Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus


4th CONSULTA: 7 June – 2 July 2010


Meeting and work of the team for ongoing formation

During the second half of the month of June Fr. Siro Stocchetti and Fr. Manuel Alves Pinheiro de Carvalho arrived in Rome and, together with Fr. Danilo Cimitan, started the work of reflection, planning and arrangement of what will be the new residence for the Ongoing Formation in Via Luigi Lilio in Rome.

After meeting with the General Council (GC), the new team presented a draft of the statute for this formation structure and the community charter. The new community will consist of the team in charge of ongoing formation at the level of the whole Institute. The GC will make its observations and it is hoped that the Consulta of October will approve these documents which will serve as norms for the various services offered in this new place.

In September, with the coming also of Fr. Guillermo Casas Rosell, the team will begin its work of preparation for the next renewal course that will take place in the beginning of the month of January 2011.

General Secretariats

During the Consulta we had two meetings with the General Secretariats. In the first meeting each secretary got us acquainted with the situation and the questions that were awaiting an answer from the GC. In the second meeting, done all together, we shared on some points of interest for the GC and discussed the way of collaboration we hope to be able to arrange in order to optimise the efficiency of the secretariats in relation with the GC.

During these meetings we were briefed about the admission to perpetual vows and sacred orders of some scholastics who have completed their missionary service. We spent one day discussing financial matters and another on the work of mission promotion.

As we still don’t have the secretary for evangelisation, we are in dialogue with some confreres, as we hope to appoint the new secretary in the next months. We are at the same time looking for other confreres to entrust to them the fields of justice and peace, the lay missionaries and the Web page, commitments which are not yet covered by a confrere in charge full time.

Situations and requests for personnel

After the last Consultas we have received a few comments on the lack of answer concerning requests for personnel in the circumscriptions. As GC we have reflected at various times during our Consulta and we can honestly say that we understand such reminders, but at the same time we have the impression that some provincials have not yet realised the situation in which we find ourselves as Institute. At this time it is no longer possible to apply the criteria of having to replace personnel and we think that it will be more and more difficult to sustain the number of commitments in the provinces and delegations with the personnel at our disposal. We are rather bewildered when in certain provinces the confreres still plan to open new communities without discerning first the possibility of closing down some other commitment. This is a clear sign of the urgency to work at the continental plan so that new openings do not become a problem.

Accompaniment in the process of elections

In the last days of this Consulta we have received the results of the straw ballots for the elections of superiors of circumscriptions. Let us accompany this process with our prayer and ask the Lord for the gift of his Spirit so that He may assist us in making the discernment needed for this process. We encourage all the confreres to take part in the next elections so that we may elect people who can help us to live our consecration to the mission.

Code of Conduct

We were happy to see that an effort was made to contextualise our Code of Conduct. In some continents they managed to let confreres know rather well the contents of this instrument so necessary to the life of the Institute. In view of the fact that the situation and the current sensitivity that has arisen in our society, also motivated by accusations and situations of abuse, we think that it is important to insist at the level of the whole Institute so that there may be a real observance of the contents of our Code. Some circumscriptions have decided to prepare a letter by which one expresses his personal intention to abide by the contents of the Code as a rule. We intend to encourage everyone to try not only to observe, but also to know and put into practice this Code as an assurance and a sign of the intention to practice the values of our consecration. We invite the provinces and delegations to share the experiences made, so that we may help one another.

Distribution of the offerings received for Haiti

In answer to the appeal that was made to offer financial assistance to people affected by the earthquake in Haiti, the treasurer general’s office received the contribution of 353.944,47 Euro from the provinces and delegations.

Having inquired from people and institutions that know the situation of our brothers and sisters in Haiti, the GC has authorised the treasurer general to use this amount for three projects: to sustain an agricultural development run by the local Institute of the Brothers of St. Teresa (120.000 Euro), to assist a humanitarian project run by the Monfort Institute (80.000 Euro) and to help the work of the local church, managed by the bishops’ conference (153.944,47 Euro).

Date for the next meeting of provincials and delegates

In this Consulta we have arranged the dates for the next meeting of provincials and delegates who, by the end of the year, will have been elected for the next three-year period. The meeting will be held in Rome from 19 February (day of arrival) to 12 March (midday) 2011. We invite all the provincials and delegates to mark this date in their diary. At the end of the October Consulta the GC will send to all an agenda of the meeting.

World Social Forum 2011

At the beginning of next year, the next World Social Forum will be held in Dakar (Senegal). As GC we encourage Comboni participation to events like this, which deal with themes, demands and hopes that are valued in the missionary world.

In the last two events (Nairobi and Belém) our participation and coordination (including the Comboni Forums which accompanied them) were facilitated by our confreres already present in loco. This time, foreseeing the difficulty to organise a Comboni Forum, we invite, nevertheless, the provincials to assure our participation also to this Forum, always respecting the modality and the criteria of participation which the single provinces decide to adopt in choosing and confirming possible participants.

Finally, at the level of continental assemblies of provincials/delegates and of general secretariats concerned, we intend to make at the appropriate time the necessary discernment (and follow-up) of our participation and involvement in the Social Forums.

Agenda of the General Council

- Fr. Sánchez González Enrique:

4-15 July: spiritual exercises and visit to the province of Portugal;

24 July-8 August in Peru: spiritual exercises and visit to some communities:

1st September at Verona: Opening of the General Chapter of the Comboni Sisters;

11-25 September in Ecuador: spiritual exercises;

7-14 November in Togo: spiritual exercises.

- Fr. Odelir José Magri:

Will remain in Rome.

- Fr. Pelucchi Alberto:

15-27 July: visit to the London Province;

September: spiritual exercises and visit to the Delegation of Eritrea;

November: beginning of his visit to the DSP;

22-26 November: meeting of the European provincials in Lisbon.

- Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie:

11 July-5 August: spiritual exercises and visit to the province of Malawi-Zambia;

1-23 September: visit to the province of Khartoum.

- Bro. Giusti Daniele Giovanni:

31 July-15 August: visit to the Western area of the province of Congo.

Rome renewal Course

Our Renewal Course (January – May) will reopen in Rome in January 2011. The General Council appeals to the provincial and delegation superiors to speak of this course to their confreres and to send their lists of possible participants from their circumscriptions as soon as possible to the General Secretary. Bookings will close on 1 September, 2010.


Fr. Matthew Remijo Adam Gbitiku (KE) has been awarded a Licentiate in Spiritual Theology, specialising in the formation of future priests, by the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. His thesis is entitled: “Psycho-spiritual maturity in priestly formation and consecrated life”. Fr. Matthew defended his thesis on 16 June, 2010, “magna cum laude”.

First Professions

Sc. Bahta Uqbaghiorghis (ER)               Decameré           03.06.2010

Sc. Semere Weldu (ER)                         Decameré           03.06.2010

Perpetual Professions

Bro. Andama Richard (MZ)                    Kampala (U)       20.06.2010

Sc. Boadi John Bliss Anthony Kudjo (T)      Lomé (T)      11.06.2010

Sc. Laye Ayikoue Mawutodji Elysée (T)       Lomé (T)      11.06.2010

Priestly Ordinations

Fr. Dubón Chávez J. Rob. (DCA)   Sensuntepeque (ES) 29.05.2010

Holy Redeemer Guild

July                      01 – 07 LP           08 – 15 CO          16 – 31 MZ

August                 01 – 15 M            16 – 31 MO

September           01 – 15 NAP        16 – 30 PE

Prayer Intentions

July - That the process of reorganisation under way among the Comboni Secular Missionaries may bear fruit in the vitality and renewal of the Institute, allowing each member to live her own vocation more radically and respond more adequately to the challenges of history and the current situation. Lord hear us.

August - That in every continent the Lord may raise up missionary vocations and help our communities to welcome those who desire to share our passion for the Mission ad gentes according to the spirit of our Founder. Lord hear us.

September - That the Comboni Missionary Sisters, gathered together for the celebration of their XIX General Chapter, sustained by the faithful presence of St. Daniel Comboni and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, may be able to accept the prophetic journey which Mission requires at this time. Lord hear us.


Fr. Marco Innocenti, “Note Elementari di Grammatica Gumuz, Varietà di Mandura”, p. 262, published in 2010 in Ethiopia by Arada Books. The book contains the basic grammar elements and an extensive Gumuz-Italian and Italian-Gumuz glossary. Professor “Baye Yimam” of the University of Addis Ababa, renowned Ethiopian linguist and expert on African languages, analyzed the book and gave a vow of appreciation to Fr. Marco for what, according to him, is the first and most relevant systematic step towards a future Gumuz grammar, written in Gumuz and for the Gumuz people.

Fr. Juan Antonio González Núñez, “Al Norte del Río Azul. El Mundo de los Gumuz, un Pueblo Marginal de Etiopía”, published by Mundo Negro. Fr. Juan has worked on this project with his habitual diligence and promptness to depict before the eyes of the reader a close look at one of the most marginalized group of peoples in the Ethiopian history up to recent times. His view is more than a historical or anthropological analysis; in fact, his vision is permeated by his missionary experience. In his book, indeed, Fr. Juan describes the impact of the Catholic missionary presence among the Gumuz. He looks at the future with the eyes of faith, able to see in his everyday life how the Gospel values transform the heart of this people and their culture.


UCIP awards World Mission

The editor of World Mission magazine, Fr. José António Mendes Rebelo, is one of the laureates of the 2010 International Award for Excellence in Journalism, given by the Geneva-based International Catholic Union of the Press (UCIP). The award description states that the two major criteria of the award are “content value and journalistic presentation.”

Among the stories submitted to the judges were the following reportages published in World Mission: A Farm of Hope (April-May 2008 issue); The Dialogue Mission (February 2009 issue); Saving Children and Fighting Sex Slavery (February 2010 issue). They are small tributes to magnificent missionary projects being implemented in the Philippines.

World Mission feels honoured and congratulates its editor for the distinction. The award is an implicit recognition of the outstanding work being done by the magazine’s makers, collaborators and friends, to bring about missionary awareness and a better world for all God’s children.

The triennial awards that honour outstanding media professionals, publications and institutions worldwide and recognize their exemplary contributions, will be conferred at the World Congress to be held at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, this coming September.


Priestly Ordination

Fr. Jaime Roberto Dubón Chávez was ordained priest by Mgr. José Elías Rauda on 29 May, at the Santa Barbara Parish in Sensuntepeque, Cabañas, in the diocese of San Vincente in El Salvador. Fr. Jaime is the second Salvadorian Comboni: the first was Fr. Juan José Hernández Rogel who is now working in Sudan. The newly ordained priest is already engaged in vocations ministry in his native country. May the Lord bless him with abundant fruits in his missionary life.

Anniversary of the “St Daniel Comboni” School for Evangelisers

The community of Casa Comboni in Guatemala includes in its structures and as a project of missionary animation a school for the formation of lay missionaries. In 1995 Fr. Pietro Gianmaria Piu started this formation school and it has continued to function for fifteen years  without interruption, offering what is called a “Basic Course”, lasting three years and the “Emmaus Course”, also lasting a further three years which include Biblical, doctrinal and missionary courses. Over the past three years, there has been an average of 250 students each year. The courses are held every Monday and are completed twice between February and October and lead to a diploma in missiology.

Delegation website and Radio Comboni

The Delegation has had its own website since last May, as was suggested by the missionary animation sector during the Assembly of 2008. The task of setting it up was assigned to Fr. Gabriel Estrada Santoyo. The address is: “”.

Radio Comboni: operates on the same site as “The Missionary Voice of Latin America”, an initiative in the use of radio on the Internet. It is our wish that it be a radio station to which the Comboni Missionaries working in this continent of America may contribute with programmes about the countries where they work. We are also willing to bet on courses of missiology via Internet. Many lay people, unable to attend our school for evangelisers, have requested this. They will be sent printed material and will be able to listen to the lessons transmitted from Casa Comboni in Guatemala.

Diploma in Missiology in the Vicariate of Izabal

As a logical extension of the work of the Comboni School, at the request of Mgr. Gabriel Peñate, the local bishop, and of Fr. Rudy Juarez, the head of the diocesan Missionary Works, there will be the possibility of obtaining a diploma in missiology in the Vicariate of Izabal. The lectures will be given by Comboni Missionaries who will travel from time to time to Puerto Barrios, more than 200Km away. The courses will last three years with twelve subjects taught in four week-ends per year. The first of these will be held from 16 – 18 July, 2010.


First profession

On the 3rd of June, Uganda Martyrs day, the two Eritrean novices Semere Weldu and Bahta Uqbaghiorghis professed their first vows to God in the Novitiate House of Dekamere. Present at the celebration was Fr. John Baptist Opargiw Keraryo, general secretary for formation, family members of the novices, the Comboni Fathers and Sisters, the local clergy and religious, and other close friends. The novices of the MCCJ and CMR and our minor seminarians jointly animated the songs of the liturgy.

During the celebration, Fr. John Baptist conveyed the message of the Superior General to the novices, underlining the particular situation of the country and the challenges that it could entail for them. Referring to the example of the Martyrs of Uganda, he reminded the novices that in a globalized world whereby the values of the Kingdom are increasingly neglected, their profession is a sign of generous commitment to the values of the Gospel and to the missionary mandate of the Church.

During the homily, P. Sebhatleab Ayele Tesemma, the delegate superior, underlined the fact that a close relationship with Christ is the secret of success and perseverance of a missionary.

Visit of the general secretary for formation

As already mentioned above, Fr. John Baptist Opargiw visited the delegation of Eritrea from the 1st to the 6th of June. The confreres of the Delegation are grateful to the Superior General and to Fr. John Baptist for the visit. This year the General Council sent its representative to witness the first profession only to Eritrea, as a sign of solidarity with the particular situation of hardship and isolation that the country is undergoing at the present.

Though briefly, the general secretary for formation visited the three formation houses: the minor seminary and the novitiate in Dekamere and the scholasticate in Asmara. He had a meeting with the team of formators of the three formation houses and a visit to the community of the scholasticate, whereby he had the chance to meet everyone personally and had a joint meeting with the community members. On the 4th of June, in the evening, he presided over the Eucharist which was attended by all the Comboni Family and the respective candidates. The eve before he left, Fr. John Baptist had a long exchange of ideas with the delegate superior and Fr. Teckie Hagos Woldeghebriel, the vice delegate.

The Delegation Council thanks the Superior General for sending Fr. John Baptist to visit this Delegation. A special thanks also goes to Fr. John Baptist for his attentive listening and for his relevant observations regarding our formation.

Situation update

There has been a positive development, at the beginning of june, concerning the border dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti: it seems that a peaceful agreement was reached, thanks to the mediation of Qatar government. In line with the agreement, Eritrea has already withdrawn its troops from the disputed area of Ras Dumera and has agreed to pay the damages inflicted during the conflict in June 2008. In addition, Eritrea has agreed to stop supporting the opposition groups in Djibouti who are trying to destabilize the country.

The peace agreement is hailed by UN, AU, EU and other international organizations. While all this is reported worldwide in the mass media, strange enough, nothing has been reported in the Eritrean news agencies. On the contrary, the local media continues to defy the UN sanctions saying that they were unjust and not based on evidence.


First “Gumuz”grammar

The first grammar, in Italian, of the Gumuz people (North-West of Ethiopia) has seen the light. On 31 May 2010, Fr. Marco Innocenti made the official and solemn presentation of this book at the Italian Cultural Institute in Addis Ababa.

In 2004, Fr. Marco joined the community of Gilgel Beles in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region, which borders with Sudan and hosts 108,000 Gumuz people, approximately 33% of the Region’s population. The project could count on the inestimable cooperation of the Italian Cultural Institute which took the initiative to promote and support this publication. Fr. Marco, in his introductory speech, clarified to the public that his work on the field was motivated by the sheer need of missionaries to find a systematic tool to deal with the rudiments of the difficult Nilo-Saharian Gumuz language. The book, written in Italian and by the title “Note Elementari di Grammatica Gumuz, Varietà di Mandura” contains the basic grammar elements and an extensive Gumuz-Italian and Italian-Gumuz glossary compiled on the field by the meticulous and careful dedication of Fr. Marco.

Professor “Baye Yimam” of the University of Addis Ababa, renowned Ethiopian linguist and expert on African languages, analyzed the book and gave a vote of appreciation to Fr. Marco for what, according to him, is the first and most relevant systematic step towards a future Gumuz grammar, written in Gumuz and for the Gumuz people.

Fr. Marco delighted the audience with the presentation of a video show describing both the culture of the Gumuz people and the daily life in the missions in Mandura and Gilgel Beles.

Sr. Tilde Ravasi (CMS) and Fr. Giacomo Bellini (MCCJ) who were also present for the occasion, were two of the first Missionaries who began the Catholic presence among the Gumuz people, first in Mandura (CMS) in 2000 and then in Gilgel-Beles (MCCJ) in 2003, respectively.

Among the distinguished guests there were the wife of the Ambassador of Italy (the Ambassador being absent from the Country), the Auxiliary Bishop of Addis Ababa, Mgr. Lisane-Christos Matheos Semahun, an important representation of Comboni Missionaries, the provincial of the Comboni Missionary Sisters (Sr. Marisa Zorzan); the provincial of the Franciscan Missionaries of Christ (Sr. Teresa Paulos); the director of the Italian Cultural Institute and numerous people, including the community of the religious Franciscan Sisters Missionaries of Christ who joined the mission of Gilgel-Beles this year.

We congratulate and thank Fr. Marco for the great effort he has put into producing this work.


Spiritual Exercises in English at Limone

As already published, in order to emphasise the international character of the Casa Natale, “patrimony of the Comboni Missionary Institutes”, a course of spiritual exercises will be held there from 10 – 16 October, 2010. The preacher will be Fr. David K. Glenday and the theme will be: “keeping one’s eyes fixed on Jesus Christ and loving him tenderly”.

The course is open to Comboni Fathers, Brothers and Sisters. Bookings have already started and are proceeding apace. Following the success of the previous course in Italian, participants are asked to book early as places are limited.

“PM” Celebration at Troia

On 23 May, 200 children and youths spent a day with the Comboni Missionaries of Troia (FG). For twenty three years now, the “Piccolo Missionario” celebration has been organised by the young people with missionary commitment in the parish, in the schools and in the area. For two months about thirty young men and women (between 18 and 30 years of age) worked preparing the initiatives and skills to animate the children.

The aim is to bring the children closer to missionary life and experience, and especially to enable them to be open to religious and cultural diversity and initiate a dialogue with the immigrants who come to us as male and female seasonal workers, especially when the cereals, tomatoes and olives are being harvested, inviting us to create an open and welcoming city.

The specific theme this year was all about “respect”: for people, creation and the environment, cultural and religious diversity and living according to the parameters of a new lifestyle.

Fr. Raffaele Minurri, Superior of the community, and Fr. Fernando Zolli, representative of the AMEV Secretariat, were present and shared their missionary experience.

The day’s work began at 9.00 by welcoming the children and then getting them to take part in a series of games, activities and videos. An important activity was that of the presentation of the magazine “Piccolo Missionario” and the “Mondiario 2010-2011”, as well as a visit to the fair trade market followed by Holy Mass and prize-giving.

The day ended at 17.00 with all agreeing to meet again next year, to broaden the circle of contacts and to extend an invitation to the other towns of the Capitanata area in Puglia.


New Bishop of El Obeid

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, on 29 May, 2010, appointed the reverend Michael Didi Adgum Mangoria as Assistant Bishop of the diocese of El Obeid. A member of the Khartoum clergy, he is presently rector of St. Paul’s National Seminary, Khartoum.

Mgr. Didi is the third Sudanese to occupy the Episcopal see of El Obeid. The first was Mgr. Paulino Lukudu, a Comboni missionary and since elevated to the metropolitan see of Juba. The second was Mgr. Makram, also a Comboni missionary who is still bishop of El Obeid, though impeded. For the past fifteen years the diocese has been administered by Mgr. Antonio Menegazzo, officially the Apostolic Administrator. Mgr. Menegazzo offered his resignation three years ago when he reached the age of 75 but he remained at his post, waiting for the appointment of a new bishop.

Mgr. Michael Didi is the first bishop to be born in the diocese of El Obeid, although he joined the seminary of Khartoum and was ordained for that diocese. He was born in the Nuba Mountains in 1959 at Engoth, “the most fertile land in the world” he says. He is the first bishop of Nuba, thus fulfilling what Comboni dreamt of. He commenced his pastoral work among the refugees camped in the desert around Omdurman, in an area initially under the jurisdiction of Omdurman but which became in Fr. Didi’s time, the parish of St. Bakhita in Jabarona. After two years of intense pastoral work he was sent to Rome where he took a degree in Canon Law. He afterwards taught in the theological seminary becoming its rector in 2008.

The Comboni Missionaries were present in almost all the parishes of the diocese until the eighties but are now present in only two: Nyala, in Dar Fur, and El Obeid. For many years, and this is still the case, a Comboni Brother has worked in the diocesan administration.

In Khartoum, the Comboni Missionaries received with joy the news of the appointment of Mgr. Michael Didi. We wish him a most fruitful apostolate in these difficult times for Sudan and assure him of our prayers. Mgr. Michael Didi is due to be consecrated Bishop on 15 August, 2010, the feast of the Assumption.

We may say that El Obeid was the pearl among the missions of Comboni. After the attempts by his predecessors to forge a way to the South, following the path of the Nile, Comboni realised that El Obeid would be the better alternative. Unfortunately, the Madhya nipped his plans in the bud. Ad multos annos, Mgr. Didi!


Cesar Chavez Award presented to Comboni priest

“Su Casa”, a program of Catholic Charities in South-western Ohio, recently held its 11th Annual Su Casa Awards Banquet on the campus of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. The highlight of the evening was the awards ceremony during which awards were presented to four individuals and/or agencies that have made a significant contribution to the Greater Cincinnati Hispanic and Latino communities. Among the winners was Comboni Father William Jacob Jansen, director of Hispanic Ministries of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, who received the prestigious Cesar Chavez Award.

César Chávez (1927-1993) was a Mexican-American farm worker, labour leader, and civil rights activist who co-founded the present United Farm Workers. President Bill Clinton bestowed on him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award, as a way of recognizing the labour leader’s exceptional meritorious service.

The Cesar Chavez Award was awarded to Fr. Jansen for his “dedication and sacrifice in serving the Hispanic community in Greater Cincinnati with compassion and understanding.” When Fr. Bill received the award, he said, “This isn’t just personal – it belongs to all who have worked with and supported me in the ministry I love.”

2010 Mission Appeals Season

Each year, the NAP has the opportunity to welcome Comboni Missionary priests from other provinces for mission appeals. These missionaries give of their time and talents to enrich and educate US Catholic parish communities around the country and to solicit financial support for the work of the Comboni Missionaries around the world. This is not only a time of rich collaboration among provinces, but it also allows those visiting and those hosting them to share stories and to see face-to-face their co-labourers in God’s vineyard.


Continental Assembly of Circumscription Superiors

The last General Chapter of our Institute (see CA 2009, 132) invites us to continue the initiatives which direct us to strengthen communion and subsidiarity at the continental level. For this reason, the circumscription superiors of America and Asia gathered from 2 – 5 June at Bogotá, seat of the Delegation of Colombia.

The assembly provided the opportunity to share worries and experiences to help us to proceed in the same direction. The presence of Fr. Odelir José Magri, Vicar general and Assistant for our zone, helped us to feel in communion with the Institute and to reclaim the four themes proposed in the “Guide to the Implementation of the 17th General Chapter”: spirituality, mission, personnel and reorganisation, using a broader approach.

We asked ourselves: which elements must we consider in forming a continental Plan? Moved by the formation meeting at Sahuayo and by the Afro pastoral meeting of Guayaquil, dates and initiatives were proposed for the meetings of the various secretariats; we also reflected on the type of government we wish to have and its implications for the continent. A commission was created to study the possibility and to discern the way by which we Comboni Missionaries may approach the situation of Haiti, the poorest country of the continent. Three proposals were made which will be included in our short and long-term plans.

Feast of the Sacred Heart

The Feast of the Sacred Heart provided the opportunity for us, the Comboni Missionaries and Sisters working in Lima, to meet once again. We spent that Friday morning following a tried and tested format: conference, adoration, Eucharist and lunch.

Fr. Gaetano Beltrami guided the reflection and holy hour, while Fr. William Dal Santo presided at the Mass. It was an occasion for us to feel we belonged to the Comboni family, united by ties of love inspired by the witness of the Son of God who gave his life for the whole of humanity.


Seminar on “Caritas in Veritate”

From 18 to 20 June, a seminar was held at Coimbra on “Caritas in Veritate” together with the commissioning of two lay Comboni missionaries. It was an initiative of the four Institutes which make up the Comboni Family (Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Seculars and Lay missionaries).

About forty lay people belonging to the Comboni Family and from various parts of the country participated. Professor Joana Rigato clearly presented the encyclical of Benedict XVI indicating “transcendent humanism” as the key to reading the document. For his part, Fr. Joaquim J. G. O. Valente da Cruz made a comparison between the teachings of “Caritas in Veritate” and the “missionary utopia” of Daniel Comboni as contained in his Plan.

The participants suggested the areas in which the Lay Comboni Missionaries may make their contribution, especially that of social exclusion and poverty, taking into account that any commitment in the social field requires spiritual and doctrinal formation.


Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie visits the province

Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie visited the province of South Sudan from May 11 to June 1, 2010.

Fr. Tesfaye, accompanied by the Provincial Superior, Fr. Luciano Perina, and the Provincial Bursar, Bro. António Manuel Nunes Fer-reira, visited five missions in the province, leaving the other two for next time.

Mapuordit, in the diocese of Rumbek, was the first community to receive Fr. Tesfaye the day after he arrived in the country. In Mapuordit, he saw the school, run by Australian sisters, and the hospital and parish, managed by the Comboni Missionaries.

Two days later, the visitors went down the road to Yirol where they also attended the consecration of the new church on May 16. The missionaries are also involved in education projects.

Leer, in the diocese of Malakal, was the next stop of the visit. The missionaries live in huts since the house is still under construction. The mission covers a huge area in Unity State. Two Comboni Brothers run the Comboni Vocational Training Centre started two years ago. Fifteen students are learning ox-ploughing, crop production and cattle keeping.

Old Fangak was the next stop. The mission is in a remote area of Jonglei State, reached only by boat from Malakal. Usually the trip takes two days but by hiring a speed boat they arrived at the village in eight hours. During those two days, the visitors met many people who had asked for an appointment. The missionaries normally visit the many centres on foot during their rounds that last for weeks on end. They also run a catechetical centre.

Juba was the last leg of Fr. Tesfaye’s visit. He met with Archbishop Paolino Lukudu Loro, visited the Sudan Catholic Radio Network and Bakhita Radio, held a meeting with the Comboni Sisters and met individually with the members of the Comboni community. The visit closed with a meeting where he encouraged the confreres to keep the simple living spirit and assist each other in the different tasks.

Tali and Lomin, together with some commitments ad personam, will be in the next visit’s roadmap to South Sudan.

Fr. Tesfaye enjoyed his first visit official to South Sudan very much. He was in Juba some years ago, during the war, to take part in an ordination while he worked in Khartoum. He could appreciate how the city has grown. He became aware of the many difficulties that the region he visited, after a 21-year war, is facing and saw that this is indeed a province of first evangelization and where the Institute should increase its commitments, especially in the diocese of Malakal which has very few priests and covers a huge are across three states: Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei.

 Let us pray for our beloved Dead

THE MOTHERS: Emma, of Fr. Gerardo De Tomasi (NAP); Rosa, of Fr. Fermo Bernasconi (CN).

THE BROTHER: Dominic, of Fr. Karloli Mwambi (KE).

THE SISTERS: Maria, of Fr. Marcello Mencuccini (I); Angela, of Fr. Giovanni Taneburgo (I); Fonbié, of Fr. Antoine Kondo Komivi (SS); Juliana Adzoa, of Sc. John Kenneth Kwesi Mortty (T); Giuseppina, of Fr. Antonio Falaguasta (CN); Sr. Maria Vittoria, of Fr. Giuseppe Mariani (I).

THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. M. Claudia Marasco; Sr. Luigina Teresa Frizzo, Sr. M. Carmine Milani; Sr. Rosaria Maria Pozzi.