Monthly newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
Episcopal Ordination of Mgr. Camillo Ballin
On the afternoon of Friday, 2 September, in Holy Family Cathedral, Kuwait, Cardinal Cresenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, ordained Mgr. Camillo Ballin, MCCJ, as Vicar Apostolic of Kuwait and Titular Bishop of Arna.
Co-ordaining bishops were Mgr. Giuseppe De Andrea – who just a few days previously, on 27 August, had resigned as Apostolic Nunzio to Kuwait, Yemen, Bahrain and Qatar, and as Apostolic Delegate to the Arabian Peninsula – and Mgr. Francis Micallef, ODC, Vicar Apostolic Emeritus of Kuwait.
Also concelebrating were Mgr. Paul Hinder, OFM, Cap., Vicar Apostolic of Arabia; Mgr. Bernardo Gremoli, OFM Cap., Vicar Apostolic Emeritus of Arabia; Mgr. Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Bishop of Nazareth (Holy Land) and Bishop Paul Dahdah, ODC, Vicar Apostolic to Bairut for Christians of the Latin Rite (Lebanon). Other concelebrants were Fr. Giuseppe Sandri, General Secretary, and Fr. Claudio Lurati, Superior of the Egypt Delegation of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus; Mgr. Lorenzo Piva, Official of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; Fr. Robert Paul, ODC, Definitor Generale of the Discalced Carmelites; Mgr. Francis Jamieson, Mgr. Arnaldo Catalan, the Comboni Missionaries Fr. Francesco Giacomo Debertolis and Fr. José Arellano Hernández, and the clergy of the Vicariate.
Fr Giuseppe Sandri, as representative of Fr. General, read the Papal Bull nominating Mgr. Ballin as Vicar Apostolic of Kuwait. Mgr. Ballin was formerly the Director of the “Centre for Arabic Studies and Islamology, Dialogue with Islam and Ecumenical Dialogue” (Dar Comboni), in Cairo, Egypt.
Thousands of people participated in the ceremony. Among these were Mgr. Ballin’s three sisters, who are nuns, his brother with his wife and friends as well as Bro. Tarcisio Soardi, all coming from Italy. The well-organized celebration enjoyed the active and heartfelt participation of the faithful.
On the previous day, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe had visited the three flourishing schools in Kuwait run by the Salesians, the Sisters of the Rosary of Jerusalem and the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel of Mangalore.
We wish Mgr. Camillo Ballin a fruitful apostolate in Kuwait, with its population of only 800.000 citizens (Moslems) compared with 1,700,000 immigrants from various countries such as India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon. Catholics number about 150.000.
Secretary General for Finance
Continental American assembly
From 22 to 27 August the Continental Assembly for provincial and delegation treasurers was held in Bogotá (Colombia), in accordance with the plan to implement the financial directives of the General Chapter 2003. The meeting began with a two-day exchange of information with the Treasurer General on technical matters to resolve or clarify issues of provincial interest.
The assembly, attended by all the treasurers, if we exclude those from the DCA and Asia due to rotation, has dealt with all the items suggested by the General Chapter 2003, taking particular care to set their reflection in an American context. As a matter of fact, besides the technical proposals decided upon and submitted to the provincial superiors for approval, we always kept in mind an America that is growing within the Institute by its number of vocations and the need to search for a way that is appropriate to a Comboni mission-approach, proposing economic self-sufficiency linked to missionary animation, simplicity of life and choices at local level of a new lifestyle.
Foreseeing a not-too-far-off moment when the European and North American presence will be very much diminished, with its relative decrease in economic support, we have searched for some basic guidelines as a solution. The Inalienable Assets were seen as the foothold on which to base the missionary work of the provincial community: to have a Comboni house at provincial level in good condition, so that we do not have to depend on other institutions for a venue, gives us a minimum of serenity and security for the future.
Certain of the fact that all have to contribute to the running of the provincial economy, it appears that the decision to have a Common Fund is necessary for consistency in a missionary style lived in communion. The treasurers, therefore, have spelt out the basic issues that have to be further evaluated: Inalienable Assets, the Common Fund and Continental Self-sufficiency.
The necessity of having formation programmes for the “American” treasurers was pointed out, so that they may be in a position to face the future. Finances intend to remain “an important sector in human and missionary life.” (CA ’03, 101)
Fr. Lorenzo Frattini has been awarded an academic degree: “Licentiate in Theology, specialising in the Social Doctrine of the Church”, summa cum laude, at the Pontifical Pastoral Institute “Redemptor Hominis” of the Pontifical Lateran University. The title of the dissertation was: “La pastorale sociale della Chiesa come evangelizzazione, l’esperienza di una parrocchia centrafricana”. The text is available on this internet site: http://mio.discoremoto.virgilio.it/lorenzofrattini
Sc. Indacochea Quimis Pedro Jimmy (EC) Borbón (EC) 11.07.2005
P. Jovilla Nolasco Jr. Robiso (A) Majayiay (RP) 08.08.2005
P. Naranjo Alcaide Jorge Carlos (E) Madrid (E) 03.09.2005
P. Zarantonello Daniele (I) Favaro Veneto (I) 10.09.2005
Holy Redeemer Guild
October 01 – 15 P 16 – 31 RSA
November 01 – 07 SS 08 – 15 TC 16 – 30 T
October – That we may proclaim the Gospel while retaining an attitude of profound respect and appreciation of the values and religious experiences of the peoples we serve. Let us pray.
November – That St. Daniel Comboni may bless our candidates and the young Members of the Comboni Family, so that, by their enthusiasm and resourcefulness, they may contribute to renew and contextualise our charism in the face of the ever-changing world of today. Let us pray.
Con la Missione nel Cuore, biography of Fr. Luciano Fulvi, 112 pages, with pictures in b/w and cover in four colours. It is available from Fr. Giovanni Vedovato at the Comboni community of Lucca. Price € 6,00.
A Life for the Sudan, biography of Fr. Elvio Cellana, 180 pages, pictures in b/w, cover in colour and presentation by the Superior General. It is available from the Verona Mother House. Price € 6,00.
“I thank God for the unity, openness, and spirit of dialogue that I have experienced among you… I wish and pray that you may continue with the same enthusiasm, courage and evangelical stubbornness… that stubbornness that we find in Comboni. God, I am sure, will keep sending us signs to show us His will and plans”. These words, from a brief message sent to the delegation of Asia by the Superior General shortly after his recent visit to the communities of Taipei and Macau in the company of Fr. Tesfamariam Ghebrecristos Woldeghebriel, underline the significance of the days (25 August to 7 September) the visitors spent acquainting themselves with the Comboni China mission.
In Taipei (25 to 29 August), they were able to get to know the Christian community served by the confreres in Jen Ai parish, as well as the Delegation’s Fen Xiang project for Mainland China. The meeting with the archbishop of Taipei also served to provide interesting insights into the situation of the Church on the Mainland, since the archbishop hails from there and is also a regular visitor. One particularly cordial evening was spent in the company of the superiors of several other missionary Institutes serving in Taipei: Jesuits, CICM, Vincentians, Camillians, and SVD.
The first three of the days spent in Macau (30 August to 7 September) witnessed the Delegation’s “China Meeting”, at which all the confreres working for China joined with Fr Teresino Serra, Fr. Tesfamariam and the Delegation Council in reviewing the last six years and planning for what is to come. Good preparatory work had been done in the communities and so it was possible for the gathering to express its mind with some clarity about a series of important issues such as the future location of our communities, and the further development of our work in Mainland China, including the question of accompanying and forming candidates for the Institute. The delegation council expects to reach decisions on these matters, after dialogue with the confreres concerned, in its forthcoming November meeting to take place in Macau.
The last part of the visit to Macau was given over to individual meetings with the confreres assigned there, a meeting with the Bishop, and the opportunity to get to know the situation of this small but significant part of China. The last day of Fr. Teresino’s stay was spent in Mainland China itself.
While the Superior General then returned to Rome via Taipei (he had visited the communities in the Philippines last year), Fr Tesfamariam continued on to Manila where he was able to come to know the work done by the confreres in vocation and mission promotion, formation (meeting the postulants), and “World Mission” magazine.
In the message mentioned above, Fr. Teresino described his visit as a “grace and gift” for him. The delegation is grateful to him and Fr. Tesfamariam for their presence, their challenge, and their affirmation.
Workshop at Montecucco
From 12 to 14 September 2005 a workshop on the Ratio Missionis took place at Montecucco (Rome). It was organized by the Curia community and led by Fr. Fernando Zolli e Fr. Danilo Cimitan, with the help of Fr. Lorenzo Frattini as secretary.
Participation was excellent and the methodology used produced deep, fraternal sharing which was appreciated by all.
The workshop dealt with two themes: “Who we are and how we live” and “What we do and how we work”, according to the method of seeing, judging and acting.
The workshop ended with all the participants agreeing to meet again in mid-November to continue the reflection and the sharing that was begun during the three days.
In October Comboni College, Khartoum turned out the first group of graduates in computer science. Out of 27 who began the course four years ago, 17 were successful. Of the remainder, some went abroad to continue their studies; one girl died in a road accident a few weeks ago and eight students, almost half, left the course because they found a job.
Equipped with this degree, our students will certainly be able to find good jobs.
IN PACE CHRISTI
Bro. Duilio Beltrami (28.02.1927- 26. 08. 2005)
The vocation of Bro. Duilio Beltrami had its roots in his deeply Christian family and in Catholic Action Movement, which, thanks to his parish priest Don Bertolani, was very active in his parish and nourished by an intense sacramental life. So much so that among the youth the total gift of oneself to the Church was seen as the natural outcome of their religious formation. Bro. Duilio would have liked to go to the seminary, but the lack of family resources denied him this.
During his military service, which he carried out at the Cecchignola Army Base in Rome, he had all the time necessary to better evaluate his vocation. When he came to the end of his military service he had already chosen to become a Brother with the Comboni Missionaries.
He was 22 years old when he left his family and entered the novitiate at Gozzano, where Fr. Giovanni Giordano was novice master. His evident maturity led him to be sent to Monroe in the USA (together with Bro. Natale Magistrelli), where a new novitiate was being opened under the direction of Fr. Febo Chiodi. It was there that he took his first vows on 8 December 1952, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. When his novitiate period was over, he was kept there for a while in charge of the kitchen.
He returned to Italy in 1953 and remained there until 1960, assigned to Verona, where he managed the magazines and subscriptions’ office.
In 1960 he went to Kampala, Uganda, in charge of the house. Because of ill health he could only stay there a year and. In 1961, he had to return to Italy, where he worked in the reception at Verona. As well as that he would prepare meals for confreres either arriving or leaving at odd hours, never once failing in his duty. Meanwhile the EUR house had been opened in Rome and Bro. Duilio was appointed to work there in the reception.
Again in 1970 he returned to Africa, first to Uganda (1971–1974) as procurator of the diocese of Gulu, a task which kept him very busy since he had many parishes to supply. He then went to Nairobi, Kenya, in charge of the house (1974-1975). In 1975 he returned to Rome where he was in charge of the printing office and in 1982 and 1983 he ran the travel office. From 1983 to 1987 he was diocesan procurator at Awasa, Ethiopia. That was the last of his African experience.
In 1987 he was again running the printing office of the Curia, a post he held until his death, except for the times when he would go to Verona or other hospitals for treatment.
During the funeral Mass, Fr. Arnaldo Baritussio summed up the spirituality of Bro. Duilio by underlining some points of his life. Drawing inspiration from the feast of St. John the Baptist being celebrated that day, Fr. Arnaldo stressed the faithfulness of God and the faithfulness of Bro. Duilio in carrying out the plan of the Lord. This faithfulness became witness, a life-gift for the Kingdom.
The second point brought out by Fr. Baritussio was the love of the Institute through the love of others. Bro. Duilio identified the history of the Institute with that of the confreres.
In the third point he spoke of Bro. Duilio 24 years in the printing office. He carried out his work with competence, thoroughness, availability and precision, never allowing himself to fall into a mere routine or to become possessive. He felt he was a worker for the Kingdom, always ready to do whatever was asked of him.
“We were together for a while in novitiate – writes Fr. Giuseppe-Zeno Picotti – but I have no special memories of that period. Instead, I met him many times in Rome for reasons of work. How many pages he must have photocopied! And how many pamphlets he must have bound! In his secretariat work he prepared thousands of leaflets for the various General Chapters, assemblies and committees which followed one another during those many long years. And he did all this with diligence and competence. Only the salesman who provided him with paper knows how many tons of it passed through his hands and through the machines he was using.
“Some may say that Bro. Duilio made objections when asked to do a job, but I can honestly say that I always found him available and ready to oblige, and, in urgent cases, working even outside normal hours.
“Some may also say that he complained about the state of the Curia, but this was due to his love for the Institute: in the end he would accept what was decided and give his full cooperation. I also admired how he worked in spite of often not feeling well and having painful headaches.
“I would also like to remember the charity which he showed towards our elderly collaborator Emma Matassoni: he would fetch her on foot from her home each day for Mass and take her back afterwards. For me he was a confrere with whom I enjoyed real friendship and one whom I esteemed as a true Comboni Missionary.”
On 31 July 2003 he began to record in a diary his various hospitalisations. His story begins thus: “The diary of a beautiful adventure… I leave Rome for some happy holidays at Fai on the Paganella mountain. I dream of gushing streams, walks in the woods, climbing mountains…
“On Saturday, 2 August, I was taken by helicopter to Trento hospital with heart trouble and great difficulty in breathing. I lost consciousness and came around in the intensive care unit. After twelve days I was discharged and went to Fiorano to convalesce for a while…”
On 26 August 2005, at 3 p.m., Bro. Duilio ended his earthly adventure. He was resting after dinner at the Negrar hospital, where he had been admitted, when a lady who was in the same ward assisting her husband noticed Bro. Duilio taking two long gasps. The woman called the nurses, but nothing could be done for Bro. Duilio. He had already departed from this life.
After the funeral Mass at the Mother House, his remains were taken to Fiorano (Modena), where his family comes from.
Fr. Teresino Serra, Superior General, was then visiting Asia. He wrote: “We did not expect such sudden and sad news. Now it is up to us to give a response of faith and thanksgiving for the person of Bro. Duilio. He had left Rome (for checkups in Verona) with great serenity, willing to return soon to his work. God had other plans.
“Bro. Duilio has certainly taught us to love the mission and the Institute. His sensitivity spoke to us of the importance of caring for the person.
“His sincerity taught us the beauty of transparency. His smile meant that what is really important is to be happy in life. We thank God for his precious and silent service during the many years he spent in Via Luigi Lilio.”
Bro. Johann Bachmann (25.12.1917-17.09.2005)
Bro. Johann Bachmann was born on Christmas Day 1917 in Welsberg in Val Pusteria (South Tyrol). In 1939, just before World War II started, he joined the Comboni Missionaries’ community in Milland (Brixen) to prepare himself for the service of the mission as a missionary Brother. He was the last candidate to make his first profession in Milland on 29 June 1941, as the war had already started. The novitiate was then closed and remained closed throughout the period of the war, during which Bro. Johann worked as a Brother in Milland. On 29 June 1947 he made his solemn consecration to the Lord by taking his perpetual vows.
Bro. Johann worked for 31 years on the farms of our houses, first in Milland, then in Mellatz and Ellwangen. In 1972 he was moved to Rome as the caretaker of our small Comboni study house in Rome (Viale Vaticano, 50). There, for 10 years, he was in charge of gardening and housekeeping.
It was while in Rome that his hidden artistic talent revealed itself. Until then his superiors had hardly ever noticed it. Now Bro. Johann could spend a lot of time in carving and painting. In Rome, besides, he could get plenty of inspiration. He liked, in particular, nativity statuettes. Already as a boy, indeed, while looking after sheep and goats in his South Tyrolean home country, he had proved to be a keen observer and had made carvings of the animals he was looking after.
After a ten-year period in Rome, Bro. Johann spent three years in Neumarkt-Oberpfalz. Even there he was able to demonstrate his artistic abilities.
In the year 1986 his great desire to go to the missions was finally fulfilled: he was allowed to go to Peru. On account of his age, though, the permission was only given for one-year “ad experimentum”, but, as the experience proved positive, he remained there for a total of sixteen years. He wrote: “I never regretted coming here, although Spanish enters my rusty head only with difficulty, but it enters, nevertheless.”
In Lima he could really display his talents. It was probably his best period of artistic creativity. He also felt that he was really a missionary, because through his artistic gift he could announce the Good News. It was as if in Peru he had begun a new life. In many churches and mission stations we can still admire his carvings and paintings, especially the animal figures, as these are so true to nature. “In the chapels and in my workshop I feel I am in heaven,” he once wrote to the provincial of the DSP.
In 1995 he suffered a stroke from which he never really recovered. In the year 2000 he had to return to Ellwangen, residing in the Centre for the Sick and Elderly confreres of the DSP. He was in hospital for a long time and he also had to have a foot amputated. It was a difficult period of his life, as he went through the slow process of getting used to this new situation. He was finally able to go back to Ellwangen, the house he had often portrayed in his artistic work. Bro. Johann had grown spiritually. In spite of the sufferings and hardships he had gone through in his life, he always managed to keep a mischievous smile on his face.
Bro. Johann passed away serenely on 17 September 2005.
In April 1997 he had written from Lima: “I now realise how painful and heavy is the burden of old age and illness that is laid on our shoulders. Nevertheless, I am not unhappy to hang onto the cross, which points to the eternal home for which I have longed so long.”
In his religious life he had encountered a number of difficulties, among them the fact that his artistic qualities were painfully slow in being recognised. He managed, nevertheless, to deal with his difficulties with great spiritual maturity. Belief in the great mystery of Eternity was in line with his interior faith, which throughout his life he kept alive also through his missionary commitment.
May the Lord grant him a share in the feast of heaven. (Fr. Georg Klose)
Bro. Agostino Stocco (01.06.1936-26.09.2005)
The obituary of Bro. Agostino Stocco will be published in the next issue of Familia Comboniana.
Let us pray for our dead
IL FATHER: Palmiro OF Fr. Davide De Guidi (MO).
THE MOTHER: Maria of Fr. Vincenzo Todesco (PE); Rosalia of Bro. Karl Josef Kolb (DSP); Amabile of Fr. Luigi Marini (DCA).
THE BROTHER: Antonio of Fr. Cesare Pegoraro (T); Haile of Fr. Sebhatleab Ayele Tesemma (ER); Giovanni of Fr. Antonio Benetti (LP); Josef of Bro. Vitus Schatzer (DSP); Licinio of Fr. Sante Cordioli (BS); Luc Yongole of Bro. Richard Andama (MZ); Yohannes of Fr. Tipo Deng Amayldh Paolino (TC).
THE SISTER: Rosa of Fr. Herbert Oberhofer (DSP).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Emma Maria Dolci; Sr. Achillea Arnaboldi; Sr. M. Beniamina Pagani.