Monthly newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
HAPPY EASTER !
The General Council (GC) wishes to thank all the circumscriptions for their six-year plans. In most of them, attention to the priorities of the General Chapter is evident. We trust that the planning may facilitate the progress of each province/delegation. We also wish to remind them that it is the duty of all to create a balance between commitments and personnel. The problem of personnel has always been there but it has now started to become an increasingly ‘sore point’ (punctum dolens) for everyone. We ask those who have not already done so to forward three (3) copies of the text and final document of their six-year plans to the General Secretary.
Training of formators
Starting from the challenges and urgent requirements of basic formation and in dialogue with the provinces/delegations, the GC has chosen a number of confreres who will prepare to become formators of the novices and scholastics. The training will last a year and will take place in Rome to facilitate group-work and also to deal with some specifically Comboni formation themes. Five will begin their training at the start of the 2006-2007 academic year, and another three or four at the start of the 2007-2008 academic year.
We wish to thank the provinces who helped in this project by leaving these confreres free for the good of the entire Institute.
Code of Conduct
The committee in charge is continuing its work with commitment, drive, and energy and without let-up. An experienced and competent jurist is helping to ensure that the document is in line with the Code of Canon Law, and, at the same time, guarantees respect for the person.
Comboni Year of Ongoing Formation (CYOF)
The CYOF in English will resume this year in South Africa at our house in Lynwood Ridge, Pretoria. Our heartfelt thanks go to the South African Province for the repairs and addition done to the house.
Commission for the preparation of the Intercapitular Assembly 2006
The committee in charge is completing the programme, the agenda and the methodology. All the details will be sent to the provinces/delegations according to the established timetable. A reminder: the provincial and delegation reports must be sent to Rome in two languages (one in a Latin language and one in English) before 31 May 2006.
Ratio Missionis: the focussing stage
The preparation process of the Ratio Missionis is being carried out in the entire Institute. There are only a few months left before the event of the Intercapitular Assembly (Mexico, September 2006) and we are coming to the end of this first phase of the process, called the focusing phase. We are called upon to concentrate our energy upon giving form to the work done through the workshops, personal and community reflection motivated by the inserts published in Familia Comboniana.
Many provinces and delegations organised retreats and assemblies both at zone ad province levels, bringing the confreres to focus on the process of the Ratio.
Continental Assemblies have been planned for the coming months as follows: Europe at Pesaro (27-31 March); English speaking Africa at Kampala (1-6 May); French speaking Africa at Bangui (22-28 May); America and Asia at São Paulo (12-17 June).
These meetings will help to clarify the situation of Comboni missionary life and service as we understand it in daily life, bringing out the issues, challenges and problems to be faced, as well as the strengths and opportunities already present in the Institute, in order to look ahead with confidence to the present and future Comboni mission.
Our heartfelt thanks go to the provinces and delegations and especially to the provincial committees involved in the preparation of the provincial and continental reports. We invite all to persevere in this process of renewal.
General Assembly of Lay Comboni Missionaries (LCM)
Fr. Umberto Pescantini, secretary of the general secretary for Missionary Animation, and Bro. Hernán Romero Arias have planned the assembly for 6 -12 November 2006 at Ellwangen. Further details and plans will be sent out later.
English Edition of the “Writings” of Comboni
Heartfelt thanks to the London Province for the work it has done with generosity and in the Comboni spirit in preparing this edition of the “Writings”. The final stage has been reached. Last minute difficulties have delayed the printing.
Meeting of the MCCJ and CMS General Councils
The two general Councils met on the morning of March 20. The time was spent sharing on situations and possible initiatives to be planned together.
Fr. Joaquim José Gonçalves Oliveira Valente da Cruz, Studium Combonianum, has been appointed editor of “Archivio Comboniano” as from 1 May 2006. We thank Fr. Fernando Zolli for the work done on the Archivio Comboniano from the second half of 2002 to the end of April 2006.
Fr. Jorge Martínez Vargas, provincial bursar of Mexico, has been appointed member of the General Council for Finance for America-Asia as from 1 March 2006.
Fr. Piergiorgio Prandina has been appointed assistant to the General Secretary.
Fr. Antonio Guarino has been appointed Novice Master of the inter-provincial novitiate of Venegono as from 1 July 2006.
Fr. Carmelo Casile has been appointed coordinator of the Rome Renewal Course as from 1 July 2006. Our thanks go to Fr. Carmelo for his generous service as novice master in Venegono.
Journeys and visits by members of the general Council
Fr. Teresino Serra 19-27 April: in Spain to give a retreat to the confreres; 15-30 May: in Brazil Nordest for the provincial assembly and to visit the province; 13-25 July: in Eritrea to preach the retreat and visit the delegation; in August he will be in Rome; then he will take part in the Intercapitular Assembly; he will visit Central Africa during the latter half of November.
Fr. Fabio Carlo Baldan 20 April-18 May: visits the province of Ethiopia.
Fr. Odelir José Magri 14 April–13 May: visits Central Africa province; 15-25 May: visits the Pietermaritzburg scholasticate in South Africa; 29 May - 3 June: takes part in the meeting of the Committee for the Verification of Vocations Ministry and Basic Formation in Rome
Fr. Tesfamariam Ghebrecristos Woldeghebriel 17 April-18 May: visits the province of Ethiopia; in September he will take part in the Intercapitular Assembly.
Bro. Romero Arias Hernán 14-30 April: visits the province of Central Africa; 4-25 May: visits the province of South Sudan.
The next Consulta will start on 1 June 2006.
Request to the English speaking provinces/delegations
The general secretary requests that the English speaking provinces and delegations immediately check how many extra copies of the Rule of Life in English they have, either in the provincial house or in the other communities. At the general secretariat there are only a few copies.
As soon as we know the numbers available, we will let you know how to forward them to us. Thank you for your cooperation.
Visit of Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe to Sudan
Rome, 22 February 2006
Most Eminent and Most Reverend Cardinal Sepe Crescenzio
Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
Your Most Reverend Eminence,
I send you my heartfelt greetings and invoke upon you the blessings of the Spirit of Jesus Christ the missionary.
Through contacts with the Provincial and the detailed accounts published in Osservatore Romano, we are following your visit to the people and Church of Sudan.
Khartoum, Juba and Rejaf are places which are very dear and familiar to us Comboni Missionaries.
Your Eminence, in the name of the entire Institute, I wish to express my gratitude for this visit of yours to that land so loved by our holy Founder. Your presence bears witness to the solidarity and closeness of the Holy Father, and of all the Church, to the suffering Church and people of that country. Your personal attention and your words have confirmed them in the faith and assured them that they are not alone.
I join with the Holy Father and with you in praying to God, through the intercession of St. Bakhita and St. Daniel Comboni, for a future of peace and abundant apostolic fruits for the Sudan.
Be assured that I will accompany you with my prayers and remember you always.
Yours Fraternally, In the Heart of Jesus Christ
Fr. Teresino Serra, mccj
Rome, 27 February 2006
Rev. Superior General,
I have received your kind letter of the 22 February in which you express, in the name of the Comboni Institute, your gratitude for the pastoral visit I made to the Church of Sudan.
I was able to see personally the irreplaceable and providential work of the Comboni Missionaries in Sudan, which I found greatly edifying.
I wish, therefore, to assure both you and all the Institute of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus, the Blessing of the Lord and my own prayers, that the missionary charism of St. Daniel Comboni may remain at the centre of all your work also in the future, for an ever more intense apostolic service.
I take this opportunity to greet you in the Lord with sentiments of renewed devotion.
Crescenzio Card. Sepe
Continental Meeting of Comboni Missionary Brothers in Europe
From 21 to 24 February, representatives of the Comboni Brothers present in the European provinces gathered at Limone sul Garda to reflect upon their situation in the continent. Those present were: Bro. Hernán Romero Arias, General Assistant, Bro. Giuseppe Lagattolla (Curia), Bro. Genesio Maroso (I), Bro. Claudio Pietro Parotti (I), Bro. Luis Humberto González Jiménez (I), Bro. Simone Della Monica (I), Bro. Antonio Marchi (I), Bro. Johann Eigner (DSP), Bro. Günter Nährich (DSP), Bro. José Díaz Pérez (E), Bro. Humberto da Silva Rua (P), Bro. Francisco José Ribau Amarante (P), Fr. Laureano Rojo Buxonat (provincial of Spain), Fr. Giacomo Palagi (vice-provincial of Italy).
There have been many changes both within and outside the Institute. Society is rapidly evolving, distancing itself from religious interests and “institutions”. In the Institute one notices a situation of ageing, because of which the ability to adapt is diminished and internal needs prevail at the expense of facing up the challenges coming from society.
Our gathering as Comboni Brothers was an opportunity to reflect and contribute to the growth of the Institute, starting from our specific service, from our ministry understood as a lay dimension of presence and leadership in a Church that is understood as the People of God (Vat. II): a diversity of roles for a mission which is ever more complex and calls us to respond to the ongoing changes.
The meeting gave us the opportunity to listen to and get to know one another, to verify that, in spite of diminishing numbers, it is necessary to be creative, and to question ourselves in order to continue to grow together. A challenging aspect must surely be the small number of candidates: why are the young people of Europe not attracted by the consecrated life? Do they feel, perhaps, that this choice does not lead to true and full personal fulfilment? And are we ourselves joyful and welcoming witnesses of our choice?
The meeting gave rise to some conclusions and proposals.
1. To send the young Brothers to communities where they are made welcome, accompanied and appreciated for what they are and placed in charge of those services for which they have been trained (also to avoid crises and leaving the Institute).
2. To continue the process of the Ratio Missionis, since we feel the need for renewal; to keep in mind human promotion and the planned projects. Social pastoral is an integral part of evangelization and a specific field of work for the Brother (need to identify and train Brothers to participate at various levels of reflection and in commissions).
3. To carry out systematic studies of the Comboni Missionary Brother from various points of view (Comboni, biblical, historical, etc.).
4. To have a commission to study a “project” that requires the presence of Brothers in Europe: a presence focusing on human promotion or evangelization from a “Comboni centre” or a “Nigrizia situation”, also for presenting their vocational ministry: come and see. This point was presented by Bro. Claudio Parotti, coordinator, Bro. José Díaz Pérez and Bro. Johann Eigner.
5. To continue the tradition of regular meetings, including meetings between neighbouring provinces: Portugal – Spain (to overcome resistance to meetings) and to propose again, at different intervals, meetings like this one, at the European level, to “think together”.
6. To gather what has already been produced and promote means of vocational ministry: videos, reflections, catechesis, and life experiences; to assume the responsibility of accompanying vocations.
7. To underline, in vocations ministry, the faith dimension, the call, Comboni, consecration and ministries.
Letters from the Renewal Courses in Rome (MCCJ and CMS)
From 20 to 25 February, the fifteen confreres and the eleven Sisters participating in their respective Renewal Courses, the “Corso di Rinnovamento” for Comboni Brothers and priests and “Scavare nel Nostro Pozzo” for Comboni Sisters, met at Via Luigi Lilio, Rome, to reflect upon collaboration in view of the mission.
During these four days they endeavoured to exchange mission experiences, to share and to plan a more intense missionary future in communion. At the end of the time together they decided to write an open letter to share the riches of their experience.
“Dear brothers and sisters,
We Comboni priests, Brothers and Sisters of the renewal courses, having gathered for four days at the MCCJ Generalate to reflect upon collaboration in view of the mission, have decided to write this letter to our provincials and delegates, through Familia Comboniana and Vita Nostra, to send it also to all Comboni priests, Brothers and Sisters.
We have noted with satisfaction that, as a result of the joint document of the General Comboni Administrations of March 2002, “Collaboration for the Mission”, steps have been taken in several provinces towards common and constructive work together. In others, where not much was done, we feel the cause may be that the document is not well known. Some of us became aware of the document only during this course.
The experience of these days has been positive and enriching. If we wish to grow together it is important that we know each other and carry out suitable initiatives which foster meetings and reflection. We hope that this experience of ours will be repeated in every circumscription. Seminars organised from time to time will also help the Comboni Missionaries in their search for a Comboni spirituality, to study their own history with a common vision of the mission and a shared plan, in communion with the local Church.
At this time in which we are trying to re-qualify our way of living the mission and to redefine our presence, it seems important to us that where Comboni Missionaries and Comboni Sisters are called to work together, there be collaboration between the respective provincial and delegation superiors with visits to the apostolic community to be carried out together.
New Areopagi (Mass Media, JPIC, shanty towns, family pastoral, pastoral centres etc.) may require types of presence which are different from those of the traditional mission in view of the presence of Comboni Missionaries and Comboni Sisters.
We believe that collaboration can only take place when there is coordination in planning at the level of the General Administrations, the provincial and delegation councils and secretariats. It is important to “devise and implement the various initiatives together”; always bearing in mind that proper autonomy does not exclude fruitful collaboration.
We ask that we come to know each other better through greater exchange of information. Familia Comboniana, Vita Nostra and, perhaps, the provincial and delegation newsletters should be sent to every community of every circumscription of both Institutes.
As regards the renewal courses at the level of ongoing formation, we suggest that they be carried out together.
In a society which is torn and fragmented, where relations between men and women are becoming increasingly difficult, we are called to be witnesses and builders of communion and fraternity. May St. Daniel Comboni and the Spirit of the Risen Christ be with us all.”
(On behalf of the priests, brothers and sisters of the Renewal Courses: Sr. Franca Artini and Fr. Claudio Longhi).
Holy Redeemer Guild
April 01 – 15 DSP 16 – 30 E
May 01 – 07 ET 08 – 15 ER 16 – 31 IT
April - That the contemplation of the Paschal Mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ may help us to die to our own personal plans and to take up together the plan of God in our provinces and delegations. Let us pray.
May - For the Secular Comboni Missionaries, that their witness and presence may lead the Christian communities to live out the missionary commitment, opening themselves to the needs of the poorest and most abandoned. Let us pray.
Fr. Giuseppe Scattolin at the Azhar University
In recent months I have had the opportunity to dialogue with Moslem intellectuals to share and exchange ideas. This I did first of all with the Philosophical Society of Egypt. For five full days, from 18 to 23 December 2005, the theme “philosophy and liberty” was discussed.
Then I was also able to participate for three days (4-6 March 2006) in a Convention of Islamic universities at Minya (a city to the south of Cairo) on the theme “The Orientalists, their studies of Arabic and Islam”. This is a hot topic with all the anti-western criticism in vogue in the Islamic world (and elsewhere). Lastly, I gave a conference to the professors of the Azhar University, recognised as the most prestigious representative of Islamic thought.
I had already presented my work on the Egyptian poet and mystic Ibn al-Farid last year, which was well - even sympathetically - received. This year I presented the conference (in Arabic, obviously) which I gave at the Gregorian University (Rome) in September last year, on the fortieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate.
My lecture centred on three aspects. A) The present globalisation with its positive and negative aspects, a controversial topic in these countries. B) The situation of religion in globalisation and the challenges this brings with it. In such a context, I underlined the need for all religions to return to authenticity, to face up to the world of today, to enter into inter-religious dialogue (with the problem of religious pluralism) and to commit themselves to justice. C) Lastly, I presented the mystical dimension (Sufism, in Arabic) as the field of encounter and dialogue between religions around such fundamental themes as human identity, the human environment (the universe) and the mystery of God in its transcendence and its trans-descendence (i.e. the incarnation).
These were sensitive and controversial topics but they aroused much interest with many comments. Most of these comments predictably emphasised the traditional Islamic position, but I realised that, beyond the differences (inevitable in any human or religious group), the most important fact was that we met together and exchanged ideas in mutual acceptance and understanding.
In conclusion, I would like to underline what I have always believed, namely that dialogue with the Islamic world is necessary and especially at this time. There are various forms of dialogue, but dialogue of ‘thought’ has special relevance. A deep change of mentality is necessary in order to reach peaceful coexistence in our globalised world. Dialogue of thought must have this objective. Hans Küng said, “There will be no peace among peoples until there is peace among religions”.
Let us hope that this will not be our last meeting.
The assembly of the Italian province took place at Verona from 13 to 17 March. For the first time, the provincial council decided to invite not only the delegates of the communities but all the confreres who wished to take part. In order to accommodate everyone, the Verona CUM was approached. Around ninety confreres gathered with a good representation of the elderly (one of these was ninety-year-old Fr. Angelo Dell’Oro).
The assembly aimed at reflecting on the progress of the province, bearing in mind the six-year plan, the Ratio Missionis and the re-qualification of commitments (“re-qualify by re-qualifying ourselves”).
The first day was devoted to the analysis of the present time, through group sharing of the reports of the communities and the relations of the secretariats, the committees and the provincial.
On the second day the past was examined to return to our roots and discover a lesson which is still valid for us. The remaining two days were spent in looking to the future, first by trying to foresee the “probable future”, fruit of inertia and the lack of change and then defining a “desired future”, identifying the changes necessary to achieve it.
In this way, five “guiding criteria” were decided upon in the plenary session, and later, though limited by lack of time, we tried to express in concrete objectives. The fruit of all this was handed over to the provincial council and the secretariats to serve as guidelines for the province.
Due to the large number of participants, the assembly coordinators preferred to give more time to group work than to plenary sessions and, by means of group dynamics, to involve everyone. This allowed everyone to feel involved and responsible, both for the assembly and the future of the province.
Fr. Giovanni Scudiero, a Consolata Missionary who took part as facilitator and guided the dynamics of the assembly, made a very positive input.
Fr. Teresino Serra, Superior General, provided his own input by encouragement and reflection, leaving the “Consulta” in Rome for a day and taking part in the assembly on 16 March: he spoke in plenary session and presided at the celebration of the Eucharist.
Seminars on ministry in the slums and among the pastoralists
Among the missionary challenges in Kenya, two stand out in particular: the slums and the pastoralists. The Institute of Social Ministry in Mission (ISMM) had already given some attention to slums ministry with a three day seminar in November 2001 at Tangaza College. The proceedings of that seminar were published by Pauline Publications Africa in a book entitled The Slums: a Challenge to Evangelization. The growing interest for such a ministry prompted the ISMM to launch this academic year a course on “Slum Ministry” attended by 25 students.
On 13-15 February, instead, attention was paid to the Pastoralists with a three-day seminar on Ministry to the Pastoralists. Organized for missionaries and other pastoral agents with direct experience in this field, it was attended by 31 people. The most numerous were the MCCJ, who probably have the highest concentration of missionaries who work with the pastoralists/nomads, not only in Kenya but also in Sudan, Uganda, DR Congo, and Chad.
The objectives were: a) the sharing of ministerial experiences. Since the Pastoralists live at the boundaries of nations, even communication among the pastoral agents is difficult, hence the importance of mutual information; b) the analysis of those experiences from a social, cultural, theological and ministerial perspective; c) to seek out a certain type of convergence for further amelioration of pastoral initiatives.
Particularly appreciated were the talks of the pastoralists themselves, like the Turkana, Samburu and Maasai who are attending the Institute of Social Ministry. The more so since pastoral agents of the above mentioned ethnic groups were involved in the preparation and the organization of the seminar itself.
Among the proposals the following stand out: a) greater attention must be paid to the right of passage from birth to death; to promote a more acculturated celebration of sacraments; moreover the rites of passage are attended by crowds of people, occasions for simple sharing of the Gospel message in life situations which are meaningful to them; b) more attention must be given to Integral Human Development so as to start counteracting the present trend towards a growing and irreversible dependence in terms of food and so forth; c) promote a more organized planning concerning the Promotion of Women (Maendeleo ya Wanwake); d) better coordinated initiatives in the area of conflict resolution and peace building.
In conclusion, the participants strongly stressed the importance of a dialogical approach to the pastoralists, whether in the ministry of proclamation, or in the building up of Christian communities, or in any other activity that promotes the Kingdom of God.
50 years of Comboni presence in San Francisco del Rincón
On Sunday, 12 March 2006, the community of San Francisco del Rincón had its traditional “Verbena”. Once again we could see the generous collaboration of friends and benefactors who, with hearts open to the mission, gave their genuine contribution to this event.
In this traditional Comboni feast, which takes place in the junior seminary, there was the numerous and joyful participation of 3,000 people from various areas of the region: Pénjamo, Dolores Hidalgo, San Felipe, Ocampo, Arandas, San Julián, Jalostitlán, Yurécuaro, Tepatitlán, San Juan de los Lagos, Nochistlan, México D.F., Aguascalientes and Monterrey.
The Mass was presided by Fr. Fernando González Galarza (presently participating in the CYOF) who, sharing his interesting recent experience in South Sudan, motivated those present to help us materially and spiritually in our work as missionaries ad gentes.
Fr. Rafael Huerta Carbajal, the present animator of this area, presented the heads of the Comboni Missionary groups with a lighted candle with which he opened the Golden Jubilee year of the Junior Seminary. This was an invitation to promote ties of communion, to thank God for the gifts received and to seek from the Lord abundant blessings and vocations for the future.
Fr. José Luis Rodríguez López, superior of the community, thanked those present and encouraged them to continue to be Comboni Missionaries deep down in their heart and to pray more for vocations.
After Mass, all the participants could choose from among more than seventy different booths where food and drink, ice-cream and cakes were served. Music to enliven the occasion was not lacking, in an atmosphere of healthy fun. The feast concluded with everyone saying goodbye as usual until next year, but with one difference: it will then be the Golden Jubilee.
On 8 March the community of the provincial residence, together with the members of the provincial council and the provincials of the Comboni Missionary Sisters of Ecuador, Perù, USA e Mexico, were about to celebrate the birthday of Fr. Javier Sánchez Vargas, when, just before 1 p.m., Fr. Rogelio Bustos Juárez received a phone call that left him speechless. Bro. Ivan Bernardi and Fr. William Dal Santo, responsible for the finances of the province, had been attacked while returning from the bank, where they had withdrawn a large sum of money.
The robbery is thought to have been planned well ahead since it took place a short distance from the provincial house. Fr. William was wounded by a bullet which passed through his leg without damaging bone or artery. He spent two days in a clinic and is now recovering at home. Fortunately, Bro. Ivan was uninjured and, after a few sleepless nights, both were back at work.
New board of the CRP
On 13 March, during the assembly of male and female religious superiors, the new board (2006-2009) of the Conference of Religious in Perù was elected. These include a female president, a male vice-president and four members, one of whom is the provincial Fr. Rogelio Bustos Juárez. Congratulations!
The Lima communities celebrated the 175th anniversary of the birth of St. Daniel Comboni at the Provincial House. This is one of the occasions when the representatives of the various communities meet to reflect and pray on our father and Founder. In the morning Fr. Lorenzo Díez Maeso offered the participants some points for reflection. The meeting ended with a Eucharistic celebration and a fraternal meal.
At the same time, in the parish of the “Señor de los Milagros”, Fr. Rogelio Bustos Juárez, together with the members of the community of Trujillo (in the north), presided at the Mass celebrated in the presence of some of the faithful, to thank God for what we have inherited through the Apostle of Africa.
New format of “Misioneros Combonianos”
In April 2006 (no. 73), the MCCJ information Bulletin in Chile was published with a new presentation. This pamphlet is what keeps us in touch with our friends and benefactors. The paper was improved, the format changed, there are more pages and there is more information for readers. We thank the Comboni Missionaries working in Chile for this initiative which will be useful in missionary animation.
Visit of Mgr. Vincent Mojwok Nyiker to Nuerland
On Friday 3 March, Mgr. Vincent Mojwok Nyiker, bishop of Malakal diocese, started his apostolic visit to the whole area of Western Nuer, now called Unity State. It was a really remarkable event because it was the first time he was able to visit this part of his diocese since the start of the war in 1983, more than 22 years ago. People had previously prepared themselves to receive him on three different occasions, but it was only on the fourth attempt that the visit could be carried out.
People turned out in great numbers and were really overwhelmed with joy when they could see and embrace the bishop himself. The person whose name they had only heard and for whom they prayed for over two decades had finally materialised among them. ‘Our bishop is with us’ was the refrain heard over and over again, first during the welcoming ceremony, and then all the day long in every corner of the villages.
On the first day the bishop was in the village of Mirmir, where he was warmly welcomed Fr. Guillermo Aguiñaga Pantoja and the people. The next day he celebrated Mass and visited Rupkuac.
He then proceeded to the town of Leer, where he received a very warm welcome from the same Fr. Guillermo, Fr. Francesco Chemello, all the people and the authorities, including the county commissioner. The Mass was celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent in the open, under the trees, with more than 3,500 people attending.
He then decided to visit also the parish of St. Joseph in the village of Nyal, where we have a community which was established in 1996.
On Saturday the 11th Mgr. Mojwok reached Nyal accompanied by the local priest Fr. John Mongi of Bentiu and by Fr. Guillermo and Fr. Francesco. He was welcomed by Bro. Nicola Bortoli, Fr. Christian Carlassare, the Christians of Nyal and the surrounding outstations, with drums, hymns and dances. It was a really wonderful experience for all. The Mass was celebrated on Sunday morning under a huge tree with almost 4,000 people attending.
Considering the difficulties caused by the uncertainties of the dates of the bishop’s visit, we have to say that the response was really great. Mgr. Mojwok had, at last, the opportunity to be among the people, to listen to them and to share some time with them.
Special thanks and congratulations go to Fr. Guillermo for his effort in making this dream come true. Surely people will not easily forget this great event, made possible also on account of the new peace agreement between North and South Sudan, signed only last year. May God bless Sudan with lasting peace!
The vocation team of Moyo, Fr. Jimmy Milla Aventore and Bro. Mario Rossignoli, began to visit the students of the Secondary Schools at the very opening of the school year.
Their work is proceeding well.
Eight boys are ready to go for the orientation course which will take place in Lomin, Kajokaji, in the second half of March.
Congratulations and best wishes.
The handing over of Gulu Cathedral Parish to the diocese
During the solemn Eucharist presided by Archbishop John Baptist Odama, Gulu Cathedral Parish was handed over to the diocese, which has appointed the diocesan priest Fr. Gaudesio Langol as parish priest. The archbishop thanked the outgoing parish priest, Fr. Elia Pampaloni, and the Comboni Missionaries, founders of the parish, for the great work done in building up a solid and well formed Christian community. Archbishop Odama reminded the people of the Good News brought by the missionaries, which had been written in their hearts and must now be made visible in their lives. They are to be like written letters that bear the message to those who have not yet received it. The provincial, Fr. Giuseppe Filippi, encouraged the community and the new parish priest by applying to this handing over the words God said to Joshua: “I will be with you always, as I have been with Moses”. The celebration continued with lunch, speeches and dances. Gifts were offered to all the Comboni Missionaries who worked in Gulu Cathedral Parish: Fr. Vittorio Albertini, Fr. Giacomo Ambrogio, Fr. Justin Ogen, Fr. Pietro Cozza, Bro. Michael Dietrich, Fr. Elia Pampaloni and Fr. Gabriele Durigon. The Comboni Missionaries have run the parish from its foundation in 1912 up to the time when it was handed over to the diocese.
Elections in Uganda
The presidential and parliamentary elections took place on 23 February 2006. People were eager to cast their ballot but rain, poor organization and insufficient time prevented many from exercising their electoral right. On 25 February the Electoral Commission published the results of the election that saw the incumbent president Museveni as the winner with about 59% of the votes, while 34% went to his main rival, Besigye Kizza. Surprisingly there was a huge gap between the number of registered voters and the valid votes. What has happened to the missing and invalid votes? Did people choose not to vote or were they not allowed? The opposition intends to challenge the results at the High Court.
Meeting of relatives and friends of the Comboni Missionaries
The meeting with the relatives and friends of the Comboni Missionaries took place at the kindergarten of Mbuya Parish with the participation of about 80 people. It was organised by the vocation promoters of the Comboni Missionaries (priests and Brothers) and the Comboni Sisters, together with the officials of the Association of relatives and friends of the Comboni Missionaries. We met with several family members related to some of our confreres and Sisters serving in various missions around the world. Mgr. Giuseppe Franzelli was the main celebrant and the provincial commented the readings of the day underlining the covenant God wants to establish with all his people, too often divided because of sins and conflicts. The missionary is a messenger of this covenant sealed by the blood of Christ and thus a bridge builder. The participants had time to socialise, enjoy a good lunch and reflect on how to keep in touch with each other and with the Ugandan missionaries around the world.
Let us pray for our dead
THE FATHER: Julio of Fr. Juan Manuel Rodríguez Martín (BNE).
THE MOTHER: Rosa di Fr. Lorenzo Bergantin (PE).
THE BROTHER: Bruno di Fr. Luigi Generoso (I).
THE SISTER: Lucia di Fr. Gennaro Campochiaro (I).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Daniela Del Col; Sr. M. Giacomina Donati; Sr. Antonina Villa.