NEWSLETTER n. 72 December 2020
MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Dear brothers and sisters,
This year’s celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an occasion to express my closeness to those experiencing situations of particular difficulty during the crisis caused by the pandemic. All of us are in the same boat in the midst of a turbulent sea that can frighten us. Yet in this same boat, some of us are struggling more; among them are persons with serious disabilities.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Building Back Better: Toward a Disability-inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable post-COVID-19 World”. I find the expression “building back better” quite striking. It makes me think of the Gospel parable of the house built on rock or sand (cf. Mt 7:24-27; Lk 6:46-49). So I take this special occasion to share some reflections based on that parable.
1. The threat of the throwaway culture
In the first place, the “rain”, the “rivers” and the “winds” that threaten the house can be identified with the throwaway culture widespread in our time (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 53). For that culture, “some parts of our human family, it appears, can be readily sacrificed for the sake of others considered worthy of a carefree existence. Ultimately, persons are no longer seen as a paramount value to be cared for and respected, especially when they are poor and disabled” (Fratelli Tutti, 18).
That culture affects especially the most vulnerable, among whom are the persons with disabilities. In the last fifty years, important steps forward have been taken on both the civil and ecclesial levels. Awareness of the dignity of each person has grown, and this has resulted in courageous decisions to promote the inclusion of those experiencing physical and psychological limitations. Yet, on the cultural level, much still stands in the way of this trend. We see it in attitudes of rejection, due also to a narcissistic and utilitarian mentality, that give rise to marginalization that ignores the inevitable fact that frailty is part of everyone’s life. Indeed, some with even severe disabilities, despite great challenges, have found the way to a beautiful and meaningful life, whereas many “able-bodied” people feel dissatisfied or even desperate. “Vulnerability is intrinsic to the essential nature of humanity” (Address to the Conference “Catechesis and People with Disabilities”, 21 October 2017).
Consequently, it is important, on this Day, to promote a culture of life that constantly affirms the dignity of every person and works especially to defend men and women with disabilities, of all ages and social conditions.
HIV/AIDS PANDEMIC AND THE NEW SCHOOL OF CHARITY OF ST. CAMILLUS IN OUR TIME
The world is beset by another pandemic called the coronavirus (COVID19), which caused the global death of 1.4 million people (as of 1/12/20). From the period of the plagues in the late Middle Ages to the HIV/AIDS, Ebola in West Africa, and the COVID19, men wearing red crosses on their breasts are making a world crusade celebrating these “festivals of charity.” These events gave birth to the new school of charity of St. Camillus, who offered the martyrs of charity animated by the Camillian charism and spirituality of service.
“I have only touched upon a few things about those fathers or brothers who in some contagions or other worthy actions died for the health of their neighbors. So that from them, our other religious who will come will hold them as examples of virtue so that they will not have anything to forgive in the flesh or the blood when it falls to them to be used in similar circumstances. Seeing that our ancient religious did not take delight in fine words or (as the Apostle says) or beat the air with sticks, but, rather, mortified themselves to the point of losing their lives for the health of their souls. In such contagions, having lost their present and momentary lives, who doubts that they did not win eternal and celestial life?” (Sanzio Cicatelli)
The words of Father Sanzio Cicatelli, the biographer and companion of St. Camillus de Lellis, remains a living testimony to the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church and the authenticity of its bearers in serving the sick even in danger to their own lives (Fourth Vow). This inspiration remains vibrant in the hearts, heads (mind), and hands of the Camillians today, particularly in their engagement with persons living with HIV/AIDS.
REFLECTIONS during this time of coronavirus
During this period of coronavirus a great deal of news and comments have followed one another. Information of varying degrees of accuracy provided on the news, frequent declarations by real or purported scientists, initiatives with political and economic origins, the alternation of suffering and hope according to the development of the pandemic, dead people and people who have recovered, funerals never carried out, prayers answered and prayers not answered. We have wept and prayed for our friends, lay people and priests. And it is not yet over.
I also took some notes, by now superseded by the facts, but which I will communicate here to have a better picture of events.
Hitherto there have been about 30 million people infected by the virus and over 900 thousand deaths in the world and by now the disease is present in all the continents of the world. Hundreds of thousands can be counted in the USA, India and Brazil, tens of thousands in Europe and in other countries. After making due proportions for the number of inhabitants, one does not know which percentage should be preferred. The statistics can help us to engage in an analysis of the disease and the number of deaths, but they can also tell us that the recoveries are increasing. Unfortunately in some countries, such as our own, it seems that there has been a recrudescence, fostered by people coming back from their holidays and by the superficial behaviour of our fellow citizens, leading to a rise in the number of people receiving intensive care. In other countries there is a return to total lockdowns. CONTINUE READING HERE.
THE PROVINCE OF THAILAND
On 5 December, national fathers’ day here in Thailand, in our community of Sampran we brought forward our celebration of the solemnity of the Immaculate Mary, which as we know has an especial significance for the Camillians. On that day the young temporary religious Domenico Savio Comsan Chaisodsai made his solemn profession, by which he committed himself for his whole life. This was a very intense day, which very many people took part in, including religious from various religious Institutes, and this despite Covid-19 (about 500 people). CONTINUE READING HERE
THE DELEGATION OF TAIWAN
Last month our confreres Fr. Giuseppe Didone’ and Fr. Angupa were received in audience by Mrs Tsai Ing-wen, the President of the Republic of Taiwan. This was a further gesture of esteem and appreciation for the presence of the Camillians in serving the sick in Taiwan. The Camillian missionary Fr. Giuseppe Didonè was awarded the Public Health Recognition Award (APACPH), an award that recognizes the contributions of special people in the field of public health and their praiseworthy service to humanity.
In the mountain region of Ciaoshi a celebration took place of the fortieth anniversary of the ‘apparitions’ of Our Lady. Today there is a very beautiful Marian sanctuary there. Everything is connected with the figure of Br. Pavan, a Camillian missionary religious who had built a dormitory in that place and put on it a statue of Our Lady as a sign of gratitude for the ‘divine intervention’ that had helped five inhabitants of the mountain who were descending the mountain at night during a typhoon.
On 30 November a blessing took place of the end of the recent and radical restoration and renewal of the fifth floor of the department of medicine of St. Mary’s Hospital.
On 4 December a concert was organised by the Furen Catholic University to thank the Camillians for their charitable works for the population of Taiwan. The Italian singer Tullio Zanazzo was one of the performers.
On 5 December the fifty-sixth anniversary of the establishment of the nursing college was celebrated.
On 8 December, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Camillian community came together to renew religious professions according to the ancient custom of our Order. For the first time, the women religious of the women Ministers of the Sick of St. Camillus took part and shared in the celebration.
THE PROVINCE OF SPAIN
The St. Camillus Centre of Tres Cantos (Madrid) offers a series of services in the field of social care and action in the world of health: accompanying and a series of services that in addition to providing care, diagnosing and treating people seek to prevent illnesses and addiction, avoid pain and relieve suffering.
On Sunday 22 November the programma Pueblo de Dios was broadcast which described the experience of humanisation of the St. Camillus Centre during the period of the pandemic.
The St. Camillus Centre has been able to provide a response of complete care for people who have suffered or endured the consequences of the pandemic. The various programmes guided by the Centre (assisted life, the Palliative Care unit, the programmes of the Listening centre and the Final Life Network and Soledad) have known how to respond to the various consequences of the pandemic.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO
During the Week of Solidarity of Tres Cantos (Madrid), the municipality awarded the solidarity prize to José Carlos Bermejo for his action linked to the humanisation of care at the St. Camillus Care Centre. In his speech Bermejo recognised that the St. Camillus Centre is a small oasis of solidarity and of compassion for very frail and vulnerable people, and observed that solidarity is a question of justice. He expressed his thanks for the award that he had received and explained what this means for all the workers and volunteers of the St. Camillus Centre who are going through this period of pandemic. The prize also seeks to emphasise the importance of accepting solidarity from other people. Bermejo declared: ‘We have received help from the city council, from some citizens, from some local institutions and also from very far way, for example from Taiwan.
THE PROVINCE OF BURKINA FASO
‘To tell the truth’, this religious who is a medical doctor tells us, ‘I was preparing to go to Africa. I came to learn of this need two days before my departure. When I received the news I said to myself that I could no longer leave if I could be truly useful, not least because as a medical doctor and above all a Camillian religious I took a vow to serve the sick, even if this means putting my own life in danger. Therefore, after informing my Provincial Superior of Africa, I called Doctor Tascione to offer my availability, as well as Father Giancarlo, and I was immediately welcomed with very great kindness. I really hope to be useful and to be able to do my best for our very dear grandparents, the heart and eyes of God, as our founder St. Camillus de Lellis used to say.
THE PROVINCE OF ROME
THE IDENTITY OF A CAMILLIAN WHO IS A ‘PHYSICIAN AND A PRIEST’
(12 September 2020)
We have been brought together by Father Salvatore Pignatelli for this very fine celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of his priestly ordination. And it is a celebration not only for him but also for all of us: family relatives and friends, confreres of the Province of Rome and the Province of Burkina Faso, because when there is a celebration of a member of a family or a community it is a celebration for all those who belong to that family or community. We celebrate the Eucharist to sing our ‘thanks’ to the Lord for the ‘great things’ that God has done for His Church and for all of us through Father Salvatore.
Now, however, we ask what the meaning of this celebration is for us as we take part in it: what does it mean for his family relatives, for Camillians such as ourselves, and for our religious Order?
‘Each generation is called to rediscover and to implement’ a life project ‘by which not only is the culture and the values that we have received assured survival, but also our members are helped to move towards further discoveries and achievements’. ‘On the stage on which the drama of humanity is played out, there is an unceasing re-emergence of human frailty with its individual, familial, communal, social, cultural, religious, and also ecological and environmental, expressions’. The drama of the pandemic that we are now going through, and which concerns in a singular way the essence of our Camillian ministry, brings out the native frailty of man and of the whole of the creation, starting with the various forms of life. It therefore demonstrates how much the mission of our religious Order is of contemporary relevance and should be applied in the right way again to our time. This is a celebration that in its ‘free giving’ has a gift to offer, which lies in the ‘meaning’ that each one of us can, or must, see in it: because the ‘setting fire’ to aspects of the pathway of an individual stimulates and recalls to other people, as well, certain truths that apply to them.
I will confine myself to considering two aspects of the personal identity of Father Salvatore: the relational and communal dimension that has his ‘name’, and the relationship of that name with his archetype – Jesus himself: the ‘Saviour’ CONTINUE READING HERE.
The new site for the pastoral care of young people and vocations is now online. The first goal of this new site is to help visitors to reflect upon the search for the meaning of their existence with the hope, according to the words of St. John Paul II, ‘that this life can become a masterpiece’.
In addition, the site offers spaces for broad-ranging reflections on the word of God of the Sunday liturgy.
‘There is also a lesson to be learnt in the most dramatic experiences such as a global pandemic…every challenge can constitute an opportunity which becomes greater the greater the challenge.
THE CAMILLIAN DELEGATION IN ARGENTINA
Hogar San Camilo de Vagues: a network of love for disabled people.
This house is a point of reference because of its way of looking after and working with disabled people. It is located in the heart of the city of Vagues in Argentina. This Saturday the ‘Todos x los chicos’ marathon for charity will take place to create a network and communicate all the love that can be generated through this kind of support and service.
THE LAY CAMILLIAN FAMILY – the Province of North Italy
Dear friends of the Lay Camillian Family of the Province of North Italy, and spiritual assistants
During this trying time that we are going through, which is full of uncertainties and at the same time of fear, I feel the wish to maintain and cultivate amongst us a cord that keeps us united despite everything.
It is not possible to meet each other but we can, and we wish to, feel ourselves a part of a great spiritual family, which is what the Lay Camillian family is, in our groups, in our Province of North Italy, but, at the same time, with the whole of the ‘Great Camillian Family’. This is a great spiritual family that at this particular point in time seeks to live and bear witness to the mercy of the Lord in the engagements of daily life. CONTINUE HERE
THE PROVINCE OF BRAZIL
ADMISSION TO PERPETUAL RELIGIOUS PROFESSION
Laurent Zoungrana, the Vicar General of the Order, with the agreement of the members of the General Consulta, has admitted to perpetual religious profession Lucas Rodrigues Dalbom, a temporary professed religious of the Province of Brazil.
«Our founders were moved by the Spirit and were not afraid to soil their hands with everyday life, with the problems of the people, courageously moving along the geographical and existential peripheries. They did not halt in the face of obstacles and the misunderstandings of others, because they kept in their heart the astonishment over the encounter with Christ. They did not tame the grace of the Gospel; they always had in their heart a healthy apprehension for the Lord, a heartrending desire to bring him to others, as Mary and Joseph did in the temple. ». Pope Francis
THE DELEGATION IN ARMENIA
Now that hostilities in the region of the Caucuses have stopped, the greatest challenge is to make the truce last, a truce called for by the whole of the international community. The Church remains in the front line with her institutions that support the population, a population that is going through the consequences of war and the pandemic. One of these institutions is the Redemptoris Mater Hospital in Armenia that is run by the Camillians.
Dear confreres and friends,
Health and peace!
After the tragic super-typhoon Rolly (Goni) at the beginning of November, which left deaths and destructions throughout the Bicol region and the other parts of the island of Luzon with 20 deaths, over 112.000 people displaced, and incalculable damages to properties, the Philippines is now again scourged by another typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) on November 11, 2020.
Typhoon Ulysses, accompanied by an exceptional wind of 155km/h, paralyzed Manila, the nation’s capital, with roads suddenly turned into flooded rivers. According to information released by the government (NDRRMC), as of November 12, 2020, at least 14 people have died, and thousands of houses are submerged in water.
THE CAMILLIAN DELEGATION IN HAITI
On Sunday 15 November 2020, at the Camillian mission of Port au Prince (Haiti), our Haitian confreres commemorated and celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the foundation of the mission.
The celebration of the Eucharist was presided over by the Bishop of Port au Prince, Monsignor Max Leroy Mésidor. The 100 seriously disabled children of the Foyer Bethléem also took part in the celebration and, on such a special day, felt at the centre of the attention of all those taking part.
At the end of the celebration, Father François Erwan and sisters of the women Ministers of the Sick organized a ‘special’ lunch for poor families in our villages and for families who are provided with a monthly sum for basic foodstuffs. After the lunch each family received a supplementary bag with a kit of food, detergents and disinfectants. CONTINUE HERE
THE PRO.SA. FOUNDATION (Health Promotion)
Last spring the coronavirus shocked our lives and those of many other families of the world, without distinctions. In some countries, however, where emergencies and malaise are the order of the day, the pandemic turned out to be a double-edged sword; the most vulnerable parts of the population do not manage to get to the end of the day and suffer hunger. In this situation the PRO.SA Foundation acted to limit the damage of the lockdown by defending the most afflicted strata of society.
The initiative promoted by Unicredit has begun anew: ‘1 vote, 200,000 examples of concrete help’. For a number of years Unicredit has made available to non-profit organisations enrolled in the portal of IlMioDono the sum of 200,000 euros to support their projects.
This initiative involves everyone personally. In spreading the link amongst family relatives and friends you can help us to support the ‘Stop the Violence’ Project in Zambia.
We are happy to have completed the New “Advanced Physiotherapy Unit” in Snehadaan.
The unit is equipped with modern machines and it is a full fledged unit with a consultation room, 4 treatment rooms and a hall. It will serve both In-patients and Out-Patients.
We express our gratitude to PRO.SA Foundation who supported us financially.
Our thanks to the Provincial Administration too for the accomplishment of this project. PHOTO GALLERY
THE PROVINCE OF THE PHILIPPINES
‘All of us must work together in the fight against AIDS’, said the Camillian Fr. Dan Cancino, the executive secretary of the episcopal commission for health care. When speaking on the occasion of the World Day against AIDS which was celebrated on 1 December, this Camillian emphasized that ‘we should continue to support the families of people who have died because of the effects of AIDS’.
THE CHURCH OF ST. MARY MAGDALENE
Watch here the contribution of Fr. Gianfranco Lunardon, a guest on the programme of Tv2000 – “Bel tempo si spera”
16 November 2020: feast day of Our Lady of Health
Celebration of the Eucharist presided over by His Excellency Msgr. Daniele Libanori, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rome.
On 5-8 December 2020, at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Campo Marzo, the painting entitled ‘Immaculata’ (‘The Immaculate Mary’) by the artist Massimiliano Ferragina was on show to the public in the Chapel of the Assumption.
The bust with the relics of St. Camillus was on show to the public on 5-6 December at the ‘Our Lady of Fatima’ Sanctuary of San Vittorino Romano.
THE DELEGATION IN KENYA
Rebecca spoke about her experience at the Camillian hospital of Karungu on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya.
THE DAUGHTERS OF ST. CAMILLUS
The Daughters of St. Camillus have launched a new book in drawings of the life of the Blessed Father Luigi Tezza.
This publication brings together the testimonies of about thirty colleagues: medical doctors, nurses, assistants, service, maintenance and administrative staff. We are doing this to honour a story of suffering which has also been a beautiful story of solidarity and help, of pain and hope, lived by those who work with us.
Authors: BERMEJO José Carlos, VILLACIEROS Marta , MORENO Gema
This book brings together a good number of articles on psychology published by the author in the Camillian review on the culture of health care, Missione Salute. They are written in a language that can be understood, by people not involved professionally in this area as well. These articles speak about caring for oneself and for others, about illness and hope, about forgiveness and resilience. But they also address subjects that are interesting, curious, and a little ‘abrasive’.
They are fragments of psychology that are useful in understanding ourselves and others in a better way, in changing ways of thinking and behaving, in living well and in living relationships with other people in a better way.
Father Camillo Cesare Bresciani, the founder of the Province of Lombardy and Veneto of the Camillians, bears witness to the reappearance of a past that is reborn, is renewed and bears fruit with equal fertility. As we gradually get to know him there emerges spontaneously the comparison between the decades that were lived with St. Camillus who was his inspiration, the decades which witnessed him as a reformer of his Order, and our decades about which we are asking questions and which we do not intend to live in a resigned way (from the preface by Father Roberto Corghi).
The short chapters of the latest work by Fr. Angelo Brusco, a Camillian, are an invitation to break the rhythm – which is often too intense – of our days in order allow ourselves some moments of thought suggested by stimuli of the most varied kinds: an image, a meeting, a happy or sad experience. These are breaks that allow us to pay attention to appeals that come from the inner dimension of a person, fostering an opportunity to have new ways of looking at every day experiences and understanding their meaning.
MERRY CHRISTMAS 2020 AND A HAPPY 2021
Brother Leonardo GRASSO (1942-2020)
Brother Leonardo Grasso was born in Catania on 8 July 1942 to his father Gioacchino and his mother Santa Caudullo. He entered the Province of Sicily and Naples on 1 January 1993 after engaging in a year of voluntary work at the St. Camillus Tent (CT). He began his novitiate at the Ovidio Cerruti Capriate San Gervasio (BG) rest home on 8 September 1994 and on 1 September 1995 he made his temporary profession for three consecutive years at the Parish of St. Camillus of Messina. On the solemn day of the annunciation of the Lord, 25 March 1999, he made his perpetual profession at the John XXIII Institute of Mangano (CT). CONTINUE READING HERE.
On 9 November 2020 the death took place of Sr. Filippina Villotti, a woman religious of the daughters of St. Camillus, at the St. Camillus Health Centre of Brescia. She was 96 years old and had spent 73 years in religious life.
On 26 November 2020 the death took place of Sr. Francisca da Silva. She was in the Provincial House of São Paulo, Brazil. She was 86 years old and had spent 62 years in religious life. She was an attentive, delicate and sensitive teacher in the formation of the young members of the Order. Now she intercedes with Mary our mother, for the gift of very many and holy vocations for the Church and our religious institutes.
On 15 November 2020, the eve of the feast day of Our Lady Health of the Sick, the death took place of Sr. Beniamina Codagnone. She was in the community of the Madre Giuseppina Vannini Hospital of Torpignattara, Rome. She was 93 years old and had spent 72 years in religious life. For a long time she offered service in the kitchen as a cook, thereby performing one of the works of Mercy: giving food to the hungry. She was always happy and lovable towards everyone; careful in her work and full of charity and sensitivity in preparing meals, in particular for the sick and her fellow religious sisters.
Let us now make our prayer to him:
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.
From the APOSTOLIC LETTER ‘PATRIS CORDE’ of the HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
ON THE OCCASION OF THE ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION OF ST. JOSEPH AS THE PATRON SAINT OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH (8 December 2020)