Consulta of the General Council
The next Consulta of the General Council will begin on 23 February and end at the beginning of April 2004.
At the end of January 2004 the printed text translated into the various languages (English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish) was mailed to all the provinces and delegations and to some communities. The provincials and delegates will ensure that each confrere (scholastics included) will receive a copy.
Comboni Annuario 2004
After the end of January 2004 corrections to the Annuario Com-boniano 2004 will no longer be included. It is hoped that the Annuario will be ready around the end of March – beginning of April.
Just the same, updates of community addresses, addresses of the in-dividual confreres and assignments to new communities and tasks must be sent continually and immediately to the secretary general, because the computer programme “Annuario Comboniano” must be constantly updated in real time.
Furthermore, we kindly ask the confreres, who have not yet done so, to send to the secretary general at the earliest a recent colour picture (passport size).
Meeting of the European Group of Reflection on Mission
The third meeting of the European theological group of reflection on mission “ad gentes” was held in Pesaro on 27-29 December 2003. The following confreres attended: Fr. Martin James Devenish (the provincial in charge); Fr. Francesco Antonini (provincial of Italy) for the morning of 28 December; Fr. Ghebrecristos Woldeghebriel (assistant general); Fr. Danilo Cimitan (coordinator of Ongoing Formation); Fr. Franz Weber (DSP); Fr. Benito De Marchi (LP); Fr. Vicente Reig Beliver (E); Fr. Ales-sandro Zanotelli (I); Fr. Fernando Zolli (secretary general of evangelisa-tion). The superior general, Fr. Teresino Serra, paid a brief visit to the group in the afternoon of 29 December.
After a sharing of experiences and expectations, choosing from a number of topics, the group examined the Chapter Acts, trying to focus on some of the situations that had emerged during the 16th General Chapter and to trace some inspiring guidelines for planning and carrying out missionary service in a European context.
Much appreciated was a reading outline of the Chapter Acts prepared by Fr. De Marchi for the animation of the LP and proposed for the ani-mation of the other provinces. The outline is divided into three parts: the first part deals with the characteristics of the text in general terms; the second part outlines the novelties and the direction of the 16th General Chapter; among other things there is mention of the paths for a new missionary methodology, based on the twofold contemplation: the pro-phetic one, based on the reading of the signs of the times, and the mys-tical one, based on the experience of God. In the CA 2003 two paths emerge to stimulate the missionary vision and practice: global mission (not fully developed) and mission as Good News for the poor and the marginalized. And finally, mission realised through community, by estab-lishing a culture of communion. In the third part the focus is on some elements that were mentioned at the Chapter, but that need to be devel-oped over the next six years: for example, a type of mission that will rely more on the laity; a mission that must be developed more and more in a context of global mobility and cultural and religious pluralism; a mission where there must be harmony between personal and communitarian and ecclesial interests and plans.
The fact that the Chapter decided to extend the formation of reflection groups on mission and on ongoing formation to all continent was judged very positively as well as the position of the General Council which is willing to listen and to ask for help and cooperation.
The group will meet again in Bamberg (DSP) in July 2004 (13-17), es-pecially to plan a series of initiatives and a calendar in view of the Ratio Missionis.
Fr. Vanderlei Bervian (BS) has been appointed novice master of the no-viciate of Contagem (BS), effective from 1 January 2004
Sc. Awuye Ruben Dodzi (T) Kinshasa (RDC) 04.01.2004
Fr. Giuseppe Franzelli, Mondo Comboniano, EMI Bologna, 288 pages, € 15,00 (for more details, see under ITALY).
The Editrice Rogate (Via Rogazionisti 8, 00182 Roma) has published four very interesting booklets on community life (a fifth one is being pre-pared). The authors are: G. Poli, G. Crea (Comboni Missionary) and V. Comodo. The books may be requested for the publishers or from our Fr. Giuseppe Crea (San Pancrazio, Roma). The titles are: 1) La sfida dell’organizzazione nelle comunità religiose, 160 pages, € 10,00; 2) Stili di leadership e vita consacrata, 136 pages, € 10,00; 3) Leadership e comunicazione nella vita consacrata, 192 pages, € 11,50; 4) Leadership e benessere interpersonale nella comunità religiose, 172 pages, € 11.50; 5) Una leadership efficace per le riunioni di comunità (not yet published).
General Situation in Congo
After the signing of the global agreement between the warring parties, we are seeing a slight improvement in some aspects of life: in many places, soldiers are confined to the barracks and, therefore, do not en-danger the population, even though at times they still misbehave. Many roadblocks have been lifted. The Church has chosen to be part of this process of transition by mobilising the basic Christian communities and various groups, by forming community animators and by helping people to have a critical understanding through civic and political formation. The objective is one: to arrive at a state of law and democracy, through truly free, fair and democratic elections. We ourselves have also taken up this commitment.
After Comboni’s canonisation
From among the many activities that we are engaged in, we want to point out two in particular. First, the international dialogue that took place in Kinshasa on the theme, “Africans and the re-birth of Africa.” Among the Comboni Missionaries who took part in the dialogue we want to mention Fr. Giuseppe Franzelli who spoke on the life and work of Com-boni with his passion “To save Africa with Africa.” The other speakers, all Africans, gave talks that deepened the subject and challenged the large crowd in attendance: proof of the truth of Comboni’s insight.
The second activity, the Inter-diocesan Missionary Congress on the theme of “Born from Mission to do Mission”, was held in Isiro with dele-gates from the dioceses of Isiro-Niangara, Dungu and Wamba. Starting from history, since the three dioceses celebrate the 100th anniversary of their foundation, the congress moved to re-discover, through reflections on the Bible, documents of the African Church and the life of individual missionaries, including Daniel Comboni, and to arrive at the understand-ing that today we are all called to do mission.
100th anniversary of the dioceses of Isiro-Niangara and Wamba
The diocese of Isiro-Niangara closed the celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of its foundation with the participation of a large crowd of faithful and the bishops of the Eastern Province of Congo. In the commemoration, there was a particular mention of the missionaries who had given their lives for this Church, four of our confreres among them. Special memory was made of Blessed Anoalite Clementine Nengapeta, killed in Isiro in 1964 during the Simba rebellion. The remembrance is necessary in order to have a new start towards the next century with courage and creativity, at a time when the local Church is called to pro-duce fruits of holiness and be always more responsible for all the as-pects of ecclesial life.
The closing of the celebrations for the centenary of these two dioceses was followed by the opening of the centennial celebrations of the dio-cese of Wamba.
Quinindé, Comboni’s canonisation
On Sunday, 14 December, at “la Y de la laguna,” the crossroad of many roads for the people of the countryside and a very picturesque place for the natural lake nearby, there was the blessing of the first chapel in the parish of Quinindé to be dedicated to St. Daniel Comboni.
It was the last goodbye of the local people who cooperated in putting up this building that was started with great enthusiasm by Fr. Angel Ca-morlinga Maldonado. The provincial and many people from Quinindé, who wanted once again to show their solidarity with the Comboni Mis-sionaries, attended the ceremony.
The ceremony of the handing of the crucifix to the Afro missionaries took place on 17 December, in our Afro Pastoral Centre of Guayaquil. The day of recollection was concluded with the celebration of the Afro Eucharist with the provincial as the main celebrant, during which the crucifix was given to those persons who had prepared themselves and who have worked among their own people. It was an occasion for going back to the origins and to discover the presence of God in our history.
Three groups took part in the ceremony: the “elders,” namely the first to begin the Afro missionary activity; then those who have been involved for a long time and then those who are just beginning. It was an occa-sion of true Afro spirituality.
Borbón, canonisation of Comboni
The first of three chapels of the rural mission of Borbón dedicated to St. Daniel Comboni was inaugurated on Saturday, 10 October, in the farming community of Yalaré, with the participation of our provincial. The community worked on the project by painting the chapel, the steeple and the benches under the direction of Fr. Juan Benjumea Ramos. The small Christian community, despite being far from the new road, found a way of showing its love for Comboni.
After benediction and the procession with the portrait of the saint, the Eucharist was celebrated and, for the first time, baptisms were also ad-ministered. A meal, prepared by the members of the community, marked the conclusion of the festivities.
Rome, St. Pancrazio: beyond all expectations
Twelve days (as this note is being written) after the programme “Ap-punti Africani” (African Notes) of Silvestro Montanaro, aired on RAI3, we still receive comments and requests for information on how to be of help in such situations. From 6 January there have been countless phone calls both to RAI and to us. The receptionists know the impact (thanks to the helpers, especially those from ACSE): the calls are from all over Italy and from all kinds of people. With very few exceptions – that could be counted on the fingers of one hand – the reactions have been very posi-tive. Particularly pleasing are the comments of Africans who saw the documentary as a clear and accurate contribution, especially because the speakers both in denunciations and in pointing out what’s positive in Africa were themselves Africans. It must be added that many people hope that there will be more programmes of this type. Many parents watched the programme together with their children and considered it very educational. Another observation: people have a great trust in mis-sionaries in general and in Comboni Missionaries in particular.
The funds collected will finance a project of assistance through “medi-cal supplies, food and seeds” for the Sudan and the establishment of programmes of formation in mass media in Mozambique and in Kenya.
Anyone wanting a copy of the video may request it from Fr. Venanzio Milani at San Pancrazio.
EMI has published the book Mondo Comboniano (Comboni World) by Fr. Giuseppe Franzelli. It is a presentation of all the places in the world where members of the Comboni Family, including lay people, work. The book, edited with the help of people in charge in each Comboni prov-ince, has 288 pages and costs € 15.00. It may be obtained from the pub-lisher. It is a useful book to be given to all those who love the Comboni Missionaries or who want to know more about our work. The first part deals with St. Daniel Comboni, the relevance of his missionary experi-ence and of his message in relation to the challenges of mission today.
GIM’s end of the year gathering
The end of the year GIM’s gathering took place in Pesaro from 27 De-cember 2003 to 1 January 2004. It was a clear call to the youth who want to go beyond the current fads of superficial behaviour and re-discover the God of life through community, prayer, study, reflection and celebration. Over 150 young people attended.
This time the gathering was intended also to tie in with the year of the canonisation of our founder, St. Daniel Comboni. The young people, coming from about 25 dioceses, were enlightened by a sharing of wit-ness and of stories: Fr. Francesco Antonini highlighted the relevance of the dream of God in Daniel Comboni; Fr. Joseph Mumbere Musanga and the Scholastic Marcel Mangbau Emelemekia spoke of The voice of Africa which is calling, talking of the challenges of today in Congo; the talk by Mgr. Nervo, Humanity in search of life, and the moving account of Sr. Valeria, The war against slavery, helped understand the chal-lenges of immigration in Italy. With Fr. Teresino Serra the youth explored the theme: Comboni asks of young people a mission with a new face, and the panel discussion, A year ends: signs of life, wounds and utopia for the future, with J. L. Touadi, Gianluca Carmosino and Fr. Alessandro Zanotelli saw a good attendance also from the town’s people.
The speeches were separated by group work that made it possible to reflect collectively on the statement, To dare the new times, of the cara-van for peace of 2003. A concert on the themes of Pacem in Terris, the visit to families in the city of Pesaro and to some communities that host people in very special situations of life; the night vigil to wait for the new year… everything led the participants to the celebration in the Congo-lese rite on 1 January and to the march for peace that ended in the ca-thedral of Pesaro.
Comboni in Bethlehem
Once again this year the Nativity of Venegono offered a strong mes-sage: the situation of immigration must be interpreted starting from the Gospel, the only source able to point the way to living together in an at-mosphere of respect, justice and dignity of the person. More varied and just as strong was the message of the Nativity of Lecce that represented a cross-section of daily life. The Comboni Exhibit in Venegono and the “Christmas on a hot air balloon in the footsteps of Comboni” in Lecce turned Comboni into the ideal guide to walk the streets of Bethlehem.
Mission Animation / Evangelisation Assembly
This year, the theme of the Mission Animation (MA) and Evangelisa-tion Assembly (Pesaro, 13-16 January) was: What type of missionary presence and activity is needed in Europe? These were days of coming together and reflection, of prayer and sharing. About 30 confreres at-tended: some with “clear ideas” on mission, others still “searching”, but just about all of them felt confused by an analysis of a society no longer understandable and, in many ways, far from our language and our pro-posals.
First with the help of Fr. Benito De Marchi, then with an analysis of the activities of MA in the province (Justice and peace, immigrants, Com-boni Lay Missionaries, mass media…) we reached the conclusion that, as children of Comboni, we will continue to “leave” our land and our cul-ture to go to share the plight of the poorest and most abandoned, but we will have a living presence in Europe in order to speak also here the lan-guage of God and awaken in today’s people the “passion for the impos-sible.” Once again, finally, we repeated that MA is everybody’s job, not reserved to specialists, and that it must entail a new style of life both in-dividually and as a community.
On 6 January 2004 the Sisters of Charity, while travelling from El Fasher to Nyala were stopped by rebels of the Sudan Liberation Army and their car taken from them. A bus passing by later was able to take the Sisters to Nyala. No one was hurt.
The conflict in the Darfur area has only intensified these past months with the government preferring air-attacks and the use of Arab militias over negotiating as they have been doing with the SPLA of the south. These militias have been attacking the Southerners present in the area as well, just south and west of Nyala. This year’s crops have been bur-ned and the people are left with nothing. It is indeed our hope and prayer that a peace agreement is reached to make it possible for them to return to their homeland! There has been fear among the population and a curfew in place in Nyala, but all this could not take away the joy of the Christmas season with its processions and dances and over 2,000 people present for Mass on Christmas day.
Sudan Inter-religious Council
The Sudan Inter-Religious Council held a special prayer for peace in the country, followed by a reception in honour of his eminence the cardi-nal Gabriel Zubeir Wako. The atmosphere was relaxed with several per-sonalities present, among them the second vice president and foreign minister with the apostolic nuncio, archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Fr. Saraba Moon, the bishop of the Coptic Church, the archbishop of the Episcopal Church, Joseph Marona and Prof. Ahmad A., Imam and advi-sor to the president and rector of the Islamic University of Omdurman. All spoke with words of thanksgiving and congratulations for the new cardinal.
The government has taken every opportunity to make a show of their intentions for peace and good relations between Muslim and Christians as on Christmas Day when President Bashir made a special visit to car-dinal Zubeir to extend to him his best wishes. Upon retuning to Rome, the other “new” cardinals commented that they also had all been made cardinals, but none of them had received in their own country the recog-nition that cardinal Zubeir did.
The peace process continues ahead, albeit very slowly, but hopes are high for a positive outcome.
An award for Fr. Giuseppe Puttinato
Many missionaries and religious working in the South of the World were among the 100 people honoured by the president of the Republic of Italy with awards to citizens who excelled in solidarity and to people of other countries who have been deeply engaged in spreading the lan-guage and the culture of their country. In the list of the recipients of the “Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity,” awarded by the president of the Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, the Italian government included also the name of our confrere Fr. Giuseppe Puttinato, who is in charge of Com-boni College, Khartoum, Sudan.
Fr. Puttinato arrived in Sudan in 1959 and, aside for brief assignments in England and in Lebanon, has always been at Comboni College, ex-cept for a six year period when he served at the Comboni School of Port Sudan. We congratulate him for this award and for his tireless service.
Together with Fr. Giuseppe, also Miss Rita Giglio of “Nostra Famiglia,” active in Juba, South Sudan, received the award. She works in an insti-tution for the handicapped founded by archbishop Mgr. Agostino Baroni. We offer our congratulations to her as well for the services and friend-ship that tie us to “Nostra Famiglia.”
Cooperation for Mission
We, Comboni Missionaries and Sisters gathered in a joyous atmos-phere to celebrate our common history, remembering a very meaningful happening, which showed the cooperation and communion existing among us. It took place in 1903 in the mission of Lul (Sudan). Fr. Beduschi was in a coma. Sr. Giuseppa Scandola, who at the time was in good health, sent word to Fr. Giuseppe that he was not going to die, be-cause she had offered to die in his place, and so it was. This incident helps us realise that our Comboni history is made up of great moments of cooperation and of mutual giving for the good of Mission.
This is why the two provinces of Mozambique (Comboni Missionaries and Comboni Sisters), in answer also to the letter on cooperation sent by the General Councils of the three Institutes of the Comboni Family two years ago, organized a workshop under the direction of Fr. John Converset, who is an expert in these matters. It took place on 6-10 January 2004, at the Comboni community of the inter-diocesan philoso-phy seminary of “S. Agostinho” in Matola (Maputo). Thirteen Comboni Missionaries and fourteen Comboni Sisters took part in the workshop, coming mostly from missions where the two communities work together.
At this workshop the participants reflected on the basis of cooperation leading to the realisation that it is found in God, who is by nature the source of communion and cooperation. The human person, created in God’s image, carries within itself this vocation and is called to make it a reality.
The topics of this workshop also helped us remember the many ex-periences of cooperation that took place during the time of the inde-pendence of Mozambique up to the end of the civil war. The fraternal support among the members of the two Comboni Institutes was always very deep.
The experience of the post-war period has brought peace and free-dom, but, at the same time, with changes in missionary personnel, we have forgotten a bit the great value of fraternity and of sharing that we experienced in those days of sorrow and trial.
Now we are together again to search for the basis of a renewed spirit of cooperation and to identify the obstacles to it: projects that are too in-dividualistic, activism, lack of dialogue and of common planning, etc. From this has arisen the need to rediscover that we are persons who live in community and are united by the same passion that animated Daniel Comboni.
The workshop concluded with some proposals that can be summed up by a common effort in ongoing formation, in evangelisation and mission promotion. We insisted also on the need for a better cooperation be-tween the two provincial councils and on a heightened attention to some serious situations of emergency in Mozambique.
We hope that this event, which we lived in an atmosphere of fraternity and of sharing, may be the beginning of new commitment to live with joy and courage the great value of cooperation, so that we may feel mem-bers of the same family. (Fr. Davide De Guidi, Sr. Eleonora Reboldi)
Celebrations of St. Daniel Comboni’s canonisation
On 30 November 2003, together with the Divine Word Missionaries, the Comboni Family celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving for the canonisa-tion of the saints Daniel Comboni, Arnold Janssen, and Joseph Freina-demetz. The celebration took place in the morning in the cathedral of the diocese of Warsaw-Prague with the local bishop Mgr. Kasimierz Ro-maniuk as the main celebrant. Mgr. Jerzy Mazur of Ek was the homilist and he spoke of the life and missionary inspiration of the three saints and of the missionary task of the Church. Fr. Odelir José Magri, assis-tant general, came from Rome for the occasion. The ceremony was at-tended by about 70 priests of the two Institutes, by provincials’ represen-tatives and many friends.
A special mention is due for the concert directed by maestro Piotr Nawrot, SVD, who in the afternoon also directed the concert of Latin American baroque music in the Gedanensis chapel attached to the church of the seminary of the archdiocese of Warsaw. The concert was stupendous and the people who were packing the church kept on shout-ing, “bravo!” Since music creates bridges, we all felt closer to Latin America.
On 7 December, a Eucharist of thanksgiving for Comboni’s canonisa-tion was celebrated at Piastów k/Warzawy. The Comboni Sisters work in this parish. Cardinal Józef Glemp was the main celebrant. The celebra-tion had been organized by our postulants together with the sisters’ pos-tulants.
On 14 December it was the turn of Krakow where two ceremonies were held. In the parish church of Matki Boej Królowej Polski, Card. Franciszek Macharski celebrated the Mass of thanksgiving, with Fr. Ve-nanzio Milani in attendance as representative of the General Council, and later there was the blessing of the second Comboni house in Po-land, a sign of our growth in this country.
Coordination and formation for AIDS counsellors
The group coordinating those who assist the victims of AIDS (CAMS) in Sarh, guided by Fr. Fabrizio Colombo, mccj, held a meeting on 2 and 3 January to publicise their activities.
In Sarh the number of infected people is among the highest in Chad. CAMS is made up by members of various Christian Churches (Catholic and Protestant) and by Moslems.
Starting in January, a group of about 40 people will meet on a monthly basis to evaluate and support the counsellors in their service to the vic-tims of AIDS.
Great success of the festival “Music against AIDS”
In Sarh, the first of December of each year is dedicated to the battle against AIDS. Musicians are the promoters of this activity. The festival, organized by Radio Lotiko of Sarh and by several health organizations, animates the town for an entire week. Every day there are concerts and gatherings centred on the war against AIDS. The theme for this year was, “solidarity with all the victims of AIDS.” Many associations of HIV positive people took part in the activities of the week to help people un-derstand the reality of the life and struggle of the victims.
About 1500 people attended the festival each day. It was a great suc-cess for the organizers.
Radio Lotiko spreads… to the entire diocese of Sarh
Finally, after many attempts, the Akyto commission for communica-tions in Chad has given to Radio Lotiko of the diocese of Sarh a new fre-quency. The new equipment will be set up in Kourma at the end of January. The new transmitter, that relays the signal of the central station in Sarh, will allow the radio to reach even the farthest areas of the dio-cese where people have been complaining that they were not getting the famous radio that “wakes you up (Lotiko in the Sar language means, “daylight is here – wake up”).
Together with the joy of the local people, we are left with the problem of financing this radio that champions the cause and the rights of the poor. We launch an appeal to all those who can give us something to keep alive this radio, which the people call “the voice of the voiceless.”
IN PACE CHRISTI
Fr. Alfonso Polacchini (28.02.1927 – 25.12.2003)
He joined the Comboni Missionaries immediately after ordination in Modena in 1950. He would have liked to join as a seminarian, but an uncle, who was a priest, wanted him to finish his studies in the diocesan seminary, because he felt that the missionary vocation needed to be pondered very deeply. His brother, the diocesan priest Don Tonino, says: “We don’t know how he got his missionary vocation, but we re-member that the Comboni Missionaries used to visit the seminary and speak of their missions in Africa.”
After his religious profession in 1952, he left immediately for South Sudan. His parents suffered a lot over his departure, but Fr. Alfonso was so certain of his call that he could comfort everybody.
Having been expelled from Sudan in 1963, together with all the other missionaries because of the persecution waged by the Arabs, he worked in mission promotion in Italy. In 1967 the doors of Africa opened again and he was sent to the CAR where he could assist the Sudanese refu-gees who had had to leave their own country. He stayed there until 1972, when he returned to Italy. In 1981 he was finally able to return to South Sudan, in the areas that had been snatched from the clutches of Khartoum.
When his health began to fail, he went to Kenya, but always as a member of the province of South Sudan. In early September 2003, due to his deteriorating health with malaria attacks and haemorrhaging ul-cers, he was taken to Italy. He went straight to the hospital in Negrar for further tests. On Christmas morning, 25 December 2003, he peacefully died in his sleep.
Fr. Alfonso was a man of prayer, always with a rosary in his hand, and was the confessor of many missionaries and of many Christians who treasured his ministry and his advice.
Rightly his confreres called him the “restorer of souls” that had been wounded by sin. He was also a man of great mercy, forgiveness and charity: you could take everything away from him and he was still happy. When he was in Raga, Sudan, he would sit under a tree and people would stop to talk to him. Many years later, he is the only missionary people still remember.
Fr. Giovanni Battista Zanardi, who was his parish priest, says of him: “He had a very meek, friendly, peaceful and cordial character. He knew the local language well. This allowed him to converse with them without difficulty. In his humility he tended to agree with others, because he thought they knew more. He detested controversy and always accepted the decisions of his superiors, thus showing his obedience and his avail-ability to help. In Raga the war displaced twenty-five thousand people and Fr. Alfonso worried about them and helped them in every possible way.”
From the material point of view, he never did great things, never had new ideas, but he loved the Africans up to being ready to die for them. He also loved his confreres. Among his paper they found note books where he wrote the dates of birthdays and name days of the confreres with whom he had worked and of superiors. He wanted to remember them with a card and a prayer.
He was a committed evangeliser: he loved to visit the villages and re-joiced when he saw that, despite the difficulties of war and hunger, peo-ple were growing in faith. Even though he had been away from Raga for years, people still remember him for his goodness and because he al-ways had a good word for everybody.
His last words were: “I love the Church, the Institute, the Africans… When will I get back there?” Now he rests in the cemetery of Crevalcore, his birthplace. (Fr. Lorenzo Gaiga, mccj)
Fr. Giuseppe Galeotti (07.10.1921 – 28.12.2003)
Fr. Giuseppe Galeotti had returned to Italy from South Africa on Sep-tember 1982 due to health problems. He was assigned to Pesaro where he stayed for his last 20 years, being the treasurer first and later the vice superior. In 1996, due to serious health problems, he underwent surgery in Pesaro. Later he was moved to Milan, where he underwent further surgery. He was able to return to Pesaro only in September 2003. Since then, his health had never been good.
On Christmas day 2003 he was feeling all right and had gone to say Mass at a Sisters’ community; he then had dinner with his nephews and returned home happy and apparently in good health. On 27 December, however, he began to feel sick and deteriorated during the day. The doctor was called and in the morning of 28 December he was taken to the hospital of Pesaro where he unexpectedly died of kidney failure and respiratory difficulties at 10:00 pm.
The funeral was held in the parish church of San Luigi, where our house is located. Fr. Teresino Serra, Superior General, was the main celebrant, assisted by Fr. Francesco Antonini and by the administrator of the diocese of Pesaro, Mgr. Romano Morini. Beside 18 Comboni Mis-sionaries, also 20 diocesan priests concelebrated. The young people who were taking part in the GIM’s end of the year gathering in Pesaro also attended. Following the Mass, the body was taken to his home town of Urbania, diocese of Urbino.
Fr. Giuseppe was born in Urbania on 7 October 1921. At age 13, in 1934, he entered the local seminary and then moved to the seminary of Fano in 1939. In 1942, because of the war, he returned to Urbino where he started his theology. At that time his missionary vocation was begin-ning to take shape, helped also by the visits of Fr. Arnaldo Violini, Fr. Tito Tempestini and Fr. Alfredo Paolucci. Thus in October 1945 he en-tered the Comboni novitiate of Florence. He finished his theology in Fi-esole. He was ordained a priest in Urbino on 29 June 1947, and the next day he said his first Mass in the Comboni seminary of Pesaro.
He was first assigned to Florence as treasurer. The following year he was moved to Pesaro to do mission promotion. On 1 September 1951, he set off from Venice destined to the missions in Uganda from where he returned 21 years later, on 2 April 1978. After a time in Pesaro as treasurer, he left again for Africa, this time destined to South Africa, on 25 January 1981. He stayed there less than two years and, for reasons of health, he returned definitively to Italy on 6 September 1982.
It is not difficult to know the personality of Fr. Giuseppe, because he himself left us personal notes on his life, his family, and his missionary work. It is also easy to interpret his life, because, even in the silence of death, one can perceive the presence of a person who lived the time al-lotted by God with a strong self-image and with faithfulness to what he perceived as the will of God for him. His notes highlight the ties he al-ways maintained with his family, with the diocese of Urbania-Urbino, with the Institute and with the Christian communities of Africa where he performed his ministry. All “to the greater glory of God.”
Fr. Giuseppe ended his notes with these words: “In Pesaro I found charity and understanding. I live waiting the day of blessed hope and of the Advent of the Lord. I am grateful for the love of many people!” (Fr. Pietro Bracelli, mccj)
Let us pay for the deceased
THE FATHER: Guido of Fr. Lino Spezia (I).
THE MOTHER: Rita of Fr. Mauro Serragli (I); Antonia of Fr. Lorenzo Schiavon (I); Christine Passiondji of the Sc. Wilfried Mette (CA).
THE BROTHER: Don Agostino of Fr. Giovanni Fortuna (I) and Fr. Gi-rolamo Fortuna (KH); Roberto of Fr. Antonio La Braca (SS); Gino of Bro. Antonio Schiavon († 2001); Giuseppe of Bro. Luigi Salbego (CA).
THE SISTER: Regina of Fr. Tarcisio Marin (PE); Luigia of Bro. Alessandro Pelucchi (I); Elisa of Fr. Benito Giuseppe Cruciani (EG).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Eva Sala; Sr. Donata Mangili.