Monthly newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
Vatican City, 30 September 2006
Rev. Fr. Teresino Serra
Superior General MCCJ
Reverend and dear Father,
I am indeed grateful for your message of solidarity which you sent me on the occasion of my retirement as Secretary of State.
On my part, I wish you and all your worthy confreres an abundance of Divine Grace.
United in prayer and apostolic ideals, we must all of us continue to work for the spread of the Kingdom of God as long as the Lord wants.
Cordially, in the Heart of Jesus,
Angelo Card. Sodano
The Vatican, 3 October 2006
Reverend Fr. Teresino Serra
On the occasion of my recent appointment as Secretary of State to His Holiness, you, on behalf of your Institute, sent me fervent good wishes and assured me of your special prayers.
I thank you for your kindness and, with my very best wishes, which I en-trust to the intercession of Our Lady Auxiliatrix. I joyfully invoke upon you and your confreres an abundance of heavenly blessings.
I am, to you, Reverend Father,
Most Devoted In the Lord,
Tarcisio Card. Bertone
Secretary of State to His Holiness
Bro. Hernán Romero Arias resigns from the General Council
In the minutes of the Intercapitular Assembly we read: “Bro. Hernán Romero Arias, having thanked all the participants for having lived the As-sembly as a time of communion and sharing, announced his resignation as general assistant, saying, among other things: ‘The change from the missions to the Curia in Rome has been difficult for me. I tried to do my best during the past three years both by assisting the Brothers and in fi-nances. I was close to those who suffer, the poor and abandoned of the Institute. This I did without pretending to solve their problems. However, after a long period of discernment, I presented my resignation to the General Council last June. I am content with what I have done and, like any other Comboni Missionary, I am ready to be sent to the missions…’
“On behalf of the entire Intercapitular Assembly, Fr. Teresino Serra sin-cerely thanked Bro. Hernán for the service he rendered during the past three years.”
As already stated in the October issue of this newsletter, the General Council, bearing in mind the personal motives of Bro. Hernán, reluctantly accepted his decision.
After the Assembly, Bro. Hernán returned to Rome where he ended his work as assistant general on 1 October 2006. Acknowledging his desire to return to the missions, the General Council assigned him to Congo.
On 21 October 2006 Bro. Hernán left for Paris to apply for permission to enter Congo. He is expected to arrive at Kinshasa on 3 November and to proceed to his appointed mission.
On 19 October the Superior General and his Council, together with the secretaries of the general secretariats, celebrated Mass to thank Bro. Hernán for the work he has done as Assistant General during the past three years. The day was concluded with a farewell supper in a Roman restaurant.
On the evening of 20 October the Curia community said their thanks to Bro. Hernán with a Eucharistic celebration followed by a celebratory sup-per.
Bro. Hernán also thanked the members of the General Council, the community of the Curia and all the confreres for the friendship and broth-erhood, expressing his gratitude for having had the opportunity, during the past three years, to come to know in depth the situation of the Insti-tute in Africa, America and Europe. He also emphasised his joy of being able to return to the missions as a Brother and a doctor.
Fr. Teresino Serra and his Council, in unison with the entire General Administration, again express their heartfelt thanks to Bro. Hernán for the his very meaningful contribution to the administration of the Institute since 2003. We wish him a future that is increasingly “Comboni” and missionary as a Brother and a doctor.
At long last the printed version of the “Writings” of St. Daniel Comboni has been completed. Copies of this important Comboni document are available to provinces, delegations, communities and individual confreres.
Heartfelt thanks go to all those who have contributed to the publication of this volume, in particular to Fr. John Martin Troy and to the London Province, for having worked on it and financed the work during the past years.
Provincials and delegates are asked to inform the Secretary General as soon as possible about the number of copies they wish to order for their provinces or delegations, and also on the way of delivering them: either by post, or by confreres passing through Rome, or in any other way.
The special price for members of the Comboni Family is € 40,00 (forty Euro) per copy.
Please substitute (when receiving the copies) the first line on page IV with the words “Cover: Daniel Comboni, based on a painting by Antonio Moro”.
Rome Renewal Course
The Renewal Course in Rome will start on 7 January 2007. Further in-formation is available from Fr. Carmelo Casile: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Comboni Missionaries now associate members of VIVAT
On 19 July 2006 the Board of Directors of VIVAT International, an NGO accredited to the United Nations, has informed us, through its president Fr. Antonio Pernia SVD, that the application of the Comboni Missionaries for associate membership in VIVAT has been accepted by unanimous vote. Fr. Fernando Zolli will be the contact person with VIVAT, which is now composed of 7 religious-missionary Institutes.
The Institutes that are part of it, besides the two founding Institutes, namely the Divine Word Missionaries and the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, are the following: Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Missionary Sisters of the Holy Spirit, Comboni Missionary Sisters and Comboni Missionaries.
We hope that through VIVAT we can provide a meaningful presence in the new “Areopagus” of the UN to give voice to the voiceless.
The General Council has approved the election of Fr. Renzo Piazza as vice provincial of Tchad as of 10 October 2006.
Fr. Carbonero Mogollón Pedro Percy was elected provincial councillor of Chad on 10 October 2006.
Fr. Renzo Piazza and Fr. Carbonero Mogollón Pedro Percy replace Fr. Navarrete Arceo Miguel who left Chad for a Sabbatical year in Mexico.
Sc. Dunn Álvarez Henry Oswaldo (DCA) Kinshasa (RDC) 10.10.2006
Sc. Calongos Maslucán Gilver (PE) Kinshasa (RDC) 10.10.2006
Sc. Oguzu Michael Aribo (U) Ongata Rongai (KE) 10.10.2006
Sc. Rivera Antonio Menes (A) Ongata Rongai (KE) 10.10.2006
Fr. Amaxsandro Feitosa da Silva (BNE) Senador Rui Palmeira (BR) 07.10.2006
Fr. López Pastor Luis Filiberto (DCA) Quetzaltenango (GUA) 07.10.2006
Holy Redeemer Guild
November 01 – 07 SS 08 – 15 TC 16 – 30 T
December 01 – 15 U 15 – 31 CN
November - For all deceased members of the Comboni Family, wit-nesses and models of missionary commitment and holiness, that by their intercession they may obtain for us renewed enthusiasm for the Comboni mission. Let us pray.
December - For the Comboni Missionary Sisters, that following the example of Mary, their consecration may confirm them in motherly love for the regeneration of the weakest and most afflicted.
Let us pray.
Asian Mission Congress
The first ever Asian Mission Congress in history took place in Chang Mai, northern Thailand, from 19 to 22 October 2006, reaching its conclu-sion on World Mission Sunday itself. The Delegation of Asia was repre-sented there by Fr. Carlos Alberto Malásquez Quispe (also an official rep-resentative of the Diocese of Macau), Fr. David da Costa Domingues (Delegation secretary of Mission Promotion and Director of the Pontifical Missionary Works in the Diocese of Parañaque) and Fr. José Antonio Mendes Rebelo (editor of World Mission Magazine).
A source of particular satisfaction for the Delegation was the fact that a copy of the special issue of World Mission Magazine, prepared for the oc-casion, was included by the organizers in the pack prepared for each of the 2000 participants. Besides being a unique occasion to promote the magazine, this was also a recognition of the high regard in which our pub-lication is held in Asia and is a tribute to all the confreres who have been involved with it since its foundation some nineteen years ago. As the Gospel assures us, even the smallest of seeds can produce great har-vests.
Mission in the media
In the Philippines, the much-followed Radio Veritas broadcast its World Mission Sunday Mass from the chapel of our postulancy at Daniel Com-boni Seminary; the main celebrant was Fr. Victor Manuel Tavares Dias. In the evening of the same day our confreres Fr. Marnecio Coralde Cuar-teros and Fr. Miguel Angel Llamazares González were interviewed on another local radio station.
First Comboni Feast of Solidarity at Josefstal
It was the first time for the Comboni Missionaries to celebrate a "Com-boni Feast of Solidarity" at our house in Josefstal (Ellwangen) on 7-8 Oc-tober 2006. This celebration coincided with the 125th anniversary of the death of St. Daniel Comboni. Hundreds of friends and well-wishers re-sponded and attended it. Spiritual inputs were integrated with some in-formation as well as with time shared with old and new faces.
The highlights were the information by several confreres about their missionary commitment in post-war Southern Sudan as well as in North-ern Uganda with its history of guerrilla warfare and child soldiers. Newly ordained Fr. Markus Lorenz Körber gave a moving input about the neces-sity of missionary commitment in Southern Sudan, the province to which he has been assigned for his missionary work.
Fr. Josef Altenburger, the vice-provincial, spoke afterwards about to-day’s situation in our Institute, thus ensuring lively discussions. The fol-lowing morning, in his homily during the Eucharistic celebration in a packed church, Fr. Josef pointed out that the Word of God can only be perceived appropriately if we hear it as a word that calls for action in love. The theme of "solidarity" was taken up for reflection also during the Ves-pers on Saturday and Sunday.
An exhibition about "The Presence of the Comboni-Missionaries in the Ellwangen area since 1920" helped to refresh memories. Stories and events about missionary pioneers of the past were brought back again.
The many visitors, the meaningful information, the liturgies, the news exchanged, the discussions, the good food, as well as the opportunity to meet old and new friends, the many helpers, the musicians from Peru with their Andean music, the programme for children and the splendid au-tumn weather guaranteed a wonderful missionary feast which, no doubt, will be repeated again next year at about the same time.
Courses by Bro. Silvestro Fadda
On 5 June last, the fourteenth course in electrical theory and practice for technicians in residential lighting installation, was held at the parish hall of "La Merced" Parish, Esmeraldas, on the initiative of and carried out by Bro. Silvestro Fadda. Forty people took part in the course, namely adult students and workers.
The course lasted for three months, June-July-August, and covered all the curriculum required by international standards. Thirty three partici-pants successfully completed the course.
On 31 August, at 17.00, the closing ceremony was held. The director of SECAP, two engineers and the parish priest presented the certificates to those who had qualified. Counting this latest group, the number of SE-CAP qualified electricians emerging from Bro. Fadda’s course reached the number 535.
SECAP also honoured Bro. Fadda by presenting him with a plaque for his voluntary work in human development.
Fr. Scattolin addresses the Spanda Foundation
On 13 October, Fr. Giuseppe Scattolin spoke at the Spanda Founda-tion, an organisation which describes itself as a foundation for culture, education, health and research in view of progress towards peace, recip-rocal knowledge and understanding. It is based at Ajax in Holland and promotes various initiatives for development and the meeting of cultures.
Last year the foundation invited Fr. Scattolin to be a member of their Advisory Committee as regards inter-religious dialogue. The first plenary assembly of the committee was held this year on 13 October and Fr. Scattolin, having been asked to present the theme of inter-religious dia-logue, spoke of “Spirituality in dialogue”, proposing spirituality as the place for the encounter and dialogue between the various religions.
The meeting was held at the Palace of Peace, seat of the International Court of Justice (UN). The founder of the Spanda Foundation, an Italian living in Holland, sent a message of congratulations to Fr. Scatolin. It seems that the Foundation has important connections at the highest lev-els with governments and UN organisations. The possibility of providing a word of enlightenment, even to people of this level, is something very positive which, it is hoped, will bear fruit.
From 1 September to 1 October, the 23rd European Union of Arabists and Islamologists (UEAI) Congress was held at Sassari University in Sar-dinia, Italy. It is held every two years and professors from all the Euro-pean universities take part. The Congress is one of the most important cultural meetings for measuring the pulse of research into the Arabic-Islamic world. Fr. Giuseppe Scattolin took part in the Congress for the fourth time and presented a paper entitled: “The language of love in the hadith (sayings attributed to Mohammed, the prophet of Islam). A se-mantic development.” In previous years he had made a systematic presentation of his studies on Sufism.
The research he presented this year highlights the semantic difference which exists between the Koranic language and that of the sayings of Mohammed. This leads one to conclude that these sayings were com-posed in a period after the prophet of Islam. Even though this is a very controversial and sensitive question, it seems that a scientific approach effectively leads to such a conclusion. Fr. Scattolin’s studies have been especially appreciated and will soon be published.
In the space of two days, the 125th anniversary of the death of St. Daniel Comboni and the 25th anniversary of the episcopal ordination of Mgr. Gabriel Zubeir Wako, Archbishop of Khartoum, were celebrated.
On Sunday 8 October, the diocese remembered how, on 10 October 25 years ago, Mgr. Zubeir Wako succeeded Mgr. Agostino Baroni, thus be-coming the seventh bishop to occupy the cathedra of Comboni.
During the homily, the Cardinal recalled the important events of those years, sadly marked by an ongoing war and the exile of millions of people to the North, but also by many graces such as the thousands of baptisms, the increase of vocations, and the great ecclesiastical events of the beati-fication and canonisation of St. Daniel Comboni and St. Josephine Bakhita.
On Tuesday 10 October, the St. Daniel Comboni’s celebration was wit-nessed by around 30,000 people, an increase on previous years, and a sign that, for the Christians of this area, this is something not to be missed.
Cardinal Zubeir spoke at length on various themes, which both involve and challenge the Church, such as vocations, the Heart of Jesus as the refuge of the poor, planning apostolic work and priests. He asked the Comboni Missionaries to renew their commitment to their missionary ser-vice.
The situation in Darfur
In Darfur the situation is still unsettled because of the continuous dis-placement of people. There are a lot of tensions and clashes among the rebel factions all over the Darfur region, especially in Southern Darfur. Recently there was fighting in the areas of Greda, Mujajeria and Sutha, near Redom.
These places are heavily populated by Christians who belong to Nyala parish and where the catechists, who have just completed their training, come from. We are expecting, therefore, an emergency situation of dis-placed people near Nyala, as there is a large group of IDPs in Bileil. In addition, the Christians are Southerners who had already been displaced by the South Sudan’s war and have now to face another one in Darfur.
They are extremely poor, stripped of all their belongings due to looting or robberies. They have been asking to be helped to return to their lands in the South. The only way to assist them in this emergency would be to give them some financial assistance or to hire trucks to take them to the South. At the moment many army manoeuvres are taking place and we foresee a new offensive after the month of the Ramadan.
Annual meeting of AFJN
This year’s Africa Faith & Justice Network (AFJN) Annual Meeting, held in October at the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, Indiana), drew good representation from the NAP. In attendance were Fr. David William Bohnsack, Fr. John Converset, Fr. Paul Donohue, Fr. Michele Stra-gapede, Fr. Raphael P’Money Wokorach and Fr. Luigi Zanotto; the Com-boni Sisters Maria de la Luz Sanchez and Giovanna Sguazza; and the layperson Cindy Browne. The USCMA conference that preceded this meeting likewise drew a good crowd.
The theme of the conference: “Africa’s children: peril and promise”, ran through the numerous workshops attended by more than 100 people, in-cluding many Notre Dame college students. The meeting allowed for much reflection on the plight of the African children, particularly their situation in Northern Uganda. Archbishop of Gulu (Uganda), Mgr. John Baptist Odama, was the honoured guest, as well as the annual AFJN award recipient. Countless images and firsthand accounts were pre-sented describing vividly an African child’s life at the hands of the rebels, whether as child soldiers or sex slaves.
Yet these children manage to smile because they know God’s love. We learned a lot about their resilience. Rev. Donald Dunson, who worked in Gulu, witnessed to those who returned to their villages after having been kidnapped and put through severe traumas. We also heard about “Traf-ficking of African Women and Children,” and “Life on the Streets: Street Boys in Nairobi.” There was a workshop on “The State of Education in Uganda and Elsewhere;” and AFJN Associate Director, Michael Poffen-berger led two sessions on “Campus Organizing.”
To expose us even further, the film Uganda Rising! was shown on the one evening we were together. In addition, a special session on “Touch-ing Tiny Lives: Responding to Children with HIV in Lesotho” was a power-ful teaching as was the closing plenary session: “Signs of Hope: Opportu-nities for Advocacy,” presented by a Director of Policy Studies at Notre Dame. In this conclusion to the conference, we were reminded that being part of the Africa Faith & Justice Network means that we have people power at our disposal, both in Africa on the frontlines and in the U.S. The Africa Faith & Justice Network, based in Washington, D.C., is a unique advocacy group with a comparative advantage to influence Congress and can bring the right folks to Washington, particularly religious and grass-roots leaders.
Like Catholic Relief Services, but a much smaller NGO, AFJN is posi-tioned to contribute to the policy debate as a counterbalance on areas such as option for the poor, solidarity and the common good. Because, as Dr. Powers put it, “Africa is IN and Faith is IN” right now, there is no better time than NOW to get involved for the future of the African children.
AFJN was founded by a group of returned Catholic missionaries back in the early 80s. The Comboni Missionaries are one of its organizational members. Fr. Luigi Zanotto currently sits on the AFJN board of directors.
For more information about the Africa Faith & Justice Network advo-cacy group visit www.afjn.org. Here one can learn about activities that may be happening for Africa, such as Gulu Walk (www.guluwalk.com) and find out more about the “night commuters” and the DVD, “Invisible Children” (www.invisiblechildren.org). (Cindy Browne, director of AFJN in the NAP)
Meeting of confreres over sixty-five
Again this year, after the assembly on evangelisation, held during the month of September, the elder confreres of the province met together.
Guided by Fr. Gaetano Beltrami, director of Ongoing Formation, they reflected on how to contribute to the process of renewal of the Institute (Ratio Missionis). It was an opportunity to share not only their memories, but also to look to the future, according to the views of those who had travelled a long road of service in the mission.
125th Anniversary of the death of St Daniel Comboni
On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the death of St. Daniel Comboni, and assisted by the atmosphere of the month of October, es-pecially important in Peru for the devotion to the “Señor de los Milagros”, various celebrations were held in the province.
On Sunday 8 October a meeting was held in the provincial house with a fair number of relatives of Peruvian Comboni Missionaries, to thank the Lord for the gift of our Father and Founder, St. Daniel Comboni. There was a sharing of experiences, information and plans for the future. This meeting was also held for the purpose of strengthening the bonds of friendship with those who gave a son to the Comboni Family.
On 10 October we celebrated the day in a climate of gratitude and rec-ollection. All of us, members of the Comboni communities of Lima, met to contemplate Comboni as a “man of faith” and reflect upon how to respond to this particular challenging moment. The day was concluded with a Eu-charistic celebration and a family supper.
The first and second Sundays of October were taken up with pastoral youth meetings attended by around 60 young people from our parishes. The first meeting took place in Trujillo and the second in Lima. The pur-pose was to form leaders with a Comboni mentality who might ‘infect’ others of their own age with - why not? - the missionary ideal and begin to nurture possible vocations.
On 22 October, coinciding with the DOMUND, the families of the postu-lants were invited to spend the day at the postulancy of San Miguel (Lima). By means of reflections and audiovisuals, as well as the celebra-tion of Mass, we wanted to share the missionary ideal with the relatives of our postulants, being well aware, as Comboni said, that they are “the first missionaries”.
IN PACE CHRISTI
Fr. Mario Balzarini (08.03.1931 - 04.10.2006)
Fr. Giovanni Fortuna Jr. (15.07.1921 – 18.10.2006)
(see the section “IN THE FATHER’S HOUSE”)
Let us pray for our beloved dead
THE FATHER: Rufíno, of Fr. Manuel Fidelino Gomes Jardim (P); Giovanni, of Fr. Elio Zanei (C).
THE MOTHER: Caterina, of Fr. Eugenio Palla (TC).
THE SISTER: Erminia, of Bro. Lodovico De Rossi (I); Maria, of Fr. Gaetano Gottardi (†); Romana, of Fr. Giacomo Molinari (BNE).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Antonietta Della Po-zza; Sr. M. Cirilla Moser; Sr. Fiorenza Mazzoleni.
Visit our website: http://comboni.org