German Guanellians Seek Hidden Way to Syria

For five years the eyes of the civil and especially the Christian world have been on a tormented country, where an infamous genocide is perpetrated while the Great Policy dispute for a ridiculous cease fire that only lasted a couple of hours continues. We Christians watch the events through the window, and we do not move a single finger! This is the sad reality which the Patriarch of about 4 million Melchite Catholics in Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq is condemning in his desperate appeals to the remaining people of good will in Western Christianity. In his recent Christmas letter addressed also to our German Entity, he pointed out an often forgotten step of our history: Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Palestine; but Christianity was born and raised in Syria.
I have personally visited that region many times while acting as export manager of my former company. During that time I had many contacts in the capital, Damas, Aleppo and in the neighboring Lebanese Beka Valley, now the biggest refugee camp after that in TR. Through these former business partners we started a risky effort to bring substantial help to these stranded Christians. In fact after first our personal meeting with Patriarch Gregory in Munich in July 2010 in cooperation with the Knights of St. Lazarus of Prior, Mr. Folker Theis, former chaplain of this order, we collected medical equipment for the Catholic Hosptial at Khabab near Damas. Unfortunately was damaged by the war and reconstructed later on with generous help of Melchite Communities in Germany, Austria and also Catholics of Poland. The most efficient contribution of the German Guanellian laity was coordinated by our first councillor Dr. Helmut Müller and hospitals of the German Pious Union at Münstertal. Containers arrived in Damas via our friends in Lattakia, Syria and Beirut, Lebanon. This has been a fulgent Morning Star, a hidden path to Syria of our fledgling German Procure.
We recently sent an invitation to His Beatitude Gregory III, to visit our Guanellian entities in Pforzheim and Tiefenbronn in order to further develop solidarity programs for Syria. “Guanellian engagement” in Middle East is an inspired effort found hidden in Father Guanella’s personal journey to Palestine and Damas in 1902! He was the real designer of our path around the globe. Why did he visit Treviri in 1912? Why at the end of his tireless earthly life did he visit the USA? I guess he was able to see all the future carriers of his charism in all those countries. And I, as an old dreamer, still have a burning dream to link Guanellians from Nazareth to the old roots of our Faith! But how? By reversing the ancient journey of the three Magi from the cradle of Jesus, to the cradle of Christianity. Patriarch Gregory III could be a real bridge for a Guanellian shelter of charity on the border to Syria, in the green Beka Valley, where we both still have contacts in the city of Zahle, who could contribute to making this dream a reality. From there the path of Fr. Guanella into the Emirates is not far, because in 2009 our General Council received a formal invitation to establish a fully financed disabled center from the Apostolic Vicariate Msgr. Paul Hinder validated by a factive promise from Sheik Faris el Marzroui, Cousin of the Ruler, Sultan Mohammed Al Zayed, at Abu Dhabi.
May God grant the entire Guanellian family His privileged grace. At the beginning of Lent we wish all our readers a fruitful and blessed spiritual journey.

Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure


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

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,, 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