Rome, Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Fr. Mariano Tibaldo, secretary general of evangelization, presented yesterday to the Intercapitular Assembly the document titled “Ratio Missionis: experiences and reflections.” This document was put together by a commission requested by the General Chapter of 2009. There followed a brief debate over the current meaning of “ratio” and of “mission” and a period of assimilation of what the commission had gathered. In the afternoon time was given to personal reflection and to group work, followed by the presentation of the conclusion of the groups and of other questions dealing with evangelization.

Member of the general council, responsible for the sector of Evangelization:
Fr. Villarino Rodríguez Antonio.

The second week of work of the Intercapitular Assembly – that will last until September 22 – opened with the presentation of the document on the RM, as requested by the 17th General Chapter of 2009 at #11.1: “The GC will nominate, by June 2010 a commission which, in cooperation with the Secretary General of Evangelization, will do a systematic reading of the material produced during these years in the process of the Ratio Missionis. The theological reflection on mission and on Comboni methodology that will emerge will be presented to the Intercapitular.”

Fr. Mariano explained the methodo9logy which was used to produce the current document. “In a first moment – explained Fr. Mariano –there was a systematic reading of the material, namely all that the confreres have said between 23005 and 2008, looking for constant themes such as: discernment, dialog, context, cooperation, participation, prophecy, presence/martyrdom, and communion. The second phase was more of a reflection or theological elaboration, trying to identify models of Church, more Christological and models of mission in our missionary praxis and to identify practical applications.”

Fr. Mariano suggested four blocks of questions for the group reflection: “Did we succeed to answer the mandate of the Chapter? How can we make this RM known? In the second part of the document there are questions for reflection: can they be used as instruments of ongoing formation? Which points of the RM seem to be important and need to be underlined for an evaluation on our way of being missionaries and of doing mission? How could we use it in order to eventually formulate a provincial and/or continental directory?”

According to Fr. Mariano, in the report of the Asian delegation last week there appeared some “basic questions. There appeared the need for a revision/reflection over our presences and on how to do mission in our Provinces/Delegations. This necessity causes eventual cuts of our presences and also openings. The RM does not give us practical rules on what to open or close, but postures, dimensions (spiritual, ideal, charismatic)and some methodological lines of our commitments. The Chapter offers us priorities of work and the RM (like the preceding Chapters) underlines that the criteria of mission are no longer geographic but based on cultures and people ‘not yet sufficiently evangelized who are ‘poor and abandoned even in the socio-economic sense.

In conclusion Fr. Mariano said: “At this point, considering the priorities of the Chapter,  the reading of the signs of the times and the realistic considerations of our Provinces, we can ask ourselves: are our commitments in the Provinces/Delegations in line with the priorities of the Chapter and with the new paradigms of mission as presented by RM 3.3? What do we mean when we speak of ‘re-qualification’? Where is the ‘mission’ in our Provinces? Do we have the courage to make choices, even painful ones, not only in order to meet the priorities of the Chapter but also in view of a restructuration of the Provinces in order to face the diminution (number and age) of our personnel? For a good number of confreres it seems difficult to insert themselves in a mission (from the point of view of language, lack of structures, of ‘comforts’ and of pastoral consolations) as an almost impossible challenge. Why?”

The debate in the assembly was rich and varied even though it turned out to be difficult to reach a consensus or at least common points of view.
(As an attachment the document itself which was presented to the Intercapitular Assembly in Italian and in English).

During the consultation of March-April2011,the Superior General of the Comboni Missionaries and his Council
have appointed a commission of four Comboni confreres (Fr. Mariano Tibaldo, secretary general for evangelization, Fr. John Baptist K. Opargiw, secretary general for basic formation, Fr. Jorge O. García Castillo,
secretary general for mission promotion, and Fr. Maximum Robol)
to continue the work of the Ratio Missionis that had already reached its second stage.