MONTHLY NEWSLETTER OF THE COMBONI MISSIONARIES OF THE HEART OF JESUS
GENERAL NOTES - Consulta held in June 2018
The GC appoints:
1.1 Fr. Antoine Kondo Komivi as superior and first formator of Cape Coast scholasticate as from 1 July 2018.
1.2 Fr. Aldo Moreno Sierra as second formator of Pietermaritzburg scholasticate as from 1 July 2018.
1.3 Fr. Tesfamariam Ghebrecristos as superior and first formator of Casavatore scholasticate as from 1 July 2018.
1.4 Fr. Körber Markus Lorenz as second formator and bursar of Casavatore scholasticate as from 1 July 2018.
1.5 Fr. Jemil Araya Jemil as superior and first formator of Asmara “scholasticate” as from 1 July 2018.
1.6 Fr. Tesfaghiorghis Haile Berhane as second formator and bursar of Asmara “scholasticate” as from 1 July 2018.
1.7 Fr. Enrico Colleoni as socius pro tempore of Lusaka novitiate as from 1 April 2018.
1.8 Fr. Canales Maza Alejandro as socius of Sarh novitiate as from 1 July 2018.
The GC wishes to thank wholeheartedly all the confreres who this month end their service as Formators of our candidates: in particular, the GC thanks Fr. Casillas Hernández José Manuel (Pietermaritzburg scholasticate), Fr. Percassi Vincenzo (Cape Coast scholasticate) and Fr. Villaseñor Gálvez José de Jesús (Casavatore scholasticate) for the many years they spent in the formation of our confreres and for their pastoral and missionary service in the provinces of which they were members. It also thanks Fr. Delgado Domingo José (Sarh novitiate) and Fr. José Joaquim da Silva Araújo (Lusaka novitiate), for their service as Soci of the novice masters.
The community of the student confreres in Rome has concluded another academic year. Most of those doing courses are preparing themselves for service in formation. Among these, Fathers Antoine Kondo Komivi, Araya Jemil e Markus Körber have been awarded licentiates in spirituality, specialising in priestly and religious formation; Fathers Bernard Megnihoue Codjo, Juan Diego Calderón, Gebrezghiabiher Kidane and Bro. Patrick Lumami have completed courses in the same field. Fr. Gebrezghiabiher Kidane had previously completed a licentiate in dogmatic theology. Other confreres are continuing their studies in patristic and Biblical theology and in philosophy and formation.
Some confreres are studying in different circumscriptions. We extend our best wishes to all of them that they may make their studies bear fruit.
4. Rule of Life
The Central Commission for Revisiting and Revising the Rule of Life met in Rome from 26 - 29 June 2018, primarily for an initial evaluation of the work being done on the Rule by all the circumscriptions of the Institute and, secondly, to put together and organise the proposals for revision hitherto received by the Commission, and, thirdly, for an exchange of ideas with the Comboni Consultants and the General Council.
Generally speaking, the reports received from the circumscriptions are concerned only with reflections on the first two parts of the Rule of Life. However, it is a cause of great satisfaction to see with what great willingness, commitment and seriousness the confreres have undertaken the work of reading, studying and praying the Rule of Life. From this we may conclude that, in general, there is a great desire to repossess the spirit of the Rule of Life, to deepen the charism, concretise and live it within the various socio-cultural contexts where we are present and exercise our missionary ministry.
This desire to join together the spirit of the charism, the cultural diversity increasingly found within the Institute and sensibilities of the present age may also be perceived from the proposals of revision of the constitutional text. Nevertheless, up to now the work of the circumscriptions has been concentrated on the aspect of revisiting or appreciation and interiorisation of the theological, spiritual and practical theology of the Rule and a creative understanding of it. The content itself of the first two parts has favoured this approach.
Many thanks, therefore, to all the confreres for their participation and contributions and to the animators and superiors at circumscription level who sustained and fostered the process, together with an invitation to continue with the same ardour in study and prayer on the other three parts of the Rule of Life.
5. Intercapitular Assembly 2018
The GC has prepared the programme for the Intercapitular Assembly to be held in Rome from 9 to 29 September next. It will start with a Mass on Sunday, 9 September, and will end with a closing Mass, possibly presided over by Cardinal Parolin. In the first week, reports will be presented by the GC, the general Secretariats and Offices and by the Continents. In the second week, some aspects of the life of the Institute that require urgent attention will be dealt with.
6. Course for the Elderly
For the third edition of the Ongoing Formation Course for the Elderly 22 confreres are expected, the most the Limone house can accommodate. In fact, the course will begin in Limone on Saturday 8 September and will continue in Rome, after the Intercapitular, until 4 November. Those who could not participate this year will hopefully do so in the next edition.
7. Comboni Year
Regarding the Comboni Year of Ongoing Formation 2019-2020, after completing the first ten years of mission, often before rotation, dialogue with those interested should take place so that, when you come to Rome for the Intercapitular, you may have a rough idea of the numbers to be made known to the General Council. The Course co-ordination team contacts the applicants only after hearing from the respective superiors or the General Council, preferably before November/December.
8. Renewal Couse
At present, there are only a few confreres enrolled in the January/May 2019, Comboni Renewal Course, and too few for this on-going formation initiative to be held. You are asked to check in your circumscriptions whether there are other confreres interested in taking part, or who could be invited to do so, especially those celebrating 25 years of priesthood or perpetual vows.
9. Journeys and commitments of the GC
Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie
7 July – 2 August: visit to the province of Mexico with Fr. Alcides
5 – 12 August: spiritual exercises and OGF at Nepi
16 – 31 August: visit to the delegation of Colombia
Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins
2 – 14 July: visit to the delegation of Eritrea
5 – 12 August: spiritual exercises and OGF at Nepi
14 – 31 August: holidays in Portugal
Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla
4 – 9 July: visit to the province of Togo
12 – 26 July: in Sicily
5 – 12 August: spiritual exercises and OGF at Nepi
12 – 17 August: in Sicily
26 August – 2 September: Mission convention in Assisi
Fr. Alcides Costa
7 July – 3 August: visit to the province of Mexico with Fr. Tesfaye
5 – 12 August: spiritual exercises and OGF in Nepi
Bro. Alberto Lamana Cónsola
11 – 16 July: provincial assembly in London
5 – 12 August: spiritual exercises and OGF in Nepi
14 – 31 August: holidays in Spain
Holy Redeemer Guild
July 01 – 15 KE 16 – 31 M
August 01 – 15 MO 16 – 31 MZ
September 01 – 15 NAP 16 – 30 PCA
July – For the nations of the world, especially those of Africa, suffering due to war, hunger and injustice, that their cry may be heard and give rise to actions of solidarity working for peace. Lord hear us.
August – For our multicultural communities, that they may be examples of understanding, hope and inner richness in a world growing ever smaller with the migrations of peoples. Lord hear us.
September – That we may understand that the present environmental crisis is also a social crisis and how important it is to educate the new generations in the universal values of tolerance, respect, dialogue and the correct use of material goods. Lord hear us.
Fr. Juan González Núñez, A short history of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia, Rehobot Printers P.L.C., Addis Ababa, June 2018. As mentioned in the sub-title, Fr. G. Núñez briefly covers, in these 120 pages, the history of the Church in Ethiopia from the conversion of King Ezana (330) to the present day.
Ermanno Arrigoni, I cieli narrano la gloria di Dio, Centro Studi Valle Imagna, Bergamo 2018. This is a good book with plenty of black and white photos, telling the life story of Comboni Fr. Gianni Manzi who dedicated himself in the mission especially to teaching, both in Mexico (16 years) and in Sudan (26 years) where he is buried. The author is a layman, a theologian and philosopher and author of many books.
Fr. Enzo Santangelo, Missão: Sal & Luz, Editora Alô Mundo, São Paulo, March 2018. This new book by Fr. Santangelo aims at helping the laity in their apostolic and missionary activities in the Church and in society.
Meeting of the General Councils of the Comboni Family
On 2 and 3 June, the Comboni Family gathered in Pesaro. Those present at this regularly held annual meeting were: the General Councils of the Comboni Missionaries, the Comboni Missionary Sisters, the Comboni Seculars and the coordinator of the Comboni Lay Missionaries. Drawing inspiration from the theme of the next Synod, those present reflected upon the youth and the missionary vocation.
The Secular Maria Pia dal Zovo, Sister Daniela Serafin and Fr. José de Jesús Villaseñor were invited to share their experiences while working in youth ministry and vocational accompaniment. All three insisted on the need for an approach to the world of youth that is different, open to listening closely to its dreams and expectations. The religious experience of the youth of today is very different from that of the preceding generations and this can create difficulties when one wishes to communicate the mission as a life experience.
In the second part of the meeting, there was an examination of the repercussions of the message written last year, “Beyond collaboration: under the gaze of Comboni”, said to be a useful instrument on a common journey, to follow up some ministries already initiated and identify others. There was a brief discussion of the proposals that emerged from the Comboni Forum that recently took place in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. It is a matter of intuitions that are valid in continuing to work out a process for the Comboni Family in a sector that is so urgent and missionary as that of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC).
Fr. Jeremías dos Santos Martins, Vicar General, gave a brief presentation of the charism of Comboni, followed immediately by a period of discussion on those charismatic elements believed to be the strongest at this time.
In conclusion, all the participants expressed their satisfaction with these meetings that foster reciprocal familiarity and the development of concrete activities.
Meeting of confreres celebrating 50 years of priesthood
Twelve of our confreres ordained fifty years ago met in Rome early in July.
They first met with Superior general, Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse, and the members of the general Curia and celebrated Mass with them. An important and very moving event was their celebration of the Eucharist in St. Peter’s.
The Jubilarians took the opportunity of visiting Ostia Antica and other places of interest.
We share their joy and wish them many more years of missionary and Comboni commitment.
Closure of celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Institute
On Friday 8 June 2018, the province officially closed the celebrations for the 150 years of the Institute’s existence with a Mass at the Cordi Jesu church in Cairo, with Vicar General, Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins presiding. All the Combonis and Comboni Sisters of Cairo attended. Surrounded by an immense crowd of the laity, priests, men and women religious who had come to celebrate the solemnity of the Sacred Heart, the Comboni Missionaries renewed their consecration to God. The Eucharist was accompanied by the Sudanese choir of the church of the Sacred Heart, Sakakini, and the youth of the parish.
In his homily, after speaking of the missionary iter of Comboni, Fr. Jeremias mentioned how Comboni, inspired by the circumstances and signs of the times, on 1 June 1867 founded the Institute for the Missions of Africa. Fr. Jeremias also spoke of the historical role of Egypt in the missionary formation of the first Combonis for their mission in the Vicariate of Central Africa, the first love of Comboni.
During this commemorative year, celebrations were organised in the various parishes at different times. The church of St. Joseph in Zamalek chose the solemnity of its patron, the church of the Holy family opted for 2 June, using the occasion of the presence of all the Combonis for the meeting on the revision of the Rule of Life. The church of the Sacred Heart, Sakakini, chose to close the celebrations on 15 June 2018, the solemnity of the Sacred Heart according to the Coptic calendar, so as to make common cause with the local Church. In Khartoum, the confreres and the Comboni Missionary Sisters gathered at the provincial house in Khartoum North on 7 June with a beautiful celebration led by Fr. Giuseppe Puttinato.
The delegation of Eritrea has been blessed by the first professions of three young novices: Sirak Medhanie Ghebrenigus, Mulu Ghebremeskel Azazi and Biyanu Habtat Nuguse. We thank God for this great gift. The celebration took place at the novitiate house in Decameré, inaugurated in 2005: since then, five other groups of novices took their first vows.
The event was preceded by three days of prayer. On the vigil, the prayers were enlivened by many multi-coloured missionary symbols and were attended by many confreres, Comboni sisters and relatives of the novices.
On 26 May, in the chapel of the minor seminary, the novices took first vows surrounded by their relatives, the Comboni Family, local religious and a number of friends. The superior delegate, Fr. Habtu Teklay Tiluq, presided at the Mass and in his homily spoke of the consecrated life as leaving everything, like St. Paul and St. Daniel Comboni: “God has chosen you and has consecrated you to work hard to achieve holiness”.
After Mass, all those present shared a meal together. The rest of the day was made all the more enjoyable by the seminarians and postulants with singing by the choirs, songs in Ge-ez and poetry. To conclude, the superior delegate thanked all those who prepared such a wonderful celebration, the parents of the newly-professed and all the participants.
Italy should accept the migrants and put pressure on Europe
On 11 June, after the decision of the Italian Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, to prevent the ship Aquarius disembarking at Italian ports the 629 migrants picked up in Libyan territorial waters, the Combonis in Italy sent a message expressing their indignation to Council President Giuseppe Conti.
The following is an extract from the message: “It is true that Italy cannot be left to face the problem of migration alone, a phenomenon that has enormous international implications (especially in the Mediterranean Sea) that demand the attention and geopolitical influence of the European Union. It is therefore only right that the Italian government make itself heard in Brussels, asking its European partners that they too take on their responsibilities in resolving the problem of migration.
At the same time, Italy cannot avoid its duty to receive people who, for the most part, seek a better life in Europe and who, in some cases, are fleeing from wars and dictatorial regimes.
It is important that Italy play a dual role: that of being a safe haven for migrants and, at the same time, that of continuing to demand that Europe find practicable solutions, also in the countries from which the migrants come”.
Afriradio CCM Verona: news
Having begun on Monday, 10 June, Radio Marconi, the Catholic Radio of Lombardy, now transmits daily programmes produced by Afriradio. From Monday to Friday, at 19.30, the programme “GR Africa” (Africa News) and, at week-ends, the programme “Matatu”, on Saturdays at 18.20 and on Sundays at 18.30.
Radio Marconi has a daily average of 63,000 listeners with an average of 4,000 listeners each quarter of an hour. From this we know that each day 4,000 people hear news edited by “nigrizia.it”. Afriradio is the internet radio of Nigrizia Foundation completely dedicated to Africa. It transmits streaming 24/7 with a continually updated musical background with interspersed items of information and entertainment. It produces a daily three-minute news programme (GR Africa, from Mondays to Fridays), a weekly fifteen-minute current affairs programme (Matatu, on Saturdays and Sundays) and a weekly two-minute opinion programme (Fr. Alex Zanotelli’s Office), on Saturdays and Sundays. It also repeats Vatican News in Italian, English, French and Portuguese. Afriradio is part of the multimedia organisation through which Nigrizia Foundation promotes the human and evangelical values of solidarity, acceptance, intercultural dialogue, inter-racial encounter and respect for the different traditions and religious faiths.
Nigrizia at the University of Verona: an example to follow
At five points in the University of Verona, copies of Nigrizia magazine are displayed for the use of students and staff. The copies are changed each month. This is a good example of what could be done also in other universities of the cities where we have a community. It is easier than you think. Try it and see.
“Young Saints” Exhibition
The Don Zilli Association and the St. Paul Cultural Centre, with the communications backing of St. Paul Editions, are presenting this interesting “Exhibition”.
It consists of 32 panels of fibreboard (there is also an edition with just 16 panels) presenting the figures of 24 saints and young witnesses of the faith. We are glad to say they have accepted our suggestions and have included among the martyrs of mission Fr. Ezechiele Ramin and highlighted Bro. Alfredo Fiorini among the others.
The exhibition will be on display from July 2018 to 30 August 2019. It was created and organised by the journalist Gerolamo Fazzini. For further information or to hire the display, contact: email@example.com
Launching a news platform
The plans for reorganising our activities at New People Media Centre, Nairobi, include the creation of a News Platform. The need for this emerged partly from the results of a questionnaire sent to various confreres regarding our strategic six-year plan. In fact, it is increasingly clear that a Media Centre like ours should have a stable and meaningful online presence.
The Platform will collect, edit and share news on the internet and social media. The correspondents will be mission promoters or other persons chosen by the various circumscriptions. It will be something of a missionary news Agency in Africa.
Canada opens its first school named after St. Daniel Comboni
On 9 May, at Brampton (Ontario), in the presence of the education council, teachers, students, parents and religious representatives, the Catholic elementary school of the parish of the Guardian Angels, opened in September 2017 and was officially blessed by Fr. Jan Gogolewski, Parish Priest of the parish of the Guardian Angels. The Combonis, who administer the church of St. Joseph in Kitchener, were present at the blessing ceremony. The school has around 500 pupils and also has a kindergarten.
During the ceremony, Fr. Brian Quigley invited both students and teachers always to foster a spirit of collaboration, following the example of St. Daniele Comboni in his missionary commitment in Africa. The Comboni Missionaries presented the Missionary Rosary and prayer leaflets to all the classes.
The vice-president of the administrative council, Anna da Silva, thanked the missionaries for the work they have been doing for many years in Africa and Latin America. This is the first school in Canada to be named after St. Daniel Comboni and is an honour for the Combonis who have been working in Ontario and Quebec for decades.
The blessing of the school concluded with these words: “May our children grow in wisdom before God and before others. May this school always be a home of truth and wisdom, of faith and good will. Through prayer and the example of St. Daniel Comboni, may this school help our community to build up Your Kingdom of justice, light and peace”.
Meeting of Europe media heads
The heads of Comboni publications in Europe met from 29 to 31 May at the Polish Comboni house in Krakow. The formation theme chosen for this year was “Language and Web and Smartphone video production: guide, engraving, edition and publication”, and was presented by the Spanish journalists Javier Sánchez and Gonzalo Gómez, who both work for “Mundo Negro” in Madrid. Fr. José da Silva Vieira, provincial superior of Portugal and head of the Europe media sector, acted as moderator.
The missionaries and lay people working in the media of the European Comboni provinces presented the results of the surveys carried out with the purpose of identifying and defining the profile of the readers and subscribers of Comboni publications, whose numbers are going down, year after year. Only in Portugal has the number of subscribers remained steady, thanks to the efforts of a confrere who works exclusively for the promotion of the magazines “Além-Mar” and “Audácia”.
After presenting their activity reports, the missionaries reflected on communicating with the youth by means of digital media, the web and social media, and shared experiences and ideas related to the challenges that social and especially digital communications present to evangelisation and mission promotion of the Combonis in Europe.
Fr. Alberto Lamana and Fr. Arlindo Pinto brought those present up to date on the progress of the “European Communication’s Plan” and, after a short debate, it was decided that it’s already possible to write the final text to be presented to the Europe Comboni circumscription superiors.
Fr. Carmine Curci spoke briefly about the proposal to create a new multilingual website, administered from the London office, an initiative that the provincials of Europe may approve and that may be one of the first steps in creating a European Comboni Multimedia centre.
The next meeting is planned to run from 29 April to 3 May, 2019, in Portugal, and will focus on the modern forms and means of promotion and diffusion of our magazines and other publications. With such a theme, it seemed opportune to invite all the heads of administration and diffusion of the Comboni social means of communication in Europe. Meanwhile, the directors of the four European magazines for children and adolescents will meet to prepare a common plan for the magazines for the coming year.
The Krakow meeting was attended by representatives from Spain, Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom (LP), Poland, and of the Curia of Rome. There was no representative from the DSP – excused – but a report was received on the present situation of the province in this field.
The meeting was given a positive evaluation and Bro. Tomasz Basiński and Fr. Tomasz Marek were praised by the participants for their hospitality and efficient organisation.
Family Celebration Days
On 9 and 10 June, at our house in Krakow, family celebration days were held. The participants comprised family members and friends of Comboni priests, Brothers and Sisters as well as those of the CLM and the Polish Comboni novice Sister. It was a good opportunity to hear the testimonies and stories of some men and women missionaries who, at that time, were in Poland on holiday. On Saturday evening everyone celebrated, feeling they all belonged to one big family. On Sunday, during the Mass, prayers were offered for our missionaries working in various continents.
The Italian novice Gabriele Messori made his first religious profession as brother at the Santarem European Novitiate, on the afternoon of Saturday, 2 June 2018.
Fr. Giovanni Munari, provincial of Italy, was present at the beautiful Mass which was enlivened by a group from Bairro da Torre, composed of African immigrants from the parish of Camarate (municipality of Loures). Also present were many members of the Comboni Family, members of the youth group Fé e Missão-Sul, consecrated women belonging to the Institutes present in the diocese of Santarém, some Jesuit novices and a deacon, a diocesan priest, some residents from the home for the elderly at Gualdim where Gabriele spent part of his week-ends, and many friends. After the ceremony, Gabriele distributed a letter to all present to thank them for their participation and friendship.
The newly-professed was born in Reggio Emilia 34 years ago. He holds a degree in Political Science and a professional training diploma. He will continue his formation at the Nairobi Brothers Centre.
Portuguese Comboni Family Day
On 16 June, at the Schoenstatt, at Ílhavo, twenty nine members of the Comboni Lay Missionaries, the Secular Comboni Missionaries, the Comboni Missionary Sisters and the Comboni Missionaries celebrated a Portugal Comboni Family Day.
Sr. Arlete Santos, coordinator of the Comboni Family Commission, gave a welcoming address and reminded all present that the only point on the agenda was to spend time together to celebrate their common heritage – the Comboni charism.
After a brief presentation by those present, there was a moment of sharing on the more relevant events in each branch of the Portuguese Comboni Family. The provincial, Fr. José Vieira, was the main celebrant at the Eucharist.
After the meal, enjoyed in a fraternal and relaxed atmosphere, the participants visited the shrine where the meeting took place and also the Maritime Museum of Ílhavo.
THE FATHER: Jonathan Toribio, of the Sc. Jonathan Alejandro Luna Sánchez (I).
THE MOTHERS: Juliane, of Fr. Karl Peinhopf (DSP); Teresa, of Fr. Gerardo Sandoval F. (M).
THE BROTHERS: Evaristo, of Fr. Enrico Colleoni (MZ) and Fr. Zaverio M. Carlo (NAP); Alberto, of Fr. Bruno Tinazzi (I).
THE SISTER: Ivone, of Fr. José Antonio Delgado Serrano (M).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Giacinta M. Vanotti, Sr. Battistina M. Ceriani, Sr. M. Felicissima Faccini.
Fr. Flaviano Amatulli V., a former Comboni, Founder of the Apostles of the Word, died in Mexico City on 1 June 2018. In 1986 he was incardinated after being appointed by the Mexican Conference of Bishops to direct the department of the faith faced with the increase of protestant sects in the country.