Cuddalore -Sahaya Matha parishioners had a long desire to visit the holy place of St. Francis Xavier. On May 12th early in the morning the dream became reality when a group of parishioners arrived at Goa accompanied by their parish priests. What a spectacular moment to see the magnificent shrine of St. Francis Xavier. They were able to celebrate the Holy Eucharist at the Shrine for four days. They could hardly believe that their own mortal feet walked on the same sand which the great saint walked. The pilgrims were deeply moved by the works and life history of the ‘Great Apostle of the East,’ during a movie in the shrine theater. There was ample time to visit various shrines and beaches in Goa. The tour was meticulously arranged by the parish council members with the mutual support of the parish priests.
First Holy Communion Celebrated
Vatluru – October 14th became a historical day for the faithful in Anglipruram, a substation of Sacred Heart Parish, as 20 children received the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ for the first time in their life. The children spent months preparing by regular visits from the parish priests and the catechist. Fr. Bosco Rajendra, chancellor of the diocese, presided over the Holy Mass which was concelebrated by Fr. Peter Sebastian, the superior of the community and other Guanellian priests. The entire village faithfully participated in the Eucharistic celebration and the 20 children, dressed in dazzling white, full of love and eager longing received their First Holy Communion. To express their joy and gratitude, a meal was served for everyone following Mass.
Germany Increases Efforts in Middle East
Pforzheim – 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.
In 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
Saigon – The Servants of Charity have rooted and are sprouting in Vietnam; three new students have joined this year. Their names are Quoc, Tong and Hoang. They have already graduated from university. They heard about the Servants of Charity through other religious congregations and approached us. Fr. Felicks and Fr. Jerin visited their families and their parish priests. The new students were welcomed and initiated on September 1st during the Holy Eucharist by Fr. Felicks, the resident in-charge. They are now going to the pastoral center at Ba Chuong Church (Dominicans) to learn the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’ in the Vietnamese language. God is blessing our congregation in Vietnam by providing us new branches to bear witness to Him through our mission of charity.
In Search of Vocations in Northern India
Orissa is a state in North India known for atrocities against Christians. The seed of Catholicism in Orissa can be traced back to the 17th Century, when it was under the care of the Madras – Mylapore Diocese. By 1845, the region transferred to the Vishakapattinam Diocese. In time, the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, MSFS, evangelized the hilly regions including the diocese of Berhampur. In 1992, Spanish Vincentian fathers took over the mission.
On July 6th, Frs. Charles and Rajesh went to the Diocese of Berhampur and were cordially welcomed by Most Rev. Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak. He directed them to Mohana, a very large, traditional parish. The congregation gave them a warm welcome and expressed enthusiasm for the ‘New Evangelization.’ The following day featured the diaconate Ordination of three brothers from that parish. Frs. Charles and Rajesh were able to meet many priests of the diocese who offered them assistance. Thus began visits to families of the boys recommended by their parish priests. With permission from their families and approval from their priests, three boys returned to Cuddalore with Frs. Charles and Rajesh to discern a call to the Servants of Charity. Divine Providence was truly their guide.
Cast Out into the Deep
Saigon – Fr. Jerin and Bro. Khiet went to Boun Me Thout near Saigon seeking vocations. There they met a boy who is finishing college and wants to experience the Guanellian lifestyle. Fr. Jerin visited the boy’s family and his Parish Priest who certified the boy and promised to send more vocations in the future. They also visited Gialai, in the diocese of Kontum, home to many ethnic people. Sr. Huong of the Sisters of St. Paul took them to many parishes to meet the parish priests who promise to foster vocations. Several boys who have completed high school were invited to the ‘Come and See’ program. Fr. Phero Tong, parish priest of Pleku City, extended an invitation to meet the Bishop of Kontum, Most Rev. Michael Hoang, in August. Pray that God will bless this year with many students for His work of mercy.