Rome, Monday, September 2, 2012
With a prayer of invocation to the Holy Spirit, the Superior General of the Comboni Missionaries, P. Enrique Sánchez González, on the morning of Sunday, September 2, in Rome, opened the Intercapitular Assembly. “The days of the Intercapitular (...) will be days of work, sharing, reflection; but I wish we will not forget that they are also days to be spent together, to listen to one another, to search together, to pray and to thank the Lord for his faithfulness and his patience,” said Fr. Enrique in the opening words that we publish below.

In Rome the Intercapitular Assembly has started. Twenty days during which the superiors of the Comboni circumscriptions and the members of the General Administration (GA) of the Comboni Missionaries will work together, a total of 46 participants. In addition to continental and GA’s reports and other interventions, in the program we can find current issues for the Institute and the mission, such as the Ratio Missionis, the Code of Conduct, the Total Common Fund, the Merging of the circumscriptions, the Rule of Life, the criteria for the distribution of personnel and the preparation for the next General Chapter.

We publish the full text of the Superior General at the Opening of the Intercapitular Assembly.

Welcome to the Intercapitular Assembly
Rome, September 2, 2012

“If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us,
will he not with him also give us everything else?” (Rom 8, 32-32)

Dear brothers,
I have tried to begin this greeting with words that will express our gratitude to the Lord for the gift of your presence here in this important moment for the live of our mission and of our Institute and the only phrase that came to mind is very simple. It is a thank you that comes from the heart.

I feel the need to tell you that it is beautiful to meet as brothers who carry in their heart the desire to continue to live the gift of mission as the inheritance of our founder San Daniel Comboni in a particular moment of our history as an Institute and of the world in which we are called to become a sign of the presence of God.

Our meeting these days is a special gift that will allow us to narrate what we have lived as we try to accompany and animate our provinces and delegations, the confreres and many people who, in our missions, are our family.

The days of the Intercapitular, as we know, will be a time that will allow us to trace together the journey we have made in order to evaluate all that has been realized according to the indications of the Chapter. It will also be a time to reorganize the near future trying to understand where our best effort will need to be.

They will be days of work, sharing, reflection; but I wish we will not forget that they are also days to be spent together, to listen to one another, to search together, to pray and to thank the Lord for his faithfulness and his patience.

The Intercapitular cannot be reduced to a simple administrative exercise to adjust operative strategies that will allow us to reach our goals.

Many of the things we will deal with are not new, especially if we stop to contemplate only the problems and the difficulties we must face each day. There are no great surprises since the challenges of these past three years have not decreased, in fact for certain we will find also something new.

Among the new things that accompany us there is certainly the experience for us of having experienced personally the faithfulness of the Lord who continues to believe in us and who has allowed to live many beautiful moments through our ministry.

We have been witnesses of an extraordinary gift that the Lord is continuing to give us thanks to the missionary commitment and the gift of life of many of our confreres, something we must share during these days.
It is the novelty called faithfulness and perseverance lived in a hidden way without making too much noise.

There are indeed very many confreres who live their consecration with great passion and this we must remember it and celebrate it during these days because this is a source of hope, of trust and of enthusiasm for the future.

The Intercapitular will also be an important moment to enrich ourselves with the diversity of experiences that each one brings. The interchange will help us to better understand the situation of the entire Institute and will widen our gaze to discover the journey and the rhythms of mission beyond the frontiers of our provinces and delegations. It will be an occasion for feeling responsible for the entire Institute.

We have all lived moments of great joy, but there are also tensions, misunderstandings and sufferings. In some aspects of our life we have grown, in others we have experienced our fragility and weakness. There have been moments of great consolation, but for sure there have also been obscure and difficult days.

Today we arrive with the desire to do something that will help us continue our mission the right way. We want to answer with responsibility to what the Chapter asked of us. We wish to be an answer to the challenges of the world in which we live.

We ask with humility the gift of the Spirit, the only one who knows how to do well what is the desire of God and in this way we can be sure that we will find also the answers to delve even more deeply in our commitment with the brothers and sisters who have been entrusted to us in our communities and in mission.

I think that during these days we will need to listen with great availability in order to understand what God wants from us in this moment of our history. It will be necessary to listen to God and to listen to the others in order not to place first of all our visions and our criteria. To listen in order to allow ourselves to be surprised by the one who can do anything new.

We members of the general council together with the commission that has prepared this assembly have attempted to include all those things that seemed important and necessary for our life and for our mission. It is only a program, the true intercapitular is now in our hands and I wish that we will all do the best we can so that it may become a moment of grace for the entire Institute.

I would like to invite you to entrust our labors to the intercession of San Daniel Comboni, who accompanies and encourages us to live our consecration to mission with great hope and great joy, because it is without a doubt an extraordinary vocation.

May Mary, mother of our missions, be close to us in these days and may help us to become available to the will of God.
A happy work to all of you.

Fr. Enrique Sánchez González, mccj
Superior General