Monthly newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
From Babel to Pentecost
A thought for the Assembly of Provincials and Delegates
Rome 27 February – 12 March 2008
As the day of Pentecost drew to a close, they were all together in the same place. Suddenly there came a noise from heaven like that of a strong wind and filled the house where they were. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign tongues as the Spirit gave them power. All were surprised and perplexed and asked each other what this might mean. (Acts 2:1-12).
Let us use this page from the Acts of the Apostles to express our hope that the Assembly of Provincials and Delegates may be an experience guided by the Spirit of God.
St. Luke writes: At this noise, the people gathered and were amazed because each one heard them speaking in their own tongue. They were filled with awe and said: are not these men all from Galilee? How is it that we hear them speaking each in our own native tongue? We are Parthians and Medes, Elamites...” There follows a list of peoples and languages. All this is part of the Pentecost event.
St. Luke also wished to create a parallel with the Babel episode (Gen 11), where the situation is just the opposite. It is a situation of chaos, chaos which continues even today: chaos which is ideological and linguistic, political, economic and religious. And, as the Holy Father reminds us, there is chaos in the life of the Church and in religious life. The parallel established by Luke is this: at Babel everyone spoke the same language but without understanding each other. At Pentecost, all spoke different languages but everyone understood as if they heard their own language spoken. The reason for this can be seen by a simple comparison. The people of Babel said: Come. Let us build a city and a tower reaching to heaven. Then they softly added: Let us make a name for ourselves. Their sin consists in acting not for the glory of the divinity but to become famous. They all want power and God is just a means to an end and so the conflicts of self-interest arise. At Pentecost, instead, the Apostles have no desire to make themselves known. They wish to make God known. When all are turned towards the Glory of God, God becomes the centre and conversion takes place. It is the conversion of Pentecost which consists precisely in removing ourselves from the centre and making God the centre of everything.
St. Augustine also speaks of Babel and the city of Pentecost: There are two cities being built in the world. There is the city of evil, called Babel. This is built on self-love, selfishness and, therefore, indifference towards God. There is also another city, called Jerusalem, which is born at Pentecost. This city is built on the love of God and the sacrifice of one’s self. These two cities, Augustine again states, are like two workplaces ... and everyone in the world can choose in which he wishes to work”.
At this point we may remark that a Synod, a Pastoral Council, a General Chapter or an Assembly like ours can be either Babel or Pentecost. It is Babel when each one tries to make a name for himself and it is Pentecost when each one deliberately tries to make a name for God. Jesus himself said: I do not seek my own glory. It would be good to repeat these words of Jesus as a prayer and put them into practice.
Dearest confreres, it is my hope that this Assembly may become a Pentecost experience. It will be a Pentecost if, while engaging in discussion and dialogue, evaluations and planning, taking stances and positions, we allow the Spirit to do all things according to the will of God. For the good of the Comboni mission.
Best wishes to all of you.
Feast of the Chair of Peter
Fr. Teresino Serra
Members of Provincial and Delegation Councils - 2008
Delegation sup. Fr. Glenday David Kinnear
Councillors Fr. Llamazares González Miguel Angel, vice
Fr. Consonni Paolo
Provincial sup. Fr. Codianni Luigi Fernando
Councillors Fr. Covarrubias Rodrígues Gustavo, vice
Fr. Bombieri Claudio
Fr. Pellegrini Franco
Fr. Raimundo Nonato Rocha dos Santos
Provincial sup. Fr. Alcides Costa
Councillors Fr. Vanderlei Bervian, vice
Fr. Borghesi Walter
Fr. Bracelli Pietro
Fr. Joaquim Pinto da Fonseca
Provincial sup. Fr. Zaffanelli Giovanni
Councillors Fr. Giupponi Benedetto, vice
Fr. Aldegheri Giorgio
Fr. Longba Godefroy-Médard
Br. Matarese Sergio
Provincial sup. Fr. Tacchella Eliseo
Councillors Fr. Farronato Lorenzo
Fr. Kamanga Mutombo Stephane
Fr. Mumbere Musanga Joseph
Br. Naranjo Muñoz Rafael
Delegation sup. Fr. Villarino Rodríguez Antonio
Councillors Fr. Rees Gordon Paul, vice
Br. Binaghi Marco
Delegation sup. Fr. Sánchez González Enrique
Councillors Fr. Leandro Araya Leonardo, vice
Fr. Andrés Miguel Pedro
Provincial sup. Fr. Altenburger Josef
Councillors Fr. König Josef, vice
Br. Eigner Johann
Fr. Gimpl Herbert
Fr. Putz Alfred
Provincial sup. Fr. Cerezo Ruiz Daniel
Councillors Fr. Franco Lorenzo Conrado, vice
Fr. Martín Vargas Francisco José
Fr. Piñón López Ismael
Fr. Sánchez Arenas Juan
Provincial sup. Fr. Zendron Claudio
Councillors Br. Degan Alberto
Fr. José Joaquim Luis Pedro
Fr. Tacuri Samaniego Pedro Secundino
Fr. Vargas Egüez Ramón Alberto
Delegation sup. Fr. Spadavecchia Cosmo Vittorio
Councillors Fr. Sobhy Basily Attalla, vice
Fr. Kyankaaga Ssendawula J. Richard
Delegation sup. Fr. Sebhatleab Ayele Tesemma
Councillors Fr. Teckie Hagos Woldeghebriel, vice
Fr. Gaim Haileslassié
Provincial sup. Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse
Councillors Fr. González Núñez Juan Antonio, vice
Br. Bertolo Roberto
Fr. Dawit Wubishet Teklewold
Fr. Ocaña Iglesias Julio
Provincial sup. Fr. Pelucchi Alberto
Councillors Fr. Masini Corrado, vice
Fr. Cavallini Giuseppe
Fr. Longhi Claudio
Br. Della Monica Simone
Fr. Taneburgo Giovanni
Fr. Mauri Enea
Provincial sup. Fr. Tibaldo Mariano
Councillors Fr. Twesigye Paulino Mondo, vice
Fr. Herreros Baroja Tomás
Fr. Ikundu John
Br. Laurencig Dario
Provincial sup. Fr. Pacifico Salvatore
Councillors Fr. Eibu Dominic, vice
Br. Cerri Agostino
Fr. Fenzi Giovanni
Fr. Giorgetti Angelo
Provincial sup. Fr. Felix Paul Neri Augustine
Councillors Fr. Clark John Robert, vice
Fr. Burns Patrick
Fr. Goffredo Donato
Fr. Panato Pasquino
Provincial sup. Fr. González Ponce Rafael
Councillors Fr. González Galarza Fernando, vice
Fr. Agustoni Sergio
Br. Enríquez Sánchez David
Fr. Padilla Rocha Rubén
Provincial sup. Fr. Robol Massimo
Councillors Fr. Manuel Lopes Ribeiro, vice
Fr. Antonini Francesco
Fr. Paulo de Araújo Rocha
Br. Silvério Maria dos Santos
Provincial sup. Fr. Dário Balula Chaves
Councillors Fr. Colleoni Enrico, vice
Fr. Carlos Alberto Nunes
Fr. Laurenti Tiziano
Fr. Uribe González Gabriel
Provincial sup. Fr. Gasparini Luigi
Councillors Fr. Baeza Gama José Manuel, vice
Fr. Binaghi Maurizio
Fr. Bohnsack David William
Fr. Ciuciulla Pietro
Provincial sup. Fr. Alberto de Oliveira Silva
Councillors Fr. Manuel António da Silva Machado, vice
Fr. Claudino Ferreira Gomes
Br. Humberto da Silva Rua
Fr. José Arieira de Carvalho
Provincial sup. Fr. Bustos Juárez Rogelio
Councillors Fr. Barrera Pacheco Luis Alberto, vice
Fr. Díez Maeso Lorenzo
Fr. Lafuente Hernández Florentino
Fr. Quilla Torres Pedro Juan
Provincial sup. Fr. Sandri Giuseppe
Councillors Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins, vice
Fr. Anakese Jérôme
Br. Padovan Francesco
Fr. Wanjohi Thumbi Andrew
Provincial sup. Fr. Perina Luciano
Councillors Fr. Estrada Meza Luis Alfredo, vice
Fr. Adot Oryem Albino
Br. Bortoli Nicola
Br. Lamana Cónsola Alberto
Provincial sup. Fr. Manuel João Pereira Correia
Councillors Fr. Kouande Adekoun Victor, vice
Fr. Cadei Sandro
Br. Maroso Genesio
Fr. Tasiame John Kofi
Provincial sup. Fr. Navarrete Arceo Miguel
Councillors Fr. Carbonero Mogollón Pedro Percy, vice
Fr. Paolino Tipo Deng Amayldh
Fr. Ngoré Gali Célestin
Fr. Pognon Saturnin Comlan
Provincial sup. Fr. Filippi Giuseppe
Councillors Fr. Hategek'Imana Sylvester, vice
Fr. Arellano Pérez Luis Francisco
Fr. Ciaponi Pietro
Fr. Ezama Rufino
Br. Okello Lawrence
Fr. Paolucci Torquato
Sc. Palomar Alcántar Juan Apolinar (M) Guadalajara (M) 02.12.2007
Sc. Sánchez Ramírez Luis Alberto (M) Guadalajara (M) 02.12.2007
Fr. Amoussou Comlan Ghislain (T) Fidjrossé (Benin) 19.01.2008
Fr. Gnaha Cossi Bonaventure Henri (T) Fidjrossé (Benin) 19.01.2008
Fr. Bojórquez Sandoval Rubén (M) Los Mochis, Sinaloa (M) 02.02.2008
Holy Redeemer Guild
March 01 – 07 DCA 08 – 15 EG 16 – 31 EC
April 01 – 15 DSP 16 – 30 E
March - That in the contemplation of the crucified, risen and living Lord, we may face with faith the sufferings, obstacles and misunderstandings we encounter in our missionary service. Let us pray.
April - That our life in common may be a true proclamation and incarnation of the Gospel we proclaim. Let us pray.
Member of the Penitentiary Council
Fr. Marco Passerini, coordinator of the Prison Ministry of the “Regional Nordeste 1” of the Brazilian Bishops Conference, has been appointed a member of the state Penitentiary Council by the Governor of the State of Ceará for a period of four years. The Penitentiary Council, established by the law governing the carrying out of sentences, is a consultative and controlling body governing sentences and it has, among other things, the duty to inspect penal establishments and services and to give views regarding pardons and the commutation of sentences.
Fourth Forum of Italian Missionary Institutes
From 11 to 15 February 2008, the Forum of the Missionary Institutes present in Italy was held at Pacognano di Vico Equense (Naples). One hundred and twenty men and women, including some lay people, gathered at the Salesian guest house Sereno Soggiorno.
The theme of the meeting was: “Ad Gentes prophecies in Italy today. The Missionary Institutes examine themselves”. They were days of prayer, listening and encounter. Each missionary carried a life experience to be shared with the others and each Institute listened to the others.
The Forum was planned by CIMI (Conference of the Missionary Institutes present in Italy) in collaboration with SUAM (Unified Secretariat for Missionary Animation). The conference provided a cross-section of the vast and varied richness of the Italian missionary world (almost 15,000 missionaries world-wide) which has its central nucleus in the four Missionary Institutes founded in Italy. (Xaverian Fathers and Sisters of Parma, Consolata Fathers and Sisters of Turin, the PIME of Milan and the Comboni Fathers and Sisters of Verona). There was no lack of representatives of other Institutes present in Italy such as the Society of African Missions of Lyon whose Superior General spoke at the forum to affirm the option of his Institute for absolute fidelity to Africa.
The meeting was enriched by the interventions of notable representatives of the religious and academic world. The first speaker was Fr. Gianpaolo Salvini, the director of Civiltà Cattolica, who dealt with the theme: “Discerning the today of God in Europe. The mission in an epoch of change”. The task of the missionary is to respond to the dominating pessimism by looking to the future with optimism. God is at work in the history of the European peoples who have decided, for the first time in history, to join together, giving up part of their sovereignty for the sake of a future of peace together. It is also the task of the missionary to respond to the need for the ‘Absolute’ present in society. Professor Tosolini presented the multicultural world in which the missionary is called to work today, living at the “borders” as a gathering point which prepares the world of tomorrow.
Mgr. Domenico Segalini, Bishop of Palestrina, spoke to us of how he welcomes priests and religious of other countries with all the joys and sorrows this brings, with the lively hope that some of his priests, immigrants or not, may choose the ad gentes mission.
Perhaps the most interesting moment of the forum was that of the witnessing. Professor Paolo Branca of Milan told us about his work among the young, second generation Moslems. We are not prohibited to think of an Italian Islam far removed from fundamentalism and inserted in our social context.
The experience of Sister Genevieve of the Little Sisters of Jesus was also moving. For almost thirty years she has carried on her ministry among the people working at the Luna Park. Fr Alex Zanotelli’s talk: If we want to matter as missionaries in the Italy of today, we must resist the power of wealth which oppresses and starves the world. We must make the option of siding with the poor. We cannot delay adopting a new way of life. Do away with arms and choose life and life in abundance.
We were also moved by the stories of women immigrants from Ghana, Ukraine and Poland, who gave an account their daily lives and the economic hardships and marginalisation, with children to rear; women who share the way of seeing and living the world of the youth of Italy. They live near Castelvolturno and centre on the parish of Fr. Giorgio Poletti who, with the help of the Orsoline Sisters of Acerra, assists immigrants, especially prostitutes, helping them to break the vicious circle by means of a craft cooperative.
A young lay Consolata missionary couple, with two children and another on the way (the spent three years in Ecuador), were with us during these days. Their presence was discreet but very meaningful since it points the way to an ever more common type of presence in the missionary world.
We returned to our homes, to a community and a reality, with a strong desire to witness to Christ who saves by bringing the good news of liberation to the poor.
Provincial reflection on the post-election crisis
Since it was necessary to postpone the annual provincial assembly planned from 11 to 19 February, due to the disturbances that followed the elections and which prevented several confreres from coming to Nairobi, the province organised two days of reflection (14-15 February) on events that struck Kenya during the past two months.
The reflection was opened with a socio-economic analysis of the situation in Kenya, focussing on social inequality and the unfair distribution of wealth. This allowed the assembly to deepen their understanding of the causes behind present social and political developments. Following this analysis – which occupied the entire morning of 14 February and was chaired by an economist – in the afternoon, with the help of a Jesuit priest, the possible future developments of the situation in the socio-political sphere were presented.
The whole of the next day, the participants – assisted by an experienced Sister – were invited to make a theological reflection on what is happening in the country. Questions as: Where have you found God in this situation? And: In what way are we asked to respond as Comboni Missionaries?, helped the assembly to come to terms with what God is asking the Comboni Missionaries to give attention to at this moment in history.
Besides the content and reflections presented, the meeting was also a valued moment for the confreres of the province to share the experiences, emotions and challenges encountered in ministry, which found like a sounding board in the gathering and fraternal support. The two days of meetings brought out the strong feelings and anxieties of all in a situation which is extremely complex and which deeply touches the life of so many people.
We invite everyone to accompany this country with their prayers as it painfully struggles for political and social stability towards justice and peace.
Anniversary of Comboni presence in Mexico
With great solemnity and joy, the thanksgiving anniversary Mass for the presence of the Comboni Missionaries in the diocese of La Paz and in Mexico, was celebrated. It took place in the cathedral of the diocese on 17 January 2008 with Mgr. Miguel Angel Alba Díaz presiding and concelebrated by a large part of the diocesan clergy and a good group of Comboni Missionaries. In his homily, the Bishop thanked God for the great gift to Bassa California with the arrival of the Comboni Missionaries in 1948. He then outlined the work done during these past sixty years: social projects, the formation of lay leaders and priests, running parishes and so forth. He pointed out that it is not possible to speak of the diocese of La Paz without mentioning the work of the Comboni Missionaries.
Thanks were also expressed during the celebration for the sixty years of priesthood of Fr. Mario Menghini, for the fifty years priesthood of Fr. Pierluigi Cadè and for the silver jubilees of priesthood of Fr. Sergio Agustoni and Fr. Ignacio López Toro. The presence of Bro. Arsenio Ferrari was very significant, since he is the only member of the original group of Comboni Missionaries who arrived in Mexico sixty years ago. The people generously applauded Bro. Arsenio when the Bishop pointed him out. The affection of the Catholics of the diocese of La Paz for the Comboni Missionaries was demonstrated by the overflowing congregation in the cathedral, even though the Mass was celebrated at midday on a working day.
The celebration took place also in the communities we now serve in the city of La Paz: Rectoría of La Paz and the Parish of the Holy Family, as well as in the church of St. Vincent de Paul, served by Fr. Menghini of Casa Comboni. The Eucharist was celebrated in these three locations, followed by a supper organised by the parish communities.
On 2 February last, in the city of Los Mochis Sinaloa, the deacon Rubén Bojórquez Sandoval was ordained priest. Mgr. Benjamín Jiménez Hernández, Bishop of the diocese of Culiacán, Sinaloa, presided at the Eucharistic celebration.
In preparation for the ordination, a group formed by a Comboni Sister and some Comboni Missionaries organised a week of missionary animation and vocations promotion. There were meetings with parish groups, the sick, the children and young people in the schools, to speak to them of the missions. The response was very positive and we hope that, in the future, missionary vocations may come from this work.
People came from the various communities and, even though the number of concelebrants was not large, due to the distance to be travelled, there were about fifteen priests both diocesan and Comboni. Among these was the provincial Fr. Rafael González Ponce. The ordination took place in the parish of Our Lady of Fatima at 9 a.m. Among those present were the mother of the ordinand, some of his brothers, relatives and friends.
Fr. Ruben said his first Mass on Monday 4 February at the parish of St. Jude Thaddeus where Fr. Ruben usually lives. Everything went off in a very festive atmosphere and the two parish priests who hosted the celebrations did so with great generosity, in order that the missionary celebration might have its full impact.
Fr. Ruben will stay in his diocese for a few months before returning to his mission in Malawi. He is the first of four new priests which the province will offer to the Church in 2008.
“Oasis St. Daniel Comboni”
Inaugurating a Comboni community is like founding a cenacle of apostles from which to go out and share in the mission of Christ after the example of St. Daniel Comboni. With this missionary spirit, the Comboni family in Mexico inaugurated the new house called Oasis, the main purpose of which is to receive our elderly and sick confreres who have spent their lives in the missionary service.
We were happy to have with us our Superior General, Fr. Teresino Serra, the former provincials of Mexico Mgr. Jaime Rodríguez Salazar, Fr. Enrique Sánchez González, Fr. Ramón Arturo Orendaín Ca-macho and Fr. Gerardo Antonio Díaz Jiménez, as well as a large group of Comboni Missionaries from the various communities of the province as well as Comboni Missionary Sisters and their provincial, Sr. Delia Contreras, Lay Comboni Missionaries with their coordinator Manuelita Valladares, benefactors and family members. Right from the start, the Comboni family spirit was evident.
The day began with an address by the provincial who welcomed all present. Then Fr. Serra spoke on the purpose of the house, describing it as a place of hope, gratitude to God and most of all a place of communion with the mission. He said that it must be a place where the faithful who go there can read living books on the missions who will help them to live in harmony with the mission ad gentes and, as a consequence, continue to support our missionary work.
Mgr. Jaime Rodríguez blessed the chapel, the altar and the vestments. Fr. Teresino Serra presided at the Eucharist accompanied by forty concelebrants, including some diocesan priests. After the Mass, Fr. Teresino blessed the house and, accompanied by Mgr. Jaime Rodríguez, the two oldest members of the province, Bro. Arsenio Ferrari and Fr. Domenico Zugliani, cut the tape to inaugurate the new buildings.
The event ended with a meal for all the participants, accompanied by traditional Mexican music with maracas. The word most frequently heard was thanks to God first of all, but also to all those who, in one way or another, helped to carry out this project and turn a dream into reality.
Heart Experience: United for Darfur
The Comboni Missionaries and three local Franciscan artists have collaborated to put on an art exhibition entitled Heart Experience: United for Darfur.
Seventy-five works of art will be on display at the Comboni Mission Center January 25 to March 28. The exhibits range in price from $200 to $400. 75% of money raised by the sale of the articles is guaranteed to go to help the Comboni Missionary efforts in Darfur.
The opening on 25 January drew a very impressive crowd, made up of Comboni and Franciscan supporters. The joint effort has proven to be very worthwhile.
Ten exhibits have been sold, bringing donations for Darfur to almost $2000 so far. Each piece sold is replaced by another so that there are always 75 paintings on display. The art works are a collection of abstracts and nature scenes in acrylics, oil, and water colors.
The example of this project clearly states to the people of Cincinnati that there are no boundaries when it comes to helping the poor and most abandoned.
IN PACE CHRISTI
Bro. Alessandro Pelucchi (22.02.1928 – 22.01.2008)
Let us pray for our beloved dead
THE FATHER: Giacomo, of Fr. Manuel Ceola (I).
THE MOTHERS: Albina, of Fr. Luigi Sergio Chesini (EG); Laura, of Fr. Modesto Generali (I); Lina, of Fr. Luigi Gabaglio (U).
THE BROTHERS: Giuseppe, of Fr. Eugenio Caligari (KH); Enrico, of Fr. Remo Mariani (BS).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTER: Sr. Anna Bosis.