Buon Natale e
Felice Anno Nuovo
Merry Christmas and
a Happy New Year
Joyeux Noël et
Heureuse Nouvelle Année
Feliz Navidad y
Prospero Año Nuevo
Bom Natal e
Feliz Ano Novo
Ein gnadenreiches Weihnachtsfest und
ein gesegnetes, gesundes Neues Jahr
Consulta and activities of the General Council (GC)
The GC started its Consulta on 18 November with a meeting of the secretaries of the general secretariats. Currently, the GC is acquainting itself with the various provinces and delegations by analyzing with care the minutes of the provincial and delegation council meetings received before and after the General Chapter.
The Consulta will continue meeting until the beginning of January 2004 in order to come up with a programme and a plan of action. At the same time the GC is involved in various activities and celebrations of the post-canonisation.
With regard to personnel (admission to vows and rotation) this Con-sulta will only deal with urgent cases. Other decisions will be taken next March.
Letter on the canonisation
Copies in all languages (English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish) of the letter of the three General Councils of the Comboni Insti-tutes, written on the occasion of the canonisation of St. Daniel Comboni, are still available in the office of the secretary general for anyone who might request them. Perhaps some of our friends and benefactors may want to have one.
Sc. Calero Santos Elvis Robert (PE) Huánuco (PE) 11.01.2003
Bro. Dessu Yisrashe Banksra (KE) Attat (ET) 10.26.2003
Sc. Foncillas Bernáldez José Luis (E) Lima (PE) 11.18.2003
Sc. Matthew Remijo Adam Gbitiku (KH) Lima (PE) 11.18.2003
Sc. Mchota Ernest Joseph (MZ) Lima (PE) 11.18.2003
Sc. Melese Tumato Shulla (ET) Lima (PE) 11.18.2003
Sc. Paolino Tipo Deng Amayldh (KH) Lima (PE) 11.18.2003
Sc. Somanje John Paul (MZ) Lima (PE) 11.18.2003
Fr. Mitchell Sandoval Nelson Edgar (PE) Mulchén (CHILE) 11.08.2003
Fr. González Rodríguez Armando (M) Morelia (MEX) 11.15.2003
“Comboni em Nós” - CD with 13 songs on St. Daniel Comboni. Author: Fr. Paulo Emanuel Loureiro da Silva. Price: € 5,00.
“Escritos” - Portuguese translation of the Writings of St. Daniel Comboni, 2362 pages. Price: € 40,00.
Those who wish to have copies of the CD or of the Writings, may request them from Editorial Além-Mar, Lisbon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Paolo Baldiserotto, Un uomo senza frontiere, EMI 2003, 96 pp., € 8,00.
Celebrating with St. Daniel Comboni
The event of the canonisation of Comboni has been an occasion to make the presence of the Comboni Missionaries better felt in the Philippines and in the local Church. From the beginning our wish was that of becoming, through these celebrations, a sign of blessing for others.
We had several events of which two deserve a special mention. In August we held an all night Missionary Youth Vigil with around 700 young people who gathered for prayer, reflection on the mission of the Church in the world and the celebration of the Eucharist. The event was graced by the presence of the Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, Mgr. Socrates Villegas.
The second event took place on 17 November, when we had a thanksgiving celebration in the cathedral of Manila together with the SVD missionaries and the SSpS Sisters, the spiritual children of St. Ar-nold Janssen and companions of St. Joseph Freinademetz. During the celebration it was underlined the relationship between Comboni and Janssen and the call for the Church to be always open to the mission. Africa was especially present and represented by a group of Africans who brought the Word of God in procession before the proclamation of the Gospel to the delight of all the participants.
We will close the Comboni Year on 7 December with the yearly gath-ering of the Friends of the Mission to celebrate Christmas and to give thanks to the Lord for the gift of the missionary vocation and of the ex-ample of the great new missionary saint.
The Parish of Guriri
On 2 January 2000, Mgr. Aldo Gerna of São Mateus, ES, opened the new outstation of Guriri, dedicated to St. Daniel Comboni. On 16 March 2003, it became a parish. The first parish priest is the Comboni Mission-ary Fr. Martinho Lopes Moura. The parish territory includes the island of Guriri and the surrounding area from Pedra D’Água to Urussuquara, till the border with the municipality of Linhares.
The island of Guriri, about 100 sqkm, surrounded on one side by the rivers Cricaré and Mariricu and by the sea on the other, is rich in mineral salt and natural gas. The sea and the rivers abound with fish. Most peo-ple live by fishing and agriculture. Cattle is raised on a few estates. Tourism, especially during the Carnival, is the main source of income for the close to eight thousand inhabitants of the island.
The parish has 22 Catholic communities, half on the island and half on the mainland. The majority of the population is of African or indigenous origin, while another segment is made up of descendants of European and Japanese immigrants.
Most of the communities are poor and small and most of the pastoral work is devoted to them, except for the summer when care is extended to the tourists who crowd the churches of the island.
The city of São Mateus dumps its garbage in the Barrio Liberdade, where there is no drinking water and people live in shacks. Most people there and from surrounding neighborhoods survive by salvaging and selling anything that has any monetary value.
Due to the prevailing poverty and the poor health and hygiene condi-tions, various diseases such as TB and several intestinal infections are endemic. Drugs addiction and alcoholism are two terrible plagues.
The House “Vida Plena” is the main social activity of the parish. It was opened in 2001 after a long period of awareness programme among the parish community.
It is the charity and hospitality witness of the communities that have taken charge of it. It has its own charter and it has activities of formation and human development through a number of courses; it also helps in solving the most serious problems of the people. It offers a way of get-ting youngsters off the streets and away from many dangers. The activi-ties even influence the families of these adolescents and young folks through family visits and personal counselling.
All these activities are carried out by volunteers who, by God’s grace, are increasing in number. The house survives thanks to free will dona-tions in kind or in cash from a number of friends, and thanks also to the sale, at reduced prices, of artefacts produced there. All the courses are free of charge and, after each class, the participants get a meal; fur-thermore, once a week there is a meal also for the poor of the neighbou-rhood.
History workshop on St. Daniel Comboni
A workshop of Historical Studies on St. Daniel Comboni was held at the end of October.
The workshop had two sessions: one in Rome at the general curia of the Comboni Missionaries (Via L. Lilio, 80) on 24-25 October; the other in Brescia, at the Sacred Heart Catholic University (Via Trieste), on 31 October.
This workshop on Comboni’s Historical Studies was sponsored jointly by the Comboni Missionaries and by the Archives of the History of Edu-cation in Italy (Catholic University).
The meeting brought together many experts: African historians, con-temporaneous scholars, Comboni Missionary Researchers (Romanato, De Giorni, Moretti, Valsecchi, Scaraffia, Chiocchetta, Fidel Gonzalez, Butturini, etc.) They attempted to deepen the understanding of Comboni and his work against the background of the history of black Africa in the 19th century and of how it was perceived in Europe. The Plan for the Regeneration of Africa, written by Comboni, was given particular atten-tion.
The inputs given in the workshop will be given to EMI for publication.
The special missionary experience of Daniel Comboni, with its peculiar intercultural communications in a pluralistic religious context, marked also by the difficult relationships between Islam and Christianity, seems to be of great interest to our sensitivity and is very relevant today. At the time some specific challenges came to the surface (relations between poverty and wealth, evangelisation and imperial sovereignty, Christian liberation and slavery, “strong” cultures and “weak” cultures), challenges that are still today, albeit in a different historical context, the most rele-vant issues in the relations between the Western World and Africa and in the local development of African Christianity.
Hope is kept alive in the midst of tragedy
In the wake of the canonisation of our Founder, the province had invited Fr. Sebhatleab Ayele Semma, a Comboni Missionary from Eritrea and working in Uganda, to come as an African confrere and missionary to the DSP. He was to relate, from the viewpoint of an African and a missionary, the situation in Northern Uganda and the Church’s response to it.
Fr. Sebhat visited all our communities, meeting all kinds of people: confreres, our friends, nuns and priests, activists of JPIC groups, politicians and journalists. The information on the terrible situation created by the LRA-rebels was truly shocking. Most of the people had never re-ceived such remarkable firsthand information about it. Fr. Sebhat was able to relate about the Church's respond to it by attempting to create a culture of peace. He spoke of the efforts not only of local Church lead-ers, but also of our confreres in Northern Uganda who are trying to keep the peace talks with the LRA going.
Fr. Sebhat related as well the challenge of rehabilitating the child-soldiers and their need of psychological treatment. In addition, he told the audience about the petition of the local Church leaders of various denominations delivered to the UN for having a peacekeeping force. Fi-nally, he asked his listeners to find ways of supporting the suffering peo-ple of Northern Uganda.
For us the encounter with Fr. Sebhat was a very encouraging experience. We were glad and grateful to have invited him and that he had made himself available for such a "mission". Our thanks go to him and to the province of Uganda.
Letters of petition
One first result of the visit of Fr. Sebhatleab Ayele was a letter of peti-tion directed to the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joschka Fischer, in which the petitioners ask for support of the initiative of the Church leaders of Northern Uganda to have an international peace keeping force in the area in order to end the suffering and the killing of the local people. The action, terminating at the end of October, was an over-whelming event. Also our confreres of South Tyrol and the people of the House of Solidarity (housed in our former seminary at Brixen-Milland) took up the issue, starting themselves a similar action. Even in Austria our confreres, in collaboration with Missio Styria, are considering the possibility of sending the government a similar letter of petition.
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder…
During the last six months or so, five artists very willingly have tried to express on canvas and on other material their perception of St. Daniel Comboni and of his relevance today. Among these artists we counted Fr. Sieger Köder, a diocesan priest, known to many for his colorful inter-esting paintings containing mainly religious themes. Some of these pic-tures were to be seen at the exhibition at the Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome during the days of the canonisation. As it is with art: some do like a particular style, others don't. However, we are glad that these art-works were donated to us, with the request of using them for meditation and missionary animation. Postcards of some of these artistic works are already available.
In Central Europe the word "canonisation" does not enthuse people everywhere any longer. The more encouraging was the experience that we were able to have during some of our bigger celebrations around the time of the canonisation of Daniel Comboni. There were important guests of honor like professor Josef Sayer, the director of Misereor, or Fr. Sepp Hollweck, sharing in their official talks how they have come to perceive St. Daniel Comboni. In Ellwangen professor Sayer used the chance to underline the importance of Comboni in today's world that faces the challenges of globalization and respect for human rights. Dur-ing the main celebration in the DSP that took place at Bamberg, Fr. Hollweck, provincial superior of the SVD from Bolzen, in an amusing yet fascinating way, presented the contacts between Daniel Comboni and Arnold Janssen who lived in the same period and were canonised to-gether.
The celebrations about St. Daniel Comboni were not only marked by important inputs, but also by an unexpected high turnout of friends and benefactors. All of them, benefactors, artists and guests of honor, have certainly been of great encouragement to us. We are very grateful for all these visible graces which, indeed, are certainly a gift coming from St. Daniel Comboni.
First Mission Symposium
The first “Mission Symposium” was jointly held in Quito on 16-17 Oc-tober by the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) and by the Comboni Fam-ily, in preparation for the solemn Eucharistic celebration of thanksgiving for the canonisation of the Holy Founders of the two Institutes.
The theme of the first day was, “Mission, myth and reality,” and it of-fered a good occasion for the members of the two Institutes to meet. It included a round table discussion attended also by Mgr. Victor Corral of Riobamba, Mgr. Eugenio Arellano Fernández of Esmeraldas and by the director of the PMS of the general secretariat of CELAM.
The second day, open to religious and lay people, had as its theme, “Mission: life source, sign and prophecy.” We worked in groups, reflect-ing on the challenges of mission today, on our mission within the Church, and on where mission could lead us today. We listened to the many proddings of the Auxiliary Bishop of Quito, of Mgr. Arellano, of the assistant general of the SVD and of the president of CER.
Participation exceeded our expectations. It was a good time to reflect and to get to know one another.
On Saturday, 18 October, we had the solemn Eucharistic celebration at which the archbishop was the presider, with the participation of five bishops, the nuncio, 54 priests and civil authorities. It was an occasion of renewed faith, joy and enthusiasm. At the end, the provincial read the message-statement addressed to the Church of Ecuador, to people in religious life and to civil authority. We closed with a dinner for about 700 friends and benefactors of our Institutes.
Celebrations in Esmeraldas
Esmeraldas, too, expressed its affection for Comboni and its thanks to all the Comboni Missionaries (priests, Brothers and Sisters) who have worked and still work in the area. On 22 October, all the students of Catholic and State schools gathered at the “Sagrado Corazón” school to march through the streets of the city, sending out missionary messages of peace. The parade ended in the square in front of the cathedral with words from the bishop.
The following day, all the students attended a solemn Eucharist of thanksgiving. Diplomas were handed out to the communities guides and catechists who have dedicated their lives to the service of the Church and its communities for at least 15 years. A good example of service, especially for the younger generation, was given by a couple that has served for over 50 years.
At the end, the provincial gave out the awards to the winners of the contest of a book that was given to the students at various class levels to read. Thanks to this celebration, over 9000 students in the province have read or otherwise come to know the life of St. Daniel Comboni.
Celebrations in Guayaquil
In Guayaquil, on Saturday, 25 October, we joined forces with the SVD and the Missionaries of Mother Teresa to celebrate a Mass of thanksgiv-ing for the canonisation and beatification of our founders.
The new archbishop presided over the Eucharist in a packed cathe-dral. The ceremony was rich in meaning, symbols, Afro songs and Asian dances.
First CD and new Afro Agenda
The Comboni Brothers engaged in the “Meaningful Project” of Guayaquil have just published their first CD of Afro music, done totally by them and titled, “Vamos a sacar al pueblo adelante,” their first contri-bution to the effort of preserving the Afro memory and soul in Guayaquil. They have also prepared and published the first four leaflets on the readings of some Gospel passages from an Afro perspective. Those who wish, may request copies directly from the Brothers.
The Afro Cultural Centre of Quito has just published a 2004 Agenda. Notes on Afro-Ecuadorian ethnic tourism, make it a useful publication for a better knowledge of places, traditions and Afro culture.
Pilgrimage for the canonisation
A group of 39 pilgrims left Egypt, including the Copto-Catholic Patri-arch, cardinal Stephanòs II Ghattàs, eight other bishops of various rites, the rector of the seminary, the director of the Theological Institute and the director of the Italian Hospital. In Rome, they were joined by 20 more people, among them several Comboni Sisters who work in Egypt and were on vacation in Italy. The leaders of the tour were the superior of the delegation and the provincial of the sisters.
Following the canonisation ceremonies in Rome and a brief tour of the city, the group moved to Limone where a Mass was celebrated in the home of the new Saint. The group then journeyed to Verona to visit the Comboni sites and the two motherhouses, concluding with a Mass cele-brated in the chapel of “St. Daniel Comboni”. All the participants re-turned home with a new missionary enthusiasm.
Antoinette Rabat, a Comboni Secular Missionary (CSM)
Antoinette had left for Rome with all the other pilgrims with great faith and joy and had taken part in all the celebrations of 5 October. The fol-lowing morning she was suddenly called to join her beloved Saint in Heaven.
She was 78 and had joined the Institute about 30 years ago on the suggestion of the late Fr. Giovanni Minoli. She was the only CSM left in Egypt. She had always given of her free time to works of charity and, af-ter retirement, she had become directly involved in pastoral work under the direction of the Coptic-Catholic bishop of Ghiza. She started the kin-dergarten and a women education school first in the parish of Imbaba on the outskirts of the city, and then in Oussim.
She always took part in all the Comboni celebrations and, on Fridays, she attended the adoration in the Comboni church of “Cordi Jesu.” She was always ready to help even in community needs, especially with the Comboni Sisters of the National Seminary.
For these reasons, on Saturday, 15 November, the Coptic-Catholic patriarch and the bishop of Ghiza celebrated a solemn funeral Mass in the chapel of the seminary. Many Comboni Sisters and sisters of other Institutes, lay people and representatives of the two parishes where she had worked attended. Present also was her twin sister Mary, who came from America with one of her sons.
Antoinette has left a grateful memory in the Church in Egypt and in the Comboni Family. She was buried in the cemetery of Carraia, Lucca, near the headquarters of her Institute.
Comboni Day in the Basilica of Héliopolis
On Sunday, 16 November, the canonisation of San Daniel Comboni was celebrated in the large Basilica of Our Lady in Héliopolis with two Masses, one in Arabic, with the homily given by an Egyptian Comboni Sister, and one in French. The Sudanese choir of Sakakini gave an Afri-can flavour to the celebration.
Secondary school for Sudanese
At the end of October the first class of the long awaited secondary school for young Sudanese was opened in rooms kindly made available by the parish of St. Mark in Shoubra, run by the Missionaries for Africa of Lyons (SMA). It has 30 students and six teachers, all of them Suda-nese. The school is part of the school system for Sudanese run by the Comboni Missionaries.
Bishop Armido Gasparini turns 90 – a life for Ethiopia
On 18 August, the members of the Comboni Family and the Hand-maids of the Church (a diocesan religious Institute founded by Mgr. Ar-mido Gasparini) gathered to celebrate his 90th birthday. A solemn thanksgiving concelebration and dinner, truly Ethiopic in flavour, were the highlights of the feast.
It was a good occasion to remind us that Mgr. Gasparini has spent his entire priestly life in the province, first in Eritrea and then in Ethiopia, ex-cept for 12 years of rotation in Italy. He began his missionary activity in 1938 in the Apostolic Prefecture of Gonder. After his expulsion from Gonder he went to Asmara where he founded and directed the Comboni College. He then returned to Ethiopia first as Apostolic Prefect and then Apostolic Vicar of Awasa. He retired in 1994 and has been living since with the Handmaids of the Church. Ceaseless prayer, service to the sis-ters, language studies and his love for this country keep him in surpris-ingly youthful and jovial spirits.
Perpetual vows of Bro. Dessu Ysrashe Banksra
The canonisation of our Founder, St. Daniel Comboni, gave the oppor-tunity to make people aware of his life in all our missions, and in several other parishes in Ethiopia as well. At the end of November two Masses of thanksgiving were celebrated, one in the cathedral of Awasa with the participation of all the provinces of the Vicariate and one in the cathedral of Adis Ababa, at which representatives from the various parishes in the city were invited.
The most touching celebration, however, was the one held in Atat where, on 26 October Bro. Dessu Ysrashe Banksra made his perpetual profession, in his home parish church, surrounded by a large crowd. The consecration to mission for life of Bro. Dessu recalled in a very concrete way to his people both the ideal of Comboni and his methodology of the “regeneration of Africa by Africa.” The Comboni Missionaries, young and old, who attended, were a sign of the vitality of the charism.
A few days after his profession, Bro. Dessu, strengthened in his mis-sionary resolve by the witness of love and faith of his parish community, returned to Kenya to resume his activities of mission promotion.
An opening among the Gumuz: a Comboni Missionaries’ dream
On 6 August 2003, feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, the prov-ince officially announced the beginning of our presence among the Gu-muz during a Mass concelebrated by Fr. Giacomo Bellini and attended by Bro. Fernando Acedo García and two Comboni Sisters. After the Mass, the provincial greeted the confreres and handed over to them the charge of building the first Comboni residence, a small house in the Ethiopian style, made of poles plastered in mud and with a corrugated tin roof. The new mission is dedicated to St. Daniel Comboni, and placed under the protection of Our Lady. The evangelical simplicity of its beginnings augurs well for a future of development and of abundant fruits. For the time being, all that we have consists on a plot of land for the new foundation, lots of enthusiasm, a great heart and strong arms to handle the few tools needed for this first building.
The mission is located in Gilgel Beles, the centre of the Metekel Zone in the federal State of Benishangul-Gumuz. The town is situated 535 Km North-West of Adis Ababa, a day’s journey and 160 Km from the Su-dan’s border. It is easier to place this town by saying that it is 50 Km West of Chagni, which is shown on the maps of Ethiopia.
We had attempted the evangelization of the Gumuz when we had been entrusted the Apostolic Prefecture of Gondar, in 1937. At that time, under the leadership of Mgr. Villa, Prefect Apostolic, we had opened 9 missions and a minor seminary. It all came to an end with our expulsion from Gonder in 1942. During the time when we returned to care for the mission of Gonder (1966-1980) attempts to evangelization among the Gumuz were interrupted by the coming to power of the Derg. After two years of studies and preparation, it seems now the best time to get started. The insistence of the Apostolic Nuncio and of the archbishop of Addis Ababa empowered us to take a decision: “It’s either now or never. Either the Comboni Missionaries have a go at it or no one else will.” This opening is another fruit of the Comboni Year, perhaps a miracle of Comboni’s love for Africa, and a sign of its vitality in the province.
Maqbasa Qorke, a school for the children
The blessing of the permanent buildings of the school in Maqbasa Qorke, a little school connected to the central school of Tullo, which takes the place of mud and poles, is the last sign of our involvement in the educational effort in the Vicariate of Awasa. The opening was made solemn by the blessing ceremony conducted by Fr. Giuseppe De Tomaso and by the presence of the local authorities, who very much appreciate the structure. The 400 students lent a festive air to the occa-sion. The new building, so much desired by Fr. Giacomo Bellini, was fi-nanced by “Aiutare I Bambini,” a foundation that sent to us Enea, a TV technician, and Nadra, a consultant of the organisation. Thanks to them, the foundation produced a very beautiful video by the title of “Maqbasa Qorke, a school for the children,” which tells the story of the Sidamo and of our work among them.
We must not forget the building of the school of Sintaro (Tullo) and the advancement of the school of Teticcha from technical to middle school. And… let us continue to walk with the people!
Prize in memory of Fr. Mario Mantovani
On 31 October, at the Cultural Centre of Orzinuovi, the mayor Am-brogio Paiardi awarded the prize Golden St. George to the memory of Fr. Mario Mantovani, “a citizen of ours who distinguished himself in the social and cultural fields” and who completed “with martyrdom a life given to the propagation of the faith and as a benefactor of thousands of Ugandans, including the young man who murdered him.”
A chapel for our deceased confreres in Cormano
In the cemetery of Milan we never had a place where to bury our de-ceased confreres. After many fruitless attempts on our part, the mayor of Cormano has come to our assistance, by deciding that a chapel for our deceased missionaries be built at the centre of the community’s ceme-tery at the end of the central boulevard. The new chapel, with 24 places, was blessed on 2 November, in the course of a concelebration presided over by the provincial and attended by the mayor, many confreres and many of the faithful. Many of the participants noted the great meaning of this place where the human remains of men who lived for the propaga-tion of the Gospel will rest. It will be for all a reminder of the ideals of brotherhood and solidarity, namely a place of mission promotion.
An invitation to the Italian confreres
The Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) has officially announced the call of the National Missionary Congress of the Italian Church to be held in Montesilvano (Pescara) on 27-30 September 2004. It will have as a main title: “Communion and Co-responsibility for Mission.” The focus will be on the parish, that it may be a centre of communion and mission.
In preparation for the Congress, The National Office for the Coopera-tion among Churches asks for the cooperation of the Institutes ad gentes and asks missionaries in the field to send to the director news of some special experience that will tell a story of faith in their Christian communities and the concrete ways they find to build communion espe-cially in places of first evangelization.
We invite the Italian confreres who are in the missions to send in their experiences to: Msgr. Giuseppe Andreozzi - Circonvallazione Aurelia, 50 - 00165 Roma - Fax 06/679-6231 - E-mail: email@example.com. It is a great occasion to resonate with the Church from which they left, for speaking in a fraternal way and for enriching it with the Gifts of the Churches born of the evangelization effort of our Institute.
Communication from the registry office of the Mother House
We have received various complaints from civil authorities for failure to report the death of confreres in the missions. Lack of registration causes many difficulties especially if there are heirs, but also at elections time and for any inquiry by tax authorities.
In order to update the data in the municipalities of residence of origin, we ask all the provincials and delegates to get in touch with the em-bassy to ensure that it has passed on to the municipality of last resi-dence the news of the death of the confrere.
If this last place of residence is different from the town/city of origin, it will be up to the municipality of last residence, having been notified by the embassy, to pass the death notice to the municipality of origin.
We remind you that the authorities do not accept and do not recognize the death certificate, or copy of the same, that we give them, but take action only after they have received the information from the embassy.
We kindly and earnestly invite once more the provincials and dele-gates to ascertain that the embassy has sent the information to the proper municipality of residence of the deceased.
We also ask, in case it has not yet been done, that they send to the of-fice of the province of origin of the confrere a valid death certificate with the cause of death for each confrere who has died from 1985 on.
Celebrations in Kenya
During these last few months Comboni was really seen as belonging to Africa. Various activities that made him come alive were organised in all our missions in Kenya.
The special issue of New People on Comboni (14,000 copies) was a sell out, plus 5,000 copies of the dossier that was printed separately. Several booklets on the life of Comboni were given out together with many posters prepared by Fr. Paulino Twesigye Mondo with the incul-turated portrait of Comboni that we also solemnly displayed in the ca-thedral of Nairobi. Also the vocation directors produced a special issue of their newsletter, “Missionaries Today” to be distributed to candidates on their list.
The day 5 October was made memorable by a solemn eucharistic celebration in the cathedral of Nairobi. The Mass was celebrated by the Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr. Giovanni Tonucci, who also unveiled the inscrip-tion placed at the foot of the large portrait of Comboni, and by the pro-motion done through various Masses celebrated by our confreres. In the parish of Kariobangi the celebration included a night vigil that was very well attended and a recital produced by a group from Korogocho. Fr. Giuseppe Caramazza organised a get together on the historical impor-tance of Daniel Comboni for the parishioners of Ongata Rongai. In that same parish Fr. Giuseppe spoke at all the Masses on 12 October.
Other parishes also, where there are no Comboni Missionaries, were reached for the occasion, such as the parish of Guadalupe, the chapel of Nairobi University, and the parish of Shanzu, near Mombasa. On Sunday, 9 November, a group of about 800 pilgrims walked, starting early in the morning, from Kariobangi and, having crossed the entire city of Nairobi while singing and praying, they reached Kibera where a new chapel was dedicated to St. Daniel Comboni.
In Turkana the canonisation was solemnized particularly in the new mission of Nakwamekwi where, on 5 October, the bishop of Lodwar, 25 priests, 35 Sisters, 6 Brothers, 15 lay missioners and more than 1500 people celebrated a solemn liturgy, during which Fr. Raffaele Cefalo introduced Comboni as the first bishop of Turkana and their first ancestor in the faith. Articles on Comboni have appeared in the diocesan bulletin and in the newsletter of the Justice and Peace Commission.
Other celebrations and gatherings on Comboni were organised also in Marsabit as well as in the communities of the Pokot area.
In November Fr. Francesco Pierli and our students organised at Tan-gaza College a day of study on Comboni and his mission.
The Comboni Year will be closed with a solemn celebration in the ca-thedral of Nairobi on 7 December. On that day there will also take place the distribution of funds collected by our mission promotion team for the missionaries native of Kenya.
One interesting by-product of these celebrations is the closer coopera-tion that has arisen among the four Comboni provinces with residences in Nairobi: the two Comboni provinces (MCCJ and SMC) of Kenya and the two Comboni provinces (MCCJ and SMC) of South Sudan.
These activities have helped us to make us feel closer as brothers and sisters called to the same missionary service by the same Comboni charism.
On Friday 31 October a big crowd of about twenty thousand people gathered in Comboni Playground (many could not even enter) for a big concelebration on the occasion of the canonisation of St. Daniel Comboni and of the return from Rome of the newly elected cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako. Present were Fr. Teresino Serra, the Superior General of the MCCJ, Mother Adele Brambilla, the Superior General of the CMS, Fr. Manuel Augusto Lopes Ferreira, Fr. Venanzio Milani, the Auxiliary Bishop Mgr. Daniel Adwok, the Apostolic Administrator of El-Obeid Mgr. Antonio Menegazzo and more than a hundred priests who came from all over the Sudan. Sr. Teresita Scattolaro, in charge for the vestments, had to send twice for more albs and stoles. All the priests, the deacons, the seminarians, the religious, the members of the choir, the altar boys, the dancers and the parish groups were wearing the Comboni scarf.
After the introduction to the Mass, Fr. Manuel Augusto, preceded by the dancers, presented the Relic of St. Comboni to the cardinal. A new music had been composed for the Mass.
During the homily, the cardinal stressed the importance of Comboni not only for the Sudanese people and the Sudanese Church, but also for all the Africans, as the one who gave them dignity as children of God and the joy of becoming protagonists of their own evangelization. The cardinal also announced the beginning of the Comboni Year for the archdiocese of Khartoum.
After communion, Fr. Teresino and Mother Adele addressed the crowds, the latter in Arabic.
The Lord has been good to the Sudan. He has given us St. Bakhita, St. Comboni, a cardinal and, let us hope, will give us also peace.
Inauguration of St. Mary’s Maternity
On 30 October, eve of the opening of the Comboni Year in Khartoum, cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako officially inaugurated St. Mary’s Maternity. Mgr. Daniel Adwok and Mgr. Antonio Menegazzo as well as Fr. George Bana from the Melkite Church and representative of Bishop Elias An-thony of the Coptic Church, Mother Adele Brambilla and Fr. Teresino Serra, Fr. Manuel Augusto Lopes Ferreira and Fr. Venanzio Milani (who had been officially invited for the inauguration), representatives of reli-gious Institutes, many civic authorities and health personnel, were pre-sent at the occasion.
St. Mary’s Maternity suspended its services for almost two years in or-der to carry out the work of reconstruction of the new wing. This project had been chosen by the Comboni Family as the “Meaningful Work” to mark the year of the canonisation of our Founder and has become a real sign of collaboration for the CMS and the MCCJ. This collaboration made possible the establishment of an Antenatal Care Department, fully equipped with the possibility of ultrasound services and laboratory tests. These services will benefit all women coming from the different parishes.
New building in Comboni College
On Saturday 15 November at 8.00 pm, the new building of the South East Wing of Comboni College was inaugurated in the presence of his eminence the cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako, the second vice-president, His Excellency Moses Machar, the minister of higher education, the apostolic administrator of El-Obeid Mgr. Antonio Menegazzo, the Italian ambassador, other diplomatic representatives, the deans of studies, headmasters of Comboni Schools, students and parents.
The inauguration of the new building coincides with the diamond jubi-lee of Comboni College, which for the last 75 years has carried the name of our Founder in the capital of Sudan.
The speech of the cardinal for the occasion was deemed by all of ex-traordinary importance and was quoted in the press the following day.
The new building substitutes an old building of 1929 and will be the premises of the Computer Science College. The construction was en-couraged and partly financed by the previous Comboni Missionaries’ General Direction. Substantial contributions were also received by the provinces of Germany, Italy and Spain. The archdiocese is very grateful to them all.
A Comboni Celebration
In the 1950s, when our Comboni Missionaries (then Verona Fathers) opened a novitiate in Monroe, Michigan, under very poor living conditions, they soon found enthusiastic supporters, both men and women, in the local parishes. In turn our confreres generously gave of their time and energy to minister in these parishes and in the local hospital. The local clergy always appreciated the possibility of approaching saintly men such as Fr. Samuele Fabbro, Fr. Alfio Mondini, Fr. Alfred Paolucci, to name but a few, for confession and advice.
After many years of fruitful missionary presence, the Comboni community was closed in 1995. However, thanks to the zeal of our supporters in the area, the Comboni Missionaries Ladies Auxiliaries never ceased to exist. Over the last several years they have kept up a number of activities, days of recollection, a newsletter, fundraising events on be-half of various Comboni Missionaries and projects. Fr. Tom Vermiglio, who is stationed in the Chicago area, is their spiritual advisor and, on occasion, other Comboni Missionaries from Cincinnati also attend the Auxiliary’s proceedings.
The last such event was a celebration of the canonisation of our Founder. About 75 people gathered at St. Joseph parish in Monroe on November 10 for a solemn Mass followed by a reception in the parish hall. Fr. Paul Donohue presided and preached. Fr. Tom Vermiglio, Fr. Ugo Riva and the local parish priest, Fr. William Fisher concelebrated. Several of our deceased confreres rest in St. Joseph Cemetery located in Monroe and the Comboni Ladies Auxiliary makes sure that the mem-ory of their presence and the Comboni charism will endure.
Mission Office Activities
One of the purposes of the Mission Office is to promote Mission in the USA and increase people’s awareness of the Comboni Missionaries presence and work. These are some of the ongoing activities:
Several Global Christian columns that have previously appeared in our Newsletter are now featured on line under Current Events at: www.catholic.org/youth and some are distributed on a monthly basis to Catholic Press publications.
The Mission Office is cooperating closely with its Cincinnati archdioce-san counterpart in a five-year programme of awareness and of solidarity with Africa which involves also the active participation of Africans residing in and around the city. The African population is increasing rapidly.
Fr. Bragotti also cooperates with the Cincinnati Archdiocesan Youth Office by taking part in youth pastoral ministry, workshops on short term mission immersion programmes for youth, leadership training work-shops.
Missionary symposium and cultural activity
On 24-26 September, in preparation for the canonisation of our Founder, the Comboni Family (MCCJ, CMS, CLM and CLA) organised in Lima a missionary symposium in the auditorium of the Sophianum College which, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus kindly made available to us for the occasion. During those three days a number of topics were explored from all angles concerning missiology, the spirituality of the Heart of Jesus and the Comboni charism, with a good level of competence from all the invited presenters.
In order to close the event in a more festive manner, on 27 September there took place a missionary cultural activity. The presentation included fragments from Comboni’s writings, and typical elements, lights and shadows from all continents where the Comboni Family is present, of-fered by a mixed group through dances poems and songs. We concluded the programme with a dinner during which we thanked God for being part of this missionary family. During the presentation we were also reminded that this is the 65th anniversary of our arrival in Peru, our first presence in America. It is also the 25th anniversary of the magazine Misión sin Fronteras.
The prayer vigil in preparation for the feast of the canonisation was a meaningful event. On 4 October, at 10:00 pm, more than 400 people gathered in the church of the Twelve Apostles in Chorillos, that was handed over to the diocesan clergy in 1995. The vigil concluded with the celebration of the Sunday liturgy together with the parishioners. We un-derline, above all, the gratitude expressed by many people who had come to know the Comboni Missionaries who have preceded us and planted in their hearts the seeds of the Gospel.
On 10 October, in the provincial house, there took place a half a day of reflection attended by representatives of the Comboni family who work around Lima, in order to continue the celebrations in honour of our Founder. The provincial, Fr. Conrado Franco Lorenzo, gave an input on his experience of the General Charter and of the canonisation. The celebration of the Eucharist followed with Mgr. Hugo Garaycoa, president of the Bishops Conference of Perú, as presider, and concelebrated by Mgr. Fernando Vargas Ruíz de Somocurcio, Mgr. Oscar Revoredo and others.
Perpetual professions and ordinations to the diaconate
On Saturday, 18 October, as it is customary every year, six of our scholastics made their perpetual profession: Melese Tumato Shulla (ET), Paolino Tipo Deng Amayldh (KH), Matthew Remijo Adam Gbitiku (KH), Ernest Joseph Mchota (MZ), John Paul Somanje (MZ) and José Luis Foncillas Bernáldez (E). The celebration, led by our provincial, took place in the chapel of our provincial house in Monterrico with members of various communities in attendance.
On 15 November, the six scholastics were ordained deacons in the chapel of “Nuestra Señora de la Evangelizatión” in Chorillo by Mgr. Uriah Ashley of Penonomé, Panama. The celebration, accompanied by the rolling of drums and by songs, was made memorable by the atten-dance of many Afro-American friends, various religious and friends of our scholastics.
Anniversary of the CLM in Per
On 8 November, the group of CLM of Peru, founded in 1996, cele-brated its 7th anniversary. Twentyfive people got together at the “House in the Sierra” of Chorillos to reflect on the involvement in mission as part of our Comboni Family. At the end, we celebrated the Eucharist and shared a meal to thank God for all he has done during these years.
Fr. Mitchell Sandoval Nelson Edgar is ordained
On 8 November, Mitchell Sandoval Nelson Edgar was ordained a priest in his home town of Mulchén, in the diocese of Los Ángeles, in Southern Chile. The main celebrant was the local bishop Miguel Caviedes who, in the course of his homily, said that, in order to exercise his ministry in a saintly manner, the priest needs to renew himself con-stantly and to work with the community. He also spoke of St. Daniel Comboni.
Fr. Nelson was surrounded by Fr. Conrado Franco Lorenzo, the provincial, and by a dozen Comboni and diocesan priests. The entire parish, together with the parish priest and his associate, was very welcoming and accommodating in his regard and with all the Comboni Missionaries. This became evident also during the meal that included many dishes, a variety of drinks and good Chilean wine. A campaign of mission and vocation promotion had been organised for the week prior to the ordination. The following day, a Sunday, Fr. Nelson celebrated his first Mass in a packed church.
Fr. Nelson is the seventh Comboni Missionary from Chile. He studied theology in Rome and his first assignment will be in his own country to do mission and vocation promotion.
The “Writings” of Daniel Comboni translated into Portuguese
The book of the “Writings” of Daniel Comboni, translated into Portuguese, was unveiled during a meeting on Africa. The event took place in the hall of our housed in Lisbon on 14 October. It had good press coverage and was well received.
The meeting opened with an explanation of the book by Fr. Manuel Augusto Lopes Ferreira. Fr. Alfredo Ribeiro Neres, recently returned from Congo, and professor Brazão Mazula, rector of the university of Maputo, Mozambique, spoke of the relevance and modern implications of the Plan for the Regeneration of Africa. In the evening, Magok Riak, a refugee from South Sudan and a student in Italy, shared with us his experience of war and of persecution in the Sudan. professor João Gomes Cravinho, former secretary of the ministry of cooperation of Portugal, spoke on the implications of African development in politics, in society and in the economy. At the end, professor Brazão Mazula closed the meeting with some considerations on the contributions Africa can and must give to the world.
Celebrations for the canonisation of Comboni
The canonisation of Comboni was celebrated with several events or-ganised together with the SVD: Masses were celebrated in Viseu on 5 October (televised), in the cathedrals of Braga (where the archbishop was the main celebrant) and of Lisbon (the cardinal was the main cele-brant) on 19 October and which was televised.
The province financed the translation and the performance of “Daniele Comboni - Un Profeta per l’Africa” of Massimiliano Troiani. There will be a total of nine performances. The last one will be in Fatima, on the occa-sion of the pilgrimage of the Comboni Family.
Celebrations on the occasion of the canonisation
Many celebrations to give thanks for the canonisation of Comboni were held in South Africa.
The parish of Glen Cowie had its celebration on 5 October, simultaneously with the canonisation liturgy in Rome.
On 10 October the Comboni Missionaries of the Sekhukhune deanery met at Lydenburg for the celebration of Comboni.
On 12 October about a dozen Comboni Missionary priests and some Brothers celebrated with the parishioners of St. Peter Claver in Mamelodi East (Pretoria Archdiocese). The pilgrims who had been to Rome shared their experience during the celebration of the Eucharist.
Burgersfort Parish also celebrated on 12 October.
Kokstad Diocese had an overnight vigil on the 25-26 October, concluding with the Eucharist presided by Mgr. William Slattery on the 26th. There was also a day with the diocesan clergy on the 28th.
Also on the 26th there was a joint celebration in the Cathedral of Jo-hannesburg with the archbishop Mgr. Buti Tlhagale to thank God for the canonisation of Comboni, the beatification of Mother Teresa and of James Alberione. Thirty priests and deacons took part together with hundreds of religious and lay people.
Resonance of the canonisation
Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Commission of Justice and Peace, sent a message to the participants in the Seminar of the J&P Commission of ACERAC (Association of the Re-gional Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa), held in N’Djamena, Chad, on 17-22 November. The message referred to our saintly founder and quoted the words the Pope spoke on the day of the canonisation, and placed the seminar and, indeed, all of Africa under the protection of St. Daniel Comboni.
These are the words of the cardinal: “On the occasion of the canonisation of Daniel Comboni the Holy Father made once more an urgent appeal for solidarity with Africa, underlining ‘the urgency of mission ad gentes even in our times.’ The Pope reminded us that “bishop Daniel Comboni, an apostle of Christ among the Africans… used all the resources of his rich personality and of his solid spirituality to make Christ known and accepted in Africa, a continent he deeply loved… How could we not, even today, gaze with affection and concern at those dear peo-ples? A land rich in human and spiritual resources, Africa continues to be marked by many difficulties and problems. May the international community actively help it to build a hopeful future. I entrust this appeal of mine to the intercession of St. Daniel Comboni, great evangeliser and protector of the Black Continent.”
As it can be seen, even though Africa is a mere appendix on the inter-national agenda, it is certainly not forgotten by the Pope.
Mass in memory of Fr. Pierino Re and of Fr. Augusto Zancanaro
Everybody showed up in Vogan: confreres, local clergy, religious, the faithful members of the Christian community, the bishop of Aného and the Apostolic Nuncio were there on 11 November, anniversary of the death of Fr. Pierino Re, “Fada Iolo” as he was affectionately called in his parish. At the same time, memory was made of Fr. Augusto Zancanaro, former parish priest, who is buried in a plot located between the Dosseh house and the old chapel. They rest next to each other after a missionary service given without exceptions, while awaiting the resurrection of the just.
The Mass, concelebrated with much devotion and participation, was presided over by the nuncio of Benin and Togo, Most Rev. Pierre Van Tot, a Vietnamese, who had words of encouragement for all. He expressed his appreciation of the work of the Comboni Missionaries and extended, once more, his congratulations on the canonisation of their Founder, St. Daniel Comboni. At the end of the Mass, the provincial, Fr. Saverio Perego, thanked all the participants and remembered the “great heart” of Fr. Pierino and his ability to give of himself to others.
We concluded with the blessing of the two graves. Fr. Pierino and Fr. Augusto will certainly remain alive in the hearts and memory of all who knew them. May the Lord give them the reward of the faithful servants.
IN PACE CHRISTI
Fr. José Luis Lizalde Zueco
Fr. Josè Luis Lizalde Zueco was born at Sadaba, province of Saragozza, Spain, on 6 October 1946. He entered the novitiate of Mon-cada, coming from the diocesan seminary, in 1966 and took his first vows on 15 August 1968. He was then ordained a priest on 18 Decem-ber 1970.
After his ordination and a brief stay in Spain, he went to England to study English. He arrived in Asmara in October 1971 and was assigned to the Comboni seminary of Decameré. He learnt to speak fluently the Tigrina language and this allowed him to communicate easily with the seminarians and with their family whom he visited in their villages.
Due to the difficult situation prevailing at the time, he met with a lot of hostility from the army and once he was threatened with execution.
He studied also the liturgical language, Ghe’ez, so much so that he was able to celebrate the solemn Mass in Ziema (the liturgical chant of the Ghe’ez rite).
In 1978 he was transferred to Asmara and placed in charge of the seminarians attending the Comboni College. He kept this assignment up until the nationalization of the Comboni College in July 1982. He left Asmara in 1983 and was assigned to Sidamo, Ethiopia. There as well he studied intensely both the Amaric language and Sidamo, which in a short time he could use in his new pastoral work. In the Vicariate of Awasa Fr. Luis worked in the missions of Fullasa, Shafinna and Tetic-cha. He gave much time to pastoral work, especially in the schools of the missions of which he was in charge.
In 1992 the superiors called him back to Spain to work in his home province, but after just one year he was allowed to return to Ethiopia. He did not remain there too long, because in 1996 the superiors called him again back to Spain to work in mission and vocation promotion.
Fr. Luis showed his attachment to the missionary life by the articles he wrote on Ethiopia and Eritrea that were published in the Comboni publi-cations in Spain. At the same time, he kept alive his desire to return to the missions. He always said openly that the European environment, so immersed in materialism, did not give him the satisfactions that he de-rived from the deep religiosity of the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Finally, in 2001, his superior allowed him to return to Eritrea, his first mission.
Immediately following his return and having refreshed his knowledge of the Tigrina language, he started studying Cunama, in order to be able to communicate with the people of his new mission. Within a few months, notwithstanding the fact that he was then 55, he could speak this new language with ease.
He was then assigned to the mission of Fode, in the Eparchy of Bar-entu, Cunama, a place only recently assigned to the Comboni Mission-aries. His first task was to get to know and register the Catholic families of this new mission, which, for various motives, had been abandoned. After that he started a serious catechetical programme to give new life to the local Christian community. It was the beginning of a promising new mission.
All this work came to an abrupt end when Fr. Luis was suddenly struck down by cerebral malaria, which, in a week’s time, brought him to his death. He was 57.
Let us pray to the Lord that he may give him peace and eternal rest and that He may send other missionaries who will carry on the work that Fr. Luis began among the Christians of Fode.
Let us pray for the deceased
THE FATHER: Roberto of Fr. Silvestre Chávez Sánchez (M); of Bro. Richard Lukwago Matiya (U).
THE MOTHER: of Fr. David Baltz (NAP); Maria Wako of the Schol. Oswald Baptist Abaker (KH); Armelina of Fr. Antonio Jérez Jérez (E).
THE BROTHER: of Bro. Richard Lukwago Matiya (U); Francesco of Fr. Claudio Gasbarro (I).
THE SISTER: of Bro. Richard Lukwago Matiya (U); Theresia of Bro. Ludwig Kästel (DSP).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Viviana Cavaggion; Sr. M. Giustiniana Gramola; Sr. Canziana Zucca; Sr. M. Antonina Molon; Sr. M. Frumenzia D’Adamo; Sr. Giulia Laccetti.
THE SECULAR COMBONI MISSIONARY: Giovanardi Tudina.