Some 25 Comboni missionaries (11 sisters, 1 brother and more than a dozen fathers) participated in the Course cum Assembly of Missionary Animation at the Retreat House of the famous Mariannhill Monastery near Durban in South Africa.

The Formation Course for Missionary Animators took the first five days and covered several topics.
Ms. Margaret Legum first introduced us to the goods and evils of the present macro-economic system and its paralysing effects on the continent of Africa. She then proposed a lay out of a New Sustainable Equitable Economy, much in favour of the weak and poor and of Christian values.
On the second day, Fr. Victor Phalana shared with us his life experience as a black South African who grew up during the time of Apartheid, to lead us into a reflection on the challenges facing the Church in Africa today. The groups worked on various themes: inculturation, initiation, reconciliation, forgiveness, compassion and justice and peace.
The third day was given to the deepening of the meaning and practice of Missionary Animation (or Mission Promotion) in the institutes of the Comboni Sisters and Mccj.
Fr. Joseph Caramazza was the facilitator of the next two days. Through the show of a short video on "The Church and HIV/AIDS" he introduced us to the critical analysis of the media and the use of skills that are required in the field of social communication. A practical exercise on how to produce a newsletter kept the group busy and interested.
In the afternoon of the last day, Fr. Joseph presented the work and the productions of New People Media Centre.

The MA Assembly started on Saturday 17 with the reports given by the different Provinces/Delegations.
The weekend and the following Monday were given to mission or parish experience and to a moment of relaxation, meeting the Zulu and their culture at Phezulu.
We returned to work on Tuesday morning listening to more reports. The following day we felt that we had to ask ourselves what is the meaning of our Missionary Animation and what impact it has in the African Church. We kept the example of our Founder always in front of our eyes as an inspiration and we felt his living presence strengthening our desire to walk in his footsteps.
The necessity of getting concrete led us to formulate some proposals to be made to our Provincial Councils and to lay out the Identity of the Missionary Animator.
The Assembly finally pointed out its priorities:
1. The Missionary Animator has to be a person who has a good mission experience and who is engaged full time in MA.
2. Every Province has to prepare a Charter that offers a clear job description of his/her role.
3. Provinces should see that every Missionary Animator is offered a month course of preparation containing subjects like basic missiology, mission spirituality, social teaching of the Church, use of mass media and application.
The morning of the last day saw the sisters and the mccj have a separate meeting. The mccj had a brief sharing of the on-going process of Ratio Missionis.
The afternoon instead saw them all together again to discuss the benefits and the difficulties of collaboration especially in our field of work. In the end, everyone sees that it is a great value, but in practice it seems to elude us quite often.

Our stay in South Africa had its climax and conclusion in the celebration of the solemnity of the Sacred Heart with the community of the Scholasticate at Pietermaritzburg. The friendliness and hospitality of our confreres has impressed in our memory an indelible mark.
Mariannhill (S.Africa), 12-22 June 2006