THE LONG MARCH
We have dedicated the cover of this Newsletter n. 14 to the team of the Camillian Task Force (CTF) which is working in the emergency provoked by the earthquake in Nepal which took place on 25 April 2015. This is a group made up of some of our Camillian religious brothers of the Vice-Province of India, of women religious of various Congregations and of lay people who with the strength of their faith and their medical-health-care skills set out on a march – a long march – towards the remotest areas of the country, those places that other humanitarian organisations have not yet reached.
This long march evokes in a historical sense the gigantic military retreat undertaken by the Chinese Red Army led by Mao Zedong in 1934 following its ‘fifth encirclement’ by the troops of the Kuomintang commanded by Chiang Kai-shek. This army took 370 days (from October 1934 to October 1935) to go from Jiangxi to Shaanxi and to march 12,000 kilometres along dry uplands, mountains without roads, snow-clad summits and imposing rivers such as the Chang Jiang. All this was done while they continued to fight to open up a road for themselves.
Our friends of the CTF have also marched on foot in a real sense given that the earthquake swept away the already precarious communication routes of the country, helping each other, sharing hardships and fears, to achieve another kind of revolution: the globalisation of solidarity, of mercy and of charity.
‘Mercy is the word that synthesizes the Gospel, we can say that it is the “face” of Christ, the face that he showed when he went out to everyone, when he healed the sick, when he sat at table with sinners, and especially when, nailed to the cross, he forgave: there we have the face of divine mercy. And the Lord calls you to be “channels” of this love in the first place, to the last, to the very poor, who in his eyes are the privileged. Let yourselves continually question situations of fragility and poverty with which you meet, and try to offer in suitable ways the witness of charity that the Spirit pours into your hearts (cf. Rom 5: 5). The style of mercy will allow you to open yourselves with readiness to current needs and be diligently present in the new areopaguses for evangelization, giving priority, even if this entails sacrifices, to openness to the realities of extreme need that prove to be a disease symptomatic of today’s society (Pope Francis to the General chapter of the Priests of the sacred Heart of Jesus (Dehonians) – Friday, 5 June 2015).
WARSAW – THE FRATERNAL VISIT TO OUR CAMILLIAN RELIGIOUS BROTHERS
On 13-17 May of this year the Superior General was able to experience the warm welcome and the fine witness of the Camillian charism offered by our religious brothers of the Province of Poland in their various activities involving service to the sick and to the poorest and most in need, as well as the intensity of the Catholic faith of the Polish people which was expressed in the various public celebrations in which he took part. His visit began a few days beforehand, meeting a small but significant Polish outpost in Rome: those religious brothers of ours who provide pastoral service in the Holy Spirit Hospital in Sassia which is held so dear by our Camillian tradition because it is connected with the living memory of St. Camillus.
WARSAW – MEETING OF THE MAJOR SUPERIORS – MAY 2015
In Warsaw on 18-23 May of this year the Superior General and the members of the General Consulta met all the Major Superiors of the Order as the guests of our religious brothers of the Province of Poland who poured over them the best of their welcome and organisation. In the middle of this meeting there took place an intense geographical, but also and above all else interior, pilgrimage, a spiritual synthesis of great value:
Wadowice, Auschwitz, Częstochowa, Krakow-Lagiewniki (the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy) and Krakow.
On the occasion of the celebrations for the anniversary of the birth of St. Camillus – 25 May – at St. Philomena’s Hospital, a new statue of St. Camillus was blessed. The celebration was presided over by Fr. Baby Ellickal and Fr. Joy, the administrator of the hospital.
Celebrations also took place in Bangalore for the perpetual profession of Bacil Sebastias Singh and Vineesh Kochukudiyil and the temporary profession of Christopher Surin, Cyprian Tigga and Tinto Valamparackal.
Father Gerardo, the chaplain of the Barros Luco Hospital in Santiago, organised and institutionalised a group of volunteers that already existed, providing it with direction of a Camillian impress. To begin this new stage of this group, he invited Fr. Pietro Magliozzi and the deacon Paolo Ceron who gave a short lesson on the Camillian charism. A red cross, a biography of St. Camillus and a brief charismatic instruction were also given to the group.
SIERRA LEONE – BROTHERS OF EBOLA
The support work for the victims of Ebola in Sierra Leone continues. Although the level of infection by Ebola seems to be diminishing and thus actions of a health-care character are also decreasing, there is instead an increase in the number of meetings to provide psychological support for over four hundred families who were selected for the project of emotional and humanitarian support (capacity to develop resilience amidst tensions and difficulties).
NEPAL – THE EARTHQUAKE EMERGENCY
The direct work in the field of the Camillian Task Force in Nepal, after the powerful earthquake that struck the country on 25 April of this year, has continued.
The attention of readers is directed to the testimony of Marco Iazzolino (who works with the CTF-Central) which was published by the daily newspaper Avvenire: ‘The Fight against Time for Exhausted Nepal’. Italian/English
An appeal was also launched for the cooperation of all men and women Superior Generals through the confederated organs of Rome. The immediate response and the concrete solidarity demonstrated have been very strong and also very encouraging. ROME – CAMILLIAN TASK FORCE. On 12 June 2015 Fr. Aris Miranda, the General Consultor for Ministry, will take part as the coordinator of the Camillian Task Force-Central in the meeting ‘Globalisation of Solidarity: Reaching out to Children in most Need’ in cooperation with the Department for International Activities of the Baby Jesus Hospital of Rome.
ROME –DAUGHTERS OF ST. CAMILLUS
On Tuesday 12 June 2015, at the M.G.Vannini Auditorium (Rome), there was a performance of the musical dedicated to St. Camillus entitled ‘I would Like to Have a Hundred Arms…so as to be able to do much more for the Poor’.
In the dialogue between the present and the past, Camillus opens a window onto a wonderful panorama: his incredible discovery of the sick, a discovery that sprang from his encounter with the phrase of the Gospel which says: ‘Whenever you did this for one of the least important of these members of my family, you did it for me!’ (Mt 25:40).
On 20 June 2015 there will another performance of this musical at the prestigious Theatre Argentina of Rome within the context of the 2015 edition of the Good Samaritan Prize, an award for excellence in the health-care and volunteer world.
ROME – THE CHURCH OF ST. MARY MAGDALENE
Monsignor Prosper Kontiebo, the Camillian Bishop of Tenkodogo (Burkina Faso), presided over the solemn celebration of the evening Eucharist on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of St. Camillus and the feast day of the martyrs to charity who died providing care to the plague-stricken.
THE YEAR OF CONSECRATED LIFE
These are the two evocative papers that Fr. Bruno Secondin ocarm. and Fr. Bruno Cadoré op. offered to the Superior Generals at their recent bi-annual meeting in Rome (27-29 May 2015).
They can also be useful to us, for our meditations, in the context of the year that Pope Francis has dedicated to consecrated life.
His spiritual teacher was the saint of Lisieux, the little Teresa, who outlined for him a journey of simple and joyous simplicity, a journey that Nicolino followed with enthusiasm, provoking the admiration of his superiors and religious brothers: ‘Everything here is done for Jesus, for his love. Nobody asks of me exceptional things, like sleeping on the ground or fasting. I only do what I have to do – for love – like St. Teresina, who did not do anything special; at the age of twenty-four she died of tuberculosis and became a saint’.
AGENDA OF THE SUPERIOR GENERAL
The Superior General, Fr. Leocir Pessini, after the meeting with the General Consultors and the Major Superiors of the Order that was held in Warsaw (18-23 May 2015), took part on 27-29 May of this year in the bi-annual meeting of the Union of Superiors General in Rome. The theme was ‘Sent in Joy. The Mission of Consecrated Life in the Church of Pope Francis’.
On 8-16 June he will visit our religious brothers of the Delegation of North America in Milwaukee.
On 18- 21 June, Fr. Leocir will visit our religious brothers of the four Camillian communities of Milan (chaplaincy of the ‘L. Sacco’ Hospital, hospital chaplaincy of the ‘Niguarda’ Hospital; the ‘St. Camillus’ Nursing Home; the ‘St. Pius X’ Nursing Home) and will also meet the members of the Milanese section of the Lay Camillian Family. The visit will end with a solemn celebration on Sunday 21 June of the liturgical feast day of St. Camillus in the Sanctuary of St. Camillus in Milan.
On Wednesday 1 July, together with the General Consultors, Fr. Pessini will go to Grottaferrata (Castelli romani) as the guest of the Generalate House of the Daughters of St. Camillus for a day of fraternity with the General Consulta and for the discussion of certain points that have been offered by Pope Francis on the subject of consecrated life.
On 3-12 July, together with Fr. Gianfranco Lunardon, Fr. Pessini will be in Ireland. The occasion for this visit will be the celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of the priestly ordination of Fr. Frank A. Monks (4 July 1965) and of Fr. Tom O’Connor (4 July 1965).
DECISIONS OF THE GENERAL CONSULTA
Ten temporary professed of the Vice-Province of Benin-Togo have been admitted to the perpetual profession of religious vows. Such a significant number of young religious fills us with joy, and invites us to thank God for His blessings and to improve our personal witness to consecrated life. These young Camillians are: Constantin AIHINTO, Bienvenu CODJO, Hervé DHADHO, Hugues GOZO, Grégoire LONGA, Josué LOKO, Ghislain MISSIHO, Eric NKUSI, Patient KOMLAN, and Germain YABE ALI.
- The changes made to the Provincial Statutes of the Province of France at the Provincial Chapter of 21-26 January 2013 have been approved.
- The community of SNEHAGRAM, Nachikuppam, Krishnagiri, in the State of Tamil Nadu (the Vice-Province of India) has been erected canonically.
- The transfer of canonical and administrative responsibility for the community of DAVOUGON (Benin), and the works connected with it, from the Province of France to the Vice-Province of Benin-Togo, has been approved.
The religious of the Province of Brazil have received approval for the taking of responsibility for the parocchial pastoral care of the Paróquia Santíssimo Sacramento da Eucaristia – Cachoeiro de Itapemirim – ES.
Conventions between religious Provinces for the definition of the exercise of active and passive voices of certain religious have been approved:
Convention between the Province of Austria and the Province of Brazil
Alberto MARQUES DE SOUSA
Convention between the Province of Rome and the Province of Brazil
Francisco LOPES DE MACEDO
Convention between the Province of Rome and the Province of Poland
‘See, now they vanish, the faces and places, with the self which, as it could, loved them, To become renewed, transfigured, in another pattern’ (T.S. Eliot)
Sister Elena Bellotto (Religious Daughter of St. Camillus)
On Tuesday 12 May 2015, at 20.00, there took place the death in the community of Treviso, at the St. Camillus Hospital, lovingly cared for by her religious sisters, of Sister Elena Bellotto. Sister Elena was 101. Seventy-five of those years had been spent as a women religious and they were spent in service to God, to our sick brothers and sisters and in direct service to the Institute.
Sister Irma Valsecchi (Religious Daughter of St. Camillus)
On Thursday 28 May 2015, at 1.45, the death took place in the community of Medellin, Colombia, of Sister Irma Valsecchi. Sister Irma was ninety-five. Seventy-three of those years had been spent as a woman religious and they were spent in service to God and our sick brothers and sisters.
‘Now they live in Christ whom they met in the Church, followed in their vocations, and served in the sick and the suffering. Trusting that the Lord, the Holy Virgin our Queen, St. Camillus and our deceased religious brothers will welcome them in their midst, we commend them in our prayers, remembering them with affection, esteem and gratitude’.