Sivagangai – Don Guanella Special School, Guanella Anbagam, prepared a special event to kick off the 2016-2017 academic year. Joining current students were many new students to experience Guanellian love and charity. The inauguration of this seventh year was special because of the presence of Fr. Soosai, Provincial Superior, and his Council; the local superior, Fr. Kulandaisamy; superiors from other communities; Fr. Thomas, the spiritual director; and Mrs. Abbatte Guiliana, Vice President of ASCI. After Mass, Fr. Soosai made a gesture of love and gratitude to Fr. Paul Raj, SdC who was the previous director and welcomed Fr. Paul Francis, SdC to succeed him in this ministry of love. The children performed an enthusiastic cultural program which was organized by Fr. Stalin SdC. Yesuvanam brothers and Anbagam children added beauty to the day. “Serving the poor is crowning our soul with a heavenly diadem”.
Germany: Still an Unexplored Potential
June was filled with an intensive program. Starting at the end of May with our visit at the Abbey of Münstertal, an annual meeting was held for two Guanellian entities with different origins but the same goal: find and fund charity projects with immediate results, like the shelter in Manila completed with the sisters of the German Pious Union. A substantial donation was made which will allow Br. Mauro to buy some urgently needed life saving medicine locally. With a strong commitment from our Procura, we suggested to call this endeavor ‘The Good Samaritan Pharmacy,’ a place for the poorest families with children, to get medicine and other basic necessities. Through a fundraising campaign, supported by a new flyer, we have approached all Catholic hospitals in the State of Baden-Württemberg and members of the St. Josef confraternity. We are hoping that this will create a continous flow of financial resources providing assistance to our confreres in Manila.
General Councilor, Fr. Luigi deGiambattista, arrived after several months of preparation to assist with situations, perspectives and orientation of both Guanellian entities in Germany. During his stay, we had the opportunity to visit some area refugee camps and see firsthand the problems they face; not only the financial and political instability but mainly the sense of abandonment by God … and the world. The Guanellians in Pforzheim pledge to reduce or diminish their isolation and search for ways to be united to their sufferings, as humans first aside from religious beliefs. Fr. Rocky and myself will join the efforts of the local church to assisist Syrians, Iraquis and Chaldean and Melchite Catholics.
The next task was the creation of the first group of Laity willing to spread the Guanellian charism. On June 9th twenty German-Italian ladies and gentlemen gathered with Fr. Luigi, Fr. Wieslaw and Fr. Rocky at the Guanellian Mission Pforzheim and officially founded the Guanellian Lay Movement in Germany. Councillors Dr. Müller and Banker Stemmler, four German couples and some Sicilian Guanellians of Naro shared pizza and sang popular songs. We established the foundation for a strong effort to increase hands, minds, hearts, ready to support and diffuse the charism of our Founder among all those who need our loving approach. During the meeting, two pilgrimages were planned. The first will be to the St. James Path/Spain beginning August 16th with Diocesan parish priests and German friends; the second will be to our Polish House at Skavina September 16th.
The final task during Fr. Luigi’s visit brought us to the Archbishop’s office in Freiburg, where we have enjoyed great hospitality, friendship and firm cooperation. Deacon Eiermann, director of non-German missionaries, longtime supporter Deacon Roth and Sr. Theresita, who is truly helpful for our confreres, welcomed our visit. During the presentations, it was revealed that there is hope of the SdC to extend their presence elsewhere in this diocese. All dreams will be put in the hands of Holy Providence, hoping for the project to mature soon. After exchanging small gifts, we spent time with our mentor, Bishop Emeritus Klug, the first supporter of this Guanellian Adventure in Germany.
We discussed our mission work in Africa and Asia with Fr. Luigi; lamenting the long silence from all provinces for the past two years. Thanks be to God it seems like projects from missions in India, Philippines and Africa are falling from the sky. The first project is for a place for disabled children in Sivagangai which has already been submitted.
As a surprise for Fr. Luigi after all the busy days, a ‘Fr. Guanella Flag’ was hoisted under the German flag at his first residence in Germany since 1962: our home garden. May this tangible sign wave to all passing viewers as a silent message: Yes we are there for all!
With God’s blessings and the maternal protection of St. Mary let us confidently approach our holidays
Gero Lombardo Guanellian German Procure
German Events and Solidarity behind the Curtain
After a long silence we are back with some precious and interesting news on our past weeks after the echo of congratulations for the summit has ceased.
I was honored with personal greetings and thanks by our new Archbishop, Stephan of Freiburg, and other key religious and civil authorities for the solidarity work accomplished over the past 50 years in this blessed and generous region of Germany.
New requests for financial help have reached our entity, mainly from Africa but recently also from DPP structures in India especially from Sivagangai for their disabled center. We are quite sure to succeed at Mission Munich. We have been asked by em. Bishop Rainer Klug, during his visit to the Procure and to St. Louis Guanella Mission at Pforzheim on April 13, 2016, to stay and get more involved in the daily life of the neighboring German parishes and the Polish immigrant centers in our district, as well as Catholic refugees from Syria and Iraq relocated to the area.
The last opportunity was to join local pastors and other Catholics from E.C. in celebrating Corpus Domini in the small town of Hamberg on a splendid sunny day, crossing colorful walkways decorated with fresh flowers ending in an altar carpet of flowers with the symbols of the Mercy Jubilee. We listened and meditated on the Gospel of St. Luke 9-1-17.
During this time, I was concerned about a sad story I heard from Brother Mauro in Manila: a young woman who died simply because she and her family could not buy Penicillin. Immediately we, Puentes/Spain and the Sisters of the German Pious Union at Münstertal-Black Forest, began to make plans. We would begin an intensive fundraising campaign with them in their four hospitals, with the help of their almost 70,000 members in the St. Josef Confraternity, with doctors, and the support of the families of Italian immigrants. The specific purpose is to create at Guanella Center, Quezon City a large, well supplied pharmacy, offering necessary medicine against TBC and other infectious illnesses. This new medical center should operate as a “Good Samaritan Pharmacy” for the poor of greater Manila. We are going to print 1000 small fliers for distribution in Spain, Italy, France, Germany.
During our meeting on May 30, 2016, with General Mother Simone of the St. Josef nuns who promised that their congregation will continuously support our projects and immediately they offered Mrs. Inge Lombardo as lay ambassador for this initiative.
A painting by “Joey” one of the squatters, shows a poor child offering to the condemned and enchained Jesus a mere small glass of water. We should reflect on this gesture and on the skeletal, dying Emy, in front of her children. Emy did not need to die, simply for being too poor without an advocate. No one was there offering even a small bottle of penicilin.
We therefore encourage our confreres wherever they are, in the Name of the Merciful God and our Founder, St. Louis Guanella, to knock at our door, that of Puentes and the Abbey of our beloved and generous Daughters of St. Josef in Germany. We promise to do our best to support you in your daily efforts, tender love toward the poorest among the poor, because Jesus is hidden within them.
Mary, Mother of Holy Providence will do the rest, linking our hearts, hands and feet…
Let us thank God for His copious grace and gifts.
Guanellian German Procure
Children’s Day Celebration
Sivagangai – The Yesuvanam community hosted a Children’s Day celebration for St. Guanella Anbagam’s special children on November 13th. The party started with games under the guidance of the Director and Brothers. The children were divided into three groups and appointed a captain guide and to motivate them in all the games. The Children’s Day program started with a prayer song sung by the Postulants. Fr. Paulraj welcomed the chief guest, who came from a neighboring religious community, with ponnadai. The students performed dancing, singing and a fashion show. The chief guest admired the talents of the special children and bid them all to have a better future. Near the end, the chief guest distributed prizes to the winners. The Regent gave thanks to all for the successful program and ended the event with prayer.
Special Children Celebrate Deepavalli
Sivagangai – The Yesuvanam Community and St. Guanella Anbagam Special School celebrated Deepavalli on November 11th.The whole day was filled with joy and the happiness among the children was apparent. That evening the confreres, staff and children gathered at Anbagam for the celebration, which Fr. Stalin began by saying the prayers and lighting the mathappu and crackers. The children were provided crackers according to their ability and enjoyed playing with them. To end the evening, the children were given a variety of sweets to take home.
Remembering the Deceased
Sivagangai – St. Guanella Anbagam Special School decided to visit the cemeteries in the nearby villages during the month of November to pray for the departed souls in Purgatory each Friday. Kalluvalli cemetery was the destination on First Friday, November 6th. The Rosary was recited for the departed souls and blessings beseeched upon them. On November 13th the departed souls of the Pallithammam cemetery received the blessings from the Rosary that the good children recited. On November 20th the Rosary was recited at Anbagam for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory. This was a lesson in the Spiritual Works of Mercy for the good children; assisting the souls on their journey to heaven to see the face of God.
Pilgrimage to Vallayampatti
Sivagangai – The St. Guanella Anbagam Special School Children went on pilgrimage to St. Sebastian Church on October 6th. Under the guidance of the priests, brothers and the staff, the group of 45 started their journey in the morning from Yesuvanam. They reached the Church in time for 11 am Mass. The confreres and staff prayed for the good health and the intentions of the special children. Volunteers helped in serving lunch to the special children. The children were filled with wonder at seeing the site and the other pilgrims. The visit concluded with half an hour of adoration for the special children who also prayed for special graces by holding candles.
Official Visits Special School
Sivagangai – The District Differently-Abled Welfare Officer visited St. Guanella Anbagam Special School on October 8th. The DDAWO brought many physiotherapy items to the school and demonstrated appropriate usage to the special children. He also visited the therapy hall and appreciated the usage and storage of the equipment. He tested the children to learn their IQ levels. Many wondered about the students because of the way they participated in the sessions and how well they answered the questions. The DDAWO reviewed the files of the students; staff notes, attendance records, and all the required files of the St. Guanella Anbagam Special School, he also praised the students and the management. When he was done, he announced that St. Guanella Anbagam Special School is the best Special School in the Sivagangai District.
Guanellian Lay Movement Visits Yesuvanam
Sivagangai – The Yesuvanam community welcomed the Chennai GLM on October 2nd to celebrate the Centennial of the Heavenly Birth of St. Louis Guanella. GLM members stayed in Sivagangai for a two-day pilgrimage. The first day they visited St. Xavier’s Shrine, Oriyur and other pilgrim sites. On the second day they visited St. Guanella Anbagam Special School to learn about its activities, followed by a visit to the Sacred Heart Shrine, Idaikattoor. That evening a meeting was held for GLM members from Chennai and Sivagangai. They discussed many of their activities and Chennai members gave witness about the miracle of the Founder. Many were inspired by this message, by praying and being with special Children and testimony from Sivagangai GLM.
Pilgrimage of Holy Articles Continues
Sivagangai – The holy articles of St. Guanella arrived in the Yesuvanam community on September 21st; filling the confreres, teachers and students with joy in his presence. To begin the solemn event, a procession was led down the main road to Anbagam while participants recited the Rosary asking for the blessings of St. Guanella. The solemn Mass was presided over by Fr. Kulandaisamy with all religious community priests, sisters, GLM members, Co-operators, good children, St. Guanella Kanmanigal Evening School children and local faithful participating. Fr. Amalorpavanathan gave an amazing homily, sketching out the future vision of St. Guanella, sharing the details of his miracles and inspiring everyone to pray for the intercession of St. Louis Guanella. Fr. Kulandaisamy led a prayer service after Mass and each person had the opportunity to touch the holy articles and venerate him especially praying for their disease and illness.