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
Legazpi – “Zumba” is the new fitness activity of the staff and members of SAGRADA FAMILIA which they are enjoying it with all their strength. They dance not only for relaxation, but they also to build relationships in the spirit of “SAGRADA FAMILIA”. There is no distinction between priests, seminarians, teachers, staff, social workers or therapists, but all are “Family”. We work not for our own good but for the common good of others, coming together as a community to improve the lives of those who are lacking in society.
On the occasion of the feast of Fr. Guanella, we also needed to acknowledge the staff at HKSF. Many of the staff were inspired by Fr. Guanella to dedicated themselves for this work of charity. The strong witness is the length of time which they have been working here in this community. Through many difficulties, challenges and lack of material goods in the very beginning, they and the Guanellian priests worked tirelessly to develop the community not only for the present but for the future good of all.
Legazpi – Fr. David Stawasz was a brother in the Legazpi community nine years ago. He paid a visit to share his own vocation story with the novices. God’s love calls many to step out of their own way to follow His way, the way which He has prepared. We don’t know what will happen in this life, but we do know that we must trust in His call and do our best to follow it. This call can only be found through prayer. Moreover, through prayer we trust in God little by little and believe that God will help us to realize His call and to keep forming us according to His will. Sometimes, we might not know where God is. These are the times we need to pray harder and to keep ourselves from getting lost in this life. To stay on the right track keep in mind Who you belong to. Time has passed since Fr. David was here, but he did not forget how much he loves HKSF and its people. The heart of love is tireless and full of gratitude and faithfulness for the people of God.
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.
Legazpi – The Harong Kan Sagrada Familia community welcomed Fr. Charlton Viray for a visit November 6th–8th. During his visit, he offered a class for all the novices entitled, “Prayer with the Bible” teaching them to use this kind of prayer in their own spiritual life. He said, “once, one gets to know and apply this prayer in their spiritual life, one may discover their own self and may realize their own self with the painfulness of spirit which self needs to accept it in order to grow.” With this type of prayer, we no longer pray alone, but we listen, understand and meet Jesus in our hearts. Prayer becomes a personal dialogue with Jesus and we discover “who is Jesus in my life?” In seeking him in others: neighbors, poor, needy, we also see him in our own hearts, for He is waiting for us there. Getting to know Him is getting to know ourselves.
Legazpi – “From purgatory, which is painful and sorrowful, the crying voices of the souls resound in great sorrow, with the belief that mother Mary will have pity on those who cry for help.”
The holy souls not only wait for Mother Mary, they also wait for the prayers of their own family, their beloved ones. Unfortunately, many are forgotten by their own families, forgotten by this world. They can no longer do anything for themselves in order to get back to God, Who is the greatest desire of all souls. They suffer the great fire which burns in their hearts day after day. The only hope that they have is the Church Militant who journey together in this world to pray for them and to do acts of charity for them. We must always remember the holy souls, what they had done for us while they were in this world. After their passing from this life, they must not be forgotten but must be remembered everyday of our lives. In November especially, the novices went to many different cemeteries to visit the holy souls and to pray for them according to the teachings of the church.
We are sending you, interested readers of our large Province the latest news. World Church at Freiburg has decided to give financial support of the theology students in India and Philippines. Dr. P. Birkhofer was personally approached by Fr. Luigi during our courtesy visit on September 19th. On behalf of the Diocese of Freiburg, Dr. Birkhofer has issued a letter announcing the award of 24,000 € to support our students.
The second good news is the Media conference which was held on November 28th at the local office of Caritas at Pforzheim. The reporters detailed the project in the Solomon Islands which has been given full support by Director Lemke. Director, Johannes Frank Lemke is a good friend of the Guanellians and a personal friend of mine since I was the active social assistant at Caritas from 1966-69. Caritas is accepting donations from interested parties on behalf of the Servants of Charity for a community center in Noro, New Georgia that will provide basic services to the local people of the Solomon Islands. It is estimated that the first phase of this project can be completed with 20,000 €.
The brochure from Caritas illustrates the top corners of a true neighbor’s tender love and their commitment to serving those most in need.
Pray with me to the Lord for a positive outcome of our present intensive efforts.
During Advent let us focus our intentions for a good and coordinated development of Guanellian intensive engagement in neighboring European countries such as France and Great Britain.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
Legazpi – Part of the ministries of the novices during this remembering year for them is ministry to poor children. In this modern life, many children are lacking in love, which must start from their own family but reality is a bitter pill. Instead of receiving the love of their parents, they are neglected by their parents. Many spend the greater part of the day as orphans. We bring them what we have, holy Mass, with the hope of a bright future. We hope that through Mass they could see that life still has love for them through the ministry of the Servants of Charity who are now with them and bringing them love. What we have, we share as St. Louis Guanella said “if we receive from the Providence of God with two hands, we should give to the poor with four hands”. We not only bring them love but also hope for their future.
Legazpi – To commemorate the feast day of St. Louis Guanella, the Servants of Charity went on a pilgrimage to Naga City October 20th for all who had helped organize “Dinner for a Cause”. This trip was not only for relaxation, but also to discover new places and to go to the source of faith: Basilica Minore, the church dedicated to Our Lady of Penafrancia Patroness of Bicolandia. Even though everyone was tired they were very happy for visiting this church and bringing many of our confidences in prayer before Our Lady. Their hope was renewed and peace deepened in the bottom of their hearts, strengthening them to face the reality of daily life. May our Lady of Penafrancia pray for all of us and bring us to her son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
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.