Monthly newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
October 2007 Consulta
Elections of Provincials and Delegates. The GC is closely following the process of elections of Provincials and Delegates and thanks everyone for the commitment. The process is still going on. Already from now the GC intends to thank the Superiors who are finishing their term of office and extends its best wishes to those who have been appointed, especially to those who begin this service for the first time.
General Chapter 2009. The GC has dedicated a large part of this Consulta to reflect on the General Chapter 2009 and to prepare its programme. Before the end of the year the GC will send out proposals and orientations to all circumscriptions.
Ratio Missionis. The process of the Ratio Missionis has begun again in almost all the circumscriptions. The GC has received the programme of the activities of the second phase of the RM from almost all the circumscriptions and has noted that those provinces and delegations which had a good experience during the first phase are pushing ahead with greater optimism and hope. The GC relies on the new provincial and delegate councils and their secretariats to carry on the process, especially in the circumscriptions which have found it difficult to begin this journey, having at heart the good of the Institute and the mission.
The elections of provincials and delegates have already obliged us to make some changes in the Core (CC) and Enlarged (EC) Commissions. Together with the General Secretariat for Evangelisation, the GC has accordingly reshaped the two commissions: in the CC Fr. Masini Corrado replaces Fr. Palagi Giacomo and Fr. Cerezo Ruiz Daniel replaces Fr. Rojo Buxonat Laureano, while in the EC Fr. Aguilar Sánchez Víctor Manuel replaces Fr. Cerezo Ruiz Daniel.
Ongoing Formation. As a contribution of the Ongoing Formation to the process of the Ratio Missionis, the GC has appointed a team of animators for spiritual exercises. The interested provinces and delegations may contact Fr. Danilo Cimitan for possible requests.
Assembly of provincials and delegates. The GC is finalising the preparations for the Assembly of provincials and delegates. The Secretary General will send out a first notice to all. We report here the main points:
- Date: 27 February – 15 March 2008
- Venue: Rome
- Arrival: The “new” superiors have to be in Rome by 26 February 2008, by supper time (19:30)
The superiors of the “second mandate” have to be in Rome by 1° March, by supper time (19:30)
- Departure: Not before the afternoon of 15 March
- Proposed Agenda
- From 27 to 29 February: orientations and information for the new superiors (also the superiors of the second mandate may take part, if they wish)
- Sunday 2 March: Eucharist and opening of the Assembly
- From 3 to 4: meetings at continental levels
- Form 5 to 12: Plenary Assembly
- From 13 to 15: meeting of individual superiors with the GC
Code of Conduct. The GC has sent the final text in various languages to all the circumscriptions. We remind you that, in line with the directives of the Holy See, it is the responsibility of every Superior to present, explain and implement the document for the good of each and everyone.
Fr. García Castillo Jorge Oscar has been appointed Secretary General for Mission Promotion. He will begin his service in Rome as from 1 January 2008.
P. Manuel Alves Pinheiro de Carvalho has been appointed as member of the team of the Comboni Year of Ongoing Formation (CYOF) from 1 January 2008.
Fr. Claudio Lurati has been chosen to succeed, after a period of specific preparation, the present treasurer general.
Basic Formation. The GC has admitted to perpetual vows ten finalist confreres 2007. For the other finalists, the provincials have started implementing the directives of the mission service. To this purpose, the GC has prepared, together with the General Secretariat for Basic Formation and Vocation Promotion, a letter of clarification and orientation precisely for this mission service.
Finances. The GC has appreciated the spirit of collaboration of the majority of the provinces and delegations that have sent information concerning the Inalienable Assets. Some circumscription have sent us information that was not very clear, insufficient or inaccurate, about which the Treasurer General has made some reservations. The latter circumscriptions are asked to provide a complete documentation. In case of difficulty, the Treasurer General will be available for clarifications.
Meeting with the Comboni Missionary Sisters. We have met with the General Council of the Comboni Missionary Sisters on the eve of their Intercapitular Assembly. The GC has sent them a letter of good wishes, assuring them that we will accompany them with our Comboni fraternity and prayer. In our meeting we have dealt with matters of mutual collaboration, especially with regard to some common initiatives.
South Sudan: new provincial residence. Taking into consideration the situation of relative peace in South Sudan, the GC has accepted the request of the province to transfer, by 1 November 2007, their provincial house from Nairobi to Juba. We shall accompany them with our wishes and prayer.
Visits and journeys by the members of the General Council
Fr. Serra Teresino: from 10 November to 1 December will visit Togo-Ghana-Benin and preach a spiritual retreat in Italian and English.
Fr. Baldan Fabio Carlo: from 18 to 30 November will be in Mozambique for the celebrations of the 60° anniversary of the province; from 1 to 9 December will visit Lusaka (Zambia) in view of the possible opening of a new scholasticate; from 10 to 14 December will visit Kuwait.
Fr. Odelir José Magri: from 15 to 20 November will be in Centrafrica to give a spiritual retreat to our confreres.
Fr. Tesfamariam Ghebrecristos Woldeghebriel: from 1 to 13 December will visit Zambia and from 16 to 22 December will take part in the meeting of the European provincials in the LP.
Br. Martinuzzo Umberto: from 21 to 30 November will visit Mozambique and from 1 to 8 December will be in Zambia.
E-mail information – Curia
All e-mail addresses of the Curia in Rome which were ending with ...@pcn.net have been cancelled and substituted with the ending ...@comboni.org Please take note. Thank you.
General Secretariat for Evangelization
Continental Comboni Missionary Meeting for reflection on Islam
The continental Comboni Missionary meeting for reflection on Islam was held in the Bethel, N’Djamena (Chad) spirituality centre from 15 to 19 October, 2007. The following Comboni Missionaries were present: Fr. Oswal Baptist Abakar Abushaka (TC), Fr. Paul Annis (KH), Fr. Béka Jonas Tita-Oléma-Mbéko (RCA), Fr. Luigi Cignolini (KH), Fr. Amaxsandro Feitosa da Silva (TC), Fr. John Ikundu (KE), Fr. Kiwanuka Achilles Kasozi (EG), Fr. John Richard Kyankaaga Ssendawula (EG), Fr. Célestin Ngoré Gali (TC), Fr. Renzo Piazza (TC), Fr. Enrique Javier Rosich Vargas (C), Fr. Jesús Ruiz Molina (TC), Fr. Gino Stocchero (U), Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Ghebresilasie (ET), Fr. Paolino Tipo Deng Amayldh (TC) as well as Sisters Iris Gallardo (CA-TC), Tereska Kalinovska (CA-TC) and Anna Maria Sgaramella (EG).
The participants numbered eighteen Comboni Missionary priests and Sisters of 12 nationalities from seven provinces: Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Khartoum, Central Africa and Uganda.
Fr. Teckie Hagos Woldeghebriel (ER) and Fr. Jimmy Milla Aventore (SS) were unable to attend as they were refused exit visas. The provinces of Togo-Ghana-Bénin, Congo, South Africa, Malawi-Zambia and Mozambique were not represented.
On the first day we were visited by Archbishop Matthias N’Garteri Mayadi who welcomed us to his diocese and joined us for dinner. Mgr.
Henri Coudray S.J., Prefect Apostolic of Mongo, a famous expert on Islam, took part gladly in the various parts of the meeting.
The work began by taking up the conclusions of the 2005 meeting in Cairo. This was followed by a sharing on what had been achieved by the various provinces during the past two years.
Thanks to a very clear presentation by Mr. Gali N’Gote, a Chadian Christian involved in interreligious dialogue and an expert on Islamic affairs, we had the opportunity to understand the evolution and the present situation of Islam in Chad. This was followed by three very meaningful conferences on the reality of Islam: the first on monotheism, by Fr. Kiwanuka Achilles Kasozi, the second on Holy Scripture, by Fr. John Richard Kyankaaga Ssendawula and the third on hermeneutics in Islam, by Fr. Paul Annis. There were also other interventions which opened up other horizons to us: Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Ghebresilasie helped us to understand how Islam in Africa is constantly changing, while Fr. Cignolini clarified the matter concerning the daily relations of Christians in an Islamic context.
As regards evangelisation, Fr. Paul Annis proposed the outline of a booklet to assist Christians to deepen their faith in an Islamic context and Moslems who wish to do so to come to know, without prejudice, the Christian faith. We did some group work on the text to enrich it with other points and we agreed that this is a valid pastoral tool in an Islamic context. We decided to continue to work on the booklet and review it during our next meeting which will take place at Khartoum from 16 to 25 February 2009.
Taking advantage of the nearby major seminary of Saint Luc at Bakara, we celebrated the Eucharist with the theology students and the professors of the diocesan centre. The provincial superior of Chad was the main celebrant and spoke of the urgent need to study Islam together and to find ways of helping Christians to be uninhibited witnesses of Jesus Christ in this context.
It was not all work and no play: the participants made a trip to the village of Gawi, fifteen kilometres from the capital, where they visited a historical museum dedicated to the Sao, the first inhabitants of the area of N’Djamena in the distant past. At the same time they enjoyed discovering the variety of local folklore as they watched a display of dances organised by a youth drama group of Kabalaye.
Holy Redeemer Guild
November 01 – 07 SS 08 – 15 TC 16 – 30 T
December 01 – 15 U 15 – 31 CN
November - That the Comboni Missionary Sisters, gathered for their Intercapitular Assembly, may continue to be open to the Spirit of God and make their own the spirituality of daring, in order to live the service of the Mission more authentically and radically. Let us pray.
December - That the young people, who feel called to the Comboni missionary consecrated life, may find in our communities love for the gift of vocation and passion for the mission. Let us pray.
Feast of St Daniel Comboni
The feast amounted to a personal encounter with Comboni. All the Comboni Missionaries and the Comboni Missionary Sisters along with lay people working in the diocese of M’Baiki went to Zomea to celebrate the feast of the Founder in this pygmy village. It was a period of reflection and prayer. Mgr. Guerrino Perin, Comboni Missionary and bishop of M’Baiki was the main celebrant at the Mass. The day was brought to a close with a fraternal meal.
At Bangui, all the Comboni Missionaries and Comboni Sisters celebrated the feast on two separate days. On Monday, 8 October, they gathered at the Provincial House for a day of reflection led by Fr. Léonard Ndjadi Ndjate on the theme “Comboni the saint, the experience of a spiritual life”. The contemplative gaze of Comboni is fixed upon the charity of the Father which, welling up from the Heart of the Son, in the abundance of the Spirit, urges us towards the peoples in difficulty. Summing up, Fr. Leonard stated that the holiness of Comboni has its roots in the contemplation of the love of God which grew in him and set his heart on fire so much that it altered his way of seeing things. Comboni brought a new way of seeing the mission, Africa and the Africans. Spreading this love of God is the purpose of the mission. To live untiring from this love is the first requirement of evangelisation, according to Comboni.
After this reflection, there was a period of personal meditation followed by Eucharistic adoration and the sacrament of reconciliation. The Mass was enlivened by the Comboni postulants and was truly a moment of mutual sharing. At the start of the Mass, Fr. Victor-Hugo Castillo Matarrita, the provincial superior, read the message of the General Council for the occasion. The words: “Be obedient to your vocation, love the mission, be holy and capable, pray the mission, love one another…” reawakened the awareness of our consecration to the mission. Listening to the Word of God and the words of Comboni on how the mission challenges us, we were enabled to deeply share our experiences. Towards the end of the Mass Fr. Victor-Hugo introduced this year’s new postulants, among whom there were two from Chad. The day was concluded with a fraternal meal.
The second day was October 10. We met at the parish of St. Anthony of Padova (The Child). The entire Comboni Family, together with the priests of the diocese, the male and female religious of Bangui, together with the faithful of the parish, celebrated the feast of St. Daniel Comboni with a solemn Eucharist during which the Comboni Missionary Sisters inaugurated the centre for the formation of women. This year there are fourteen girl members. The joy which filled the faithful was in no way diminished by the torrential downpour; it was seen rather as a blessing from Heaven. Thanks to St. Daniel Comboni.
Meeting of local bursars
In view of establishing a Delegation Common Fund, approved in the last assembly, the bursars of the six communities met to discuss the proposals of the financial secretariat regarding the true meaning and methodology of the Common Fund.
Regarding postulants residing at the delegation house, Mina, from Assouan parish, has started his second year, while Rami, from the parish of Imbaba, has begun his postulancy. Let us pray that Our Lord may guide them on their long journey of formation.
On 10 October the solemnity of the 126th anniversary of the “Dies Natalis” of Comboni was celebrated, remembering also the 150th anniversary of his first arrival in Egypt, the 140th of the beginning of the implementation of his Plan in Egypt and the 130th of the arrival in Egypt of the first Comboni Missionary Sisters. The celebration, held in the Comboni church of “Cordi Jesu”, began with a prayer vigil accompanied by a power-point presentation on the life of Comboni and his bond with Egypt.
This was followed by a Eucharistic celebration in the Coptic rite, presided by his Beatitude the Catholic Coptic Patriarch Antonio Neguib, with 20 concelebrants. Among those present were Mgr. Michael Fitzgerald, the Papal Nuncio; the Catholic Coptic Bishop of Giza, Mgr. Antonio Aziz; the Rector of the National Seminary, Fr. Shenuda, and the provincial Superior of the Franciscans, Fr. Joseph Amin. Profound reflections on the life of the Saint were made during the homily. Besides the Comboni Sisters there were also many nuns of other Institutes and numerous faithful who filled the church to overflowing. The singing was done by the choirs of the Eritreans, who led the entrance procession at the sound of drums, the Sudanese and people of the parish of Helouan. The celebration ended with a light refreshment for all.
CMRS: election of president
On 28 October, Fr. Sebhatleab Ayele Tesemma, delegate superior of Eritrea, was elected by a large majority to be the president of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors (CMRS) for the next two years.
The CMRS is an important institution of the local Church, which works in close collaboration with the Council of Eparchies on important issues. It is an autonomous body and runs several initiatives of its own, like joint ongoing formation, seminars and workshops for formators, religious and the laity. It has, as well, an association called Maadi, jointly founded with the Eparchies, which funds educational and health programs.
In the last month the political situation became serious. There have been searches and arrests in the capital and in other zones which have hit in particular the businessmen accused of having illegal transactions with army generals and security personnel. What at the beginning looked like a corruption related problem, it now appears to be more complex and of far-reaching political overtones. A month ago a very rich businessman died in while prison in mysterious circumstances and three weeks later an assassination attempt was carried out on a colonel of the security who was investigating the mysterious death. The state media, the only source of information in the nation, just announced the incident but did not give details. There are a lot of speculations, even contradictory. One in particular speaks of contrasts, based on regionalism, within the leadership both political and military.
The plan of the government to nationalize the property of the Church and to oblige our seminarians to do military service had failed. Knowing, though, that the government will continue on its line, the Church has set up a commission to be ready to face any emergency. Some arrests of seminarians have taken place and in some zones government officials have asked the religious Institutes to present an inventory of all their properties. The Church has given instructions to refuse to do so, unless the officers use material force.
Even expatriate missionaries are going through a time of great tension, because the government, though not expelling them, is refusing to renew their permits.
Verona: 150th anniversary of Comboni’s first journey to Africa
The Church in Verona, together with the Mazza and Comboni families, is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the missionary expedition to central Africa, which set out from Verona in September 1857, organised by the Servant of God Don Nicola Mazza. The members of the expedition were five priests and a layman. The youngest of them all was Daniel Comboni. The organisation of the celebrations has been taken up by a committee composed of members of both families (Comboni Missionaries, Comboni Missionary Sisters, the Pius Society of Don Nicola Mazza and the Volunteer Women Teachers of Don Mazza) together with the Diocesan Missionary Centre.
Printed and other material has been widely distributed in all parishes, religious communities and associations, with the support of the local media. Expenses, too, are being shared between the organising bodies, though not equally.
The ‘diocesan’ arrangement of the event and the fact that it is presented as a common project are already a positive outcome of the celebrations, which have been well received in diocesan and civil circles. The general theme of the celebrations is well expressed in the logo: “Verona-Africa. 1857 – 2007. From the Adige to the Nile, the passion still flows”.
Celebrations to date:
- At the end of Lent, the City Via Crucis was organised around the theme of the missionary departure of 150 years ago, refreshing its inspirational message and its pastoral implications for today and the future..
- On 1 October, at the San Massimo Theatre, during the opening Mass for the missionary month, organised by the Diocesan Centre, 20 minutes were dedicated to commemorating the event, based on the pamphlet “Historical Notes on the Mission to Central Africa”, written by Beltrame, Comboni and Melotto at Holy Cross Mission in 1859.
- On 10 October there was a solemn concelebration in the cathedral presided by the diocesan bishop Mgr. Giuseppe Zenti, together with eight other bishops, more than 100 priests and a full congregation of the faithful. The Mass was broadcast via satellite by Telepace. There were two main missionary events underlined during the celebration. Firstly, the 150th anniversary of the first journey of the young Daniel Comboni to Africa in 1857, with five other missionaries sent by Don Mazza. Secondly, the 130th anniversary of the departure from Verona for central Africa of the first group of five Pie Madri della Nigrizia in December 1877. At the start of the Mass, each of the parishes and municipalities of the departing missionaries presented an outline of their own missionary. In continuity with those departures, a group of four Comboni Sisters, who were about to make their perpetual profession and to leave for the missions, received the crucifix. Besides the bishop, there were four others who spoke during the ceremony: H. E. Mgr. Robert Sarah, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; Don Corrado Ginami, Superior General of the Mazza Institute; Mother Adele Brambilla, Superior General of the Comboni Sisters and Fr. Teresino Serra, Superior General of the Comboni Missionaries.
- On 11 October, next to the tomb of Don Mazza, a fraternal meeting was held between members of the Mazza and Comboni families during which Vespers were celebrated, led by Mgr. Sarah and followed by a convivial meal.
- On 12 October, at the Academy of Agriculture, Science and Letters of Verona, a convention was held on the theme “Comboni and Mazza”, with interventions by four qualified speakers.
- During the period October-December, at the University of Verona, eight cultural meetings of a missionary vein are planned with external speakers and the participation of teachers and staff, with the possibility of obtaining university credits.
On the occasion of the 150th anniversary, there has been an increase in pastoral requests by the parishes and religious communities for conferences, retreats, missionary triduums, celebrations of the Forty Hours in a missionary context, cultural missionary evenings, meetings with schools, missionary catechesis for those preparing for confirmation, inaugurations of commemorative plaques of Comboni, the presence of relics and more. It was also proposed, in line with these celebrations, to create scholarships for African students to attend the Comboni University in Khartoum.
At Limone for a prayer break
“I have never heard Comboni invoked so much as during the few days I stayed at Limone”, said one of the numerous confreres who took time out for a prayer break at the source of our spirituality. “At Limone we find Comboni’s roots”, said Don Mario Trebeschi, former parish priest of Limone. “The many men and women missionaries who frequently visit his native home become aware of this. I have seen missionaries about to leave for the missions visiting the house and church of the Founder to pray, as if to gather from these places that same missionary concern and inspiration which animated his work.
I have seen returning missionaries, visibly weakened in health by their apostolic work and sometimes by persecutions, rest here to offer the fruits of their labours and their sacrifices. Each arrival and departure is as if Comboni himself were departing or arriving. There is a mysterious atmosphere of the presence of Comboni in the parish church of St. Benedict at Limone. Reminders of Comboni meet every glance and each missionary who comes here seems to make them come alive.”
World Mission Sunday
“The Church in Kenya for the entire world” was the motto which characterised the celebration of World Mission Day, on 21 October, in Kenya, under the auspices of the secretariat for mission promotion of the Episcopal Conference.
The official celebration was held at the parish of Embulbul in the diocese of Ngong, concelebrated by Mgr. John Njenga, Archbishop Emeritus of Mombasa, and Fr. Mariano Tibaldo, provincial superior, to remember in prayer the more than 800 missionaries which Kenya has offered for the evangelisation of peoples. From an evangelised Church, Kenya has moved on to become an evangelising Church.
At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the secretariat for missionary animation assigned the funds collected during the mission appeals of the past year in the various parishes of the country to the Kenyan missionary men and women who work throughout the world. The aim was to mark the close link which unites missionaries to the Church that sends them and to instil in the faithful the duty of supporting one’s own missionaries through prayer and donations, to help them in their work.
The Church in Kenya was the first in Africa to establish its own secretariat for missionary animation. It was started in 1998 by Comboni missionaries Fr. Paulino Mondo Twesigye and Bro. Claudio Bozza and adopted by the Episcopal Conference. Fr. Paulino and Bro. Claudio introduced the system of mission appeals in the parishes, a method which is still bearing fruit. Today, their work is continued by Comboni Missionaries Fr. Joseph Maina Mwariri and Bro. Dessu Yisrashe Banksra and by the Consolata Missionary Fr. Maurice Awiti.
In Kenya, missionary animation is flanked by a wide range of vocations promotion activities undertaken independently by various national and international Institutes. Fr. Paul Kithuku Kambo is vocations promoter for the Comboni Missionaries. Fr. Paul said: “The major difficulty is not to find youths who are willing but to evaluate the real motivations which move them to consider the missionary life, which for the Comboni Missionaries is a life “ad gentes, ad extra, ad vitam”.
Fr. Paul is accompanying five young men in the pre-postulancy. They live and work in designated parts of the city where they must show proof of their ability to look after themselves, to give themselves to Christ in the service of others and an aptitude for community life. Each month they meet for a week-end with Fr. Paul to evaluate, discern and plan together.
Feast of St. Daniel Comboni in Cincinnati
The Comboni Mission Center in Cincinnati hosted a special event on October 10th in celebration of St. Daniel’s feast day. Fr. Louis Gasparini, the provincial, presided at Mass with the Comboni priests Fr. Peter Ciuciulla and Fr. Paul Donohue concelebrating. Also concelebrating was Rev. Dale Peterka, a Cincinnati Archdiocesan priest and long time supporter of the Comboni Missionaries.
Following the Mass, Father Peter showed a beautiful computer presentation of the life of St. Daniel. The evening closed with a social hour that gave the invited guests time to mingle, view the museum, share stories and enjoy good food. Among those who attended were donors, members of the Comboni Auxiliary, and family and friends of those who work at the Comboni Center. The event was very successful and is the start of a tradition we hope to carry on for years to come.
A special celebration in Montclair, NJ
In Montclair, New Jersey, a special event took place to both honor St. Daniel Comboni and to celebrate the 50th year of the Comboni presence there. The house at 88 High Street served from the beginning as a “Comboni Ellis Island” to the priests and those studying for the priesthood who came from abroad to the United States. They all passed through Montclair before going on to other locations. Today it is a centre for mission promotion and advocacy work at the United Nations.
Area priests were invited to be a part of the festivities as were friends and benefactors, some dating back to the beginning of our presence in Montclair. There were people in attendance who knew Bishop Edoardo Mason, Bishop Domenico Ferrara and Fr. Hamlet Accorsi. One of the most exciting highlights of the day was the presence of some of St. Daniel’s third, fourth and fifth generation relatives who live in the eastern United States.
The whole affair gave all persons involved an opportunity to renew interest in mission awareness with a focus on justice and peace.
As for the past several years, on 8 October a meeting was held with the relatives of our Peruvian confreres at the provincial house in Monterrico. About 30 people accepted the invitation, mostly from Lima but some also from other parts. Together we discussed the situation of our communities, the Ratio Mssionis and the way we are working in the area around Chincha, devastated by the earthquake.
We took advantage of the presence of Fr. José Miguel Cordova who is working in Ethiopia, to get to know something of the work of a Peruvian Comboni Missionary in that country. We concluded with a Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. José Miguel and a fraternal meal.
National Missionary Exposition
From 8 to 14 October, the second National Missionary Exposition took place in the buildings of “La Recoleta” Institute. It was organised by CENAMIS (Centro Nacional Misionario) of which the executive secretary is Fr. Javier Sánchez Vargas.
Around sixty religious Institutes participated and the visitors were given an understanding of the richness and variety to be found in religious life. It was an ecclesial experience and helped us to make ourselves known in the Peruvian Church. The Comboni family was well represented by the many missionary Priests, Brothers and Sisters who took turns at the exposition to answer the visitors’ questions and engage them in conversation.
We celebrated the feast of 10 October all together as a Comboni Family in Peru. We had a zone meeting at the provincial house during which we reflected on the theme suggested by the “Ratio Missionis”: “Cenacle of Apostles: to evangelise as a community”. We were reminded that the cenacle is the place of the revelation of Jesus of Nazareth and the Risen Christ, where the good and not-so-good aspects of our community life emerge.
We prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, analysed the situation in which we live and celebrated around the altar the gift of living together, a gift which has its lights and shadows. We then returned to our daily tasks with warmer hearts and a greater desire to discover the riches of the cenacle.
First recollection day for caretakers of HIV/Aids patients
It is Friday morning in the Comboni Study Centre in Lynnwood Ridge in Pretoria-Tshwane. After morning prayer together in the community, Fr. Michael Martin Zeitz receives a group of so-called “Caretakers of HIV/Aids patients” for a recollection day in the Comboni Centre.
All 16 women and men come from the Eastern Deanery of the Archdiocese of Pretoria. They are all caretakers with responsibilities in caring for HIV/Aids patients in their “home-base-care-groups”, where they try to reach out to infected and sick people among the about one million of black African people in Mamelodi and surroundings.
Around 9 a.m. the official programme starts with tea, coffee, biscuits and chatting. At 9:30 a.m. all gather in the chapel for a prayer. St. Bakhita and St. Daniel Comboni are invited to intercede for us.
Then the participants meet in twos to introduce themselves to each other and exchange ideas on what a recollection day meant to them. After an introduction to the programme of the day, there is input by Fr. Michael on the topic “Our responsibility in this time of HIV/Aids in South Africa today”, followed by a passionate discussion. It shows how important this issue is, because about 40% of the population of Mamelodi is estimated to be infected by this virus, especially young people between 13 to 30 years, where the percentage may reach 60%.
The celebration of the Holy Eucharist later in the morning and the quiet reflection during adoration bring some peace to the participants. After lunch they have time to talk in small groups or with the priest.
Bible sharing at 3 p.m. gathers all together again for another session and, through the seven steps method, the Word of God is broken and shared among the participants. It is decided to have the next recollection day in October and to be continued on a monthly basis, so that they may be helped in their service to the patients, without the risk of running out of words of comfort and of spiritually drying out.
IN PACE CHRISTI
Fr. Cirillo Tescaroli (05.02.1923 – 30.09.2007)
Let us pray for our beloved dead
THE MOTHERS: Ampelia, of Fr. Salvatore Marrone (KH); Antonieta, of Fr. José Domingo Delgado (E); Juana, of Fr. Alejandro Hernández Lafuente (E) and Fr. Florentino Hernández Lafuente (PE).
THE BROTHERS: Cephas, of Fr. Awuye Ruben Kwame Dodzi (CA); Mgr. Alfredo, of Fr. Nazareno Gaetano Contran (CN) and Fr. Sergio Bartolomeo Contran (NAP); Fr. Genesio, of Bro. Fernando Cesaro (KE); Richard, of Bro. Kuno Stösser (PE).
THE SISTER: Maria, of Fr. Giuseppe Volpetti (†).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Rachele Vismara, Sr. Rosa Attilia Colombo, Sr. Placida Arsuffi; Sr. Luigina Fauzeia Emmanuel Mikhael.
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