Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
5th CONSULTA: 11 October – 5 November 2010
Beginning of the Consulta and Episcopal nomination of Fr. Odelir José Magri
On 5th October, at Limone, the General Council took part in the closing celebration of the General Chapter of the Comboni Sisters. The following day we started the Consulta with a day of recollection in the house of St. Daniel Comboni, helped in our reflection by Fr. Danilo Castello.
On Monday 11, as planned, the Consulta continued in Rome with the intended agenda till 1pm, when we learned of the nomination of Fr. Odelir José Magri as bishop of Sobral in Brazil.
We are happy because of this nomination and thank the Lord for this new call of his to Fr. Odelir. For us, the General Council and the Institute, this is a great loss, but we intend to live this surprise as a call that the Lord is making also to us. In his plans, undoubtedly, there are projects which we are unable to understand but which prompt us to place all our trust in him. The Superior General, his Council and the entire Institute express to Fr. Odelir their gratitude for the gift of himself, of his call, of the work done during these years for the good of the mission and of the Institute. We wish him an Episcopal and missionary ministry full of the Lord’s blessings and assure him of our continued closeness.
With these feelings we also started the discernment for the selection of the new assistant general, thanking the Lord for his nearness in these moments.
Nomination of Provincial and Delegation Superiors
During this Consulta we have received the results of the votes for the elections of the provincial and delegate superiors. After seeing the results, the Superior General and his Council proceeded to the voting required for the nomination of the provincial superiors and delegates. As a result, the Superior General has nominated Superiors of the provinces and delegations for the next triennium:
A - Fr. Llamazares G. Miguel Angel
BNE - Fr. Bombieri Claudio
BS - Fr. Alcides Costa
CA - Fr. Zaffanelli Giovanni
CN - Fr. Tacchella Eliseo
DCA - Fr. Leandro Araya Leonardo
DSP - Fr. Altenburger Josef
E - Fr. Eguíluz Eguíluz Ramón
EC - Fr. Zendron Claudio
EG - Fr. Annis Paul
ER - Fr. Tesfamariam Ghebrecristos W.
ET - Fr. Ocaña Julio
I - Fr. Masini Corrado
KE - Fr. Mwariri Joseph Maina
KH - Fr. Giorgetti Angelo
LP - Fr. Devenish Martin James
M - Fr. Bautista Lucas Erasmo Norberto
MO - Fr. Rodríguez López José Luis
MZ - Fr. Dário Balula Chaves
NAP - Fr. Baeza Gama José Manuel
P - Fr. Alberto de Oliveira Silva
PE - Fr. Barrera Pacheco Luis Alberto
RSA - Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins
SS - Fr. Moschetti Daniele
T - Fr. Miante Girolamo
U - Fr. Hategek'Imana Sylvester
The provincial of Chad has yet to be appointed, while Colombia is repeating the opinion poll.
Meanwhile, we have also received the first results of the opinion polls for the elections of the councillors. We hope to conclude the whole process in time for the mini-Consulta of next December.
Election of the new Assistant General
The Episcopal nomination of Fr. Odelir has obliged us to begin the discernment and process for the election of the new assistant general, as indicated by the Rule of Life (157.4 and 137.3). We have tried to keep in mind the criteria that were expressed during the process for the election during the Chapter. For days we prayed and asked the assistance of the Holy Spirit and on 25th October we proceeded to a secret ballot, with the outcome that Fr. Villarino Rodriguez Antonio was elected.
We thank Fr. Villarino for having accepted this service to the Institute and to the mission and wish him a fruitful work, as we pray for the Lord’s blessings in his new commitment.
Centre for Ongoing Formation in Rome
During the last months, Fr. Siro Stocchetti, Fr. Danilo Cimitan and Fr. Manuel Pinheiro together with Bro. Guillermo Casas have been busy in arranging the house by preparing the various quarters which will accommodate the new community. The new Centre for Ongoing Formation is now ready to receive the first group of confreres for the renewal course (15 are already enrolled) who will arrive at the beginning of January 2011. The team in charge has prepared the community charter, the statutes of the Central Commission for Ongoing Formation (CCOF) and the Six-year Plan of the CCOF which were submitted to the General Council for approval.
Continental meetings of Provincials and Delegates
At the end of November and beginning of December we shall hold the continental meetings of provincials and delegates who are concluding their mandate, together with those who are beginning or continuing the new mandate of service. The purpose of such meetings is to share with the new superiors the journey made in recent years as continental groups. It will also be an occasion to start preparing the continental report to be presented at the meeting of the provincials to be held in Rome in February 2011 and also a time to carry on working at continental level. The members of the General Council will be present at these meetings in Portugal for Europe, at Nairobi for English-speaking Africa and Mozambique, at Lomé for French-speaking Africa, in Guatemala for America-Asia.
Reflection theme for the year 2011
The General Council, recalling what was said by the last General Chapter, has chosen to propose as reflection theme for the year 2001 the theme of “spirituality”. The reflection will be presented through five subsidies in which we shall try to touch on some of the spirituality aspects to help us in deepening our spiritual experience and to allow us to develop some features that are characteristic of the missionary and Comboni spirituality. We will prepare the subsidies so that the proposed themes may be useful for personal and community reflection. We hope that they will become an occasion for acknowledging the spiritual wealth we have inherited and which at times we have somehow neglected.
Solidarity with the Sudan
The month of January 2011 will be a very important moment for the history of Sudan. The country is preparing for the referendum which will decide of the future of the nation. The Church in Sudan has proposed a campaign of 101 days of prayer to prepare for this event. In solidarity with the people of Sudan and with all the missionaries working in that country, so dear and meaningful to us, we wish to unite in prayer with all our brothers and sisters to pray to the Lord, also through the intercession of St. Daniel Comboni, that this referendum may be held peacefully and become an occasion of life for the Sudan.
Provincial and Delegation Directories and planning
During this Consulta we have received some drafts of provincial directories. We consider it useful to ask all the provinces and delegations to let us have, in time for the consulta of March 2011, their previous directories and their draft modifications or the new directories. At the same time we ask all the provinces and delegations to send us their six-year period planning, so that the General Council may give its opinion and approval.
Agenda of the General Council
- Fr. Sánchez González Enrique
November 6-13: in Togo for the spiritual retreat.
December 1-8: in Guatemala to take part in the continental meeting of provincials and delegates of America/Asia.
December 24-26: at Padova for Christmas.
- Fr. Pelucchi Alberto
November 22-26: in Portugal to take part in the meeting of the provincials of Europe.
- Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie
November 26-7 December: in Nairobi (KE) to visit the scholasticate and to take part in the sub-continental meeting of provincials and delegates of English-speaking Africa and Mozambique.
December 10-14: at Sobral (BR) for the consecration of Mgr. Odelir José Magri.
- Bro. Giusti Daniele Giovanni
November 20-28: in Togo/Ghana/Benin to take part in the sub-continental meeting of provincials and delegates of French-speaking Africa.
December 3-14: in Brazil NE to visit the centre of our sick confreres and at Sobral (BR) for the consecration of Mgr. Odelir José Magri.
EXTRAORDINARY SITTING: CONSULTA of 15 November, 2010
During the extraordinary meeting of the Consulta on 15 November, 2010, the General Council, all of whom were present including the new Assistant General Fr. Antonio Villarino Rodríguez, by secret vote, chose Fr. Alberto Pelucchi as the new Vicar General of the Institute.
During the same meeting, the areas of responsibilities of the General Assistants were revised as follows:
Fr. Pelucchi Alberto
Vicar General; Delegate of the General Superior for the District of the Curia (Paris, Poland and Rome); responsible for Ongoing Formation, confreres in special situations, the provinces of Europe and the delegation of Eritrea.
Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie
Assistant General; responsible for Basic Formation and the provinces and delegations of Anglophone Africa (except Eritrea) and Mozambique.
Fr. Villarino Rodríguez Antonio
Assistant General; responsible for Missionary Animation and the Comboni Lay Missionaries, Evangelisation, Justice and peace and the Integrity of Creation and the provinces and delegations of America and Asia.
Bro. Giusti Daniele Giovanni
Assistant General; responsible for the Brothers, the General Economate, Elderly and Sick confreres and the provinces of Francophone Africa.
Sc. Missay Soku Jérôme Nerio Silverton (RSA) 14.11.2010
Ordination to the Priesthood
P. Ramírez Falcón Nicolás Martín (KH-M) León, Gto (M) 06.11.2010
Holy Redeemer Guild
December 01 – 15 U 15 – 31 CN
January 01 – 07 A 08 – 15 C 16 – 31 BNE
December – That the peoples with whom we share our hopes and fears may see in our life the presence of Emmanuel, the God who has come to live among us. Lord hear us.
January – That the conclusions and decisions of the XIX General Chapter of the Comboni Missionary Sisters, expressed in the Chapter Acts, may lead to a style of ministerial and consecrated life that is ever more radical and authentic. Let us pray.
Terra Africana – Fr. Luigi Molinaro. On the 25th anniversary of the death of Fr. Luigi Molinaro, the publishers Edizioni Grafiche Leoni (Fara Vicentino 2010) have published his biography entitled: Terra Africana – Luigi Molinaro annuncia: “Dio è grande” (The Land of Africa – Luigi Molinaro proclaims: “God is Great”). The book has 342 pages, was compiled by Tiziana Bertola and comprises mainly writings by missionaries collected with great affection by Don Igino Cocco, former parish priest of Volpino (Fr. Luigi’s home town). Terra Africana does not simply tell the story of a man who died in Uganda at the age of 97 but, we may say, also helps the reader to understand the many challenges faced by missionaries out of love of the Gospel and the poorest peoples of Africa.
Gino Bellezze – Sulle orme di San Daniele Comboni, (Gino Bellezze – In the Footsteps of St. Daniel Comboni) by Dino Remedia, Città di Castello, Edimond, September, 2010. As the author says in the preface, the book was written with the purpose of bringing out clearly and brightly, by means of these pages, the person called Gino, a person rich in humanity, lively and productive from the intellectual point of view, by using the more direct sources: his correspondence with his close relatives, their testimonies and those of his classmates as well as those of his colleagues in the mission.
The author did not simply wish to honour the memory of his dear friend Gino but also to show profound appreciation for the difficult mission which he carried out for so many years and also his prolific production of texts in Arabic. The town Pre-school of Montecassiano has been named after him.
New community in Taiwan: from Jen Ai to St. Anne in Wugu
On November 7, 2010, the Comboni community in Taipei left the parish of Jen Ai, in which we had been evangelizing for more than 8 years, and moved to St. Anne, a small parish in Wugu, in the outskirts of the capital. The two parishes are only 13 kilometres apart but the environmental and social difference is quite noticeable. Jen Ai parish was at the centre of the city; being there allowed us to come to terms with the modern culture of China and to learn how to be creative in evangelizing people of a higher level of education. In Jen Ai Parish we also created a network of collaborators that allowed us to have the right preparation and resources to evangelize in the Chinese context and to have some support for our outreach in China. For this we are grateful to the Lord who has taken care of us in our first steps in this country through the many brothers and sisters of Jen Ai Parish.
From the very beginning, however, as a Delegation and in dialogue with the Diocese, we had been planning to move to a more popular area, so that the expression of our Comboni charism might be more significant.
Wugu, our new parish, is a hilly area of 34 km², with a population of 87 thousand people. Within the boundaries of the parish there is a huge industrial park, therefore many young families, foreign workers from other Asian countries and even a significant number of indigenous people are living in Wugu and in the neighbouring townships. The location of the parish, not far from the Catholic University, will allow the community to continue to be a base for the study of Mandarin, the language needed for our work in Mainland China.
The new parish, though opened many years ago, has being practically without a priest for a good number of years and, at the moment, only 35 Catholics attend the Sunday Eucharist, and only a part of them are indigenous. The Archbishop of Taipei, Mgr. John Hung Shan-chuan, presided at the Eucharist for the handover of the parish to the Comboni Missionaries, and thanked the Institute for its generosity in leaving a parish in the centre of the city and coming to a small parish in the outskirts, where almost everything is yet to be started, beginning with taking care of those 35 Catholics… A new mission adventure in the Chinese world!
Formation Meeting for Afro Leaders
The Comboni Work of Human Promotion (CWHP) of Bogota arose out of the necessity of qualifying the formation process for the Brothers at the International Centre. Basically, it involves inserted formation starting with pastoral work, which is both missionary and active. Recent months have seen the birth of projects all concerned with Afro pastoral care in the situation of Bogota. The process is already under way and is opening up new pathways of hope at the pastoral level, aiming especially at the social situation and leadership within the communities being served.
The CWHP organised a meeting for the training of Afro leaders at its headquarters in Bogota lasting from 12 to 15 November. Ten young leaders from the various Afro communities scattered throughout the outlying districts of the southern part of the city attended.
The themes dealt with Afro-Colombian history, Afro spirituality, the socio-political situation and the social organisation of the Afro people of the country. The CWHP works in collaboration with the Conference of Religious of Colombia engaged in pastoral work in the outskirts of the city. Another interesting aspect is the presence of the Postulancy of the Delegation which forms part of the working team.
The CWHP of Bogota also carries out other ongoing work in Afro pastoral care such as the Education Initiative which aims at education towards ethnicity, side by side with support for and commitment to Afro cultural groups, and personal assistance for groups and communities in other parts of Bogota.
Other projects and activities are part of the work of accompanying leaders and the pastoral care of youth groups (“America Misionera”), the training of leaders and various pastoral areas where there are serious social problems, the work of accompanying other groups such as the Lay Comboni Missionaries (LCM), prison chaplaincy, a Bible group, a group of Friends of the Comboni missionaries and, finally, missionary animation activities with weekly visits to the parishes.
Provincial Meeting of Brothers
On 21 and 22 October, 2010, the Brothers of the Province of Equador met at Guayaquil. Of the 9 Brothers working in the Province, only Bro. Carlo Morani was absent as he had only recently been released from hospital where he had a minor operation. The aim of the encounter was to share our life, our situations and our experiences, and to reflect upon our vocation and mission within the Institute and the province.
The morning of 20 October was put to good use to help us to know each other better with each one presenting himself, the story of his vocation and his missionary experience.
The afternoon was given over to reflection on our presence and work in the Province, with special emphasis on the distinct character of the Brothers: to be builders of fraternity in the reality in which we find ourselves. The pastoral activities which they are carrying out among the people, beyond the boundaries of Comboni structures, were found to be especially positive.
Some points for consideration emerged: the presence of a Brother in Vocations Promotion, admission and the first stage of formation for brother candidates.
Finally, on the morning of 21 October, there were proposals and suggestions for the continent and for the next the Six-year Plan of the Province, touching upon the meaningful presence of the CWHP in Guayaquil, greater commitment to VP and JPIC.
The meeting was carried out in a fraternal spirit of harmony and cordiality and ended in the afternoon with an open-air excursion.
Golden Jubilee of the Comboni College of St. Francis Xavier
Half a century has passed since the German Comboni Missionaries began their work in Spain or, more precisely, at Saldaña and Palencia. On 13 June, 1960, in fact, the foundation stone of St. Francis Xavier College was laid and on 25 October of the same year, the first group of 85 boys of Palencia and bordering provinces entered, ready to begin their studies.
Sometime before, a house near the city of Palencia had been bought on a site of 30 hectares. A community of Fathers and Brothers of the German Province had been established there to cultivate the land and provide food for the young students.
Consequently, on the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation and at the initiative of a commission of former students, after thorough preparation, a special celebration was held attended by former Comboni and lay students of the College, formators of the German and Spanish Provinces, professors, employees, friends and civil authorities who had supported the work from the beginning.
Since the participants were so many, it was necessary to find a suitable location where they could be well received. The choice was the Junior Seminary of the Palencia Diocese, a former Marianhill minor seminary.
There, on Saturday, 9 October, 2010, the main ceremony was held. At 11am the first former students of the College arrived, many of whom were accompanied by their wives and children... It was a long-awaited encounter and was very moving as some had not seen each other for many years and found it hard to recognise each other. While waiting for all the guests to arrive, people viewed displays of photographs of years long past.
There were 245 in all. After the ceremony, there was an audiovisual programme depicting the most important moments of the College of Saldaña and the old and new houses of Palencia, during the past 50 years. This was followed by the celebration of Mass presided over by the provincial, Fr. Daniel Cerezo, and concelebrated by 13 priests, all Comboni, except Rev. Eugenio Frechoso, long-time friend and collaborator of the College. In an atmosphere of profound gratitude and deep sentiments, all the deceased priests, formators and students were remembered. Even though it was long, the ceremony was unforgettable, especially because of the meaningful testimonies, the singing and the symbols.
All then enjoyed a meal together during which anecdotes and many happy times during the years of formation were remembered. At the close, each guest was given a greetings card with a copy of the CD on the history of the College, some Comboni booklets and a souvenir of the occasion.
As they said their goodbyes, most of those present expressed the hope that they would meet again soon.
Some of the guests came especially from Italy and Germany for the event, being superiors and formators during those years: Fr. Alois Eder, Fr. Silvester Engl and Fr. Anton Pramstrahler, all of whom were happy to do so and grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful experience.
The mass return of the Southern Sudanese who live in Northern Sudan, which many expected to happen after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 but did not take place, would appear to be happening now. The reason for it is the referendum due to be held on 9 January, 2011. The reason may not be simply the referendum but the fear that it may be accompanied by violence of unpredictable gravity.
Some irresponsible statements by Northern politicians have instilled fear and accelerated the process of a return to the South. Local governments of various Southern states have organised and facilitated the return of their citizens through the good offices of tribal chiefs resident in the North. As a result, lines of lorries and buses formed, all going to the main centres of various Southern states. Many people, having to remain in the North for reasons of work, have sent their families south. It is like the Biblical Exodus repeating itself. However, it is not on such a large scale since, out of the four million Southerners living in the North, only a minority are able to return home. Many are waiting to see what happens.
Registration for the referendum began on 15 November, 2010, and will end on 1 December, seventeen days in all. Around five million people are expected to register and have the right to vote on 9 January, 2011. Those entitled to register must belong ethnically to the South, no matter where they live as well as those who, though not ethnic Southerners, have themselves or their parents or grandparents lived in the South since 1 January, 1956.
Apart from the Sudan, registration centres have also been opened in other countries where there are large groups of South Sudanese: Australia, England, Canada, USA, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.
A majority of 50% plus one is necessary to win the referendum. At least 60% of those registered must vote. It is because of this clause that Southerners resident in the North are being pressured into registering by agents of the North who want them to register and vote for unity; and are being pressured by agents of the South to not register for fear that they may not be able to vote, thus making it difficult to reach the required 60%. The general impression is that registration at the 165 centres in the North has been low.
The National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) accuse each other of intimidation of each other’s supporters. Exponents of the NCP have even said that they may not recognise the results of the referendum due to this interference in breach of the CPA.
The law foresees that the list of those entitled to vote should be ready by the 4th of January. Voting is to begin on 9 January and go on for seven days. While we are waiting, we hope and pray that nothing untoward happens.
The Sudanese Episcopal Conference, which met at Rumbek early in November, has made an urgent appeal to the citizens, those in authority and to the international community, that all should play their part in the peaceful carrying out of this important exercise. The referendum, it has been said, must not become the cause of more tension. On the contrary, it should help to stabilise the coexistence of all Sudanese on a new foundation. Separation, if it were to take place, would involve the land, not the people.
XXV Anniversary of the Theologate of Lima
On 23 August, 1985, the new Spanish-language scholasticate at Lima was opened. During the first two years, Fr. Jaime Rodríguez, a Mexican Comboni, with a group of ten young men of whom 3 were Italians, 2 Peruvians, 2 Mexicans, 1 Ecuadorian and 1 North American began the new experience at the Provincial residence of Monterrico, while waiting for an independent and definitive house of their own.
After a few months, an old, large house was found in the district of Magdalena del Mar. After the required alterations, it became the permanent scholasticate. During the past 25 years about 150 young candidates passed through. Many left but half of them are still giving their all in various parts of the world.
Celebrating the XXV Anniversary
On 23 October last, the Theologate of Lima celebrated its XXV anniversary. Numerous representatives of the Comboni Family present in Peru gathered to thank the Lord and the Institute for this very significant event in the life of the Province of Peru-Chile.
The beautiful celebration was presided over by Mgr. Jaime Rodríguez Salazar mccj, the bishop of Huanuco and founder of the Theologate. Mgr. Rodríguez revisited many memories and some fears but most of all he demonstrated the hope which accompanied him in every moment. His account, punctuated by anecdotes which provoked smiles among the participants, was most of all a way of thanking God for His constant presence during these past years. We thank God that the seed which was planted has grown into a fruitful tree whose roots have spread wide.
Fr. Enrique Sánchez, Superior General, described the occasion in these terms: the celebration of the past 25 years is an opportunity to confirm the desire and the will to continue to be a community distinguished for its passion for the mission and a healthy Comboni enthusiasm which radiates the beauty of our vocation. The celebration may truly be an occasion for reaffirming the desire of all here present and those who will come here in the future, to live with a heart filled with passion: the passion to consecrate all our life to the Lord for the service of the poorest and most abandoned.
On 30 October, 2010, the province experienced another moment of Pascal joy: the ordination of the deacon Elvis Robert Calero Santos, by Mgr. Lino Panizza, Bishop of Carabayllo, at the parish of Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Northern zone of Lima).
The ceremony was carried out in a church packed with relatives and friends who gathered in an atmosphere of warmth, around the gigantic high altar. The Bishop referred to the Year For Priests which was only recently concluded and the meaning of having the ad gentes mission in the life of the Christian community.
At the end of the celebration he invited the young people present not to be afraid to respond positively to the call of the Lord, and to follow the example of Elvis Santos, emphasising his Comboni vocation.
On the following day, the newly ordained priest celebrated his first Mass, surrounded by various concelebrants and many of his dear ones, in the same joyful atmosphere of the preceding day.
Fr. Elvis studied theology at Kinshasha (DRC) and did his missionary service year at Trujillo. He has been assigned to Ethiopia.
Ordinations to the priesthood
On 16 October, 2010, Maciej Miąsik and Sebastian Chmiel were ordained priests. The celebration took place in the cathedral of Rze-szów, the parish where both of them came to know the Comboni Missionaries and decided to share their life and mission. It is also the parish where they grew up in the faith and in Christian commitment and where they were members of the Catholic group, even becoming its leaders.
The ordination ceremony was presided over by Mgr. Matthew F. Ustrzycki, Bishop Emeritus of Hamilton (Canada) and the uncle of the newly ordained Sebastian, as well as being a friend of the Comboni Missionaries who have a community in his diocese.
The organisation of the ceremony was entrusted to Mgr. Stanisław Mac, a Papal Prelate, founder of the parish and known for his vocations promotion work. The past 20 years have seen 25 ordinations to the priesthood from among the youth of his parish, not to mention the numerous religious Sisters.
Fr. Alberto Pelucchi, the present Vicar General and responsible for Poland, attended the ordination as did all the Comboni Fathers present in Poland and also a number of confreres from the German-speaking province: the provincial Fr. Josef Altenburger, Fr. Herbert Gimpl, the scholastics of Innsbruck, among whom were two Poles, and numerous friends.
On the following day, 17 October, Fr. Sebastian Chmiel celebrated his “Primicja”, his first Mass. The cathedral was filled with the faithful and three choirs contributed with their singing to the solemnity of the celebration.
The floral symbolic decorations were very beautiful. All the members of the family of the newly ordained priest were present. The young priest was met at the church by some children, young people and adults who presented him with gifts on behalf of everyone present. The homily was given by the Dean of the faculty of Theology of the University of Innsbruck where Sebastian did his scholasticate and studied theology.
The feast continued at a restaurant where, following local custom, a considerable time was spent during which the best of Polish cooking was served while an orchestra played Polish music to add to the joyful mood.
On 24 October, it was the turn of Fr. Maciej Miąsik who celebrated his “Primicja” at the new parish of Our Lady of Częstochowa, to which Maciej has belonged for the past three years. Since it was the first time to have a first Mass in this parish, all did their best to prepare the ceremony which took place in a family atmosphere and following ancient traditions. Thus, the newly-ordained arrived in a coach, accompanied by his mother (his father died three years ago); some young girls and children, after placing a garland of flowers around his neck, led him into the church where a small group of representatives of the children, young people and adults presented him with gifts.
The parish priest spoke to him with affection, reminding him that he was the first on the list of ordinations from that parish. The Mass was conducted as informally as possible; the homily was given by the priest who had been in charge of diocesan youth when Maciej was an active member.
After the ceremony, the celebration continued at a restaurant, joyfully and happily as on the previous Sunday. The presence of both of Maciej’s grandmothers, each one happy and content, served as a reminder of his Christian and family roots.
Portugal on a mission
The ad gentes Missionary Institutes held a general assembly from 9 to 12 November, 2010, to discuss the main policies set out in the document “Towards a Missionary Face of the Church in Portugal”, a pastoral letter by the bishops of Portugal published last June.
The creation of diocesan and parish centres, in close collaboration with the Missionary Institutes, is one of the solutions presented by the document. The first of these centres have begun to appear in some dioceses such as Braga and Porto.
In the course of the General Assembly, in which around 70 priests and religious took part, the desire emerged, on the part of all the missionary Institutes, to increase communion and the sharing of experiences in order to act more openly and effectively in the various communities. An example of this is the project which is to be organised by the Missionary Institutes to stage a “Missionary Exposition” at Fatima.
Perpetual Vows and feast of the Comboni Friends
On Sunday, 14 November, the scholastic Missay Soku Jérôme Nerio, from Congo, took perpetual vows in the Comboni Parish of Silverton, Pretoria. He had been appointed there in August 2009, after his scholasticate in Kinshasa, to start his missionary service. There he learnt English and was assigned to the community of Acornhoek in the North-East of the country.
The celebration was beautiful and full of meaning for the Comboni community and for the people of the parish. For many of them it was their first time to participate in a missionary perpetual profession and they were overwhelmed by the meaning of this missionary consecration.
Many confreres, the Comboni Sisters (recently arrived in South Africa) and many parishioners were present at the celebration of the Eucharist presided over by the provincial of South Africa, Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins. In his homily, he stressed mainly the meaning of a life completely consecrated to God and to the Mission, a consecration ad vitam for the sake of the Kingdom. Jerome started his formula of the vows with a song by which he stressed his total surrender to God: “Here I come to you, the one whom I loved, the one I’ve chosen for my heart... And I will follow you wherever you go, since you have claimed me as your own”.
On the same day, in the afternoon, the community of the Johannesburg provincialate organized a meeting of the Comboni Friends. Over one hundred friends participated in the gathering whose main goal was the celebration of the 20th anniversary of our magazine “Worldwide”. The editor of the magazine, Fr. Efrem Tresoldi, was the main speaker. He stressed the value of our missionary magazine in the life of the South African Church and in the life of each Christian. He said that the magazine is a “window open to the world” through which we can share the riches of the Church all over the world, keep ourselves informed about the reality of other churches and share in the life and struggles of other peoples for a more just and fraternal society. During the meeting, the Comboni friends came to know more about Comboni and the Comboni Missionaries in South Africa through a PowerPoint presentation on the life of Comboni and on our presence in the country.
THE MOTHERS: Maria Luisa, of Fr. Víctor Zabala Iturralde (E); Susanna, of Fr. Cosmo Spadavecchia (EG).
THE BROTHER: Lorenz, of Fr. Andreas Thorwarth (DSP).
THE SISTER: Rocio, of Fr. Gladimiro W. Pacheco Cruz (EC).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Ines Zuolo; Sr. Giuliana Giuliani.