COMBONI SAINT 5 October 2003
XVI General Chapter
The General Superior and his Assistants General, elected on 26-27 September by the XVI General Chapter, thank the communities and confreres for their congratulations, prayers and expressions of solidarity.
Fr. Teresino Serra (Italy), superior general
Fr. Fabio Carlo Baldan (Italy), vicar general
Fr. Odelir José Magri (Brazil), assistant general
Fr. Tesfamariam Ghebrecristos Weldeghebriel (Eritrea),
Br. Romero Arias Hernán (Perú), assistant general
The XVI General Chapter, which you should have managed to follow day by day through the news sent by those responsible of the Chapter press office, will have been ended by the time this issue of Familia Comboniana reaches your community. We are all getting ready to welcome with joy the Chapter Acts, to cooperate with the new General Council and to continue to walk with our Founder on the journey of mission.
Canonisation of Blessed Daniel Comboni
The Canonisation of Blessed Daniel Comboni is now near and its preparation is going along as planned. We are expecting about 8000 pilgrims from outside Rome.
Letter on the Canonisation of Daniel Comboni
The letter of the three General Councils of the Comboni Institutes, prepared on the occasion of the canonisation of the Founder Daniel Comboni, has been sent to all the provinces, delegations and some communities. We ask those responsible to make a copy of the letter available to each confrere of their province, delegation and community.
Extra copies in the various languages (Italian, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish) are with the secretary general and are available for anyone wishing more copies. Just ask for them.
Seminar at Brixen
With the support of the autonomous region of Trentino Alto Adige and Brixen municipality, the University College Don Nicola Mazza of Padova has organised (19-22 August 2003) a seminar on John Chrysostom Mitterrutzner to celebrate the centenary of his death. Two of our confreres gave inputs: Fr. Michele Sardella (Comboni and Mitterrutzner: witnesses of the Gospel of Hope at the service of Central Africa) and Fr. Romeo Ballan (Tirolese missionaries in the world: Fr. Riedl). The coordinator of the seminar was professor Giampaolo Romanato from the University of Padova.
Renewal Course (Rome) 2004
The Renewal Course, which is held every year from January to May in the Generalate in Rome (Eur), is suspended for the year 2004. The reason is that Fr. Carmelo Casile has been appointed novice master at Venegono (Italy).
Annuario Comboniano 2004
We wish to thank all the provincials, delegates and all other confreres who have sent or handed in to the secretary general photos and corrections for the Annuario 2004. We trust that all others concerned will also do so as soon as possible.
Again we remind all that corrections to the Annuario will be accepted up to the end of January 2004. It is important to notify the secretary general immediately of any change or new information.
Fr. Carmelo Casile has been appointed novice master in Venegono (Italy) from 17 September 2003.
Fr. Chwaliszewski Wojciech (PO) Pakośé (PL) 26.07.2003
Fr. Torres Cuyubamba Noé Abel (PE) Tarma (PE) 06.09.2003
Fr. Merletto Matteo (I) Venegono (I) 27.09.2003
The first Comboni priest of Bicol Region, Philippines
On Thursday 31 July 2003, in the Holy Family Parish, San Juan, Bato, Camarines Sur, took place the priestly ordination of Marnecio Coralde Cuarteros. Thousands of people packed the church. The celebration had a very distinct missionary flavour because of the presence of local communities, Marnecio’s friends, colleagues and relatives, clergy, religious and confreres. Several foreign guests also graced it.
The celebration was preceded by intense preparation. For a month, the parish priest with Marnecio and a diocesan deacon, animated the different neighbourhoods of the parish. Likewise, for a week Fr. Joseph Aldrin Janito Pálacios and Fr. David Edgardo Farfán Guerrero were animating schools and universities, making the Comboni Missionaries known in this more than four-hundred years old local Church – the archdiocese of Caceres in Bicol region.
The day of ordination was a colourful and solemn occasion. It started with a solemn procession moving towards the church and led by a university band, followed by a motorcade welcoming the ordaining archbishop Mgr. Leonardo Legaspi, O.P. Schools nearby were on holiday. Teachers and students took part in the celebration waving small flags. The Caceres choir led the people in the singing that enlivened the liturgy. The festive atmosphere and the ingenuity of the Filipino people, with the roasted piglets at the fellowship meal, the display of hot balloons and fireworks in the night, expressed their joy of having a new priest and their gratefulness to God for the gift of vocation to the Church.
Fr. Marnecio’s first assignment is that of vocation promoter in the Philippines.
On 23 August there was the ordination to the priesthood of the first Comboni confrere from Chorillos, an area where the Comboni Missionaries have been working for over the past thirty years. P. Carlos Alberto Malásquez Quispe has known the Comboni Missionaries for a long time, since, that is, when still a boy he came in contact with the Christian community that saw him grow up. Thanks to the witness of the fathers and scholastics working in the pastoral field, he asked himself whether God wasn’t calling him to consecrate his life to missionary work. Taking part in the work of a parish group, he felt that God was asking him something more, so he entered the Comboni postulancy, going on to the novitiate and concluding his basic formation in the scholasticate of Chicago (USA). After his holidays, he will leave for the delegation of Asia, his first missionary assignment.
Two weeks after this ordination, on 6 September, we went to the beautiful city of Tarma to take part in the priestly ordination of one of its sons, P. Noé Abel Torres Cuyubamba. He too, at the age of about ten, had felt the missionary call and contacted the Comboni Missionaries at Palca to discern what was in his heart. It was a time when he accepted to be open to the action of the Spirit. He completed his basic formation in the scholasticate of Kinshasa and was ordained priest by the bishop of Tarma, Mgr. Richard Alarcón Urrutia, who during the homily thanked him for his answer to God’s invitation.
The Comboni Missionaries had worked in Tarma for over thirty years, so the people remembered with joy and gratitude the witness of many confreres who had dedicated to them part of their lives, including Mgr. Anton Küner. The preparation and participation of the Christian community were extraordinary. The following day Fr. Abel presided at his first Eucharistic celebration in the parish of Palca, where Fr. Hans Hieber remembered with affection the time he had accompanied Abel before he entered the Institute. Fr. Abel has been assigned to the province of Tchad.
On 16 and 17 September the representatives of almost all the communities involved in evangelisation took part in an assembly at provincial level concerning this particular sector. There were over twenty confreres to reflect on the theme “To evangelise as communities”. Fr. Armando Nieto, a famous Peruvian historian, who spoke of the challenges facing the Peruvian Church today, directed the sessions of ongoing formation. It followed a sharing on the situation in the various communities and an answer time to some questions prepared beforehand.
We take this opportunity to offer our best wishes to Fr. Graziadio Mengalli on his 25° anniversary of ordination to the priesthood and to express our communion with the participants to the General Chapter.
IN PACE CHRISTI
Fr. Albino Meneguzzo (29.04.1927 – 05.09.2003)
Fr. Albino Meneguzzo died on 5 September. He was on holiday in Italy since 14 August. While there, he began to feel a light ailment, which he attributed to a digestive problem. He had undergone medical tests in Portugal, before leaving for his hometown, and the results only showed that he had to be careful about his diabetes, from which he had been suffering for the past few years. A week later he felt very ill and was admitted to a clinic in Schio. Diagnosis: heart attack. For a few days he was in intensive care. Following a complete medical check-up he was found to be suffering from a thrombus-phlebitis of the abdomen. He immediately underwent surgery in the attempt of finding the damaged vein, but the operation was not successful. Fr. Albino died at 22.30, shortly after coming out from the operating room. Cause of death: cerebral embolism.
We miss him very much, especially the Lisbon community, where he had practically passed his last thirty years and where he was known for his pleasant character and extraordinary missionary activity.
Fr. Albino was 76 years of age and was born on 29 April 1927 at Isola Vicentina, in the diocese of Vicenza.
He had arrived in Portugal in 1954, immediately after his priestly ordination, which took place on 12 June 1954. He was then 27 years of age. Sent to Viseu, he taught mathematics to the seminarians and cooperated in missionary animation for four years. In 1958 the Comboni missionaries bought an estate called “Quinta dos Leões” in Catassol (Maia). Fr. Albino became the first superior of the philosophy students and started the work of missionary animation in Porto area. He was the first to do mission appeals in Portugal.
Two years later, in 1960, Fr. Albino left for Mozambique, where he worked for almost thirteen years, almost all of them in the vast Nampula Diocese. He was at first in the difficult and unexplored mission of Mossuril on the Indian ocean, an area under Islamic influence, and later in Netia, in the interior. Fr. Albino was an excellent hunter and often spoke how he used to provide meat for his mission schools and confreres from other missions by hunting wild game.
Fr. Albino returned to Portugal in 1973. He was always a member of the Lisbon community, except for the year of 1977, when he accepted to collaborate to open a new community in Aveiro (closed down two years later). The times were hard and Fr. Albino dedicated himself to missionary animation in the Lisbon region, but also in the Azores, Madeira and in the Algarve, especially during the summer holidays, in order to collect funds for his community and the confreres in the missions. A diplomat by nature and gifted with an extraordinary pleasant character, he made a good impression on those who came to know him, made many friends and collaborators, and assisted a number of young people to become missionaries. In his last years, sensing that his strength was leaving him, he dedicated himself more to local ministry, celebrating funerals and helping in the nearby parishes. (P. José António Mendes Rebelo)
Fr. Franz Xaver Kieferle (06.12.1919 - 10.09.2003)
Fr. Franz Xaver Kieferle was born on 6 December 1919 in Mengen, a small town in the diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart (state of Baden-Württemberg). He came from a very large and devout family, the eighth of nine siblings. The parish priest stated that “his family was very devout, church-going and enjoyed a very good reputation.” Thus Fr. Franz grew up in a deeply Catholic environment. After the first years of primary school, his parents sent him to St. Joseph’s, a diocesan boys‘ boarding school, where he stayed for just one year. He soon moved to the minor seminary of the Comboni Missionaries in Ellwangen. His formator at the diocesan boarding school, Fr. Spindler, wrote about him: “Franz Kieferle was a pupil of our school from April 1932 to 1933. His spiritual life was good; his behaviour improved in community spirit towards his fellow students; he was loyal to his superiors. From his behaviour he seems to be fit for religious and missionary life.”
At that time the students of our minor seminaries (they were also called apostolic schools) usually did not complete matric, and so in 1936 Franz went to Bamberg for the novitiate and in 1938 made his first profession. In Bamberg he also started his philosophical and theological studies at the local theological faculty. However, like many others of his confreres, in 1940 he was drafted into the Army Medical Corp. His younger brother, Alfons, was just about to enter the novitiate, when he was also drafted. While Alfons fell in action, Franz survived the five-year war and another four-years as a prisoner-of-war in Russia. His vocation survived in spite of all these difficulties. When he came back from Russia in 1949, he continued his studies. On 29 July 1951 he was ordained priest in the cathedral of Bamberg.
From 1952 until 1958 he was prefect in our minor seminary in Bad Mergentheim and the following two years in Unterpremstätten, near Graz. In those days the young priests were given tasks they had not been trained for, but P. Franz set to work with all his good will. He had a fiery character and at times he acted on the spur of the moment. This became a trademark of his, though he was basically a kind person. He was honest with himself and whenever his impulsiveness went too far, he apologised. As the boys’ prefect he insisted very much on discipline. He wanted to help them to become people who one day would have to prove their worth.
In 1959 he was sent to Spain. Until 1967 he was the superior of the new minor seminary in Saldaña. When he arrived there, the school did not exist yet - it still had to be built. The construction was started in 1960. He had two challenges to tackle: to learn Spanish and to look after the construction work. Full of energy, he threw himself into this work and, in his fiery way, managed to complete it. The first-year students were taught in the seminary, but afterwards they attended public schools. So teachers had to be found and employed to teach the first-year students. With his ability to make contacts, he found the teachers he needed and managed to negotiate successfully with the town and government offices.
In 1967 he became the superior of the community of Palencia. In 1969 the new house in Palencia was started, and the General Council had asked Fr. Franz to see that things were running smoothly. In the heat of the moment he tended to take sudden decisions and the Superior General had to slow him down. Three years later, the first Spanish novices moved into the house. During the time he spent in Spain, he came to know many of the students. In later years he worked with some of them who had by now become priests and Brothers.
At the age of 50 he went to work in the missions of Perú. One has to admire his courage. He set immediately to work. He became parish priest at San Pedro in Huánuco and dedicated himself to pastoral work, carrying on the soup-kitchen service for the street children, assisting prayer groups, working with the Cursillo groups and training people for catechetical work. In these things he put all his energy and did not spare himself at all. The then Superior General, Fr. Georg Klose, wrote to him on 14 December 1976: “I am happy that many people speak well about your work in Huánuco. Even though your zeal is praiseworthy, you must not disregard your health. I am sure that one can better serve God and the people for a longer time through proper planning, rather than through blind zeal and damage to one’s health.” After eight years in Huánuco he was called to the parish Pius X in Mirones, Lima, for pastoral work. Also here it was difficult to slow him down in his work. Meanwhile people from Huánuco collected signatures to have him back. This shows how popular he was among them. He felt at ease with all kinds of people. When his forces started to decrease, he became the chaplain of the Sisters at the college Maria Goretti in Lima for a number of years.
For health reasons, in 1997 he returned to Germany after 27 years of pastoral work in Perú. For the past six years he was looked after with love in the community of the sick and elderly in Ellwangen. May the Lord grant him life eternal as reward for his missionary life. (Fr. Georg Klose)
Let us pray for our deceased confreres
THE FATHER: Lucio of Sc. Bojórguez Sandoval Rubén (M).
THE MOTHER: of Fr. Otiéno Onesmas Godfrey (C); of Fr. Luigi Falone (I).
THE BROTHER: Mario of Fr. Jaime Rodríguez Salazar (PE); Giovanni of Fr. Renzo Pallaro (PE).
THE SISTER: Emilia of Bro. Linus Mischi (C); Mathunine of Fr. Jonas Beka Tita Oléma-Mbéko (KE); Gina of Fr. Bruno Marcabruni (I).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Pia Eugenia Cappai; Sr. Maria Rosaria Cicala.