Monthly newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
Comboni Missionary Sisters’ XIX General Chapter
On 20 September, 2010, the Sisters’ Chapter Members elected Sr. Luzia Premoli as the new Superior General of the Comboni Missionary Sisters. Sr. Luzia, 55, comes from Linhares, ES (Brazil).
The elected Councillors are: Sr. Maria Cassarino, 52, Italian; Sr. Rosemary Nassali, 48, Ugandan; Sr. Anne Marie Quigg, 49, Scottish (UK); Sr. Marisa Zorzan, 45, Italian.
Ordination to the Priesthood
Fr. Mbo Mokuba Didier (RDC) Bokoro (RDC) 12.09.2010
Holy Redeemer Guild
October 01 – 15 P 16 – 31 RSA
November 01 – 07 SS 08 – 15 TC 16 – 30 T
October - That the missionary passion of St. Daniel Comboni may renew in us our commitment to evangelisation and enable us to promote everywhere a truly evangelising culture, capable of regenerating life in abundance. Lord hear us.
November - That the memory of our departed Sisters and Confreres may be for us a precious inheritance in the light of which we wish to continue our earthly pilgrimage. Lord hear us.
Third Youth Forum
The Third Forum of the Youth of Fatima parish was held in Ouango Bangui at St Paul’s Seminary from 25 to 29 August, 2010, on the theme: “The Benefits of the Sacraments”. The opening Mass was presided over by Mgr. Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio in Central Africa and Chad. Afterwards, the participants moved to the building where, for four days, by means of talks and films, they reflected upon the sacraments of the Church. The high points, apart from the Mass, were the debated conferences, the sharing of various experiences, testimonies and meaningful films. Among the speakers were the Comboni Missionaries Fr. Gabriele Perobelli, Fr. Léonard Ndjadi Ndjate, Fr. Ugues-Sylvain Songho, Fr. Jonas Béka, Fr. Stefano Fazion, Deacon Appolin de Souza, Fr. Séraphin Zoga, Vincentian, Sr. Patricia Plisson, and Sr. Joséphine, head of the national Pontifical Missionary Works. Two Christian couples from Fatima parish spoke to the youth of the joys, the sorrows and the beauty of the sacrament of Matrimony.
Two religious spoke of their choice and their joy in following Christ, poor, chaste and obedient. Saturday 28, was marked by a round table conference on the sacraments of the Eucharist, Matrimony and Holy Orders, a Penitential Celebration followed by individual confessions and a religious concert presented by Abbot Marcellin Kpéou with the choir of the Emmanuel fraternity. On Sunday morning, all the participants returned to Fatima parish where a beautiful closing Mass was celebrated with Mgr. Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Apostolic Administrator of Bangui, presiding. During the moving celebration, two young people from the parish, Jean Christian and Nadège Larissa, celebrated their wedding. Mgr. Nzapalainga also conferred the ministries of Reader and Acolyte on three seminarians and admitted nine to the diaconate.
This year, 200 young people participated in the Forum. There were young people from the Comboni parishes of Grimari and Mongumba, young Salesians and Carmelites, Postulants of the Sisters of Saint Joseph de Genoni, a delegation from the CEPJ (Episcopal Council for Youth Pastoral) and a delegation from the coordination committee of the Archdiocese, as well as the youth of the parishes of the capital city.
Shortly before the Mass ended, Fr. Giovanni Zaffanelli, Provincial of the Comboni Missionaries in Central Africa, spoke to thank the community of Fatima for its work in promoting youth pastoral, the formation of the laity, vocations promotions and the accompaniment of families. He also officially closed the Third Forum of the Youth of Fatima. On his part, Fr. Gabriele Perobelli, superior and parish priest of Fatima, congratulated Fr. Léonard Ndjadi Ndjate, originator and organiser of the meeting which has become an annual event. He also presented the prize “The Man of Forum” to the person who showed the most outstanding commitment during the four days of the Forum. After the Mass and the group photos, all the youth, including the newly-weds and their guests, were invited to take part in a meal. The next Forum will be held in 2011.
St. Joseph’s Postulancy
On the evening of 6 September, a Eucharistic concelebration was held in the chapel of the Postulancy at Maison St. Joseph at Bimbo (Bangui). The main celebrant was the Superior, Fr. Benedetto Giupponi, and the occasion was the blessing of the transfer of the Comboni Postulancy from Central Africa to Cacaveli (Lomé), following the closure of the Interdiocesan Major Seminary of Central Africa where our students used to attend the philosophy course. There are six postulants and one formator at Cacaveli.
In his homily, Fr. Benedetto, the Postulancy Formator referred to the transfer as more of an interior and spiritual journey than merely a change of place.
Like Comboni, we are continually asked to leave our place of security to journey towards Christ, trusting in Him. Mission involves joyfully giving one’s life to “save” others. During the announcements, Fr. Giovanni Zaffanelli, the provincial superior, thanked Fr. Benedetto for having accepted to go to Lomé to continue the formation of our candidates: “It is a striking witness to love for the mission and for the Institute”. The Mass was accompanied by hymns led by the Postulants and was attended by the entire Comboni Family present in Bangui. It ended in an atmosphere of joy in the mission. Our thanks to the Comboni Province of TGB for their willingness to accept us and to the general Council for their support.
Perpetual Vows and diaconate ordination
Scholastic Roberto Turyamureeba, from Uganda, took his perpetual vows in our house at Josefstal-Ellwangen during the Sunday Mass on 8 August, 2010. The church was crammed with people who witnessed an African taking his religious vows in Germany! A sign which must have touched the faithful present.
Roberto hails from the Diocese of Mbarara in South-Western Uganda. After completing his studies of theology and educational science at Innsbruck in August 2009, he was posted to Josefstal for his missionary experience to work with the young people.
Presiding over the liturgy, the provincial, Fr. Joseph Altenburger, pointed out that the religious vows realise in a radical and exemplary way our baptismal commitment. Love and solidarity towards others contribute in building religious as well as civil communities.
Four weeks later, on September 4th, Sc. Roberto was ordained deacon by the auxiliary bishop, Mgr. Thomas Maria Renz, of the diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart. Again, very many people participated. The sister of Roberto, Stella Ayebazibwe, and her husband, Charly Tumwesigye, had come all the way from Uganda to Germany to represent the family of the new deacon. The liturgical celebration was followed by a typical delicious regional meal.
Sc. Roberto’s priestly ordination will be in Uganda early next year.
Comboni Lay Missionary becomes an Associate member
Peter Gruska has worked as Comboni Lay Missionary in Matany, Uganda, from 2004 to 2008. Now, after discerning his vocation with the help of some confreres, he has realised that his true desire is to work in stricter cooperation with the Comboni Missionaries by becoming “associate member”.
This means that Peter has decided to live, pray and work more closely with the Comboni Missionaries for the next three years. For this reason on Friday, 17 September, at the end of the provincial spiritual retreat, he made his promise in front of a good number of confreres. Two days later, he reiterated his promise in front of the faithful who had gathered for Sunday Mass at Josefstal.
Peter will leave for Uganda on 30 September. He will work and coordinate the work at the technical department of Matany Hospital.
Exposition on Comboni at the meeting in Rimini
The thirty-first meeting organised by the “Communion and Liberation Movement” was held at Rimini from 22 to 28 August. This year it included an exposition entitled: “A hundred hearts to love Africa – The missionary adventure of St. Daniel Comboni”. This theme was in line with the title of the 2010 Meeting: “It is the heart which moves us to aspire to great things”.
Within the vast and many-sided planning of events, those in charge of the exposition on Comboni speak of about 3,000 guided visits throughout the week. This is a significant result expected to continue in time and in extent, since the exposition was planned and carried out as something moving from city to city, from town to town, to groups, institutions, parishes and communities.
The display comprises about forty panels with photos and captions (80 x 140cm) which show the origin, life, works, environment, difficulties, charism, message and prophetically radiant personality of the great missionary of Africa. The Comboni Missionaries will have a copy of the exposition available.
Credit for the idea of bringing Comboni to the Meeting at Rimini goes to an elderly Secular Comboni Missionary, Angelina Lavarini, from Chievo (Verona), who, through her persistence, obtained the help of her nephew, Ermanno Benetti, promoter of the Rivela association, organiser of religious events and travelling expositions. Having been given the green light by the heads of the Rimini Meeting, Rivela, with the help of the Comboni Missionaries of Roma and Verona and that of some lay people, carried out the preparation of the texts, the graphics, printing and setting up of the display, as well as the preparation of a catalogue. Tens of lay people received instruction on Comboni and the display in order to act as competent guides to the many visitors.
On each day of the week, Comboni Missionaries and Sisters gave their live testimonies apart from around twenty other recorded testimonies available for viewing on screen. The General Superior, Fr. Enrique Sánchez G., was present on 22 and 23 August. There was also a missionary workshop for children alongside the display. Images from the display are available on the website www.mostracomboni.it
New school named after Fr. Sandro Pizzi († 2009)
The Town Council of Ricengo-Bottaiano, Cremona Province, in the diocese of Crema, has named a new school after Fr. Sandro Pizzi, former citizen and Comboni Missionary, who died at Opit (Uganda) on 5 October, 2009. The inauguration took place on Sunday, 5 September, in Fr. Pizzi’s home town with the numerous and festive participation of children, youngsters, adults and various authorities. Foremost was the Mayor of Ricengo, Mr. Feruccio Romanenghi, the initiator and coordinator of this new educational facility. The Bishop of Crema, Mgr. Oscar Cantoni, spoke before the blessing of the educational emergence and meaning of a public school which bore the name of a missionary who worked for 35 years in Africa.
Five Comboni Missionaries from the communities of Brescia and the Verona Mother House were also present; among these was Mgr. Giuseppe Filippi, Bishop of Kotido (Uganda), who spoke of the missionary work of Fr. Pizzi in the field of education and of his love for manual and agricultural work. The new school, with room for 150 children, was built according to modern standards. The Verona community donated a picture of Comboni and a number of missionary books for the library. The name of Fr. Sandro Pizzi appears on the gates of both entrances and inside the building with two large photos of him in Uganda. All this is a sign of the homage paid by the people of Ricengo to one of their citizens, to keep alive his memory among children and adults.
At Chieve, in the province of Cremona, the local missionary group organised a musical evening with testimonies in memory of Fr. Pizzi.
Campaign for a peaceful Referendum
The Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC), in preparation for the Referendum which is planned for 9 January, 2011, has launched a campaign in all the churches of Sudan entitled “101 Days of Prayer for a Peaceful Referendum in Sudan”, which will run from 21 September, 2010 (International Day for Peace), to 1 January, 2011(World Day for Peace). The initiative was promoted by Solidarity with Southern Sudan (SSS) and Catholic Relief Service (CRS). It was presented to the Sudanese bishops, who had themselves desired this campaign, as they assembled for an extraordinary meeting at Juba from 15 to 22 July, 2010.
SSS e CRS prepared material to facilitate the conscious and active participation of the Christian communities in this pastoral activity. A booklet was published, in Arabic and English, with reflections by around twenty people particularly involved in Sudan and with inspirational ideas taken especially from Holy Scripture and the Second Vatican Council but also from sapiential literature of the world (African proverbs, texts by famous personalities. The cover carries the words: “reflections for 101 days of prayer for a peaceful referendum in Sudan” and, in large letters, “Change your Heart to Change the World”.
Pastoral workers, religious families and ecclesial groups have been called to promote the initiative among the Christian communities. Seminars have been organised in dioceses and parishes to conscientise animators.
The initiative was launched on 21 September in all the cathedrals of the dioceses of Sudan. Each diocese has prepared a programme of community initiatives in connection with celebrations or events already part of the diocesan Christian community.
These 101 days of prayer are meant to be taken as a journey of assimilation of Christian values applied and lived daily. As already emphasised by the bishops in their message after their meeting in Juba, post-referendum Sudan will never be the same again, whatever the outcome. But in order that it may not be the same ever again, it is necessary to face up to the causes of the evils which have afflicted the country for the past fifty years. “Change your heart in order to change the world” is the clear and demanding message. Among the material circulated there is a prayer which the faithful are encouraged to recite every day: “Give us, O Lord, the wisdom we need at this moment in which we choose our future, so that we may experience the peace that comes from you”.
Visit to the province by Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse
The visit of Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Ghebresilasie, assistant general, drew to an end on the evening of 23 September, with a half day of prayer for the confreres of the three cities of Khartoum, Khartoum North and Omdurman. He had arrived in Khartoum during the night of 28 August and, two days later, Fr. Tesfaye was already on his way to visit the communities, accompanied by Fr. Provincial. He began with the furthest: Wau, Raga, Nyala, El Obeid, Kosti, Port Sudan and the three communities of Khartoum. Due to the great distances, Fr. Tesfaye could only stay a short time in each community but he did see for himself the situation of each community and the great pastoral needs. The fact that the referendum was just round the corner formed the background to the visit and required that all expectations be placed in the context of uncertainty which is characteristic of these times. The requalification of personnel, the unification of provinces, the priorities in choosing commitments could all enter the discussions but without any definite conclusions. Everything depends on how things turn out after the referendum. Sudan is still the “difficult mission” as it always has been, and now, perhaps, more than ever. According to the leaders of the local Church whom Fr. Tesfaye met, the Mccj, in the context of the present ecclesial situation, are again called to make an important contribution.
Comboni Missionary student Roman Pawel Opiola was ordained deacon on 14 August 2010 at Petauke parish, Zambia. On that day, the diocese of Chipata celebrated the official closing of the Year of the Priests and the priestly ordination of Didasio Mwanza, a White Father. Mgr. George Lungu, Bishop of Chipata Diocese, was the main celebrant. Many confreres of the two Institutes and diocesan priests, together with thousands of Christians, took part in the celebration. It was indeed a joyful day for the local Church and for the Comboni Province. Roman is a Polish scholastic who is on missionary service in our province. He had taken the perpetual vows on 19 July, 2010, at the end of the provincial retreat that took place in Kachebere Seminary and which was directed by Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse, Assistant General. We accompany Roman with our prayers as he prepares for his priestly ordination next year in his native Poland.
Jubilee of Msamba parish
On 11 September, 2010, Msamba parish in Lilongwe, Malawi, celebrated 50 years of history. The celebration was presided over by Mgr. Rémi Sainte-Marie, Bishop of Lilongwe, and was attended by the President of the Republic of Malawi, Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, and many government officials. Besides the many thousands of Christians present was Fr. Raimondo Negrini, the first Comboni parish priest of that parish. Many diocesan priests and sisters, a number of confreres of ours and many parish lay leaders also took part in the celebration. The Bishop and the President thanked the Comboni Missionaries for the good work done in the parish during the past years. Special thanks were given to Fr. Silviestro Zanardi, the Parish Priest, who for many years has been working tirelessly for the spiritual and material welfare of the Christians of Msamba parish.
Visit of Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse to Malawi-Zambia Province
Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse, Assistant General, was with us from 10 July to 5 August, 2010, for the Provincial Retreat and for an official visit to our province of Malawi-Zambia.
The eight-day retreat, which took place at Kachebere Seminary, concluded with a solemn Eucharist, presided by Fr. Tesfaye, in which the Scholastic Roman Pawel Opiola took perpetual vows. After preaching the retreat, in which all the confreres of the province took part, Fr. Tesfaye attended a three-day provincial council meeting and visited the Comboni communities, one by one, in Malawi and Zambia. Though he could not visit the communities of Lilanda and of the Novitiate in Lusaka, due to the distance and lack of time, he had a meeting with the members of those communities at the end of the retreat. Before returning to Rome, Fr. Tesfaye expressed his joy and gratitude for the days spent among us. We thank him for having accepted to come to preach the retreat and to visit our province. His presence filled us with renewed missionary enthusiasm and strengthened our communion with the General Direction and the whole Institute.
Uganda medical mission trip update
As reported in the September issue of FC, the Uganda Medical Mission trip taken by 27 people from the Cincinnati area was a big success, but it’s important to note that the group didn’t come home and fade back into their regular lives, never to be heard from again. Instead, they have continued to meet together, reflect on what they did and what they learned, and are sharing their insights with groups of people in various communities. In September, at the Comboni Mission Center (CMC) in Cincinnati Dr. Auvil and his wife Melissa gave a presentation about their group’s experience in Kabingo, Uganda. They will also conduct an evening of reflection, again at the CMC, for another group during the Comboni Week. The members range in age from 18 to middle 60s and so stand as an example that the call to mission sets no boundaries. There is well founded hope that another trip will take place next year.
A Taste of Mission
In August, the Comboni Mission Center in Cincinnati came to life with an event called a Taste of Mission. While it took on a festival atmosphere, it was different from the kind of festival most people are used to in the United States. Our goal was to acquaint visitors with different cultures through music, food, entertainment and artefacts from places around the world where the Comboni Missionaries minister. And it was a friend-raiser, not a fund-raiser.
It was a special blessing to have seven Comboni priests available to mingle with visitors, make new friends and share the charism of Comboni. Present and available for the evening were Fathers Louis Gasparini, Ruffino Ezama, Jorge Ochoa, Mario Ongaro, Philip Zema, Richard Kyankaaga and Jean Paul Pezzi.
For a Taste of Mission, the preparation and organization were done by a dedicated group of lay staff and volunteers who once again proved how far-seeing was Comboni’s vision in enhancing all the time the role of laypeople in the mission.
Perpetual vows and diaconate of Sc. Donald
On 7 August 2010, scholastic Donald Magoma Maripe, a South African, took his perpetual vows in the presence of the provincial superior Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins. It was a very moving celebration at the Queen of the Holy Rosary in the parish of Glen Cowie. It was well attended, with the participation of his parents, some relatives and parishioners. Two weeks later, on Sunday 22 August, we had his ordination to the diaconate presided by the Comboni Mgr. Joseph Sandri. This celebration took place at St. Daniel Comboni’s parish church in Mahube Valley, Pretoria. It was animated by the famous choir of the parish “Izwi Lethemba”. After sharing the bread of life, everybody was invited to a nice lunch. Now Donald is preparing for his priestly ordination in his home parish on 12 February, 2011.
Let us pray for our beloved dead
THE FATHERS: Gualtiero, of Fr. Giampaolo Mortaro (I); Felino, of Fr. Rivera Antonio Menes (KE).
THE MOTHERS: Letisia Majera, of Fr. Paul Nyahanga (U); Rosa, of Fr. Gaspare Trasparano Di Vincenzo.
THE BROTHERS: Paolo, of Fr. Giuseppe Ambrosoli (†); Audry, of Bro. Gedeon Ngunza Mboma (KE); Leonel, of Mgr. Jaime Rodríguez Salazar (PE); Luigi, of Fr. Danilo Castello (I); Giuseppe, of Fr. Carlo Negri (I).
THE SISTERS: Dina, of Fr. Antonio Simeoni (†); Koblessi, of Fr. Benjamin Guivi Yaovi (T).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Gianna Pia Compri; Sr. Rita Lia Celva; Sr. Luciangela Fumagalli.