Monthly newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
My Dear Confreres,
In September we shall meet for the Intercapitular. The Intercapitular is not just a meeting of the General Council with the provincial superiors and secretaries. It is a meeting of all of us. The Intercapitular is the Assembly of the entire Comboni Family.
During these last three years of our General Council’s mandate, we have experienced the closeness, the affection and the collaboration of all. Obviously, we also had difficult moments. However, the path of dialogue has been always kept open and we can safely say that we have sought the good of the Institute and of the Comboni mission, in obedience to the 2003 General Chapter.
I wish to state that during these three years, the General Administration has worked harmoniously. Together we endeavoured to read the situation of the Institute. Together we sought solutions to the problems and light in times of darkness. Together we looked to the future and together we begged the assistance of the Spirit in prayer.
We are united in thanking everyone for the cooperation and the help we received in carrying out that service assigned to us by the General Chapter.
For the mission
The Intercapitular is above all an encounter with mission.
The problems and challenges of mission today are enormous, demanding and deep-rooted.
During this assembly, as Comboni Missionaries, we must study in depth, re-read the history and the life of the Institute and ask ourselves if our manner of carrying out our mission reflects the values of the Gospel and if it truly responds to the challenges and demands of the situations in which we work.
The Lord is calling us to give new direction to the meaning of our mission, to recapture that original strength and that caritas-passion which inspired Comboni and, in turn, the Institute.
If it is true that the quality of the mission depends on the quality of the missionary, there is but one way to re-qualify our mission: to place Christ once more at the centre of our religious and missionary life, allowing him to daily evangelise our hearts.
In communion of prayer
The Intercapitular is also an encounter through prayer. I invite everyone to communion of prayer in order that the assembly may be a time of graces and blessings for the Institute and for our mission.
Comboni teaches us that with the omnipotence of prayer everything is possible. The impossible becomes possible, the invisible become visible. It is prayer which brings that confidence in God which can move mountains (W 7062).
Therefore, let us all remain in the “cenacle of prayer” that the Intercapitular may become a gift of grace for the Comboni mission and the entire “cenacle of apostles”.
With most fraternal good wishes and greetings in Christ the Good Shepherd,
Feast of the Sacred Heart 2006
Fr. Teresino Serra
CONSULTA OF JUNE 2006
The General Council (GC) has set aside one week to review the situation of the Institute, to reflect and prepare for the Intercapitular Assembly. Together with the secretaries of the general secretariats and the coordinator general for ongoing formation, the reports of the various sectors were discussed.
The GC invites all to a communion of prayer, so that the Intercapitular Assembly may be a moment of grace for the Institute and our mission.
Ratio Missionis (RM)
As intended, the Ratio Missionis is becoming a process of missionary formation for each province/delegation and the whole Institute. The RM is helping us to review our vision of mission (CA ‘03, 30.1). It is important to know in a deeper way the life and the history of the Institute, to ask ourselves if the way we do our mission mirrors the Gospel’s style and the Institute’s charism. We hope that the journey we have started may continue with an ever greater confreres’ involvement.
Vocations Promotion and Basic Formation
The GC has examined the proposals of the commission for the revision of our formation system, aware that it is not easy to find new methods and strategies responding to the requirements of today’s formation. We are, however, very concerned about the many candidates who leave the Institute and the numerous confreres who defect immediately after the profession of perpetual vows and priestly ordination. Just to give an idea, from November 2005 to the end of June 2006 thirty-nine (39) confreres with temporary vows have left the Institute.
Inter-provincial Novitiate in Cotonou
The provincial superiors of French-speaking Africa, meeting in Bangui from 26 to 27 May, after evaluating the situation in the two French-speaking novitiates, have come to the conclusion to have one single novitiate in Cotonou. The GC on 7 June 2006 has approved this proposal. In the year 2006-2007, the second-year novices in Kinshasa will finish their novitiate possibly at the present venue, and then the Kinshasa novitiate will be suspended. The new novices of the provinces of French-speaking Africa will all go to Cotonou starting already from next September.
Preparation of formators
Fr. Andrew Wanjohi Thumbi, Fr. Habtú Teclai Tiluck, Fr. Fodagni Kokouvi (Fidèle) Katsan, Fr. Byron Gustavo Brito Carvajal, Fr. Tarcisio Candian and Fr. Gilberto Ceccato in October will start their course for formators at the Gregorian University in Rome. The GC will offer them also inputs on specific Comboni topics.
The GC appoints as new continental councillor for finances for French-speaking Africa Fr. Gonzalo Antonio Dasilva Fernández, provincial treasurer of Togo-Ghana-Bénin. Fr. Gonzalo Antonio takes over from Bro. João da Silva Ferreira who has been assigned to the Curia (treasurer general’s office).
Centres for Sick and Elderly Confreres
The GC has received an appeal signed by all the confreres who work in the Centres for Sick and Elderly Confreres (C.A.A.) of Italy. The confreres serving in the C.A.A. are becoming weary after so many years of service and, rightly so, ask all the provinces and delegations to show concern and to help with personnel. More than once the GC has reminded all the provincials and delegates that they have the duty to make personnel available for such service. So far the response has been disappointing. The GC cannot waste any more time begging for personnel, so it will proceed to assign some confreres to the C.A.A.
The next Consulta, which will be after the Intercapitular Assembly, will be held from 15 October to 15 November. The GC asks once again all the provinces/delegations to send the Minutes of their provincial/delegation councils to the secretary general before the beginning of each Consulta.
Activities of the GC’s members
Fr. Serra Teresino: from 15 to 28 July 2006 in Eritrea he guides the confreres’ retreat and visits the delegation; in August he is in Rome; from 26 August to 1st October he takes part in the Intercapitular Assembly in México; from 25 November to 10 December he visits CA.
P. Baldan Fabio Carlo: from 16 to 30 July he visits the DSP; from 5 to 25 August he is on holidays; from 30 August to 30 September he takes part in the Intercapitular Assembly in México.
P. Odelir José Magri: form 9 to 16 July he is in Portugal to guide the confreres’ retreat; from 29 August to 29 September he takes part in the Intercapitular Assembly in México.
P. Tesfamariam Ghebrecristos Woldeghebriel: from 8 July to 18 August he is on holidays in Eritrea; from 29 August to 29 September he takes part in the Intercapitular Assembly in México.
Fr. Romero Arias Hernán: from 6 July to 26 August he is on holidays in Peru; from 27 August to 29 September he takes part in the Intercapitular Assembly in México.
General Secretariat for Evangelisation
Continental Francophone Assembly for the preparation of the RM
The continental assembly of the Francophone provinces of Africa for the preparation of the first draft of the RM was held at Bangui, from 22-25 May 2006, at the guest house of the Capuchins.
The following confreres were present: Chad, Fr. Jesús Ruiz Molina, Fr. Miguel Navarrete Arceo, Fr. David Arturo Esquivel Hernández; Congo, Fr. Fermo Bernasconi, Fr. Tullio Donati, Fr. Joseph Ngumba-Lelo, Fr. Albert Ndula Motoya, Fr. Giampaolo Pezzi Trebeschi; Togo-Ghana-Bénin, Fr. Manuel João Pereira Correia, Fr. Justin Dossou-Yovo, Fr. Norbert Rangu Mogoro; Central Africa, Fr. Victor-Hugo Castillo Matarrita, Fr. Giovanni Zaffanelli, Fr. Ramón Eguíluz Eguíluz, Fr. Benedetto Giupponi, Fr. José Luis López Marín, Fr. Théodore Bungama and Bro. Jean Kossi Afanvi; General Secretariat foe Evangelisation, Fr. Fernando Zolli and Fr. Enrique Javier Rosich Vargas.
During the morning of the first day, Fr. Jesús Ruiz Molina, using the text from Lk. 24, 13-35, assisted the participants to repeat the experience of the disciples of Emmaus, so similar to the journey the Institute is making towards the Ratio Missionis. Afterwards, Fr. Fernando Zolli reviewed the itinerary of the process of the Ratio Missionis, beginning from the last General Chapter 2003, and then introduced the work of the assembly.
With the help of a summary prepared by the general secretariat for evangelisation, everyone tried to clarify the essential aspects and problems of the Comboni identity and spirituality, community life and the missionary service and methodology at the start of the third millennium.
The method used was the tried and tested method of the workshop. Everyone participated with interest and the final evaluation underlined how this work helped towards an increase in confidence for the process of renewal and a greater awareness of the role of the leaders, and how the entire Institute is looking in the same direction, as it is involved in a common project.
The participants also presented suggestions for the Intercapitular Assembly: the initiatives aimed at maintaining active interest, the participation of the confreres in this journey and the steps to be taken to facilitate the remaining stages in order to conclude this phase, that of discernment, after the Intercapitular.
Continental meeting on the RM, Lima
From 12 to 16 June 2006, the continental meeting on the Ratio Missionis took place at the Lima provincial house in Perù. With the exception of Asia, all the provinces and delegations were represented.
Brazil Nordeste, Fr. Fausto Beretta; Brazil Sud, Fr. Alcides Costa; DCA, Fr. Giuseppe Moschetta; Colombia, Fr. José Antonio Girau Pellicer; Ecuador, Bro. Joel Cruz Reyes; Mexico, Fr. Rafael González Ponce, Fr. Jorge Oscar García Castillo and Fr. Domenico Guarino; NAP, Fr. Luigi Gasparini; Perú, Fr. Rogelio Bustos Juárez, Fr. Rodolfo Coaquira Hilaje and Fr. Ernesto Vargas Vera; General Secretariat for Evangelisation, Fr. Enrique Javier Rosich Vargas.
The aim was to bring together the contributions of the various provinces and delegations in the progress so far achieved, in order to prepare for the Intercapitular Assembly.
If the Ratio Missionis process promotes renewal, it is necessary in these meetings to allow time for listening and interiorising.
By means of special presentation dynamics, the participants, led by Fr. Rafael González Ponce, encountered the Word of God. Then they shared the achievements of the provinces and delegations, starting with the workshops held during 2005, for the purpose of opening ourselves to a continental way of thinking which faces up to more than the local situations.
Lastly, there followed the work of synthesis, assisted by a basic text prepared by the general secretary for evangelisation, Fr. Fernando Zolli.
The methodology followed was appreciated and fostered the participation of all.
The meeting received a favourable evaluation since it was carried out in an atmosphere of spontaneity and brotherhood. It helped towards growing in a communitarian spirit of work and some general policies were agreed upon. There was much harmony in the group and the workshop animated the participants. With everyone working together in the same way and in the same direction, good results were doubtlessly achieved.
These were days during which the process of the Ratio Missionis was experienced as a gripping common project.
Thanks to meetings carried out in this manner, the process of the Ratio Missionis ceases to be a theoretical exercise and becomes more concrete, involving more people and making rapid progress towards the future.
Meeting of the Core Committee
After the continental assemblies, the core committee met at Bamberg, in the provincial house of the DSP, from 19 to 25 June 2006, for the purpose of putting together the points and suggestions of the continents to prepare a first draft of the Ratio Missionis.
Those present were Fr. Giacomo Palagi, Fr. Simon Mbuthia Mwaura, Fr. Enrique Javier Rosich Vargas, Fr. Fernando Zolli and Bro. Hans Eigner. Fr. Anton Schneider could not attend for health reasons.
The committee, in an atmosphere of listening and discernment and aided by a basic text prepared by the general secretary for evangelisation, clarified the various parts of the layout chosen for this first part of the process.
Firstly, the signs of the times were highlighted, as they emerged from the reading of the situation in the various continents regarding society, the Churches where we work and that of the Institute itself. Then, it identified those elements which characterise the life and work of the Comboni Missionaries in Europe, Africa, America and Asia at the beginning of the third millennium.
The first draft of the Ratio Missionis - as it was often stressed - must be a help towards continuing the journey already begun, underlining especially the concepts of mission which motivate the Comboni Missionaries’ choices and the issues to be faced both regarding the life, the spirituality and the sapiential interpretation of the charism, and also regarding missionary service and the urgent need to evangelise the financial system in order to respond with audacity and in a prophetic way to the challenges which the mission poses to us today.
The feast of the Sacred Heart was solemnly celebrated together with the community of Bamberg and other sisters and confreres from nearby communities. All the work done at community, provincial and continental levels was offered to the Sacred Heart and to Comboni, in the confident hope that the confreres would be motivated and sustained in this process of renewal for the future of the Comboni mission.
JPIC - We may not just be passive bystanders
In Africa, very little is known about the decisions made in Western countries about international trade. That is especially the case for the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP). These countries are beneficiaries of aid coming from Europe, in line with the Cotonou Agreement and the Lomé conventions. These agreements are about to end and regional economic agreements will be replacing them. ACP countries have been divided in 6 free trade areas, 4 of which are in Africa. That’s why they are called Regional Economic Partnership Agreements (REPA).
Under these agreements, the EU is pushing for imposing its own vision of a total economic liberalisation. The African countries will not be able to apply custom duties on imports anymore, which will be a big loss as for many of them these taxes account for 10 to 60% of annual national income. The local goods, therefore, will have to compete with those imported, as is happening already for some products. In fact we know that in some countries imported rice is less expensive than local rice. As a result, these agreements will have damaging consequences for local producers who will be unable to sell their goods due to free competition.
According to art. 37 in the Cotonou Agreement, REPAs will be signed by the end of December 2007 and will come into force on 1 January 2008. At present they are still being negotiated. The second half of 2006 is a crucial moment in this negotiating process, as these agreements will determine the shape of Africa’s development during the next 10 years. The official speeches do not reveal the real deal as since the year 2000, when referring to Africa, they speak of the “Millennium Development Goals” and of the promise by 2015 to reduce the number of people living in poverty of 50%. However, 5 years after the universal accepting of these objectives, nothing has fundamentally changed.
The African governments feel obliged to sign these agreements, as they need the money of the EU to pay their civil servants and do not always pursuit the interests of their people, especially the poorest ones. Therefore the Churches need to speak out on behalf of the people who are not aware about what is going to be decided for them.
The secretary general for evangelisation and JPIC has sent to all the provinces and delegations of Africa and Europe documents that underline the gravity of the situation in Africa and the need to commit ourselves in the field of JPIC. Anyone interested to receive such documents, may contact the secretary general for evangelisation (firstname.lastname@example.org).
General Secretariat for Mission Promotion
Sub-Continental Assembly for mission promotion and formation course for mission promoters
Our work of missionary animation in Africa received a good boost when some 25 missionaries met, from 12 to 22 June 2006, at the Retreat House of the famous Mariannhill Monastery (South Africa, near Durban), for the sub-continental mission promotion assembly and formation course for mission promoters. The season was cold, but the group was warmed up by the excellent community spirit. Eleven Comboni Sisters, a Brother and over a dozen Comboni priests represented the ten provinces of English-speaking Africa and Mozambique. Particularly numerous was the participation of the confreres of South Africa with their provincial superior, Fr. Benno Singer.
1) The Formation Course for Missionary Animators took the first five days and covered several topics. Ms. Margaret Legum first introduced us to the good and bad of the present macro-economic system and its paralysing effects on the continent of Africa. She then proposed a layout of a New Sustainable Equitable Economy, much in favour of the weak and poor and of Christian values.
On the second day, a diocesan priest of Pretoria, 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 our Comboni Institutes. Fr. Joseph Caramazza was the facilitator of the next two days. By means 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 of Nairobi.
2. The Mission Promotion Assembly started on Saturday 17 with the reports given by the different provinces and 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 cultural site.
We returned to work on Tuesday morning listening to more reports. The following day we felt that we had to ask ourselves about the meaning of ‘mission promotion’ and what impact it has on the African Church. We kept the example of our Founder always in mind as an inspiration and we felt his living presence strengthening our desire to walk in his footsteps.
The necessity of getting down to concrete points led us to formulate some proposals to be presented to the various provincial councils and to draw an identikit of the “mission promoter”. The Assembly’s priorities were: a) The Mission Promoter has to be a person who has a good mission experience and who is engaged full time in MA. b) Every province has to prepare a Charter that offers a clear job description of his/her role. c) Provinces should see that every mission promoter is offered a month long course of preparation containing topics like basic missiology, mission spirituality, social teaching of the Church, use of mass media.
On the morning of the last day the Comboni Sisters met on their own. Our confreres met for a sharing on the on-going process of the Ratio Missionis. In the afternoon we all came together again to discuss the benefits and the difficulties of collaboration especially in our field of work.
Our stay in South Africa was concluded by the celebration of the solemnity of the Sacred Heart with the community of the scholasticate at Pietermaritzburg. We thank the province of South Africa for the friendship and hospitality.
Renewal Course in Roma
The 2006 Renewal Course was brought to a happy conclusion with the pilgrimage to Egypt and the Holy Land.
The General Council reappointed Fr. Carmel Casile to lead the Course in Rome.
Interested confreres are reminded that enrolments for the 2007 Course (January – May) have already begun and must be made before September 2006. Letters should be addressed to Fr. Casile c/o Curia, Rome, or to email@example.com
Due to the importance of keeping alive the memory of all Comboni Missionaries, provincials and delegates are requested to cooperate with the General Archives
On the death of one of its confreres, each province or delegation should prepare a file of the deceased confrere, including a photo of the same and biographical notes and dates concerning him, specifying his charism (the specific factor or factors of his life and work). This material, possibly embellished with anecdotes etc., should be sent, as it is customary, to the General Archives within a month of the confrere’s death.
Fr. John Richard Ssendawula Kyankaaga has defended magna cum laude the thesis: “Islamism and Reform in post Independence Sudan – A Country in Search of Identity” at the Pontifical Institute for Arabic Studies and Islam (P.I.S.A.I.). Congratulations.
Fr. John Ikundu has defended summa cum laude the thesis: “The Healing of The Leper in Mt 8:1-4. A Search for a Missionary Awareness” at the Pontifical Urbanian University. Congratulations.
First Professions 2006
Sc. Aguirre Charre Rubén Simeón (PE) Huánuco (PE) 08.01 2006
Sc. Crespim Cabral de Benfica Baraja (MO) Lusaka (Z) 29 04 2006
Sc. Cipriano Luis da Silva Warreno (MO) Lusaka (Z) 29 04 2006
Sc. Nyirenda Emmanuel (MZ) Lusaka (Z) 29 04 2006
Sc. Andruga Mike Maiku John (SS) Kampala (UG) 29 04 2006
Bro. Anyonga Binaisa Louis (U) Kampala (UG) 29 04 2006
Sc. Evaristo Ravo Christopher (SS) Kampala (UG) 29 04 2006
Sc. Kariuki Charles Macharia (KE) Kampala (UG) 29 04 2006
Sc. Keyali Teddy (KE) Kampala (UG) 29 04 2006
Sc. Lokwang Kortang Casimiro (U) Kampala (UG) 29 04 2006
Sc. Mubangizi John Bosco (U) Kampala (UG) 29 04 2006
Sc. Nyongesa Bernard Wafula (KE) Kampala (UG) 29 04 2006
Sc. Otii Alir Moses (U) Kampala (UG) 29 04 2006
Sc. Ssemakula Jude Taddeo (U) Kampala (UG) 29 04 2006
Sc. Beniyam Abiy Temtime (ET) Addis Ababa (ETH) 01 05 2006
Sc. Fasil Kebede Eshete (ET) Addis Ababa (ETH) 01 05 2006
Sc. Fufa Ensermu Wakuma (ET) Addis Ababa (ETH) 01 05 2006
Sc. Samuel Yakob Langena (ET) Addis Ababa (ETH) 01 05 2006
Sc. Tekalign Wodimu Fite (ET) Addis Ababa (ETH) 01 05 2006
Sc. Castillo Contreras Mauricio (CO) Huánuco (PE) 06 05 2006
Sc. Leytón Espinoza José Félix (PE) Huánuco (PE) 06 05 2006
Sc. Navarro Vigo Huver Ernesto (PE) Huánuco (PE) 06 05 2006
Sc. Nieto Gallego Carlos Alberto (CO) Huánuco (PE) 06 05 2006
Sc. Koguapa Buhendwa Desiré (CN) Kinshasa (RDC) 07 05 2006
Sc. Munketalingi Edialambel J. M. Noël (CN) Kinshasa (RDC) 07 05 2006
Sc. Ntimansiemi Dibundu Léonard (CN) Kinshasa (RDC) 07 05 2006
Bro. Peanane Katukunani Joseph (CN) Kinshasa (RDC) 07 05 2006
Sc. Dohou Igor Memonso (T) Cotonou (BEN) 13 05 2006
Sc. Kodo Alexis (TC) Cotonou (BEN) 13 05 2006
Sc. Fessou Kokou Hola (Maurice) (T) Cotonou (BEN) 13 05 2006
Sc. Labite Komi Maté (Anicet) (T) Cotonou (BEN) 13 05 2006
Sc. Plinga Menguo-Mana (Job) (T) Cotonou (BEN) 13 05 2006
Sc. Sekyiamah Hammond Kojo (John) (T) Cotonou (BEN) 13 05 2006
Sc. Barrios Morales Candelario Romeo (DCA) Sahuayo (MEX) 13 05 2006
Sc. Chacón Rodríguez Guillermo (DCA) Sahuayo (MEX) 13 05 2006
Sc. Dalle Carbonare Diego (I) Venegono (I) 20 05 2006
Sc. Filip Andrzej Jan (PO) Kraków (PL) 03 06 2006
Sc. Zębik Krzysztof Adam (PO) Kraków (PL) 03 06 2006
Sc. Chanda Isaac Chabu (MZ) Nairobi (KE) 01.05.2006
Bro. Misas Ríos Roberto (E) Nairobi (KE) 01.05.2006
Bro. Bertolo Roberto (I) Lonate Ceppino (I) 10.06.2006
Fr. Longba Godefroy-Médard (CA) Bangui (RCA) 13.05.2006
Fr. Oswal Baptist Abakar Abushaka (KH) Wau (SD) 28.05.2006
Fr. Nambasi John Bosco Mangeni (U) Nyangole (U) 01.07.2006
Holy Redeemer Guild
July 01 – 07 LP 08 – 15 CO 16 – 31 MZ
August 01 – 15 M 16 – 31 MO
July - For our fellow Comboni Missionaries working in youth vocation promotion, discernment and direction that the Lord of the harvest may make their work bear fruit. Let us pray.
August - For all the lay people committed to promoting and assisting the mission, especially our relatives, pastoral agents and our benefactors, that they may come to experience that there is greater joy in giving than in receiving. Let us pray.
The visit of the General Assistants to the Province
The visit to our province of Fr. Odelir José Magri and Bro. Hernán Romero Arias, was a joyful occasion for us.
They arrived on a special day, 15 April, Holy Saturday. After a brief rest they immediately took in hand the pilgrim’s staff to go and visit the confreres in the communities of Grimari, Dekoa and Boda. When they returned to Bangui the provincial assembly started and we were able to hear at first hand their accounts of the situation and condition of the Institute which helped us to feel in communion with the whole Comboni Family. They, in their turn, listened as we explained the situation of our province, the efforts we are making in our work and our desire for a new missionary experience. Our meetings were very relaxed.
After the assembly, we thanked Bro. Hernán, as he left for other commitments, for his meaningful presence among us. Fr. Odelir, instead, continued his visit with a meeting of the provincial council which took place at the beginning of May. Following that, he visited the communities of Tokoyo, Bangui, Mbata as well as the communities of the LMC (Comboni Lay Missionaries) at Mongoumba.
We thank God for this visit of Fr. Odelir to the province, and for having been strengthened in our Comboni identity and in our apostolic work.
Fourth Central African Comboni priest
A great feast took place on 13 May 2006 in the parish of Our Lady of Fatima, Bangui, where the Comboni Missionaries have been present since 1967. The patronal feast this year coincided with the ordination of our confrere Godefroy-Médard Longba by the Archbishop of Bangui, Mgr. Paulin Pomodimo, and in the presence of a large number of diocesan priests, religious and confreres. One of these was Fr. Odelir José Magri. Fr. Longba is the fourth Comboni priest of this province. Two of the others are at present on mission in Togo and one is in Kenya. Fr. Longba is also the thirteenth priest of this parish of ours which has produced nine diocesan priests, three Comboni priests and one Spiritan.
The Plan of St. Daniel Comboni, whereby Africa must take up its own responsibilities and which demands internationality in mission, is coming true every day. On the following day, Sunday 14 March, during Fr. Longba’s first Mass, the provincial informed the people of the appointment of the new missionary to the postulancy of Bangui. There he would bring his experience as an African on vocations promotion, which work’s results are more and more to be found in the South of the world.
On 10 June, Bro. Roberto Bertolo MCCJ, aged 38, who has recently returned from Ethiopia, has made his life consecration to the mission by taking perpetual vows. The ceremony took place in the parish of Lonate Ceppino (Varese). The entire parish community wished to witness his definitive “yes” to God.
Before the day, there were missionary animation meetings involving not only Bro. Roberto, but also the Comboni community of Venegono Superiore, the novices and the youth GIM members. The event was characterised by mission, in particular the mission of Kenya and the mission among the Gumuz people in Ethiopia with whom Bro. Roberto shares his charism as a missionary Brother.
Mention was also made of the need to be missionary in one’s own country, working towards a new way of thinking and of acting, a global commitment to sharing and respect for diversity. This was what Fr. Corrado Masini said in his homily to the numerous congregation gathered in the beautiful parish rotunda for the Mass at which he presided. As a matter of fact, it was Fr. Corrado who, in 2003, welcomed Bro. Roberto and accompanied him during his Ethiopian mission experience.
A number of Comboni Brothers from nearby communities were present with Bro. Hernán Romero Arias, general assistant, who received the vows. Fr. Tesfamariam Ghebrecristos Woldeghebriel, general assistant, was also present to concelebrate with the other Comboni Missionary priests and priest friends. The number of young people attending added life to the occasion which represented a meaningful opportunity of presenting the missionary vocation, still possible today.
Initiatives for Africa in Rome
On 22 May, the Comboni Missionaries of the San Pancrazio community anticipated Africa Day with an initiative of their own. Third-level students of Rome gathered at 3 p.m. in the Brancaccio Theatre where they presented the work carried out during the year on the “First Goal of the Millennium”: the struggle against poverty and malnutrition.
The speakers were the mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, the Comboni Fr. Renato Kizito Sesana and Fr. Alessandro Zanotelli, and Jovanotti, singer and songwriter. Of particular interest was the witness given by Kenyan Boniface Buluma who told the story of how he was once a street child and became a university student and then educator of street children. In the evening, led by Fr. Venazio Milani and with a fair number of the public present, a film entitled “I rigettati di K…” (The rejects of K…) by Massimiliano Troiani was viewed, followed by a debate on different themes. Among the participants were the journalist Jean Léonard Touadi, Fr. Kizito, Fr. Zanotelli and Boniface Buluma.
A second day on behalf of Africa was held on 21 May at the Agrarian Institute in Latina. This included a Mass in the Zairian rite, a conference on the challenges of Africa, and also displays and performances by African musical groups.
Some Comboni scholastics, as well as Fr. Venanzio Milani and Jean L. Touadi, attended.
Além-Mar celebrates 50 years
Além-Mar completed fifty years of publication in January 2006. The occasion was marked by new graphics, a special number of the magazine dedicated to the Americas (July) and a CD-ROM. Ecclesia, the catholic news agency, publicised the anniversary with a TV programme and an article in its weekly. A privately owned TV channel made a documentary about Além-Mar and broadcasted it after the Sunday Mass.
The CD-ROM contains eight entire issues which trace the development over half a century of missionary journalism in Portugal: Issue 1, January 1956; the January 1963 issue, when the larger format was introduced; the November 1964 issue which caused the suspension of Além-Mar for publishing an article on the Eucharistic Congress in India in violation of the embargo, decreed by the government of the day, on news about the event; the May 1965 issue which marks the moment when Além-Mar recommenced publication under the watchful eyes of the censors; the January 1970 issue with the new format and the first colour cover; the May 1986 special issue marking its 30th anniversary; the January 2000 issue when Além-Mar began to be published in colour throughout and, lastly, the January 2006 issue celebrating the golden jubilee with a new layout.
It also contains eleven letters, some historical notes on the magazine and a map of subscribers’ distribution. The CD is available free from firstname.lastname@example.org
Além-Mar magazine has 21,000 subscribers and a print run of 22,000 copies.
Comboni Spirituality for the laity
The Comboni family in Portugal organised a course on Comboni spirituality for lay people and the event took place at Coimbra, from 16 to 18 June 2006, with 35 participants who undertook the study of the themes of Heart of Christ and the Cross, two essential components of the spirituality of St. Daniel Comboni.
It was directed by the Italian Comboni Missionary Fr. Danilo Cimitan, with much experience in Mozambique and Brazil, who gave a cheerful quality to the course.
The final day was devoted to the figure of Sr. Giuseppa Scandola, Missionary of Comboni, presented by Sr. Fatima Frade. Adília Pascoal, Secular Comboni Missionary and Pedro Moreira, Lay Comboni Missionary, shared their respective missionary experiences in Ecuador, Colombia and Mozambique. Also present were twenty six of those who had taken part in previous courses.
The work concluded with a Mass at which the provincial, Fr. Manuel Alves Pinheiro de Carvalho, presided. Finally, the participants sowed seeds in the ground as a sign of their desire for the birth, the growth and the fruits of all they had done during the course.
The course of Comboni spirituality for lay people is a missionary animation activity which the Comboni Institutes in Portugal have been organising together since 2001.
IN PACE CHRISTI
Fr. Giovanni Ferrazin (08.09.1935 – 01.06.2006)
Fr. Giuseppe Di Gennaro (30.11.1924 - 11.06.2006)
(see the section "IN THE FATHER’S HOUSE")
Let us pray for our dead
THE FATHER: Joseph, of the Sc. Komi Delali Pierre Woami (T); Gelindo, of Fr. Gino Stocchero (U); Jean, of the Sc. Yves Houénagnon Gbénou (T).
THE BROTHER: Anselmo, of Fr. Modesto Debertolis (I); Ramiro, of Fr. Juan José Tenías Fenollé (PE); Stanley, of Fr. Moses Samuel Huruwella (T); Hugues-Louis, of Fr. Jean Pierre Legonou (†); Edward, of Fr. John Downey (BNE); Giuseppe, of Bro. Luciano Cariani (ET).
THE SISTER: Silvana, di Fr. Bruno Maccani (ET).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Danilla Meregalli; Sr. M. Lorenziana Bigotti; Sr. Elodia Moretti; Sr. Pier Giulia Magni.
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