Retrospectively, 2017 was a very blessed year, filled with small and large providential gifts. In fact, at the end of the year Holy Providence had touched many hearts and opened many plentiful pockets. The sowing began September 16 but the harvest was completed in December 2017. Most of the projects benefit the following Divine Providence Province entities:
*A new award from Missio, Munich went to Good Samaritan Pharmacy, Manila, just months after they accepted a program to educate parents of the ‘good children’ there. This new donation will purchase life-saving medicine for the Quezon City Inferno.
*Our contact with the Archdiocese of Freiburg reaped a positive award in December. World Church capitular, Dr. Peter Birkhofer, accepted our request to give financial support for the 26 Indian and four Filippino Thelogy Students. The generous donation was dispersed to the respective Major Seminaries through DDP treasurer, Fr. Rinaldo.
*Constant precious contact with the German Pious Union has secured small, continous donations for the Manila Pharmacy and for the new charity shelter at Iwindi, Tanzania. Their Mass intentions helped our confreres there to survive the ‘Guanellian Spartanity.’ For this new entity in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro we have applied for a donation from Missio, Munich to build a medical center for 300 disabled persons. This project may receive an award as soon as the beginning of February 2018
*Since our visit to the German Caritas Office at Pforzheim with Delegate Fr. Luigi in September we have been working on another urgent Project at Noro, Solomon Islands. With an interesting flyer for fundraising among supporters in our confederate State Bad-Würrt, Director Lemke initiated press conferences. Both German Guanellian entities are also seeking to fund a multi-purpose hall at Noro. This campaign will continue through the end of January 2018. We hope that the targeted sum will be collected by then.
*Guanellian Caritas also tried to help our Guanellian Sisters in Iasi, Romania in their request of financial support to purchase a Minibus, for urgently needed transportation for the disabled, elderly and students. The project was accepted by the Bavarian Solidarity Agency Renovabis in Eastern Europe just days before Christmas. This was somewhat of a thankful gesture to them, because 2 years ago they accomodated the first Indian confreres and built the first Guanellian seminary in Eastern Europe.
Last but not least our Procure is already working on 2018 projects. The most important are the rebuilding of the Cuddalore Church and a new project for Manila. Brother Mauro has prepared a project for self sufficiency through his Piggery Project near the Good Children’s Residence there. It should provide enough food for residents and enough to create an income. Also from the Philippines Fr. Viray is involving the Procura to fund a new shelter of charity in Northern Mindanao.
We are open to all requests from the Guanellian Missionary World, like those recently received from Mexico and Guatemala. We invest patient and silent work for the reactivation of our old contact with another solidarity agency: Kindermission, Aachen which for a decade was the other important solidarity agency involved in projects in Legapzi, Philippines; RD Congo and Mexico. Each received an Ambulance that operates 24 hours daily for at-risk girls and boys or Aids infected youth; and an irrigation system for disabled kids in Bateké, RD Congo. Exactly like Fr. Guanella did in Nuova Olonia, rehabilitation of the disabled through manual work, in his first pioneering endeavor.
In this New Year we should practice the warnings of Pope Francis to make 2018 an ‘active year’ as a Chruch and Community en route.
May the Lord through the intercession of our Lady of Providence help us always be ready to focus our efforts and listen to the whispers of our unknown, poor sisters and brothers. Have a blessed and graceful 2018.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
Manila – The 6th Annual Dinner for a Cause was held at Ang Bahay ng Alumni at Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila. The Servants of Charity hold this event for the benefit of the children of Guanella Home. The evening began with a prayer led by Ate Ding Legaste, Guanellian Cooperator. Fr. Battista Omodei warmly welcomed the visitors followed by an intermission number by our special kids from Guanella Home. The money generated during the event will be saved primarily for the needs and necessities of our special kids. Fr. Charlton gave an update about last year’s Dinner for a Cause and how the funds were spent. Fr. Battista, Fr. Charlton, Fr. Charles and Fr. Loyola gave Certificates of Appreciation to people and organizations that have been constantly helping the Servants of Charity. To all the people who supported and helped in making this event a success, a simple thank you would not be enough, we really appreciate the efforts you have done.
Manila – The Ven. Aurelio Bacciarini Theologate (VABT) in the Philippines under the supervision of Fr. Rajesh conducted its 1st Theological Symposium on October 13th. The topic was ‘The Childhood of Fr. Guanella’ 1842-1854. Br. Mark Lanuza, 1st year theology student, presented the story of the early life of young Louis, and it was followed by Br. Erwin Azurin, 2nd year theology student, with his theological perspective. Br. Christian Magdaong, 2nd year theology student, facilitated the simple panel discussion with Fr. Charles, Fr. Charlton and Br. Mauro as special guests. The VABT community is grateful for the active participation of the confreres and seminarians. This event prepared them for a solemn celebration of the feast of St. Louis Guanella this year.
Manila – July 29th seven new seminarians of the Servants of Charity were accepted along with seventeen postulants at San Isidro Labrador Parish, Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The event also included the initiation of temporarily professed brother and acolyte, Bro. Alfie Matulac. The Holy Eucharistic celebration was con-celebrated by Fr. Charlton, Fr. Ronnie, Fr. Loyola, Fr. Charles, Fr. Rajesh and Fr. Battista as the main celebrant. The acceptance, initiation and the institution of the acolyte was done after the Liturgy of the Word and was followed by the Homily given by Fr. Battista. After Mass, a simple meal at the Servants of Charity covered court was served for the confreres and the families and friends of the seminarians.
Manila – July 27th-28th the new seminarians and postulants of the Servants of Charity went on recollection at the Augustinian nuns’ retreat house, Mother of Good Counsel Monastery in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan with Fr. Ronnie Samaniego as the main facilitator of the retreat. The recollection was designed to help the seminarians become well-oriented and informed about the stage they were about to enter and to develop a deep sense of fraternity to enhance community life. The first day was for aspirants and the next day was for postulants.
July was a special month for our congregation. On July 1st, Br. Dao, Br. Dien and Br. Mark, made their first profession of vows. Although they are from Viet Nam and Philippines with many differences they are united as one in the congregation, the Servants of Charity. With hearts full of love they professed their faith to God who will always be with them during their times of need. That day was a special mark for them because they officially started a life of a religious with the vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience. Through and in these vows, they will live a life which no longer belongs to them but to Jesus Christ who has called them and continues to call them again and again to follow Him and serve Him through the charism of the Servants of Charity.
Besides that, we also were glad to welcome six new Vietnamese novices who have been in formation in Manila. They will be guided by Novice Master Fr. Sagayaraj, SdC who is from India. With his guidance, they will learn more about the religious life through which they want to dedicate themselves to the Lord whom they love.
Provincial Superior, Fr. Soosai Rathinam, told them, “In this particular year, you will search for the Lord and answer the question ‘who is he?’” The novices were touched by this because as the apostles did, the novices need to answer this question, “But who do you say that I am?”(Luke 9,20). Novitiate is a special and beautiful year for them to understand the life which they desire to live and to serve through God’s love.
On another special occasion with Fr. Gustavo, the novices received a beautiful message from him:
“At the beginning of this new year of novitiate, what I desire is that you be open to the Holy Spirit, who is the one that shapes your person for consecration.
If we want the Lord to consecrate us like the Virgin Mary, we have to be docile and so in this way the Holy Spirit can penetrate our souls.
The novitiate is a particular stage of our formation that requires openness to His action to live more deeply the grace of this particular call in our lives.
Dear novices, remember that you were the ones who committed yourselves to this particular year. If you give great importance to it you will be successful in your future religious life.
A religious vocation is like a seed, that, watered by grace, sets good roots and we hope you can develop good soil so in this way the strong plant of religious life may grow fruitful.
The Blessed Virgin, St. Louis Guanella and St. Joseph be not only your constant intercessors, but also your models by indicating how to surrender your lives to the Lord as they have done.”
Let us continue to pray for them, so that the Lord will guide them, make them understand His call through the year of Novitiate, and then, they will respond to His call as our beloved Mother responded to the greeting of the angel Gabriel and trusted in the will of God in her life with the heart of humility.
Manila – This year the provincial superior traveled to the Philippines for his canonical visit with the secretary general. The visit included meetings and dialogues with some of the priests and significant persons in the community. The canonical visit includes as well the meeting with the pastoral ministries of the Servants of Charity of the Manila community, which will fall on the last day of the provincial visit, July 8th.
Manila – On June 23rd, our Priests and perpetually professed brothers, Fr. Charlton, Fr. Dong, Fr. Charles, Fr. Loyola, Fr. Battista, Bro. Mauro and Bro. Alfie, renewed their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Ronnie Samaniego, and was concelebrated by Fr. Charlton, Fr. Dong, Fr. Charles, and Fr. Loyola and was attended by the whole seminary community. They renewed their vows before the communion rite. The day of the renewal was also on the feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and our sisters of the Daughters of Saint Paul came to celebrate with us.
Manila – The Guanellian Youth Camp 2017 happened in Pavilion Campsite, Banaba Cerca, Indang, Cavite May 29th-June 1st with the theme “Guanellian Youth: Bellwethers of the Flock.” Being compared with a bellwether, a leader sheep, each of the member of the Guanellian Youth Ministry (GYM) is being moulded to be a leader and role model of faith to his/her family, friends and community through good deeds and following the life of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
The participants listened to a series of talks and activities to enhance their leadership skills equipping them with wisdom and knowledge. Bro. Mark Jay Gensis shared that being brave, positive, responsible, accepting opinions and challenges, and believing in your God-given potentials will help you become a happy and productive leader/member. Bro. Harry Indonilla talked about the importance of commitment and how to stay committed in order to keep the faith burning while following our Lord Jesus Christ. Lastly, Ms. Charmaine Ramirez shared that having a good character is an essential part in being a good leader this means that one should be trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair, caring and a good citizen, this also includes constantly doing the right things and following the golden rule, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Divided into three mini teams named after the Young Three Seers of Fatima, St. Francisco, St. Jacinta and Blessed Lucia, Guanellian youths enjoyed and showed their competitive spirit in different team building activities including the ‘Amazing Race’. Running while blindfolded, crawling through mud, and answering logical questions tested each of the team’s physical and mental capability to work as one.
Aside from physical and mental activities participants did not forget to strengthen their faith through praying the rosary and other devotions that help them endure all unnecessary challenges especially bad weather. The last day was spent swimming at Layu-Layo beach in Nasugbu, Batangas.
GYM would like to thank all the people who supported us financially to make this activity possible.
Manila – The Servants of Charity are grateful to the Lord of the harvest for guiding Br. Alfie Matulac, SdC, throughout his theological studies. On Saturday, May 27th, he received two diplomas, a Bachelors Degree in Sacred Theology and a Masters in Systematic Theology. His stay at the Recoletos School of Theology, an affiliate of the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, Manila helped him deepen his faith and conviction to promote the Kingdom of God among the poor in the footsteps of St. Guanella. The Guanellian Community also extended their joys for Br. Arun David and Br. Christian Magdaong for participating in the RST academy awards 2017.