from Fr. Charlton Viray in Manila and Provincial Treasurer, Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, for the new religious and disabled residence in the former City of Saigon.
Another interesting initiative was our contact with the Mother General of the St. Josef Daughters in the Abbey of Münstertal, in order to join forces in India between the Guanellians and the DSJ in Kerala, AP and TN with the intention of creating a common Pious Union in India. During the short visit of Provincial Fr. Rathinam, we have detailed this project, and in a short time we shall get a formal reply of the DSJ of St.Trudpert after the return of Mother Simone from India and the translation into the Keralian/Tamilian language of the Pious Union targets.
Holy Providence has furthermore blessed our efforts for a significant Project in R.D. Congo, where Fr. Guido Mattarese has conceived a five hectars irrigatiton project at Bateké in order to redeem several disabled boys and girls through manual labor. This project will be approved on 3/27/14. We ask our Indian communities to pray also for the positive results of both projects; a van for Sivagangai and a kitchen for Vatluru. Both will be submitted at the end of March to the awarding commission of our greatest benefactors, Kindermission at Aachen.
Finally in my introduction, I stated my firm decision to slowly withdraw from my activities. Starting in April, Fr. Rocky will begin contributing to our DPP bulletin, while Fr. Wieslaw will write about some issues for the Italian and Polish news.
The time of Gero as precursor is coming to an end, and soon I will take up a better task; that of the silent carpenter Josef helping my community to construct a new building on a solid basis. In case the procurator nomination is not renewed in December 2014, I’ll resign and eventually find someone else to continue the precious work of this Guanellian entity. Somehow it will be a pity because “begging” for unknown poor people is a very sensitive art which requires tact, savoir faire and a real passion to dedicate someone’s whole personality into the solidarity of love. If this happens “our Patrons” will be the ones who are abandoned, and they will continue to suffer injustice! Still, I did not start singing the ‘Canticle of Simeon,’ because I’m convinced that in God’s vineyard there is still a need for old, experienced arms, minds and especially inflamed hearts!
To all our readers around the globe, I wish copious Blessings from God, and a Joyful Easter Season. May the Lord inspire and link the minds of all those who have to decide about the future presence of Guanellians in my blessed and very generous adopted Homeland.
Et nunc, Domine, dirige animam meam quia nemo Profeta in patria sua est!

Gero Lombardo,  German Guanellian Procura

Kindermissionswerk Visits HKSF

Kindermissionwerks and Fr. Battista

Kindermissionwerks and Fr. BattistaLegazpi – On August 22nd Constanze Groth, Sebastian Ulbrich and Mr. Wagener of Kindermissionwerk, Germany,  arrived at Harong Kan Sagrada Familia to evaluate and study the Feeding Program and STEP (Special Therapy Education Program) and to prepare for the Sternsingers’ 2015 Campaign (which aims to help children age 9-12 years all over the world). They chose Philippines as an example to prepare themselves for the campaign. They interviewed Fr. Battista, director of the programs; some parents and an alumnus of the Feeding Program, Vanessa. These interviews will help to evaluate the effectivness and development of the program. After the short two-day visit they expressed their gratitude to the fathers and staff of the institute for running the program so well. The institution is very much indebted to Kindermissionwerk for their financial assistance to the program.Kindermissionwerks with STEP children in the Pavillion HKSF

From Germany to Remote Tents of Charity

waves crashing on a rocky coast

waves crashing  on a rocky coastOur confreres at the ‘front’ of our missions and evangelization are the real heroes of our humanity, because they save innocents from famine, illness, abandonment and sin. During a recent trip to Italy, I enjoyed a common scene; three seagulls landing on a rocky cliff, with one daring a risky pirouette on a white foamy wave. At that moment, I thanked God for this metaphor of our long dream, as the birds seemed to interpret my thoughts. In July three confreres will finally arrive in Germany, as we accompany Fathers Baniak and Arokiadoss to Freiburg to begin their six month German language course. Our procure has matured after five years of effort, having finally realized ‘Project Germany.’ We will now don our wings and fly to other countries where, with God’s grace, we will pray for quick decisions.
For nearly five years, we have been negotiating the possibility of opening a center for the disabled in the Arab Emirates. In Abu Dhabi, I have been meeting with Fr. Gandolf Wild and Faris Al Mazroui, while in 2012 we visited the other Emirates, where building costs are lower and the Salesian institutions are present. The Anglican Bishop of RAK has encouraged me to actively press for the fulfillment of such an urgently needed center, and after intensive negotiations with the General Council, Fr. Luigi DeGiambattista has hinted that Bishop Paul Hinder might consider the presence of the SdC in that country. We can count on several sources of financial support, as half a million Christians and more than 300,000 Catholic expatriates from the Philippines and India live in this country. At least 5,000 disabled children and elderly would benefit from such a blessing. Fr. Gandolf is a friend of our congregation from his long stay in Rome and he updates us often with new events in their large territory. Recently on June 14th, a majestic Church was blessed and inaugurated at the RAK capital with the participation of Cardinal Fernando Filoni and the apostolic Nuncio, Petar Rajic. Emir al Qassimi also honored us with his presence. I have invited Fr Luigi to accompany Inge and I on a possible exploratory mission this fall, to provide our General Council with an objective evaluation of the needs, means and potentiality of vocation promotion among our many Catholics.
Our next target is Tanzania. Fr. Paul Oggioni visited a disabled center in Mbeya in 2010 when he visited a young priest who had shown interest in joining our congregation. After a bumpy start, Fr. Furaha has approached our procure seeking financial support. He and Sister Mary take care of about 40 disabled boys and girls, and in front of the main building they already grow a small garden with vegetables and orchards. He needs a donation of 4,000€ for building a poultry and pig farm. The egg and meat sales would also help with the center’s operating costs, and the project has been submitted to Kindermission and Bankers Sparkasse Pforzheim.
Since St. Guanella has now established himself in West Africa, this potential new tent would cover a larger area in Tanzania, where about half a million Indians are living. My friend Julius Makundi, a businessman in Dar es Salam, will support our efforts in this project if Fr. Furaha and other priests decide to enter our congregation.
May our holy Founder and the Lord link our small steps for His glory and the benefit of our suffering brothers. The whole world will become our homeland!

Gero Lombardo,  German Guanellian Procura

Germany Increases Efforts in Middle East

Pope Francis with down syndrome boys

Pope Francis with down syndrome boysPforzheim – The past few weeks have flown by, and many events have confirmed that a small entity like ours can make a contribution to better a little corner of our tormented world. After the clamorous election of Pope Francis, we prepared a special article in our regional press to point out the deep connection between the new Pope and the Sevants of Charity during his pastoral work in Buenos Aires. The German article contains a nice photo we received from our contact at the Mother House in Como; a special Pope for our “special benjamins” children with down syndrome. This connection has increased our reputation in our Archdiocese, and with the parish priests of our large diaconate. Because of the new position of our Congregation in Germany, we have asked Fr. Luigi to create a special link in German to the official Guanellian organization; due to the constant increase in the number of German readers who are visiting our website daily. Visit the German link, donguanella-mission.de, to read the latest flyer: Guanellian Presence in Germany 2/2013.
Italian and German tourists at seminary in BarzaIn March,we paid a visit to our birthplace in Barza to celebrate my seventy-seventh birthday and meet our relatives living in the area. Now three generations of the Lombardo family have visited the place where I had grown spiritually for almost five years. On Good Friday an ensemble of  lay actors performed the Passion of our Redeemer at St. Anthony Church in Pforzheim, because our own Church, Barfüßer in the city center, is too small for all of our Italian believers.
The past month has been marked by many relevant events and initiatives. After a long reflection, our General House in Rome has been in contact with His Excellency, Paul Hinder, Bishop of Abu Dhabi and the South Arabian Peninsula. The new ability of our Congregation to consider long term plans for the so called Arab world, fills me with joy and hope, as my old dream of bringing the Guanellian charism to the Arab Emirates seems to be materializing. There, we would not only have the support of the ecclesial authority, but also the cousin of Sultan Al Nayan, Sheik Faris el Mazroui. There is also an initiative to set up a new tent of Guanellian charity in tormented  Afghanistan. I am proud to point out that it was my former pupil, Fr. Giancarlo Pravettoni, who initiated contact; with other international relief organizations to insure human respect, equality between men and women, brotherhood and Guanellian sympathy for the disabled, elderly and suffering.
Our continued support remains with our brothers in faith, the Melchite Christians in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt. Our contact with Patriarch Gregorios III continues, and with other charitable organizations of our State, Baden Württemberg, where we collect medical equipment. Recently we published an interesting article in our local Pforzheimer Zeitung, where it was also mentioned that the German Guanellians are closely involved in supporting this project. Patriarch Gregorios III is scheduled to vist our Procure in July 2013. This will be a great honor for our small community.
Finally, another effort of our procure is with the medical center at Kinshasa, DR Congo. We have great hope that the friends of Kindermission/Aachen will approve the Aids Prevention Center for the 2200 boys and girls at our Mateké center. The German Embassy there has been interested in helping, and the Ambassador‘s wife has visited the center recently. After this visit, Brother Mauro Cecchinato was informed that our Embassy will mediate a donation for the purchase of land where the medical center will be built. Let us praise the Lord for all these signs of His paternal Providence! My reflection for the Marion month is that all of us increase our faith in God the Father’s love toward our Mother Mary and her silent, glorious husband, St. Joseph. We must also reflect on the dreams of our Holy Founder, who was surely the precursor of our current projects; reaching all German speaking countries, and extending our charity to the Middle East, like he did when, in his advanced age, he visited Palestine.
Maria, Stella Maris ora pro nobis!
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure

german newspaper clipping of Patriarch Gregorius IIIGerman newspaper clipping about Italian Passion play in Pforzheim