EUROPEITALY: Fr. Carmelo Conti Guglia - 1910-2010
“This morning, August 21, 2010, the dean of our province, Fr. Carmelo CONTI GUGLIA, arrived at the last chapter of his mission: Paradise.”
With those words, the provincial of Italy, Fr. Nicola PARRETTA, announced the passing of a great Oblate missionary who had also served the entire Congregation as Assistant General (1966-72), during the final years of the mandate of Fr. Léo DESCHÂTELETS.
The provincial added: “Besides finding himself with so many other Oblates whom he knew in person, he will be with Jesus to whom he gave witness and whom he preached in an extraordinary way during the course of his long life (on December 2, he would have celebrated 100 years). In communion with the Trinity, he will be able to enjoy the smile of the Immaculate whom he loved and venerated with tender affection. Grateful to the Lord for such a great example of Oblate missionary, let us pray that he might contemplate the fullness of the Father’s glory.”
Fr. Carmelo, born in Sicily, left his home when still a boy in order to join the Oblates. He made his first vows in 1927. Present at the very beginnings of the Italian province, he spent his whole life helping in its development. He was provincial from 1954 until 1957.
Graduating with a degree in literature from the University of Naples, he was a professor of sociology, one of first priests in that field. He was a tireless preacher of parish missions, always seeking new ways to preach God’s love.
Fr. Gilberto PIÑON, currently superior of the General House, remembers how, when he was a scholastic in Rome, he would accompany Fr. Carmelo to Piazza di Spagna where they would sit on the Spanish steps, wearing cassock and Oblate cross, and chat with the hippies who had made that one of their preferred hangouts in Rome. Fr. Carmelo even published a book in 1976 about this experience: Un prete con gli hippies a Trinità dei Monti (A priest among the hippies at Trinità dei Monti).
He also published other books. In Colei che indica la via  (She who shows the way), he summed up the purpose of the book: “These pages are not a theological treatise: they are the fruit of long meditations by a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate who now, after more than a half-century of preaching Marian novenas, weeks and months, has been inspired by the richness of Mariology and the teachings of life and history.”
Fr. Conti Guglia’s funeral took place at the Shrine of the Assumption in Santa Maria a Vico on August 23. (www.omi.it)
Youthful joy again! The 10th jubilee Life Festival was held on July 19-25. Some 350 young people from Poland, Ukraine and Byelorussia met at a camp site by the Shrine of the Mother of God in Kodeń, Eastern Poland. For seven days, enthusiastic teens participated in conferences, concerts, meetings and workshops. Each day culminated in the Holy Eucharist and common prayer.
No day was like the other. The first day was filled with the joy coming together. On the second day Sister Anna Bałchan, whose vocation it is to take care of the “wayward girls”, told us about her experiences. The third day brought a discussion on matrimony. On the fourth day, we celebrated our 10th jubilee get-together and we listened to a music concert given by the same players that had held concerts during previous festivals. The following day was devoted to the “gift of love.” On Saturday, we summed up all the activities of the previous days. In the evening, there was a concert given by the New Life M Band and at midnight, the Provincial, Father Ryszard SZMYDKI celebrated Holy Mass.
The Missionary Oblates (Fathers Ryszard SIERAŃSKI, Tomasz Maniura and Bartek MADEJSKI) and the Community of the Good Shepherd, whose mission is reaching out to the needs of drug addicts, have been holding Life Festivals for ten years now. Such meetings present an opportunity to rediscover God and to learn about the activities of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. (Fr. Blazej MIELCAREK)