Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus


First Professions

Namugongo – 1 May, 2012       Province of Origin     Destination

1.  Sc. Wamalwa Kelly Maino


São Paulo

2.  Sc. Owino James Marcellus



3.  Sc. Anyaja Pious


Cape Coast

4.  Sc. Farnela Raisson Lourenço



5.  Sc. Banda Archangel



6.  Fr. Tafesse Franso (+Perpetual vows)


In attesa

Sahuayo – 12 May, 2012            Province of Origin     Destination

7. Sc. Rojas Gastelú Hans Cristian



8. Sc. Morales Sánches Raúl Urbano



9. Sc. Salvador Mateo Pedro



10. Sc. Garrido Santiago Margarito III



11. Sc. Caspis Salarde Jemboy



12. Sc. Ferreira Queiroz Eder


São Paulo

13. Sc. De Sousa Borges Rego Ricardo



14. Sc. Salazar Hernández Francisco J.


São Paulo

Sarh (7+3) – 13 May, 2012         Province of Origin     Destination

15. Sc. Ngayo Akigala Pierre


Cape Coast

16. Sc. Mokpie-Dewe Mathurin



17. Sc. Esseh Kossi



18. Sc. Tomety Kossi Messah Agbéko



19. Sc. Hakpa Komlatsé



20. Sc. Gbegnon Sénou Isaac



21. Sc. Gbego Gratien


Cape Coast

22. Bro. Kasusi Apele Antoine


Bogotà CIF

23. Bro. Kasusi Libongo Grégoire


Nairobi CIF

24. Bro. Kitha Mumbere Mwangaza


Congo (to study)

Santarem – 26 May, 2012        Province of Origin       Destination

25. Sc. Dzióbkowski Mateusz



26. Sc. Ricardo Alberto Leite Gomes



27. Bro. Vallejo Narvaez Walter Alexandre


In attesa

TOTAL: 27 (23 for the priesthood + 4 Brothers)

Perpetual Professions

Sc. Campoverde Vicuña José Luciano (EC)

Carcelén (EC)


Sc. Rodríguez Rodríguez José Benjamin (M)

Namugongo (U)


Fr. Tafesse Franso (ET)

Namugongo (U)


Ordinations to the priesthood

Fr. Gomanjira Harold Felix (MZ)

Mwanga-Blantyre (MW)


Fr. Filip Andrzej Jan (PO)

Mogilno (PL)


Fr. Nyakundi Isaiah Sangwera (KE)

Nyabururu (KE)


Holy Redeemer Guild

June                  01 – 15 KE             16 – 30 KH

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

Prayer Intentions

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.

July – That the Great Continental Mission, which is being carried out by the Churches in America, may also be a stimulus for us who are baptised so that we may be open to a mission beyond our own boundaries. Let us pray.


Recent publications in Mexico Province:

Fr. Rafael González Ponce, El ideal de Agustín, Misionero Comboniano muerto en África, 2011, third edition.

Fr. Domingo Zugliani, Historia Sagrada, Una pedagogía divina para la enseñanza de la religión.

Fr. Cirillo Tescaroli, Daniel Comboni, profeta de los nuevos tiempos, 2011, revised and corrected edition.

Fr. Vittorio Moretto, Si tuviera mil vidas… La fascinante humanidad de San Daniel Comboni, 2011, third edition.

Fr. Fernando González Galarza, Discípulos misioneros de Cristo para la misión sin fronteras.

Two children’s books: Seguir sus pasos, Biografías de santos escritas para niños and Jesús, una historia de amor.

Fr. Lorenzo Carraro, Mission Across the Continents, Ed. 2012. Fr. Carraro shares about his life filled with interesting events encounters.


Retreat, Assembly and First Vows

In May, the Delegation Assembly took place and saw the final touches on the updating of the Delegation Directory, listened to the reports of the various sectors and the planning for the immediate future. The Assembly was enriched by the celebration of Fr. Lorenzo Carraro’s Golden Jubilee of Priesthood and especially by the First Religious Profession of the two novices Jemboy Caspis Salarde and Margarito Garrido Santiago. This last celebration took place on Wednesday, May 16 evening. The solemn Mass of the Professions was presided over by the Delegate Superior, Fr. Miguel Angel Llamazares in the appreciated presence of the parents and few family members of the two newly professed.


In defence of the Indians of Amazonia

“United we can win”. This the slogan chosen by the Comboni Missionaries of North-East Brazil to promote, together with the organisation “Survival International”, the cause of the Awá-Guajá people in the State of Maranhão. They make up one of the last indigenous tribes of Amazonia whose very survival is in danger due to deforestation and advancing settlements.

It is not certain how many members the tribe has. They are not more than a few hundred people, about sixty of whom never had contact with the outside world. During the past three years, their land has been reduced by more than 30 per cent, despite a 1992 decree that fixed their boundaries.

Missionaries have noted how this indigenous tribe has become one of the many victims of the “insane and uncontrolled greed” of the landowners and logging and mining companies who have been seen to exert considerable political influence and even – as the religious emphasised – in the administration of justice.

However, a positive “encouraging” sign that brings in some “fresh air” has been the recent declaration of the federal regional Tribunal of Brazil which decided that, within a year, the non-indigenous people and non-indigenous settlements should leave the territory within the 1992 boundaries. The support given by the Combonis to the large-scale campaign by “survival International” falls within this context. The campaign seeks to persuade the ministry of justice to send the federal police into the Awa-Guaja territory to force out the loggers, farmers and settlers before it is too late.

The Combonis, therefore, in collaboration with “Survival international”, are appealing to the government of Brazil to make the question of the Awa-Guaja one of the priorities of their political agenda; in particular, those on power to follow the example of Christ and so to be “Good Shepherds” to the people entrusted to them. As a warning, they remind them of the severe divine sentence pronounced by the prophet Ezechiel: “I shall hold them to account for my flock”.

The Combonis campaign is also part of a broader pastoral plan undertaken by the Church in Brazil in defence of the indigenous populations of Amazonia. In April, the Brazilian bishops deplored “the delays in the administrative procedures of demarcation”, together with “the invasion and the exploitation of the land of traditional peoples”


Grotto of Our Lady of Fatima blessed

On Saturday, 21 April, the Christians of the parish of Christ the King of Tokoyo, Bangassou Centre, organised a procession of 7 Km to the Marian shrine at Pande “Nzoni Be ti Marie”, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in order to make of the Grotto, dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, a centre of prayer, pilgrimage and missionary renewal for that area, which has 27 chapels belonging to the parish, and for the whole diocese of Bangassou.

The Grotto is a response to needs of the hundreds of displaced people, forced from their homes due to the violence caused by the LRA (The Lord’s resistance Army) of Joseph Kony, which spread terror in the eastern part of the diocese.

The Mass was presided over by Fr. Alain-Blaise Bissialo, Vicar of the Cathedral of St Peter Claver, assisted by the deacons Ludovic Takouali and Honoré Zonon who have been assisting the rural communities for the past eight months.

Christ The King Parish Handed over to the Diocese

Both civil and religious authorities gathered on 29 April, 2012, at the parish of Christ the King, Tokoyo, to celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving to the Lord for the Combonis’ presence in the diocese of Bangassou. The first missionaries had been expelled from the Sudan and arrived in Abossi (about 10 Km from the Sudan border) on 15 August, 1966, to assist about 25,000 refugees. The hostilities they encountered forced them to open a centre for refugees at Mboki and another at Bezia, together with the Comboni Sisters. This is how a new chapter in the evangelisation history and human development was opened in the north-east of the Central African Republic, in the parishes of Obo and Zemio. The first missions were handed over to the diocese at the end of the civil war and, in 1991, also those of Obo and Zemio. In 1979, the Combonis arrived at the parish of Christ the King, Tokoyo

The celebration was presided over by Mgr. Juan José Aguirre Muñoz, Bishop of Bangassou. His Vicar, Fr. Fidèle Koagbiayo, the Provincial, Fr. Giovanni Zaffanelli, the local clergy, men and women religious and representatives of the civil authorities attended the event. In his homily, Mgr. Aguirre thanked all who had worked in the diocese of Bangassou and spoke of the presence and witness of the confreres and the last Comboni missionaries who have closed a chapter in life of the Church in Central Africa, Fr. Giovanni Cosentino and Fr. Pedro Jimmy Indacochea Quimis.


A Chapel for the CAE

At last the Kinshasa CAE (Afriquespoir Centre) has its own chapel. On Saturday, 28 April, the AMCRI building company of Kimpombo handed the keys of the new building to Fr. Eliseo Tacchella, the Provincial, in the presence of the confreres of the community. The chapel was built using funds left in his will to Fr. Tonino Falaguasta Nyabenda by Fr. Adelio Mantiero, a priest of the diocese of Vicenza, a great friend of Combonis. Fr. Adelio died in 2008 as he was going to the parish church of Grumolo delle Abbadesse, of which he was the parish priest and where the faithful were waiting for the Sunday Mass. He had connections with a number of Combonis whom he generously assisted.

The chapel of the CAE is place that invites to prayer. The interior is copiously furnished in wood, which is in plentiful supply in the Congo. The altar, pews, the tabernacles and all the rest are the work of Congolese artists. The Way of the Cross is a series of copper panels. Copper is another of the natural riches of the Congo.

There is, of course, also a picture of St Daniel Comboni who will assuredly intercede for the CAE, the Province and the entire Church of the democratic Republic of Congo.

New Missionary Resources

On 1 May, at the Kintambo (Kinshasa) scholasticate, 16 young men renewed their religious profession. The day began with a conference by Fr. Alessandro Lwanga Guarda, provincial bursar, on the theme “The missionary at the service of regeneration”. After a period of personal reflection and prayer, those invited – the Kinshasa confreres, the Comboni Sisters, the postulants and the delegation of the Comboni Lay Missionaries – participated in a Mass presided over by Fr. Eliseo Tacchella, provincial superior, during which the ceremony of the renewal of the vows took place. Fr. Eliseo’s homily covered three points: the necessity of a personal experience of Christ, poverty lived in the Comboni community and apostolic zeal which requires perfect chastity as complete self-giving to Christ and to others.


Provincial Assembly

From 23 to 27 April, the 2012 Quito Provincial Assembly was held to reflect upon the observations of Fr. Antonio Villarino, who visited the Province in January this year, and to evaluate the progress of the Province.

The first day was devoted to ongoing formation monitored by Mgr. Víctor Corral, Bishop Emeritus of Riobamba who spoke of Ecuadorian society and of the Church in Ecuador in recent years. The challenges of continental mission according to the document of Aparecida, the problems of mining and violence in the north of Esmeraldas, where the confreres of Borbón and San Lorenzo work, were also confronted. The Assembly, in a peaceful atmosphere, endeavoured to go ahead with the evaluation of the three-year plan that is considered an important point in the life of the province. With Fr. Villarino’s letter in mind, there was discernment on some important points such as vocations ministry, mission promotion and the formation of groups of friends of the mission, Afro ministry, ongoing formation and the possible closure, during the next few years, of some communities due to personnel shortages.

The struggle for life in Esmeraldas

With the publication of the document “Cuidemos nuestro planeta” (Let us Protect our Planet), The Episcopal Conference of Ecuador has taken a stand in defence of the people and the environment. Unfortunately, the government, as in other Latin-American countries, has chosen the “exploitation” policy which involves using mineral resources to sustain the development of the country.

This policy does not respect the environment – still less the population – in the areas around the oil wells and goldmines. This is the general context of the northern zone of Esmeraldas with its two Comboni missions of Borbón and San Lorenzo. After two years of organising by the people, there has been no let-up in the impoverishment of the land and the pollution of the rivers by toxic chemicals used in the extraction of gold. In theory, the illegal mines ought to have been closed and gold production be carried out respecting the environment. In fact, the rivers are still carrying away all sorts of residues down into the valleys.

The Church of Esmeraldas has placed among the priorities of its pastoral year the defence of life in all places where it is threatened and the work of conscientising the people regarding respect for the environment and resistance towards whatever threatens it, has begun.

The vigilance committee, in which the Combonis Fr. Aldo Pusterla, Bro. Umberto Martinuzzo, Fr. Romeo Barrios Morales, Fr. Adam Zagaja, together with lay people and catechists, take an active part, is very much committed to this struggle and has asked the Ministry of Internal Affairs to publish the most recent data on the pollution levels of the rivers which remain at critical levels (this information is clandestinely circulated due to the fact that the Catholic University of Esmeraldas is involved in the analysis).

Our Comboni confreres are being constantly threatened since the mining companies see them as deliberately placing obstacles in the path of their activities.

Perpetual Vows

At the end of the Provincial Assembly, on 26 April, in the chapel of the Comboni Youth Centre at Carcelén, the scholastic José Luciano Campoverde Vicuña took perpetual vows in the presence of the confreres and at the hands of Fr. Claudio Zendron.

Fr. Pedro Secundino Tacuri Samaniego, superior of the Postulancy, emphasised the necessity of such signs and the generosity of Luciano, since the Church in Ecuador seems to be closing its doors to the mission “ad gentes”. There are ever fewer priests, religious, lay people and diocesan priests who devote themselves to evangelisation of the Church in Africa and Asia. Luciano’s parents, Emma and Cesar, were present as were many friends, relatives and benefactors who fervently participated in the event, accompanied by hymns sung by the Sisters, the Sister Novices and the young men of the Postulancy. According to the plan made by the Provincial Council, Luciano will be ordained deacon on 17 June, the Fest of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and will be ordained priest on 20 October, 2012.


Comboni priest a member of the Egyptian Academy

Professor Faruq Shusha, former director and a member of the Egyptian Academy of Arabic Language, has informed Fr. Giuseppe Scattolin that the board of the Academy has chosen him to be its “member by correspondence” (عضو مراسل), since he is not an Egyptian.

“I think this is a significant gesture of friendship – writes Fr. Giuseppe – by the Egyptian intellectual world, and also by the Arabic world in general, not only for myself but also for the many Italian scholars who have approached the Arab and Islamic world with an open spirit in an attitude of understanding and friendship.”


Centenary of the Catholic Church in Kunama Area

On 29 April, 2012, the centenary of the Catholic Church in the Kunama zone was celebrated. It was a memorable and joyful celebration of capital importance for the people of Kunama.

The Eparch of Barentu, Mgr. Thomas Osman, aware of the great importance of this first centenary which marks the first arrival of the proclamation of the Gospel of salvation for his people and for the his Eparchy, five years ago, in a contextual concelebration set out the pastoral itinerary and the spiritual pilgrimage one should carry out in preparation for this meaningful anniversary. In particular, this itinerary-pilgrimage was meant to represent a preparation that did not confine itself to exterior formalities but also involved the faith in a special way as well as the soul and the daily lives of the faithful of the Eparchy.

The Comboni missionaries in this eparchy cooperated in the preparation taking up various posts but only three were able to assist at the celebrations: Fr. Tesfamariam Ghebrecristos, Fr. Estifanos Helafu and Fr. Teckie Hagos (who works in the Eparchy).

The memory was kept of Fr. Leone Hanriot, a missionary of Comboni who was the precursor of evangelisation among the Kunama people. The Kunama zone, in the eastern lowlands of Eritrea, was part of the Apostolic Vicariate entrusted to Mgr. Comboni in 1872. Due to the vast extent of the Vicariate and the great variety of languages, the zone was not evangelised at that time. Mgr. Sogaro decided to act and sent Fr. Hanriot first to Assab to explore the zone and then to Suakim. From there Fr. Hanriot moved towards the interior as far as Tokar in Eritrea and, with the help of a Kunama whom he found there, produced a small Italian-Kunama dictionary, a short catechism and short Bible stories in Kunama with the intention of evangelising that people.

In February, 1894, Mgr. Sogaro sent him to Massawa from where Fr. Hanriot set out on a journey that brought him to Agordat. Having obtained the required papers, he set out for the Kunama zone and reached Mogolo. Unfortunately, he was struck down by malaria and, after a month or two, was taken to Asmara hospital where, after a month of suffering, he died on 9 July, attended by Fr. Luigi Bonomi and the Capuchin friars. On the occasion of the centenary of the death of Fr. Hanriot, the Comboni Missionaries in Eritrea decided to accept the invitation of the Eparch and work among the Kunama.

Mgr. Fikremariam – first Eparch of Saganeiti

The area around Saganeiti was the first in Eritrea to be brought back to the Catholic Church by San Giustino de Jacobis and to this day it is still a stronghold of Catholicism. Due to the central position of the city of Asmara, chosen as the capital of Eritrea, the first Eparch of Eritrea, even though he was a native of the Saganeiti area, was made Eparch of Asmara where he was also the Vicar Apostolic of Eritrea up to 1995. In that year the Apostolic Vicariate was absorbed by the Eparchy of Asmara and two more dioceses were created: Keren and Barentu. Saganeiti remained part of the Eparchy of Asmara. After a long period of study and the necessary preparation, the Holy See this year created the Eparchy of Sanganeiti, dividing the Heparchy of Asmara. The first Eparch of Saganeiti is Mgr. Fikremariam Hagos, whose episcopal consecration was carried out in Asmara by Comboni bishop Mgr. Menghesteab Tesfamariam, Mgr. Kidanemariam Yebio and Mgr. Thomas Osman, on the 20th of May, 2012, in the Cathedral Of Kidane Mehret. On 27 May, Mgr. Fikremariam, accompanied to Saganeiti by a long cortege of motor cars and buses, took possession of his Eparchy to the great joy of the population.

The Comboni seminary of Decameré is now under the jurisdiction of the new bishop.


“A missionary on his knees”

On Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 April, at the Town Theatre of Falzè di Trevignano (Treviso), the parish and the Friends in the Choir, together with the Giovanissimi, presented a recital on the theme of Fr Bernardo Sartori, “A missionary on his knees”. Fr. Bernardo’s parishioners desired to revive the figure of their townsman, a missionary who worked first at Troia, in Puglia, and then in Uganda. All the actors were local, amateur but excellent, from parents to seminarians, to the Bishop Blessed Longhin who ordained him priest, to the young man who played the part of Fr. Bernardo. The songs accompanying the recital were very beautiful and expressed the life of Fr. Bernardo, especially his love for the Blessed Virgin. Beautiful was the rendering of Sorgi o Madre, a hymn set to music by Sartori himself. Fr. Sartori dedicated the churches in his care to the Blessed Virgin, from Our Lady Mediatrix in Troy to the churches he built in Uganda: the Sultana of Africa at Lodonga, Our Lady of Fatima at Koboko, Our Lady Queen of the World at Otumbari and Mary Mother of the Church at Arivu.

There was unending applause when the recital ended. The purpose of the recital was to collect funds to assist initiatives connected with the cause of beatification of Fr. Sartori.

Meeting of Comboni Postulants and Novices of Europe

The postulants and novices of the European provinces met at Limone, the birthplace of St Daniel Comboni, from 27 to 30 April, 2012. Formators and people in formation gathered from Italy, Poland, Spain and Portugal. There were eight postulants and six novices who are doing their courses at the European novitiate of Santarem, in Portugal.

After, Fr. Corrado Masini, provincial of Italy, welcomed the arrivals, Fr. Alberto Pelucchi, Vicar General, spoke to the young candidates to the missionary life of the present state of the Institute, the challenges of the new evangelisation and the mission of the Combonis in the Europe of today.

According to one of the postulants, the meeting was “an extraordinary time for the exchange of experiences and for sharing”. Equally meaningful were the visits to the Mother House of Verona, the African Museum, the Centre for Sick and Elderly Confreres, the Mazza Institute and the house of the Comboni Missionary Sisters.

On 30 April, the postulants went home while the novices and their formators Fr. José Juan Valero Maciá and Fr. Víctor Dias, stayed at Limone until 10 May for their annual retreat directed by Fr. Manuel João Pereira Correia. The three novices of the third year will take their religious vows on 26 May, the Vigil of Pentecost, in the cathedral of Santarem.


Priestly ordination

The priestly ordination of deacon Harold Felix Gomanjira took place at Mwanga parish, in Malawi, on Saturday, 12 May, 2012. The Right Rev. Montfort Stima, Auxiliary Bishop of Blantyre, was the ordaining bishop.

Many confreres from Malawi and Zambia took part in this joyful celebration together with other diocesan priests, sisters and many Christians of Mwanga parish, some of whom had a long way to participate in the celebration. Also 19 Comboni postulants from Balaka, with their formators, Fr. Edward Kanyike and Fr. Gabriel Uribe, took part in the celebration together with 13 pre-postulants who are doing the pre-postulancy in Lunzu. It was indeed a special day of blessings for our province of Malawi-Zambia and for the local Church.

This was the first time that the celebration of a priestly ordination took place at the parish itself. The bishop thanked the Comboni Missionaries for the good work that they are doing in the archdiocese of Blantyre. Fr. Dario Balula Chaves, Provincial Superior, thanked the Bishop and the parish leaders for their wonderful collaboration and asked all the Christians to accompany the newly ordained priest with their prayers, as he is sent by God to continue the missionary work in other countries in the name of the Local Church.

Fr. Harold was born in Kwalala, Mulanje, Malawi. He did the novitiate in Lusaka, Zambia, his theology studies in Lima, Peru, and his missionary service in Chama, Zambia. He has been assigned to the province of South Africa.


Andrzej Jan Filip Ordained Priest

The diocese of Tarnovia in south-east Poland is the diocese which produces most “Fidei Donum” missionary priests among the diocesan clergy. At the moment they number more than sixty. This is indicative of a good missionary spirit. At the same time, there is no shortage of vocations to other Institutes, including the Comboni Missionaries.

The latest fruit of this work is Fr. Andrzej Jan Filip, ordained on 12 May in his home parish of Mogilno. Fr. Andrzej, having completed his studies at Naples, spent two years in missionary service in Mozambique, at the Comboni community of Muxúngue. He returned to Poland two months before his ordination and prepared for the reception of Holy Orders. He is due to return to Mozambique where he will continue to work for the local people and the local Church.

The ordination of Fr. Andrzej was characterised by two elements. Firstly, he was the first priest to be ordained in his parish church. This allowed the people to participate fully. It was also a community event: everyone contributed to the preparation and everyone was able to take part personally.

As well as all that, Fr. Andrzej was ordained by a missionary bishop Mgr. Janusz Kaleta, Bishop of Karaganda in Kazakistan, who directed these words to him: “Are you willing to go wherever the Church sends you? Remember that missionary works bears fruit only after years of hard work. Never lose hope!”.


Coordinators of the Comboni Lay Missionaries in Europe

The coordinators of the Comboni Lay Missionaries of the various provinces of Europe and the members of the CLM Central Commission met at Coimbra, Portugal, from 29 April to 1 May. The meeting had three main objectives: to report on the activities of the past year, to reflect upon the journey accomplished by the CLM in each province in recent years, comparing it with the decisions of previous encounters; to prepare the meeting of the CLM during the first week of August, 2012, in Verona, Italy. The members of the Central Commission (Alberto de la Portilla, Fr. Günther Hofmann and Fr. Arlindo Pinto) presented the outline of the programme of the V Assembly of the CLM that will be held at Maia, Portugal, from 2 to 9 December, 2012.

The Provincial of Portugal, Fr. Alberto de Oliveira Silva, representing Fr. Ramón Eguíluz Eguíluz, Provincial of Spain and head of the CLM sector at continental level, welcomed the participants. Fr. Ramón, was busy with the visit of Fr. General to his Province. There were sixteen participants: six lay representatives of the European Comboni provinces (Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and Portugal), eight Comboni Fathers and two Comboni Sisters. The Sister Superior of the European Comboni Missionary Sisters, Sr. Ida Colombo, attended the event to gain “first-hand knowledge – she said – of the work of CLM and to ask them what sort of cooperation they expect from the Comboni Missionary Sisters of Europe”.

One of the members of the European Commission of the CLM, Pedro Moreira, speaking of the meeting said: “After ten years of meetings in which we tried to deepen the sense of family among all of us in order to increase the possibility of cooperation in international projects, we hoped that this would be the occasion when we could take a look at the progress made so far, evaluate it and indicate some pointers for the future. We may say this is precisely what we have done”.

Continental meeting on Justice and Peace - the Immigrant Sector

From 7 to 11 May, the continental meeting of the Combonis working among immigrants in Europe was held in Coimbra. The participants reflected upon immigration as the greatest movement of people of all time which “has become part of the structure of contemporary society and constitutes an ever more complex problem from the social, cultural, political, religious, economic and pastoral points of view”, as the Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi of the Pontifical council for Ministry to Migrants. The instruction emphasises that the event of migration “gives rise to the ethical problem of the search for a new international economic order for a more equitable distribution of the goods of the earth, that sees the international community as a family of peoples, supported by International Law”.

During the Pesaro Assembly, the participants from all the provinces of Europe chose three concrete and common projects for the Comboni Missionaries in Europe: a European centre of communications, possibly in London; a place for missionary spirituality and reflection, at Limone sul Garda (Italy); and the continuation of the commitment among the immigrants at the local level but with an ever more European outlook and the possibility of exchanging personnel with other continents. Once again the fact that one can do little by oneself, was underlined. Therefore the meeting insisted that the work of JPIC must be carried out in cooperation with other movements of the Church and civil society.


Provincial Assembly

From 23 to 27 April, 2012, the confreres working in South Africa met for their annual provincial assembly at Maria Trost Pastoral Centre, in the Diocese of Witbank. Present were also the Comboni Bishop of the Diocese, Mgr. Giuseppe Sandri, and a Comboni Sister, Clara Torres Acevedo. It was a moment of great communion and sharing among all the members of the province.

During the three full days of the assembly the provincial directory was discussed and updated, though some confreres still found some resistance in adopting the Total Common Fund. Other topics were the lack of personnel and the subsequent re-qualification of our commitments, the challenge of mission promotion, the scarcity of vocations and the need for a more prophetic voice in our missionary work.

During the assembly we took the opportunity to celebrate the many years of religious vows and the priestly jubilees of some of our confreres. Fr. Benno Singer is celebrating 50 years of perpetual religious profession, Fr. Jose Luis Roman 25 years of temporary vows and Fr. Francis Manana and Fr. Jude Burgers 25 years of priestly ordination.

Jubilee of Fr. Francis Thuli Manana, in Lebombo

Fr. Francis celebrated 25 years of priesthood in his parish of origin. He is the first black Comboni missionary of South Africa. Many people arrived to the feast from Phiri, Soweto (Johannesburg), where Fr. Francis is presently the parish priest, and from other parts of the country. The family of Fr. Francis was present and filled with joy and thanksgiving. Many people, and especially many confreres, attended the feast. The mass was presided over by Bishop Joe Sandri.

Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins, provincial superior, in his words of thanks underlined the realization of the dream of Comboni to “Save Africa with Africa”. He referred to the many gifts of Fr. Francis put at the service of the mission in Ecuador and in South Africa, through his pastoral ministry.

Renewal of the vows of the scholastics in Pietermaritzburg

Every year, on the 1st of May, the scholastics of St. Daniel Comboni Scholasticate in Pietermaritzburg renew their vows. This year, 9 of the 10 scholastics renewed their vows. One scholastic from South Sudan was absent as he had to travel to his new country in order to regularize his situation, passport and new visa to South Africa.

The celebration of the Eucharist and the renewal of the vows took place in the afternoon. Each scholastic, called by name by one of the formators, answered the call in his own local language: Ewe, Lingala, Sotho, Amharic... thus expressing the richness of our inter-culturality and internationality.


No end to the difficult situation between the two Sudan

The political situation in South Sudan took a turn to the worse at the end of January, when South Sudan decided to turn off the pumps in its oil fields accusing Sudan (North) of stealing its crude oil and of demanding an unreasonable fee to allow to export the oil through its infrastructures.

In February, negotiations on post-independence outstanding issues between the two countries, mediated by an African Union Panel, were on standstill.

In March, however, there was a significant breakthrough when South Sudan and Sudan reached an agreement on nationality, citizenship and security issues. Hardliners in Khartoum criticized the deal and – according to Juba – boycotted the presidential summit scheduled on 3 April in Juba between Salva Kiir Mayardit and Omar Al Bashir for the purpose of signing agreements and of discussing other unfinished issues, including Abyei, border dispute and oil sharing.

At the end of March, Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) intensified bombardments across the common border with artillery and aircraft. South Sudan’s army, the SPLA, took an active part and repelled the SAF beyond the key oil-rich Heglig area before withdrawing to its positions. South Sudan calls Higlig by the Dinka name of Panthou.

Sudan was not expecting such a military success by the SPLA. The SAF, then, intensified its bombardments and cross border attacks. South Sudan, in reply, seized Heglig-Panthou for the second time. Kiir told the National Assembly that this time the occupation was permanent. The international community condemned the seizure, the UN threatened with sanctions and some ten days later Kiir backtracked and ordered the SPLA to retreat orderly from Heglig-Pantou. Khartoum immediately announced that it beat South Sudan’s army out of the oil rich area, killing 1,500 SPLA soldiers.

Meanwhile, on April 8 the period of grace for Southerners living in the Sudan ended. Over 500,000 people had either to get proper documentation and register as foreigners or go home. On the same day, Sudan suspended direct flights between Khartoum and Juba.

After the occupation of Heglig-Panthou, Bashir ordered the suspension of talks with South Sudan accusing Juba of only understanding the war language and vowed to free the new country from the ‘insects’ of the SPLM, the ruling party. Sudan’s National Assembly declared South Sudan an enemy state.

At the end of April, Bashir declared the state of emergency along the border with South Sudan and the Governor of White Nile State gave ten days for going away to some 20,000 Southerners stranded in Kosti, waiting for road or river transportation to South Sudan, accusing them to be a threat to security.

International observers agreed that the situation between South Sudan and Sudan escalated to dangerous levels and it could develop into an all-out war.

First meeting of Religious Institutes

Seventy women and men religious from thirty Institutes present in South Sudan held a workshop from May 8 to 10 to reflect on the call of the Second African Synod to consecrated life in the new country. The participants shared some ideas about the profile of the religious needed in South Sudan.

They decided to establish an association to coordinate the work among the different Institutes and with the Bishops’ conference. They asked also for the establishment of a centre for spirituality in South Sudan.

The religious wrote a letter to the interior minister to look into the issue of visas for expatriate missionaries. Currently each missionary spends USD 500,00 in visas per year.

Catholic and Episcopal bishops renew ties

Fifteen Catholic and Episcopal Bishops of South Sudan met in Yei from May 9 to 11 in order to study ways to resume ecumenical activities in the country.

Six Catholic and eight Episcopal bishops met with the Anglican archbishop John Sentamu of York (England) and a number of advisors to map out some activities together. The bishops wrote a message titled “We have a dream of peace, justice and freedom” asking the leaderships of Juba and Khartoum to resolve their differences at the negotiating table.

Hilde Johnson, the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan, met with the bishops to ask them to tell their flocks that the UN has not abandoned or betrayed South Sudan.

Catholic University graduates first batch

The Catholic University of South Sudan graduated the pioneer group of students in the Department of Economics and Business Administration (a four-year course). The 25 successful candidates received certificated of completion in a colourful ceremony on May 12. They will receive the Bachelor’s Degree in Economics in October from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.

The Catholic University has degrees on Economics and Education in Juba and Agriculture in Wau. It plans to open the college of Petroleum and Mines in Malakal.


First religious professions at Sarh

On Sunday, 13 May, 2012, the Comboni family in Tchad and the entire Christian community of the parish of St Kizito, Begou, took part with joy in the first profession of ten novices who had finished their formation at the novitiate of Sainte-Croix, in Sarh.

These were the first professions in this interprovincial novitiate of Francophone Africa, inaugurated on 21 September, 2010, in the presence of the General Secretary for Formation, Fr. John Baptist Opargiw. It is the first and only male novitiate in Tchad.

In order to underline the importance of religious consecration in the life of the Church, the celebration took place in a parish in which the Comboni Missionaries have worked for more than ten years and which gave us the first Comboni Missionary from Tchad.

The provincial, Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla, in the presence of numerous confreres, the Mother Superior of the CMS who was then visiting Tchad, accompanied by the Provincial of Central Africa-Chad, religious men and women of other Institutes and many Christians from the communities where the novices did their pastoral and community experience.

The Diocese of Sarh was represented by the Vicar General, Mgr. Bertin Nguetigal. Among the newly professed there were seven candidates for the priesthood and three Brother candidates.


Ongoing Formation

From 8 to 10 May, the Province experienced a privileged moment of Ongoing Formation, chaired by Fr. Fermo Bernasconi, formator in the scholasticate of Kinshasa (DCR).

On the first day the superiors met for some time to share the experience of each present: their joys, their limits and the difficulties of the service entrusted to them. In the afternoon were distributed a paper to facilitate communication among the confreres of the community and the charter (community pastoral project).

On the morning of the tenth of May, Fr. Fermo presented a reflection by Fr. Siro Stocchetti on three points considered important in the OGF experience: a lack of interiorising, a lack of passion and a good measure of self-sufficiency. Three means were proposed for the personal journey: Lectio divina, the revision of the day and the personal life project.

On Monday, 7 May, 18 confreres native to the province met. Each one was able to share his joys and preoccupations, bringing out some themes of interest such as: family, economy, studies and specialisations. The meeting was considered very positive and it was decided to have it twice a year in future.

On Tuesday, 8 May, the under-forty confreres met – eleven in all, including scholastics in missionary service – who talked about their respective experiences and enjoyed some fraternal time together.

Let us pray for our beloved dead

THE MOTHERS: Adelina, of Fr. Celestino Celi (†); Emília, of Fr. Manuel Augusto L. Ferreira (P).

THE BROTHER: Aldo, of Fr. Alberto Doneda (EC).

THE SISTERS: Emma, of Fr. Josef Uhl (I); Albina, of Fr. Gianmario Vimercati (I); Piera, of Fr. Assunto Tebaldini (BNE).

THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Neghesti Mehereteab; Sr. Gianna Enrica Salvoni; Sr. Zita Pia Marchetti.