Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
CYOF in Rome
On 20 April, the Rome period (October – April) of the 15th edition of the Comboni Year of Ongoing Formation ended. Thirteen of the nineteen participants began the Ignatian Month in Bologna at the Jesuit Centre at Villa San Giuseppe. This edition of the CYOF is the first to have taken place in Rome. Eleven confreres from Latin America, five from Africa and three from Europe took part.
During his homily at the closing Mass, attended by all the communities of the Generalate, Fr. Siro Stocchetti, commenting on the Gospel of the day (Jn 6, 1-5) said that it often happens that confreres coming for the course “have experienced in their first years of mission a feeling of impotence when faced with the needs and challenges of the mission («even two hundred denarii’s worth of bread would not suffice to give each one even a small piece») and of their own poverty («there is a boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what is that among so many?»). This is the profoundly human experience of our limits. This initiative of ongoing formation has provided the participants with some help to accept their personal, community and institutional limits and make of them a place of encounter with the God of life. In fact, trusting in the Lord who receives the little we have, when we entrust it to him, he himself makes it bear fruit, praising the Father and then distributing it ... and «all of them ate all they wanted»”
As the celebration drew to a close, a representative of the participants expressed their gratitude to all who worked to make the course a success.
Holy redeemer Guild
May 01 – 07 ET 08 – 15 ER 16 – 31 IT
June 01 – 15 KE 16 – 30 KH
May – That like Mary in her visit to Elizabeth, we may travel the roads of the world eager to communicate Christ, the Word made flesh for the salvation of all humankind. Let us pray.
June – That by following the example of Christ, the Good Shepherd and the manifestation of the mercy of the Father, we may communicate to the suffering that fullness of life which Jesus came to bring to all. Let us pray.
Fr. Paolo Latorre: Ecosofia – per R-Esistere alla crisi antropologica. The experience of the author, a Comboni Missionary, in one of the largest shanty-towns in the world (Korogocho, Nairobi), with its rubbish, poverty and despair, was the inspiration for a second book on human discovery: Ecosophia, the wisdom to inhabit the world, the home shared by all humanity and nature itself. The book is available online (from www.etet.it). The conclusion of this book consists in a request for interaction with the readers so as to bring out ways of defending and promoting the environment, the common good and politics of inclusion rather than exclusion.
Fr. Enzo Santangelo: Consolo y Esperança em São Daniel Comboni. Published by Alô Mundo, pp. 95. This is a booklet of thoughts taken from the writings of Comboni, each followed by a brief Biblical quotation.
Anniversary of priesthood
Fr. Renzo Carraro, the “Lolo” (grandpa) in the Delegation of Asia, has celebrated his 50th anniversary of priesthood. On the day chosen for the celebration, since the anniversary fell on Holy Saturday, Fr. Renzo was accompanied by a sizable and colourful group composed by friends, religious, few relatives from Italy and the group of the Comboni Missionaries in the Philippines. For many, this was the way to show their gratitude to the Lord for the blessings received through Fr. Renzo, who has been accompanying and giving his contribution to the formation and spiritual growth of different groups (religious and lay people) in the Philippines, since he arrived to the country more than twelve years ago.
During his homily, Fr. Renzo expressed his feeling of amazement and gratitude to the Lord for the gift of his life and for the 50 years as missionary priest. He also shared three gems of wisdom which have guided him in his missionary and priestly life: “Bloom where you are planted”, “We are sent to mission, not to judge people but to love them”, “Share with joy, for God loves a cheerful giver”.
To mark the occasion, and with the help of World Mission Publications, Fr. Renzo printed his book “Mission across the Continents”. The book presents, together with some biographical notes, a number of stories which share meaningful moments, events and persons in Fr. Renzo’s life. A copy of the book was offered as souvenir to those present at the event.
BRASIL DO SUL
Pastoral Care of Minors
Fr. Saverio Paolillo, in charge of the pastoral care of minors in the Archdiocese of Vitória dello Spirito Santo, in Brazil, accompanied by representatives of the State Council for Human Rights, carried out an inspection of the juvenile prison of Vitoria where they found a number of serious irregularities, especially overcrowding. Fr. Saverio discovered that, in a space meant for 25, there were, instead, 84 adolescents being kept in sub-human conditions. Cells meant to house six detainees had, on average, eighteen. Due to lack of space, ten others were crowded into a small corridor, handcuffed together. One was confined to a small, windowless store for mattresses. The boys complained of the heat which was over 30 degrees on that day.
Immediately after the inspection, Fr. Saverio, accompanied by the other members of the commission, went to the nearby commissioner’s office to report the mistreatment and violations of human rights of the adolescents.
Congolese Lay Missionary Woman sent to the Mission
The Comboni Lay Missionaries (CLM) of the Congo Province, represented by members of the communities of Kinshasa Archdiocese, on Sunday 25 March, 2012, sent Irene Mbanda, a lay Comboni missionary woman, to the mission.
The thanksgiving Mass was presided over by Fr. Enrique Bayo Mata accompanied by Fr. Michele Dinoia from the community of Kimwenza, by Fr. Nazareno Contran, Director of Afriquespoir magazine, by a representation of the delegates of the Comboni communities of Kinshasa, Comboni Sisters and scholastics. Fr Enrique’s homily was followed by suggestions and testimonies, followed by the laying on of hands and the presentation of the Bible.
Irene was appointed to work at the Comboni hospital of Mungbere where she will take care of patients with cancer of the womb, her particular specialisation, among the poor people of the area, including the pygmies.
Evangelise, heal and liberate
Alfredo Ribeiro Neres, 73, is a Portuguese confrere. He spent sixteen years in his native country as formator and 25 years in the Congo as a missionary. Through Afriquespoir he has published three books: Le Christ dans ma vie; Evangéliser, guérir et délivrer et Qui es-tu, Seigneur?, with notable success. Fr. Alfredo also published other books in Portugal on the same theme. In these books he expounds his way of viewing the mission. It all started on 8 December, 1981. On that day, Fr. Alfredo received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and was sent, like many others, to proclaim the Gospel, to heal the sick and to cast out devils. This derives, of course, from the mandate of Christ who entrusted to his Apostles these three basic missions.
The Renewal Movement within which Fr. Alfredo was formed, is spread throughout the world. It is present in all the dioceses of Congo. There are at least 140 groups in Kinshasa. Fr. Alfredo makes himself available to preach retreats. He has done animation in Portugal, Angola and South Africa. In the Kinshasa scholasticate where he lives, he devotes three afternoons a week (Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays) to people who wish to meet him for moments of evangelisation, healing and liberation. Each day he receives from 25 to 30 people. All receive a catechesis based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In dealing with the sick he follows Instructions on Prayer to Obtain God’s Healing, issued on 14 September, 200, by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. When performing exorcisms, Fr. Alfredo scrupulously follows The Roma Ritual for the celebration of Exorcisms. Fr. Alfredo also carries out his ministry by phone and Skype. Among those who visit him at the Kintambo scholasticate are doctors and, especially psychologists who realise that often medicine does not help whereas prayer in the name of Christ is omnipotent.
Annual Assembly for Alternative Economy
“In the year 2011, funding for Comboni projects and long distance adoptions (to the amount of €486.180) – stated the President – overall and despite the effects of the economic crisis, were not seriously affected (-5,1%) when compared to the year 2010. This variation, moreover, has been more than compensated for by a strong increase in pharmaceutical donations for a total of €930.301 (+66,7%), resulting in total funding to the value of €1.416.000, an increase of 32,4%”.
Most funding, as in previous years, was directed towards the field of education (42%), followed by economic development (wells, initial funding for small projects, etc.) and towards emergencies especially in the field of public health. Funding was maintained for “multi-sector” projects with considerable impact in the territory but needing both a high degree of organisation and, because of the larger sums, a policy of partnerships involving public entities (with participation in their competitions), and other valid ONLUS.
During the twelve years of its existence, this Association, which supports the Comboni Family, has funded 322 projects, created over 1000 remote adoptions and sent some tens of tons of medicine to poor countries. All of this was carried out keeping general costs low, equal, in 2011, to less than one per cent of the resources available.
Since its three-year mandate was complete, the Assembly concluded with a discussion on the renewal of offices. Given that the President, Di Stefano, had not renewed his candidature after holding the office for three terms, the Assembly appointed a new President in the person of Councillor Giampiero Castellina.
Change in the provincial administration
The DSP has a new provincial administrator. During the Consulta in January, Bro. Hans Bayer, after his missionary commitment in Ecuador and in North Eastern Brazil, was appointed to be the new provincial administrator of the DSP. Also in Brazil, where Brother Hans worked for 18 years, he was very much involved in this field.
Bro. Bernhard Hengl, his predecessor, was the administrator of the DSP also for 18 years. Appointed to South Sudan, Bro. Bernhard has been requested to coordinate the projects of the seven dioceses in the newly founded Republic of South Sudan.
Visit of the General Superior
On 10 April, Fr. Enrique Sánchez González went to Spain for an official visit to the Province. He visited all six communities and met all the missionaries. During these meetings he presented the basic policies for the implementation of the Chapter. As regards the restructuring of the Institute – he said – it must not simply amount to the amalgamation of circumscriptions but a change of attitude so as to be more in line with the concrete situations of the mission, the Church and the society of the present day. He preached the spiritual retreat at Palencia.
Ten Years of EGTR Serving the Renewal of the Mission
The European Group for Theological reflection is keeping the memorial of its ten years (2002-2012) of work and also the initiative of the Limone Symposium (2006-2011). For this reason it met immediately after Easter at Limone sul Garda, at the native home of Saint Daniel Comboni, to evaluate the work accomplished and plan future commitments.
Those who took part were: Fr. A. Pelucchi, Fr. C. Masini, Fr. M. Devenish, Fr. M. Augusto Ferreira, Fr. B. De Marchi, Fr. Joaquim Valente da Cruz, Fr. A. Zanotelli, Fr. F. Weber, Fr. G. Munari, Fr. F. Zolli, Fr. D. Castello, Mr. C. Dotolo and Sister M. T. Ratti, CMS.
Two publications were planned. One, possibly in 2012, which will present in a synthetic and more academic way the work carried out and will be aimed mainly at the scientific community, other Missionary Institutes, the Churches and those who are studying the need for a new paradigm of mission today.
Another publication, possibly in 2013, is to be more experience-based, will be aimed at the Comboni Family, missionary centres, various groups and people who have the mission at heart.
Its aim is to contribute to the theology of the mission and missionary praxis in the ambit of the “New Evangelisation” and the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Benedict XVI to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, on the basis of the need for renewal and repositioning of the Missionary Institutes in the Local Churches and in the lives of the people where Combonis live and operate.
The encounter closed with the preparation of a letter addressed to all the Comboni communities of Europe concerning the violence inflicted on the Nuba people.
Photographic Display: Alex Zanotelli among Faces for Legitimacy
Termini railway station was the site for a photographic display entitled: “I freely view. Faces for legitimacy”. Among the forty or so “faces” were those of writers, journalists, procurators, artists and a good number of priests, one of whom was Fr. Alex Zanotelli.
The display was organised by Provincia senza mafie (Province without the mafia) of the Province of Rome and Grandistazioni (Large Stations) of Italian State Railway, and showed about forty photos taken by photographer reporter Fiorenza Stefani: “faces of people who know the meaning of respect for others and who therefore cannot fail to look at respect for legitimacy. They are just a small part of those who busy themselves daily with the same thought: faces known and unknown, of young and old, faces of those who have deeply experienced offences against themselves and those most dear to them”.
Coming together of European confreres under-forty
The usual annual coming together for the “under-forties” of the European Provinces was held from 16 to 20 April at Palermo. The eight participants, five from Poland, one from Germany and two from Italy were warmly welcomed by the Palermo community.
The days were full of activities, especially with the sharing of experiences but also with moments of formation, a day retreat and times of prayer. The visit to the wonderful Duomo of Monreale was useful not only for its artistic beauty but also for its profound theological message expressed mostly by splendid mosaics.
It was an opportunity to meet the community of Palermo (Fathers, Sisters and Lay People) and for a useful and important meeting with Mgr. Franco Montenegro, Bishop of Agrigento, who shared his own journey as pastor of a Church facing many challenges (immigration, the mafia, the rediscovery of being a community, etc.). At Agrigento, the eight Combonis also viewed the extraordinary beauty of the Valley of the Temples.
Coordination Meeting of Comboni Lay Missionaries
On 21 and 22 April, at Venegono Superiore, the Coordination Meeting of Comboni Lay Missionaries was held. Those present: the heads of the groups in Palermo, Venegono, Gozzano, Florence, Bologna, Padova, as well as Fr. Venanzio Milani, Fr. Claudio Longhi and Sister Carmela Coter.
The agenda included a reflection upon the Acts of the Florence Assembly held last May, the preparation of the European Assembly for the CLM – with the meaningful title: “In the Steps of Daniel Comboni” – which will be held at Verona from 2 to 7 August, with one day in Limone and the reports of the groups with lay people leaving for the mission.
Acse Assembly and Celebration
On 21 April, at the Rome headquarters of Acse, the annual Assembly of its members was held. The various activities and balances (in the black) were verified. New members of the Council of Directors were appointed as follows: Fr. Venanzio Milani (President), Fr. Claudio Crimi (Vice President and Director), Sr. Mariarosa Venturelli, Sr. Rosangela Fasto, Maurizio Pieri (Treasurer), Sabino Minervini (Secretary) and Gianfranco Caporossi.
On the following day the feast of Acse was celebrated in Via Luigi Lilio with a fair number of participants. After the opening greetings and an introduction by Fr. Milani and Fr. Crimi, some important reports were made. The Provincial, Fr. Corrado Masini, spoke on the theme “The Comboni Missionaries on the side of immigrants in Europe”; Sr. Mariarosa Venturelli spoke about Comboni initiatives on behalf of immigrants in Europe and especially of her “interesting and moving” experience at CIE; Fr. Giovanni La Manna, a Jesuit from the Astalli Centre, a Centre that works for refugees in Italy, illustrated the problem of immigration from the humanitarian, legal and political points of view. After the celebration of the Eucharist in the Congolese rite, presided over by Fr. Milani, and lunch, a film called Terraferma was viewed.
Official Visit to the Comboni Missionaries in Mexico
On 11 April, 2012, the official visit by the General Assistants Fr. Antonio Villarino and Bro. Daniele Giusti to the Province of Mexico began.
After being welcomed to the Provincial House of Xochimilco by the Provincial Superior, Fr. Erasmo Norberto Bautista Lucas, the visit stopped briefly at the community of the Missionary Animation Centre (MAC) in Mexico City and then proceeded to the heart of the Comboni presence in the communities of Mixteche in the State of Guerrero. The Combonis have been present, since 2001, in Metlatónoc and Cochoapa in the Diocese of Tlapa, in Western Sierra Madre. The great popular religious spirit of the people of Mixteca finds special expression in the majestic churches to be found in small isolated villages.
Fr. Villarino and Bro. Giusti then returned to the capital. One important moment was the meeting with the Provincial Council during which the life of the various communities and the priorities of the Province were discussed. The first part of the visit ended with a visit to the Postulancy of Xochimilco which at the moment has eleven postulants (9 candidates for the priesthood and 2 Brother candidates) in three formation years. The Postulancy house will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary in a few months’ time.
The two Assistants then began the second part of their visit, moving by stages to the communities of the north of the country and Lower California, the place where the Comboni Missionaries first established themselves in Mexico.
50 years of ordination
Fr. Joseph Bragotti and Fr. Peter Premarini celebrated their 50th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood on March 17th, 2012. Together with friends and other Comboni missionaries they stood at the same place where Bishop Charles Francis Buddy, first Bishop of San Diego, laid his hands on a group of seminarians who had just completed their theological studies. The Immaculate Church, at the University of San Diego campus, Alcala Park, witnessed both ceremonies: the ordination and the joyous anniversary.
The Comboni Missionaries came to the United States in 1938, but it was in the late 40s when they went to California to take care of some Indian missions, founded many years earlier by the Franciscans, in the diocese of San Diego. With the idea of recruiting candidates to the priesthood and missionary life, a seminary was opened in 1961 on the campus of the University of San Diego. Fr. Joseph and Fr. Peter were in their last year of theology when they arrived in California. Shortly after ordination they left for their first assignments.
On Sunday, March 18th, Fr. Joseph and Fr. Peter celebrated their 50th anniversary of ordination at Sacred Heart Parish of Covina, surrounded this time by friends who live in the area and who couldn’t make the trip to San Diego.
The Comboni Missionaries have ministered in the United States to the poor and marginalized since 1939. While they have taken on ministries through the years, they have had a constant presence in Cincinnati. From 16 to 20 of April, all the confreres of the NAP came together at the Comboni Mission Center in Anderson for a week-long Assembly. Thirty-three priests enjoyed the rare gift of living together as one community, sharing ideas and visioning for the future. They spent the majority of the time updating the Provincial Directory and developing a draft for a Six-year Plan. To begin their assembly, they had a full day of on-going formation together with a discussion of justice, peace and integrity of creation issues.
A major highlight of the week was the 50th anniversary celebration of ordination of Fr. Joseph Bragotti and Fr. Peter Premarini. Both names are well known by many here in the Cincinnati area. Fr. Joe lived in Cincinnati for 25 years, serving as Mission Office Director and editor of the “Comboni Missions” magazine. Fr. Peter was in ministry in Cincinnati for eight years, serving as pastor of St. Henry Church in the West End and St. Pius X in South Cumminsville.
Perpetual vows and ordination to the diaconate
It was with great joy that the Province of Perù-Chile celebrated the perpetual vows of the scholastics José F. Leytón Espinoza e Desiré Koguapa Buhendwa. The event was held at the Provincial House of Monterrico (Lima) on Wednesday, 18 April, in the presence of the superiors of the house, members the provincial council, confreres based in Lima, some guests and relatives of José and some friends of Désiré. The latter, on his own behalf and that of José, thanked the Province and all present for the welcome and affection they received during their time in Peru. José and Désiré did their period of missionary service at Huánuco and Pangoa respectively.
On Sunday, 22 April, at the cathedral of Huánuco, Mgr. Jaime Rodríguez Salazar, a Comboni bishop, carried out the ordination to the diaconate of José F. Leytón Espinoza. Speaking to a large group of participants, Mgr. Jaime expressed his joy at ordaining a Comboni Missionary and a seminarian for his diocese.
Feast for Relatives
The traditional feast for the parents and families of the Portuguese Comboni Missionaries took place on Sunday, 15 April, 2012, at the seminary of Vila Nova de Famalicão and saw the participation of around 150 people gathered to celebrate the missionary vocation as they remembered their dear ones scattered around the world while serving the mission.
Fr. Francisco Alberto Almeida de Medeiros, who recently arrived from South Africa and is now part of the community of Viseu, shared some experiences of his missionary life.
The high point of this annual gathering was the celebration of the Eucharist presided over by Fr. Joaquim Pinto da Fonseca and concelebrated by 14 Combonis. In his homily, Fr. Fonseca, who had recently returned from Brazil South, showed how the early Christian community is the model to be followed in the economic and spiritual crisis in Europe.
The provincial superior Fr. Alberto de Oliveira Silva, informed those present of the perpetual profession of Bro. José Eduardo Macedo de Freitas, planned for December this year in Portugal, as well as the arrival in the country of four missionaries and the departure of four others. He also spoke of the two young seminarians who are doing their postulancy at Maia, the twelve Comboni Lay Missionaries (CLM) – six in Portugal and six in Africa – and the four novices, two of whom are Portuguese, who are due to take their first vows at Santarem on 26 May.
Missionary Exhibition in Fatima
The result of the combined efforts of the ad gentes Missionary Institutes (AGMI) and thanks to the Fatima Shrine, a missionary exhibition will take place with the aim of renewing the enthusiasm of the Portuguese Church for the Mission. The theme: “Make room in your tent”, taken from Isaiah, invites us to be people with hearts open to welcome the others and to go out to meet them.
The missionary exhibition will be open to the public in the Hall of St. Augustine, Fatima, from 12 May to 31 October, 2012. It is a project that has been thought over for years and for which support was received from the pastoral Letter of the Portuguese bishops entitled: “As I have done to you, do you also to one another – towards a missionary outlook of the Church in Portugal”.
Set out in four sections, visitors will be become immersed in the space that receives them and accompanies them like a long-awaited guest. They will come face to face with the history of the mission and the men and women who made it their own throughout the passage of time.
Closing of the community of Mount Ayliff
On the 15th of April the parish of Mount Ayliff and on the 22nd of April the parish of Tabankulu (also assisted by the community of Mount Ayliff) were handed over to the diocese of Kokstad. The community of Mount Ayliff has then been officially closed. It is the first community that the province has closed in line with the Six-Year-Plan. Fr. Melese Tumato Shula, from Ethiopia, and Fr. Paul Kambo, from Kenya, were the last two Comboni missionaries in the parish. Some Comboni missionaries were present at the celebration, namely six priests and seven scholastics from Pietermaritzburg. The church was full and the people showed their love for the Comboni community through messages, songs and dances, and promised to keep the Comboni spirit alive among them. As a symbol of this ceremony, Fr. Melese handed over to Fr. Gabriel Thabang, a diocesan priest, the books of the baptism registrations from 1995, the year of the opening of the community, until now.
The reasons why the province of South Africa decided to close this community are mainly lack of personnel, the need to reduce the number of local languages within the province, the urgency to reinforce communities in the urban areas of Pretoria, Johannesburg and, possibly, Durban and thus re-qualifying our missionary work.
During these seventeen years of our presence in Mount Ayliff, a good number of Comboni Missionaries worked there: Fr. Bernhard Riegel, Fr. Giorgio Stefani, Fr. Gunther Hoffmann, Fr. Florian Spinosa, Fr. Rigoberto Zamora, Fr. Melese Tumato, Fr. Guillermo Medina and Fr. Paul Kambo. Eight priests from six different nationalities, which reveals the internationality of our communities and of our Institute.
Missionaries review work among pastoralists
Twenty Comboni Missionaries, including one Sister, spent four days in Juba between April 14 and 17 to review their work among some cattle-keeper communities in South Sudan. Our confreres are present among the Mundari, Nuer and Dinka communities in seven different areas.
The participants shared their evangelization programs. After interpreting the information gathered, including outputs from Nuer and Dinka natives, they tried to interpret and evaluate missionary activities with the assistance of Hans Stock, a facilitator.
Finally, they discussed four major themes through group work: Comboni mission’s goal in South Sudan; preparation for missionary activities in South Sudan by means of research and courses in languages and culture, inculturation and mission among cattle-keeping peoples; education appropriate to South Sudan and especially to cattle-keeping communities; and ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, including traditional religion.
The participants came out with a set of recommendations to guide their activities among the cattle-keepers in this nation.
Meeting for the Families of Togolese Comboni Missionaries
On Sunday, 15 April, the meeting for the families of Togolese Comboni Missionaries was held at the Provincial House of Lomé Cacaveli. About a hundred parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews accepted the invitation to spend a day together to renew and strengthen the bonds of friendship and sharing of the Comboni ideal and charism.
A power point presentation by Fr. Abel Gueli, the head of the Mission Promotion Centre of Lomé, on St. Daniel Comboni helped towards a better understanding of the life of the Founder and the commitment of the Comboni Missionaries in the world and in the Province of Togo-Ghana-Benin.
The meeting was followed by interesting work in groups to share missionary experience and explain how people were involved in the vocation of their children. All the participants affirmed the joy of living their own Christian commitment bearing witness to Christ in their daily lives, while feeling close to their missionary sons and accompanying them with their prayers and raising funds for them. They also expressed the desire to be in ever closer communion with the Comboni Family.
During the Eucharist, presided over by Fr. Girolamo Miante, provincial superior, prayers were offered for all the confreres of TGB who all over the world proclaim Christ and witness to him, for their families, for those who have gone before us to eternal life and who accompany us with their prayers of intercession.
At present there are 77 Comboni Missionaries from TGB. There are 48 Togolese: 19 priests, 11 Brothers and 8 scholastics. Those from Benin are 20: 11 priests, 1 Brother and 8 scholastics. The Ghanaians are 9: 6 priests and 3 scholastics. Two confreres have gone to their eternal reward and accompany us from heaven: Fr. Jean Pierre Légonou and the novice Magloire Akakpo.
The same sort of meeting will be organised in the coming months for the confreres from Ghana and Benin. The families of two Togolese Comboni Sisters also took part in the gathering in Lomé.
Islam Reflection Group
The Islam Reflection Group, which meets every two years, was convened in Layibi (Uganda) from the 17th to the 22nd of April. The group, made up of the representatives of the French and English speaking Africa and Mozambique. This year’s theme was “The Islamic da’wah: a Threat or a Challenge?”. It cantered on the Islamic da’wah that is the call to follow God on the path of Islam, an issue very relevant in today’s Africa.
With the help of the confreres from Dar Comboni in Cairo, the Reflection Group studied the meaning, the theological foundations and the missionary methodology of the Islamic da’wah and tried to work out which pastoral answers Christians could possibly give. Islam is a rapidly growing religion and, like Christianity, considers the missionary commitment and the invitation to conversion an obligation to every Muslim. In the African continent the emergence of a militant and dynamic type of Islam poses many challenges to Christian communities.
The Reflection Group has opened a website where it is possible to find various document to deepen the knowledge of Islam – besides other working papers presented at the previous meetings. The web address is: http://www.awlaadibnhagar.org/
THE MOTHER: Regina, of Fr. Tarcisio Candian (I).
THE BROTHERS: Bruno, of Fr. Marcello Vulcan (I); Michele, of Fr. Marcello Trotta (I).
THE SISTER: Maria, of Fr. Costante Ferranti (I).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Carlantonia Tescaro; Sr. Manna M. Ghebremedhin; Sr. M. Emilia Scotti; Sr. M. Nunzia Inganni.