Monthly newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus


Postulator General

With the decree (Prot. 2042/04/L) of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacra-ments, the Proper Calendar of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus presented by the Superior General to the Dicastery was approved on 15 December 2004.
The approved calendar is as follows: St. Josephine Bakhita, virgin (Feb. 8, memorial); Our Lady of the Sa-cred Heart (last Saturday of May, memorial); Sacred Heart, patron (Friday after the second Sunday after Pentecost, solemnity); St. Peter Claver, patron (Sept. 9, solemnity); St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church, patron of the missions (Oct. 1, feast); St. Daniel Comboni, bishop and founder (Oct. 10, solemnity); Blessed David Okelo and Blessed Gildo Irwa, martyrs (Oct. 20 optional memorial); Commemoration of the deceased confreres, family members and benefactors (November: date to be freely chosen); St. Francis Xavier, priest, patron of the missions (Dec. 3).
Research done in the Archives of the Congregation for Divine Worship in 2003 showed that there was a proper calendar in 1961, approved by the Congregation (Prot. N. C. 240/961), which included: the feast of St. Peter Claver, patron of the Institute (Sept. 9); feast of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, patron of the mis-sions (first class for the missions and second class for the Institute); feast of St. Francis Xavier, patron of the missions (first class for the missions and second class for the Institute); Mary Queen of the Apostles (second class feast, Saturday after the Ascension). In this calendar the texts were not "proper" but exclusively taken from the commons.
Now, after the canonization of our Founder, in the preparation of the calendar we have been able to stress more the missionary and Combonian character of the celebrations, both in the choice of the solemnities, feasts, memorials and optional memorials, and in the choice of texts. The complete texts will be distributed to all the confreres in the various languages of the Institute as soon as possible.

Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro, of Juba (Sudan) has been appointed member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments on 3 February 2005.

Holy Redeemer Guild
April 01 – 15 DSP 16 – 30 E
May 01 – 07 ET 08 – 15 ER 16 – 31 IT

Prayer Intentions
– That the Plan of Comboni and his lifestyle may stimulate us to share our faith with the peoples we serve, so that they may become the community of faith that the Gospel of Christ wants them to be. Let us pray.

May – That, loyal to our sources of inspiration in the Gospel of Christ and the Rule of Life, we may grow in our sense of belonging to the Institute, and live our consecration to the Missions freed from individu-alism. Let us pray.


At the heart of the city

Nestled between the apartment blocks, office buildings, six lane highways and light railway of downtown Taipei (Taiwan), Jen Ai Road (pronounced Ren Ai!) parish church is home to the Asia Delegation’s most re-cently established community of first evangelisation (the first two confreres took up residence there on 17 March 2002). Today the community numbers four priests, representing as many nationalities from three con-tinents. Fr. Paolo Consonni (Italy), Fr. Daniel Cerezo Ruiz (Spain), Fr. Victor Alejandro Mejía Domínguez (Mexico) and Fr. Estacio Moises Dela Cruz (Philippines) are each in different ways engaged in ministry, which situates them at the frontiers of mission.
The parish community itself, in a way typical of the modern urban setting, draws its members from various parts of Taiwan’s capital city, and the challenge is to build up a sense of family belonging, a vital aspect of evangelisation in this particular culture. There are hopeful signs: non-Christians, for example, begin to fre-quent the Sunday Eucharist as a result of invitations from their Catholic friends, and activities are organized by lay members of the community for groups of school-children and university students aimed at presenting the meaning of Christmas and Easter.
Jen Ai community is also the base for the Asia Delegation’s Fen Xiang (Sharing) project, which aims to ex-press solidarity with the Church in mainland China itself. Regular visits are made there to bishops, seminar-ies and centers of formation for Sisters, and some modest help is offered as the situation warrants. Through the Fen Xiang Newsletter, a bridge is built between the Church in mainland China and dioceses, groups and individuals in the rest of the world.
Taipei also offers good facilities for the study of Mandarin, China’s official language. With its four tones - three less than the Cantonese spoken by the confreres serving in Macau – and seemingly numberless char-acters, it nevertheless provides no small challenge for anyone who wants to become seriously involved in the mission to China.


Inauguration of “Daniel Comboni” school

On Saturday, 26 February 2005, the new "Daniel Comboni" school complex was inaugurated. Present were Bishop Juan José Aguirre Muñoz of Bangassou, the civil authorities of the area, and the students with their parents. The new school is at Christ the King parish, run by the Comboni Missionaries in the neighbourhood of Tokoyo in Bangassou. In his speech Bishop Aguirre noted that this new school is part of a vast diocesan project for human development in the struggle against all that creates poverty or is a threat to human dignity. This project already involves various schools spread throughout the diocese. Others are pro-jected for the near future.
The Regional Prefect congratulated those present for this new social enterprise and reminded them that it is their school and so he invited them to collaborate as effectively as they can with the life and running of the school. "Daniel Comboni" school currently has about 500 students, ages 6 to 12, divided in 8 classes. It was the idea of the local people, and they are the ones who promoted it and actually made it a reality in order to supplement the school system of the state so that their children could have a proper education. It all began in 2003 when the Basic Christian Community of the parish, faced with the low percentage of children en-rolled in elementary school (37%), of whom only 1.4% completed their elementary schooling, decided a deeper and more personal commitment to the future of their children was needed. "Daniel Comboni" school opened on 1 October 2003


Mission Expo in Guatemala

A year after the conclusion of the American Mission Congress (CAM 2), in Guatemala City in December of 2003, the mission promotion work of Casa Comboni continues to be very intense. While Fr. Pietro Gian-maria Piu collaborates with the post-congressional commission as "expert" in mission catechesis, Fr. Vin-cenzo Turri goes around with the mission exhibit which is frequently requested by bishops and diocesan offi-cials.
The Mission Expo is a good instrument to promote greater knowledge and appreciation of the missionary Church and spread the fruit of the Congress. It has been successful in many places, in spite of the difficulty of transporting it and finding places large enough to display it. It has been well received and has made quite an impression. In some cities it served to prepare for local diocesan meetings or assemblies on mission. For the next six months it will be in the archdiocese of Los Altos, Quetzaltenango-Totonicapán, where they are already preparing for the National Mission Congress to be held in May.
The organizers of CAM 2 consider the Mission Expo an integral part of this great American event which was inaugurated by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for Evangelisation, and by the Latin American bishops who participated in the Congress.
Not only the research, but also the set up requires delicate work. The Expo consists of 250 panels with graphics, pictures and historical information. Starting from Jesus giving the missionary vocation to the apos-tles, the Expo wants to show the missionary history of the Church, indicating the more notable men and women who have given their lives for the Christian communities on the various continents. At each place, before the inauguration, Fr. Vincenzo Turri teaches a brief course to the catechists and other pastoral agents who will accompany visitors to the Expo. A visit to the Expo is not meant to be only a passing encounter with the missions, but should be the beginning for every one of a mission formation as well as an opportunity for the young to discover a calling to missionary life.


Signs of hope in a hopeless situation

The human and social situation of the Acholi area is very bad. Insecurity is widespread, attacks occur eve-rywhere and the brief spell of hope aroused at the end of 2004 has been dashed by the collapse of the peace talks and by the surrendering of the LRA rebels’ spokesman (Sam Kolo) on 16 February. A good number of killings occurred in the Acholi area and it is impossible to list them all, as the rebels keep roaming about seeking food and abducting children (7 of them just a couple of Km from Gulu cathedral). On 26 Janu-ary the remains of the body of catechist Fabiano Opiyo were found. He is the 67th catechist to be killed. Al-most all the people are squeezed in narrow areas around the main centres. AIDS is spreading fast in camps that lack order and the minimum required for a normal life. People, uprooted from their villages, are afraid that their piece of land may be grabbed by others.
Our confreres are courageously and generously staying at their posts, sharing the life of the people, in spite of their age and weariness. With other evangelisers, they are real signs of hope for all. Other signs of hope are “Radio Maria”, whose antenna and equipment were installed on the premises of Holy Rosary parish in Gulu (the radio broadcasts in Acholi and English); the meeting of the youth on Palm Sunday in Gulu and Kitgum; and “Radio Pacis” in Arua, which has also become a powerful means of communication and aposto-late.

A Comboni cultural day in Karamoja
A Comboni cultural day on the Karimojong culture was organized in Matany on 7 February. The chosen topic was: “The Karimojong sense of guilt and the need for reconciliation." The invited facilitators, Mr. Peter Lokeris, a catechist from Namalu, and Mr. Martin Odong from Kangole catechetical centre, gave a compre-hensive description of the basic values in the Karimojong mentality. Just to mention a few: sense of adora-tion in front of God as Creator; meaning of the offerings and sacrifices; value of righteousness towards God and the Karimojong society; sense of community and solidarity; life as the highest value and regarded as a gift from God; sense of community and solidarity extended even to the dead (ancestors); respect for author-ity (parental and elders). They explained how a negative response to the basic values of the community leads to awareness of sin and its negative consequences: destruction of the family and community relation-ships, sense of shame for the individual and for the community as a whole. Therefore the need of reconcilia-tion is brought about through a process of awareness, leading to the restoration of the relationship of the in-dividual toward God and the community.
Afterwards the Comboni Missionaries and the Comboni Sisters contributed to the discussion and shared their views on how to foster and enhance the values present in the Karimojong mentality and society. The cultural day had been organized by Fr. Chris Aleti Apalolem and Sr. Nacha Tensae. It was attended by al-most all the Comboni Missionaries of the zone and by five Comboni Sisters.


Bro. Catterino Basso (23.12.1923 – 12.03.2005)

Bro. Catterino was born at San Giorgio delle Pertiche, in the province of Padua, in 1923. When he entered the novitiate in Venegono (1942), his parish priest wrote to the superiors: “The character of Catterino is the result of the simplicity of the Basso family, a simplicity strongly connected to their faith which leads to a goodness of life that is clearly a deep Christian life.”
Chronologically the basic steps of Bro. Catterino's life are: first vows (1944); Rebbio, Trento e Verona, mainly as a cook (1944-1949); two years in Rome working in the travel office, ACSE, and again cooking. In Rome he made his perpetual vows (1950) and in 1951 he left for the seminary of Viseu in Portugal to learn Portuguese. Then for 33 years (1953-1986) he worked in the various missions and parishes of Mozambique (Mutria, Lurio, Netia, Lunga, Nacaroa, Búzi). These were difficult years in the history of the people and the Church of Mozambique - times of colonialism and of civil war. From 1986 to 1992 Bro. Catterino was back in Viseu in Portugal, then from 1993 to 2004 in Rebbio, and for the final three months in Verona (CAA) where he died on 12 March 2005.
The anecdotes about Bro. Catterino's life and his culinary abilities are many. Bro. Aldo Benetti tells us Bro. Catterino was much loved by the scholastics and brothers when he was cooking in Verona because he treated them so well. He was known to grumble from time to time, but he always returned to his work with a smile and dedication. He was very human in a good sense. If a confrere or superior yelled at him, soon after he would appear at that person's room with a good bowl of soup, saying, "You wore yourself out hollering like that. Here, this will restore your strength."
Fr. Graziano Castellari tells this story about Bro. Catterino when he was in Mozambique: “He was my friend and my guide, my formator for my first four years in the missions. How many memories! His joyfulness, his original jokes, his way of facing difficulties did us all good. He helped create a good atmosphere and the desire to commit ourselves, as he had. He was the classical jack of all trades, not specialized in anything but running about all day keeping an eye on everything. He didn't miss a thing: construction, brick kilns (how many bricks he made! The mission was new and everything had to be built), the fields, the many cows of the mission, the carpentry shop, the boys and girls who lived at the mission, the students and catechumens. In those times the catechumens spent several months in the mission in preparation for their baptism. He was quite comfortable in the middle of that flock of boys and girls, and they were comfortable around him. He al-ways had a good word for each of them and interested in all their problems.
Bro. Catterino was always grateful to the major superiors and appreciated their visits which he considered occasions for encouragement. He was shy when praised or congratulated.
Fr. Francesco Antonini knew Bro. Catterino both in Mozambique and in Italy. "He was a person everyone liked, and he had an extraordinary ability to relate to others, be they cardinals, bishops, civil authorities of the colonial or independence time, or the humblest and poorest people he encountered. He was kind and ready to help at any time and in any way, whether it was a confrere or other persons. The people considered him a true brother and trusted him completely. He was a brother who was completely identified with the Institute. Though without having study for any specific profession, he knew how to serve in a thousand ways the vari-ous missions first in the diocese of Nampula and then of Beira. He was always interested in the religious and priestly vocations. He certainly still enjoys a blessed place in the hearts of many people, besides the con-freres."
Fr. Castellari adds: “I was happy to arrive in Verona in time to at least participate in his funeral in the Mother House and in his hometown, San Giorgio delle Pertiche. When I saw the relationship between Bro. Catterino and his town, and how they felt about their missionary, I became aware of who he really was. So many came as witness to their friendship with him. Fourteen priests concelebrated and there were many beautiful spontaneous testimonies. Various diocesan priests expressed their gratitude because through him they had received strength in their vocations." An e-mail message from Bro. Emilio Prevedello arrived in time for the celebration. He was from the same town and owed his vocation to Bro. Catterino.
Now we think Bro. Catterino is in heaven still being himself, making the angels and saints laugh with his jokes. But more than that, we think he, as always, is watching over the people of Mozambique whom he loved so much and who loved him so much.

Let us pray for the deceased

: of Fr. Carlos Alberto Malásquez Quispe (A); of Fr. Jessie Ventura Dimafilis (A).
THE BROTHER: Fulvio of Fr. Leonello Bettini (MO).
THE SISTER: Luigina of Fr. Lino Spagnolo (†); Luisa of Fr. John Maneschg (RSA); Barbara of Fr. En-rico Colleoni (U).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. M. Vanna Pelizza; Sr. Florangela Zenari; Sr. Vereconda Graziato.
Familia Comboniana n. 619