Meetings in the Philippines
Before leaving the Philippines, I took part in two meetings at the beginning of June. One was with all the confreres of perpetual vows from the three communities at Payatas, to discuss the general situation of our Congregation in the Philippines. The second was with the formators, Fr Anderson and Fr John Castillo and Fr Eucinei at Montalban, to try to establish the right priorities in this community pre-eminently dedicated to the formation of future members of the Congregation in the Philippines.
The Philippines a nation of young people
Reflecting on the Philippines, it is obvious that there is a very large number of young people there. Also our Confreres are mostly young and working hard to serve God and the people in their many needs. The work of formation of future confreres is a very important part of that work. Let us pray for them in this challenging but most rewarding work.
In Rome and internet meetings in the Delegation via “Skype”
When I returned to Rome, it took me a few days to get over the jet-lag. So, I postponed a meeting via Skype on formation due to take place on 5th June. It still has to be re-organised. Then on 19th June we held the first Orionine Lay Movement meeting on Skype with representatives of confreres and lay people from each nation invited. It was quite successful even though not all participants were able to connect because of network problems. These meetings via Skype are becoming more and more common and necessary in our Delegation to make the secretariats become a reality. We also have had meetings on formation and works of charity, forming the Delegation Vocations’ Centre, finance, and a Delegation Council meeting on budgets. I hope that we can have the next Formation Secretariat meeting on Wednesday 7thAugust. We have planned to have the next Orionine Lay Missionary Movement meeting on Wednesday 14th August.
Renewal of vows of Brs Ian, Jeremiah and Gideon at Camaldoli, Genoa, Italy
On 28th June Brs Sunil, Ian and Gideon and I travelled by car from the General Curia to the house at Camaldoli, Genoa, to join Br Jeremiah for the renewal of vows on the next day, feast of Ss. Peter and Paul with the confreres, staff and residents in their beautiful chapel of Our Lady Cause of our Joy. Br Sunil had already renewed his vows on 16th May in the parish of Ognissanti, Rome. Fr Alessandro D’Acunto, Fr Ivo Caprai and the other confreres made us very welcome and we had a lovely meal together with friends of the house after the Mass. We took the opportunity to visit the city of Genoa (Genova in Italian) in the afternoon. The next day we were invited by Fr Alessandro to participate in the Mass at Paverano, the biggest “Little Cottolengo” in Italy and join the community and Friends for lunch. After Mass I was asked to give a talk about the Delegation, “Mother of the Church” to the Friends of Don Orione group. After lunch we made our journey back to Rome.
Diaconal ordination of Br Morris Mawira Gichia
Brother Morris was ordained deacon at our parish of Kaburugi, Murang’a diocese, Kenya, by the auxiliary bishop of Nairobi, the Rt. Rev. David Kamau on 30th June. Almost all the confreres were present at the celebration which was also the annual parish Family Day, the nearest Sunday to the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, as the parish patron saint is St. Peter. Br Morris had spent one year of his tirocinium at Kaburugi so he was well know by all the parishioners. Frs Raphael Kailemiah and James Njoroge are looking after the parish of Kaburugi and their work is much appreciated by the Bishop Wainaina of Murang’a. Br Morris is now preparing for the final and fourth year of pastoral experience and study in preparation for priestly ordination next year. Rev. Morris’ home is on the slopes of Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa at over 5,000 metres, after Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Best wishes and prayers for Br Morris in this all-important year of preparation for ordination to the priesthood and future service in the priesthood of Christ following the example of St Luigi Orione.
To the USA with Fr Fulvio
On 2nd July, Fr Fulvio Ferrari, our Bursar General, and I flew to Boston to carry out the second part of the canonical visit which Fr Sylvester Sowizdrzał, our General Secretary, had started in June. We were joined by Fr Mirek Kowalczyk and Fr Marcelo Boschi and met with the Mr Joe Traina Sr and members of Central Health Initiatives who are managing the Don Orione Home at the moment for some discussions. We visited the Home and celebrated Mass with about 60 residents one day, another day we celebrated Mass in our Parish of St Joseph-St Lazarus, of which Fr Mirek is the pastor and also we concelebrated the Portuguese language Mass in the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of the Universe with Fr Miguel and the mostly Brazilian people. We also greeted the people at the Spanish language Mass with Fr Marcelo, although we were unable to participate in their Mass. 4th July was a big holiday in the USA, that is, Independence Day, so we had a trip to the sea on the north side of Boston. (In many places I visit people celebrate their independence from the British – USA, Ireland, Kenya, India and Jordan!) Fr Miguel Gonçalves is responsible for the Portuguese-speaking people who attend the shrine and Fr Marcelo, the rector of the shrine, for the Spanish-speaking people. Fr Gino Marchesani, after recovering from heart surgery, is again able to help where needed.
To Jasper Indiana
On 8th July Fr Fulvio and I flew to Louisville, Kentucky, the most convenient airport to reach Jasper, Indiana, where we have the first house founded in the USA, Providence Home, by the late Polish confrere, Fr Alexander Chwilowicz, in 1933,. Fr Angelo Quadrini is now there as the only confrere. He has been extremely ill but has now recovered and has returned to his room in the religious quarters. The home has a very active Management Committee which really runs the home with Fr Angelo supervising as chairman. We celebrated a special Mass with the Management Board, residents, families and friends on Wednesday and had some beautifully prepared light refreshments afterwards. Fr Fulvio and I talked to the Manager, Mr Mike O’Brien, the office manager, Mindy and to the new Director of Nursing, Dawn Nordoff and to other members of the staff and Management Board. The home is an important part of the social fabric of Jasper, a small industrial town in a largely agricultural area in South-East Indiana. On 12th July we left for Louisville and Rome via Chicago.
To London, UK, Delegation Council
On 22nd July Fr Joseph Vallauri, our Delegation Secretary, and I set off for London, albeit by different routes and we arrived within five minutes of each other at our house at Hampton Wick. We were joined in London by Fr Eucinei, the co-ordinator in the Philippines, who arrived from Manila and were warmly welcomed by Fr Philip, the co-ordinator in the UK and Ireland. The next day we began the Delegation Council meeting, connecting with Fr Mariano, the other member of the Delegation Council, who was in Bangalore, by Skype. The following day we had the Annual General Meeting of the Sons of Divine Providence in the UK with Mass, reports on our activities and finances by Mr Michael Healy and Mrs Jackie Neeve. Then some awards were given to staff that had completed training courses. This was followed by refreshments. In the evening all the confreres held a general meeting of the Members of the Sons of Divine Providence Charity. They appointed 4 religious trustees and 2 lay trustees of the Charity. The next day we concluded the Delegation Council. On Friday and Saturday the Delegation Councillors dispersed and I went to Ireland where I am now while Fr John Carmel and Fr Michael are participating at the annual retreat with all the other confreres in the UK and Br Francis from the Vatican in the Jesuit retreat house in North Wales.
Studying in Rome
New arrivals for studies in Rome are Brs Gideon Ombwori Ombaba and Ian Kiprotich Katah both from Kenya who are preparing to begin theology in Rome, Fr Antonio Ursillo from Jordan who is preparing to do a license in Islamic and Arabic Studies and Fr Praveen Addagatla from India who is preparing to do a license in pastoral theology. Best wishes to them in their studies.
· Formation Secretariat via Skype 7th August.
· Orionine Lay Movement meeting via Skye 14th August.
· The feast of Our Lady of Safe-keeping (“Madonna della Guardia”) 29th August, Tortona, with celebration of those who have 25 or 50 or 60 years of religious and/or priesthood. In our Delegation Fr Mirek Kowalczyk and Fr Henryk Halman have 25 years of priesthood, Fr Julio Cuesta has 50 years of religious life and Fr Marcelo Boschi has 25 years of religious life. Congratulations to all of them for the gift of perseverance and may they continue to the end of the race!
· The Orionine Synod of Africa and Madagascar at Bonoua, Ivory Coast, 8th-10th September. Fr Paul Mboche Mwangi, co-ordinator in Kenya and Fr Peter Wambulwa, the first Kenyan priest, will represent the Delegation along with me. It will discuss enculturation and fidelity to the charism.
· 15th -27th September, General Canonical Visit UK & Ireland.
· The Orionine Lay Movement Assembly, Montevideo, Uruguay, 7th -11th October. Karen Chia from UK and Fr Mariano Zapico, co-ordinator for India will attend.
· The General Assembly of Verification at the shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil, 13th – 20th October. Fr Mariano and I will attend. This is also the start of the Orionine Missionary Year. Each country must prepare a celebration to remember the foundation of the Congregation in territory during the following 12 months.