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.
How is Fr. Guanella connected with the missions? He never went to any mission country as a missionary does. Since his years in the Como Seminary, he had a soft spot, a strong desire to join PIME, and go to India or China. He even asked his Bishop to have the opportunity to fulfill his dream, but he was denied. “Your India will be here at home”, his Bishop replied. His strong missionary desire was passed on to his Religious, “The whole world is your homeland”. The first mission territory he served was Switzerland, filled with many Protestants, which was just outside of his own native place. There, he sent his priests to take care of the Italian immigrants plus the few native Catholics. A small step, but a step that became a big one when, later on, his Religious crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to bring Catholic and non-Catholic alike, the message of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and Good Samaritan, to His creatures in need of faith, hope and love.
Recently his Religious even touched the ‘Solomon Islands’ in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia are now the homeland of a great number of Servants of Charity and Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. They are the fulfillment of Fr. Guanella’s dream, bringing “Bread and the Lord, to those who need them, material bread and spiritual bread.
Was Fr. Guanella a missionary? A resounding “YES” is his presence in 24 nations through his spiritual children, religious and laity. He wrote, “We are Servants of Charity, because the Charity of Jesus Christ has called us. Let us practice with fervor the works of mercy, and we will obtain the mercy of the Lord! The poor are our favored ones. They are our masters. We must work and suffer for them. Is it not what Jesus, the Divine Missionary, has done for us by His mission of Salvation?
As we celebrate 102 years since the heavenly birth of our Holy Founder, let us resolve to re-incarnate his presence, vision and mission contextually. Thus we become a border-crossing person: across cultures, religions, genders, race!
Sivagangai – The finest music often comes out of the saddest moments in life. As the postulancy program began with great joy and pleasure by the ways of the heart of St. Louis Guanella, July 7th-9th a music class was conducted for the brothers to improve their quality of learning music with special care. Fr. Arputha Raj, SdC, was invited to teach the music class. He led the class with full involvement and commitment. He enlightened their minds to assimilate music in many possible ways. Karnatic and Western lessons were taught through scales and mind blowing songs. “Music is a universal language of mankind,” he said. At the very atmosphere we nourished our minds and thoughts through his homily. All those who participated benefited by this music and vocal class.
Sivagangai – There are plenty of ways to attain enjoyment but a small loop is the only way to enjoy happiness. It was the greatest opportunity for postulants of Sivagangai to experience and to enjoy God’s love with practical knowledge of the mission of the Servants of Charity. Therefore Fr. Superior and the formators initiated the ministry for the postulants to experience filial affinity with those who say, ‘I have no one.’ They began this mission experience with the ‘Anbagam Special Children’ on July 6th. As part of the mission, special children were elevated through doing the charitable works and making them feel happy for the love of God. Indeed, it was a blessed day for all who recognized the charity and loveable heart of St. Louis Guanella.
Legazpi – On July 13th, the novices began their academic year with the topics Constitutions and Regulations, Formation and Basic Psychology. The Life, the Spirit and the Works of St. Louis Guanella, the Founder, is the main text for their studies.
The school year for the novices also includes their apostolate which officially kicked off by celebrating holy Mass at Purok 6, the poor area in Albay Bicol on July 22nd. The novices will accompany the poor children with games and catechism classes.
Chelsea – On a feast very important to the Guanellian Family, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, fifteen Guanellian Cooperators joined the seven Servants of Charity priests of the Chelsea Community in renewing their vows and promises to the Congregation. Salvatore Bessaccia made his first Promise as a Guanellian Cooperator. Fr. Joseph Rinaldo celebrated Mass in the St. Louis Center chapel giving a homily on the ‘Joy of Love.’ A time of fellowship followed Mass.
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.
Fr. Guanella had a well focused dream when he decided to, “Go North,” adapting his feeling compass to a genial intuition during the Int. Marian Congress at Treviri, a part of the former Roman Province. At a very crowded assembly in the Cathedral of St. Helena, he implored the Forum to help his charitable work, which by August 1912 was quite established. In his prophetic allocution he was begging for ‘small streams of charity’ for his daughters and sons at his Italian and Swiss institutions from Germany. We believe that he intended to give this message and roadmap to a flock of former Sicilian alumni first. After a century, this has become a tangible reality through God’s Providence: his sons carrying out his dream!
After ten years of baby steps, Guanellians have made giant progress in weaving a blessed net of benefactors among the generous Catholic solidarity agencies. The Guanellian Procure was diligent in seeking and finding ‘busy bees’ at Catholic Missio agencies, first at Aachen in 2008. The present Salesian General Treasurer, Bro. Jean Paul Muller, introduced us and mediated the first donation of a mini-bus for Fr. Frantellizzi Hogar at Ciudad DF, Mexico. Convinced by this successful trial, the DPP Provincial Council courageously established the Missions Procure in March 2009. The strong insistence of Fr. Mimi from Manila and a ‘good word’ of Fr Joseph Rinaldo at the General Council in Rome made the rest possible.
This is a real charity Telenovela! Now after the first decade, it is time to thank Divine Providence which continuously opens doors and incredible possibilities for all projects presented to the Procure from the Guanellian provinces. The most generous Institution in fundraising is Missio Munich supported by Bavarian Catholics of the Archdiocese of Munich. To their President, Msgr. Wolfgang Huber, and his amazing assistants, Mrs. Heidrun Göttler and Stephanie Schüller, goes our deepest gratitude. Since 2009, Missio Munich financed the construction of the new, modern Fr. Guanella Disabled Center in Quezon City; and later, the well-equipped physiotherapy wing.
Recently, after an intensive search of donors, Msgr. Thomas Schlichtig of the Awarding commission in the Munich Archdiocese, accepted the challenge of Missio to create a great stock of life-saving medicine for the Guanellian ‘Good Samaritan Pharmacy!’ To him, his archdiocese, the Missio staff and to all Bavarian donors, “Vergelt’s Gott!” which means Blessings will remunerate your generosity.
We also convey our sincere thanks to Missio at Aachen, which in the past 10 years has been an attentive partner for our presence in Legazpi with five nutrition programs, physiotherapy of special children. They also pioneered support in many Guanellian Projects in Central Africa. In 2014-15 a new ambulance for transporting children, AIDs sufferers, and the poor from the infernal streets of Kinshasa, RD Congo, through a 24-hour daily service was purchased and Bro. Mauro can fill their listening hears and open hearts. Thanks also to Mrs. Beate Jantzen for projects within Kinshsa and Mrs. Elaine Steiner for supporting the projects of Fr. Battista Omodei at Legapzi Philippines.
This story contains an encouraging message to our confreres in Africa and Asia to be confident that every request, every small project, has for us absolute priority! This is our vocation and commitment, to be the ‘third child in the Guanellian family!’ We do not baptize, nor confess, nor preach, but all our mental resources and ‘savoir faire’ are in service to the poor, because they reflect the image of God on Earth!
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus bless all our donors, supporters and friends of our Procure for remaining beside us as bridges to the German charity sources.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure
My head was aching, heart was heavy, spirit quite low and there was a spiritual desertification! I felt that I needed a spiritual revitalization and then I went for an annual retreat to research the traces of God’s presence in my consecrated life journey. I thought that this desire would be helpful due to the unfavorable situation around me, negative criticism, unfair and unloving attitudes. A deep despair was setting in… and I knew I could not change this situation. When I attended the retreat and listened to the preacher and spent more hours in silence I got this unexpected surprise! The Lord said, “My son, it’s not the lovelessness, imperfections of others or your non-stop visits causing this pain, you are in pain, you have withdrawn your love from Me and, are focusing on others’ momentous concern, love and friendship. And whenever anyone blocks the free flow of this energy of love they are bound to suffer.” By becoming hard, insensitive, unloving, and judgmental, we harm ourselves and become nervous but often we do not realize this. The master creator has designed us very wisely. In our bodies, there is a system of ‘chemical reward/punishment’ that acts instantly. A single negative thought about someone is enough to generate toxins in our body that manifests itself not only in our emotions, but also on our very countenance!
Since I am on my canonical visitation in Vietnam/Philippines I would like to emphasize the aspect of ‘interculturality’. Today our Congregation is made up of members from many different countries, that is international/multicultural. Now-a-days no one is surprised to hear questions like: present society bets on mono-culture or multicultural? Internationality is not just an accidental happening, related to the numerical composition of the groups and communities, but it is leading people to make valuable choices, being capable of appreciating in them the birth of a very positive missionary attitude, such as: tolerance, openness, receptivity, dialogue, creativity, appreciating of whatever is different in others. As W.H. Auden says “civilization should be measured by the degree of diversity attained and the degree of unity retained.”