Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
17th CONSULTA: 8 October – 2 November 2012
1. Letter of the GC following the Intercapitular Assembly
During the Consulta of October, the GC took time to reflect on the important event of the Intercapitular Assembly that took place last September. The GC will communicate the result of this reflection in a letter addressed to all confreres and which will be added to the publication of its minutes in the MCCJ Bulletin of the Institute.
2. Animating the Comboni community
The Central Commission for Ongoing Formation – in collaboration with the provincial coordinators – has prepared a booklet of “tools” for animating our communities. This booklet has been translated into several languages (Italian, English, Spanish, French and soon in Portuguese). We believe that it is a valuable tool of animation and a useful point of reference, in the years to come, for our communities and, especially, for the local superiors. We ask the provincial and coordinators of Ongoing Formation to make it circulate and be used. We are sure that it will be a valuable contribution to “build enthusiastic communities able to promote the integral growth of their members and to be an authentic witness of evangelization”, as called for by the Chapter (CA ’09, n. 33).
3. The Ratio Missionis
After the journey and the experience achieved at the level of the whole Institute in the process of the Ratio Missionis and as requested by the directives of the General Chapter of 2009, the Intercapitular has collated the results of the work done by the commission that has reflected on the material produced. This has given us what we had discovered during the process experienced in these past years and has offered us a reflection that will certainly help us to better our missionary service, becoming aware of the new reality of the mission and of the needed work to contextualize our being Comboni missionaries today.
The final text of the Ratio, with an introductory letter from the GC, will be sent to all the circumscriptions. We trust that it will be a tool of help and of light to guide our decisions and our commitment in the mission.
4. The clustering of some circumscriptions
During the Intercapitular Assembly we shared our opinion concerning the advisability to proceed towards the clustering (amalgamation) of some circumscriptions, because it seems that this is the way that the present historical circumstances are suggesting and because we see it as a practical way to respond to the challenges due to the lack of personnel and the needs of the mission, which nowadays require that we may be meaningful and capable of generating new life in the contexts in which we operate and where we cannot be satisfied by a conservation strategy.
As General Council, we have decided expedient to continue the work of animation, entrusted to us by the Chapter on this issue, by writing to various circumscriptions. We have then encouraged some provinces to consider the possibility of amalgamation as an opportunity to start a journey as early as the next election of provincials and their councils. However, we want to respect the processes underway. This has moved us to offer them alternatives, which, however, intend to achieve amalgamation not later than by the next Chapter.
5. Some decisions for Basic Formation
The Chapter of 2009 had asked us to introduce new experiences in the field of Basic Formation and to make an assessment about them during the Intercapitular 2012. Concretely, we have been asked to verify the value of missionary service for our scholastics, the inter-continentality of the scholasticates and the experience of formation for some of our scholastics in an inserted community.
After the verification made by the General Secretary for Formation in preparation to the Intercapitular and having heard the opinion of the provincials and delegates, during the October Consulta we have decided that missionary service is an experience that must continue to be part of the formative program offered by the Institute to its candidates. We welcomed the favourable opinion of the Assembly on the inter-continentality of the scholasticates and we will do everything possible to guarantee even the internationality, which has always been one of the values in our formation.
As regards formation in small communities in the context of insertion, we decided to keep open the possibility of offering this experience, even if we are aware of the real difficulties to find formators.
The superiors of circumscriptions, the formators of scholastics, the scholasticates and all the confreres will be informed of these decisions by a letter of the GC on these issues.
6. Total Common Fund
During the Intercapitular Assembly the document containing the general norms of the Total Common Fund was presented and, after hearing the favourable opinion of the provincials and delegates, in Consulta of the General Council of October 2012 these norms were approved and the GC has promulgated them by a decree which will be annexed to the booklet containing these Norms. We hope that these will become a qualified help to organize a better management and service to the finances of the Institute for the good of the mission.
7. Theme of ongoing formation for 2013
As stated at the beginning of its mandate, the General Council reminds all that the theme of ongoing formation proposed to the confreres for the coming year is “Fraternity: pathways of reconciliation”, in the framework of the Year of Faith. The GC will soon publish an introductory letter.
8. Visits and Journeys of the GC
Fr. Enrique Sánchez G.
21 December 2012-16 January 2013: visit to the province of South Sudan with Bro. Daniele Giusti
28 January 2013-28 February 2013: visit to the province of Congo
7-30 April 2013: visit to the province of Italy
Fr. Alberto Pelucchi
22 November-9 December 2012 and 7-27 January 2013: visit to the province of Portugal
4-9 February 2013: visit to Poland
Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse
1-10 February 2013: meeting of provincials/delegates of APDESAM in Nairobi
Fr. Antonio Villarino
10-19 November 2012: spiritual exercises in Rome
Bro. Daniele Giusti
23 December 2012-16 January 2013: visit to the province of South Sudan with the Superior General
5-9 February 2013: Brothers’ meeting in Portugal
9. Dates of the GC’s Consulta in 2013
In 2013 the General Council’s Consulta will take place on the following dates:
Secretariat of Formation
Annual Statistics – 2012/2013
The following are the statistics regarding vocations promotion and basic formation of the present scholastic year 2012/2013.
1. Aspirants and pre-postulants: 151; of whom 80 are pre-postulants.
There are still 2 minor seminaries (1 in Mexico and 1 in Eritrea).
2. Postulants: 233, of whom 210 are candidates for the priesthood and 23 Brother candidates. The circumscriptions with the most candidates are: Congo 45 (35+10), Uganda 28 (25+3), Malawi-Zambia 27 (26+1), Mozambique 23 (20+3), Togo-Ghana-Benin 21, Kenya 17 (16+1), Ethiopia 13 (12+1), RCA 12, Mexico 11.
3. Novices: 77, of whom 71 are candidates to the priesthood and 6 to the Brotherhood. The number of newly professed for May, 2013, is 29 (24 scholastics e 5 Brothers). At present we have 6 novitiates: 4 in Africa (Namugongo and Lusaka for Anglophone Africa; Cotonou and Sarh for Francophone Africa), 1 in Europe (Santarem) and 1 in America (Sahuayo).
4. Scholastics and Brothers with TV: 139 of whom 117 are scholastics and 22 are Brothers with temporary vows (TV). Per continent we have: 113 from Africa (96 scholastics and 17 Brothers), 17 from America (15 scholastics and 2 Brothers), 6 from Europe (3 scholastics and 3 Brothers) and 3 from Asia (all scholastics). The provinces with the most professed with TV are: Togo-Ghana-Benin (33), Congo (25), Malawi-Zambia (16), Uganda (12). There are at present 9 scholasticates e 2 IBC (3+1 in America, 1 in Europe, 5+1 in Africa).
During the past year, 2011, those who left with TV numbered 22 (21 scholastics e 1 Brother
5. Ordinations and PV- Brothers: In 2011 there were 18 ordinations (Africa 12, America 2, Europe 4 and Asia 0). The total number of confreres who took PV in 2011: 22 (Africa 15, Europe 6, America 1). There were 5 Brothers: (Europe 2, Africa 3).
6. Personnel: 142 confreres are working in the vocations sector: 56 vocations promoters (38 full-time and 18 part-time) and 86 are formators (80 full-time and 6 part-time: 53 in pre-postulancies and postulancies, 12 in the novitiates and 21 in the scholasticates/IBC).
7. Training of Formators and Specialisations: Rome. Fr. Jean-Claude Kobo Badianga (Social communications – PUG), Fr. Simon Mbuthia (Doctorate in Islamology – PISAI), Fr. Saturnin Pognon Comlan (Licentiate in Canon Law – PUG), Fr. Zoe Mukaka (Licentiate in theology specialising in Vocational Formation – PUG). Bro. Pomykacz Jacek Andrzej (Poland): Licentiate in the Social Doctrine of the Church - The Lateran University. Fr. John Korir: Islamology - PISAI. Other confreres are taking course in the various continents in view of working in VP and BF.
Planned: Fr. Robert Ochola: A Course for Vocations Promoters to the Consecrated Life (18 February to 31 May, 2013) at the Salesian University. Fr. Léonard Ndjadi Ndjate (CN-CA): A Biennium for a Licentiate in Theology specialising in Vocational Formation – PUG.
Fr. Campoverde Vicuña José Luciano (EC) Azogues (EC) 20.10.2012
Holy Redeemer Guild
November 01 – 07 SS 08 – 15 TC 16 – 30 T
December 01 – 15 U 15 – 31 CN
November – That God may grant our deceased brothers and sisters, many of whom have fallen like so many grains of wheat in the furrow of the mission, the prize of the just and eternal peace. Let us pray.
December – That the celebration of the Incarnation and the example of Mary Immaculate may help us to make ever greater “common cause” with the peoples to whom we are sent. Let us pray.
Fr. Giulio Albanese: Missione Extra Large, Per un Vangelo senza confini (Extra Large Mission, Towards a Gospel Without Borders), Messaggero Publications, Padua 2012; pp 136; € 12,00. The book aims at presenting a sort of discernment towards indicating pathways in order to give renewed impetus, sense and meaning to our existence. The fruit of the experience of Fr. Julio as a missionary and journalist, the book is “a hymn to hope – the optimism of God, so that doubts may not be seen as an insurmountable barrier but a means of bringing the faith within reach” (preface).
Fr. Giuseppe Caramazza: Dio pensa positivo. Fondamenti e prospettive della missione “ai popoli”. Un missionario riflette (God’s Positive Thinking. Foundations and the Prospects of the Mission “to the peoples”. The reflections of a Missionary), EMI, Bologna 2012, pp. 157. The author expresses his conviction that “ad gentes” is not ended but needs new paradigms, new means and new languages. “Being optimistic does not mean believing that all is well but that it is still possible to reach the hearts of people and share with them our experience of faith”.
Fr. Rodolfo Coaquira: Testimonio espiritual de un misionero (The Spiritual Testimony of a Missionary), MCCJ, Lima 2010, pp. 160, and Cristología de san Daniel Comboni (The Christology of St. Daniel Comboni), MCCJ, Lima 2010, pp. 121.
The first book is a collection of personal notes in which the author – as he himself states in the introduction – wants “to share the human and spiritual situation of one who daily seeks to be faithful to the call of God” in a journey of light and darkness, consolation and unease, death and resurrection.
The second book, taken from the work of the author for a theological thesis, tries to place itself in the process of spiritual, theological and pastoral renewal, which is the Ratio Missionis. Without pretending to exhaust the Christology of Comboni, he underlines some Christological points to be found in the letters of Comboni that are especially relevant, not only to his followers, but also to the Church in general.
World Mission magazine gets two more Awards
World Mission magazine, published by the Comboni Missionaries in the Philippines, has again been acknowledged with two awards given by the 34th Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA). Topping strong and very established competitors, World Mission has received the award for the Best Family-Oriented Magazine. The “Farms of Hope”, prepared by the Comboni authors Fr. José Rebelo and Fr. Dave Domingues, was also judged to be the best reportage (Best Investigative Report). It is a reportage on the Fazenda da Esperança started by a lay institute in Brazil, where, through work, community life and prayer, young Filipinos are being rescued from drugs, alcohol and other self-destructive addictions.
Comboni Missionaries: 25 Years in Asia
The Year 2013 will see the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the Comboni Missionaries in Asia. The first group, composed of Fr. Mario Marchetti, Fr. Rafael Gonzalez and Bro. Joseph Bulgaro first set foot in Manila on January 4, 1988.
This landmark gives us an opportunity to look at the past with gratitude to the Lord and to those who were and still are part of this mission field. We look at the past with humility as we realize that ours is but a small contribution to missionary work in this great continent. As we acknowledge our shortcomings, we also try to respond to the challenges facing us.
We want to take this opportunity to celebrate the gift of our missionary charism, which belongs not only to us, but also to the collaborators and volunteers who have become our partners in this endeavour.
This Year of Grace, which will have as its theme MCCJ @ 25. Journeying Together on Asian Roads comes with a call to reflect on our ways of being present in Asia so that, as we journey on Asian roads, we may continue to share the gift of faith in the God of Life as it has been revealed in Jesus.
The Year of Grace will open on December 1, 2012 and close on December 2, 2013. We have chosen the occasion of the Friends of the Mission Fiesta, our annual gathering with friends, relatives and benefactors, to open and close the year and we have lined up a series of activities that may help us to remember, celebrate and reflect on the gifts we have received and have been called to share. One of the significant landmarks will be the 25th Anniversary of the first issue of World Mission Magazine, March 2013.
Opening of the Academic Year for Student Confreres
The formative year of 2012-2013 of the Student Confreres Community in Rome was officially opened on 6 October with a spiritual retreat guided by Fr. Danilo Cimitan on the theme “Keeping Jesus with me – living the faith”. The community is composed of Comboni priests and Brothers who, at the invitation of the General Administration or their respective circumscriptions, dedicate a period of ongoing formation to studying for a specialisation, to preparing themselves for a service to the mission and the Institute, or to personal renewal. The aim is to offer each one a special period of reflection and study for personal, human and spiritual growth. The specific objective proposed for this year is, in communion with the plan of the Church for 2013, a deepening of the theme of the year of Faith. Together with this, the themes of spirituality proposed by the General Council for 2013, “Fraternity: pathways of reconciliation”, and the “Rule of Life” will also be taken into consideration.
The community functions in close collaboration with the members of the Central Commission for Ongoing Formation: Fr. Danilo Cimitan, Fr. Manuel João Pereira Correia, Fr. Siro Stocchetti and Bro. Guillermo Casas. The priests and Brother students make up one of the communities of the General Curia in Rome.
The Economic-Financial Crisis: causes and consequences
The reflection group, formed by members of the GC, the secretariats and departments of the Curia, met on 9 October. The group has the task of reflecting upon certain themes of political-social and ecclesial situations. This latest meeting centred upon the economic crisis and its consequences. Professor Carmine Tabarro of the Gregorian University, Rome, was the guest speaker. Having presented the components of the economic-financial crisis, he tried to identify its causes, both practical and anthropological.
The Pontifical Urbaniana University: a missionary seminary
Portuguese Fr. Fernando Dominges, Mccj, is the Rector of the Pontifical Urbaniana University of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, known for many years as “Propaganda Fide”. In a recent interview he pointed out that, right from its inception, the university has sought to inculcate in its seminarians a strong missionary spirit so that this would, in turn, be shared with their dioceses.
At the moment, the Urbaniana University has about 160 seminarians from Asia, Africa, Oceania, the Middle East and Latin America.
On the Saturday before Mission Sunday, the College organised its annual vigil of prayer and missionary reflection. It is to be noted that, on Mission Sunday, the seminarians commence their regular presence in about 20 parishes and other ecclesial organisations in Rome, engaging in activities on behalf of the poor, the sick and the marginalised.
A Training Course for Provincial Bursars
A Training Course for Provincial Bursars was held in Rome from 14 to 27 October. Eighteen confreres from various provinces took part, including provincial bursars already doing this work or who will soon do so and also confreres who have important administrative responsibilities.
The Course dealt with the themes of Accounting and Finance, Civil and Canon Law and the Norms and Practices of the Institute.
In particular, the Total Common Fund (TCF) was at the centre of the Course, both regarding its operation and its administration through the New Accounting (Computer) Programme. A whole day was devoted to the practical understanding of an accounting programme.
The formation of bursars was one of the priorities of recent General Chapters.
Provincial Seat to be Moved
The Provincial and administrative seat is to be moved from Bamberg to Nuremberg since the German-speaking Province has been recognised as a juridical person by the Region of Bavaria. A consequence of this is that the administrative seat of the organisation must be located in the Bavarian region and can no longer be located in that of Baden-Wurttemberg (Ellwangen). Therefore, with the approval and the assistance of the Archbishop of Bamberg (Nuremberg also belongs to this archdiocese) the DSP were fortunate enough to buy a house from the Jesuits. After some restructuring, the new community will be able to move in early in the New Year. The members will be: Fr. Josef Altenburger, provincial superior, Bro. Hans Bayer, provincial bursar, Fr. Herbert Gimpl, curate of the new parish, Fr. Roberto Turyamureeba who is in charge of Mission Promotion in schools and parishes, and Bro. Friedbert Tremmel, in charge of Vocations Ministry. The house will have room for Comboni groups organised by the general secretariats and other meetings for MA and VP.
Is Germany mission land?
As usual, around the time of the feast of St. Daniel Comboni a “Feast of Solidarity” was celebrated at Ellwangen-Josefstal on Sunday, 14th October. For the feast, the preparatory group had chosen the motto “Is Germany mission land?” One highlight of this topic was a panel of seven persons: three women and three Comboni Missionaries as well as a young man who worked in South Africa as a lay missionary. They all shared their insights and experiences.
At the end of the panel presentation, Utta Hahn, the lady moderator, concluded that Germany had become a mission country. “Yet, we can change ourselves as well as the Church.”
The Rector magnificus of the Pontifical Salesian University, Rev. Don Carlo Nanni SDB, awarded (in absentia) Fr. Tium Debesai Zewold, Comboni Missionary, The Medal of the Pontifical Salesian University for the excellence of the final results he achieved as he concluded his studies for a Licentiate in Psychology. Congratulations to Fr. Tium.
Missionary Peace Caravan 2012
The fifth edition of the Missionary Peace Caravan was held from 25 to 30 September. Among the organisers were Comboni missionaries Fr. Alex Zanotelli and Fr. Fernando Zolli, coordinator of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the missionary Institutes present in Italy (CIMI). The Caravan travelled through Campania, from Pozzuoli to Castel Volturno, from Caserta to Senerchia, Eboli, Salerno and the quarters of Naples, Scampia and Sanità, and the participants met – as the final document says – “persons and communities who, despite the power of the mafia, the destruction of the environment and the exploitation of human beings, are not discouraged and bear witness to the belief that there is a way out from resignation and indifference”.
Tuscany: communities celebrate together the feast of Comboni
On 10 October, the feast of St. Daniel Comboni took on a very special character in the community of Florence. Two confreres celebrated anniversaries of their commitment to the mission: Fr. Michael Bonfitto celebrated 65 years of priestly life and Bro. Emilio Prevedello celebrated 50 years of consecration to the mission.
With the presence of the Auxiliary Bishop of Florence, Mgr. Claudio Maniago, who presided at the Eucharist and the Provincial of Italy, Fr. Corrado Masini, the celebration was the high point of a very full day lived by the Comboni communities present in Tuscany. The whole Comboni Family was represented by members of the Secular Comboni Institute of Carraia, a Comboni Sister and Lay Combonis.
The participation of many African priests working in some parishes while continuing their studies, together with a large number of relatives, friends and benefactors, has once again shown the vitality of the charism and the possibility of working in an increasingly inserted manner in the country, as well as the need to work together as Comboni Family.
Verona: activities of the Comboni Multi-media Centre (CMC)
The community has, in part, been renewed. Fr. Giuseppe Cavallini has left and Fr. Venanzio Milani has taken his place as Superior of the CMC (Comboni Multi-media Centre) and coordinator of the Nigrizia Onlus Foundation. Fr. Franco Moretti is leaving and Fr. Efrem Tresoldi is to take his place as Director of Nigrizia. Fr. Fabrizio Colombo is also leaving and Fr. Giovanni Munari is about to arrive. Fr. Marco Vailati remains at his post of administrator as does Fr. Elio Boscaini who, besides being the Director of PM (Il Piccolo Missionario) is also taking charge of “Missionari Comboniani/Azione Missionaria” (Comboni Missionaries/Missionary Action).
The 2013 Calendar
The next calendar will develop the theme of “Save Africa with Africa”, presenting twelve African personalities; six men and six women who had a positive effect on Africa.
It will be sent to friends and benefactors.
La Strenna 2012
As in previous years, friends and benefactors who receive “Missionari Comboniani/Azione Missionaria” will receive “Strenna” which will present the well-known figure of Mgr. Franco Masserdotti. The Strenna is not to be confused with the book published by EMI. It is reduced to 64 pages and has a different format.
PM – Il Piccolo Missionario: number 1000 after 85 years
To mark this event an exhibition was held from 15 September to 31 October, 2012, at the Civic Library of Verona on the history of PM which was founded in 1927, on the cartoons and their authors (e.g.: Jacovitti, Peroni, Brasioli, Bighignoli, etc.). On 6 October there was a conference in the Farinati Hall of the Civic Library of Verona on: “Children’s’ Literature”. Among those present were Don Antonio Tarzia, Director of the magazine Jesus, Antonio Ferrara, winner of the Andersen Prize, 2012, for his book “Ero cattivo” (“I Used to be Bad”), published by St. Paul’s, Don Luciano Squizzato, a missionary of Don Calabria, scriptwriter, Dr. Silvia Blezza Picherle of the University of Verona, Antonio Contò, Director of the Civic Library of Verona, Daniele Todesco, Curator of the PM exhibition and Fr. Venanzio Milani.
PM this year received the prize “special mention” Città di Chiavari for the children’s education to live in the global village.
XXXII African Film Festival and Exhibition
The African Film Festival is due to be held in Verona from 16 to 25 November. It has a meaningful title, “Africa Mix”, and deals with the theme of contamination between Africa and World Cinema.
The exhibition, which will take place in the African Museum entitled “Africamix” – ContaminArte, will be inserted as a special event in the official programme of the festival. The inauguration is planned for 17 November, 2012, and it will remain open until 7 April, 2013.
A mission is handed over
On the morning of 10 October, as they gathered at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadaloupe, Constitución City, in the diocese of La Paz, Lower California, the Comboni Missionaries handed over the “mission” to the diocese. The Mass was presided over by Mgr. Miguel Ángel Alba Díaz, Bishop of the Diocese of La Paz. He was accompanied by Fr. José Infante, the outgoing parish priest and by Fr. José Anseno, the new parish priest who took over the parish that very day. Among the participants were a large congregation of the faithful and forty priests, most of them diocesan, Fr. Erasmo Bautista, provincial superior, Fr. Fernando González Galarza, vice provincial superior, Fr. Crisóforo Contreras and Fr. Ambrosio Ríos who, with Fr. Infante formed, until then, the Comboni community.
On 13 October, José Jacovo Carmona Miranda was ordained priest by Mgr. Alfonso Cortés Contreras, Bishop of the Diocese of Cuernavaca, Morelos. The local parish community is in the care of the Divine Word Missionaries who generously welcomed José Jacovo and the two thousand people who joyfully took part in this special moment of grace for the universal Church. The Combonis of the province were represented by those of the community of Sierra de Guerrero and those of the four communities present in Mexico City.
Annual gathering of friends, benefactors and family members
On Sunday, 14 October, the annual gathering of the friends, benefactors and family members of the Comboni confreres and Sisters native to the region took place at the minor seminary of San Francisco del Rincón, Guanajuato.
The meeting also gave the opportunity to say goodbye to Fr. Eduardo Pesquera Roa who, having ended his work in formation, returned to the missions, and also to Fr. Rafael Huerta Carbajal who, having worked for many years in MA now goes to the parish of the Sagrada Familia in the diocese of La Paz. About a thousand people took part in the celebration. It was also a time for welcoming Fr. José Casillas Villar and Fr. Francisco Javier Ochoa Gracián who have begun to work in this community.
On Sunday, 7 October, at his home parish of Jastrzębie Zdrój, the Church in Katowice sent Danusia Król to witness with her life, her work and her commitment, the love and the presence of God in Uganda. Since she is a physiotherapist, Danusia will have her first missionary experience at the hospital of Matany.
On Saturday evening, the LCM made her testimony of faith, accompanied by the special prayers of the community, to ask of God the strength and perseverance every day of her service.
The Sunday Mass, led by the parish priest, was very solemn. The participants were not only Comboni Missionaries but also the mission delegate of the Bishops, Fr. Gregory Wita who, together with the parish priest, conferred the missionary cross on Danusia. The lay missionary left soon afterwards for Nairobi where she will do a course in English. She is due in Uganda within three months.
Seven Comboni novices begin their formation
On 10 October, the feast of St. Daniel Comboni and in the presence of a number of Comboni confreres and Sisters, seven novices – three of them from Mozambique – officially entered the European novitiate at Santarem, Portugal. It was a solemn celebration presided over by the Provincial Superior, Fr. Alberto de Oliveira Silva. At mid-day during the same celebration, the two novices who were finishing their first year – a Spaniard and an Italian – began the second and last phase of the novitiate leading them to their religious profession in May 2013. A thanksgiving Eucharist was celebrated in the afternoon together with friends and acquaintances.
On the same day, the Comboni Missionaries and Comboni Sisters gathered at the Comboni Missionary Sisters’ house at Olivais Sul to remember their common Founder with a Eucharistic celebration and the sharing of personal missionary experiences.
Workshop on the Rule of Life and the Word of God
Twenty three members of the Province of South Africa met at Bertoni Centre, Pretoria, from 8 to 12 October, for a workshop on the Rule of Life (RL) and the Word of God, guided by Fr. Francesco Pierli.
The reflection dwelt on three main aspects: the Comboni missionaries as disciples, apostles and cenacle of apostles. On this basis, the confreres focused on how to implement the RL in their daily life.
It has to become alive and a source of unity, identity and an inspiration for our missionary methodology, as it is stated in the letter of presentation of the General Council.
Meeting of experienced missionaries
Sixteen confreres, aged between 51 and 90, met in Juba from October 13 to 16 to reflect together on the theme “The Disciples of Jesus have an invitation to be more, to grow more and to do more for the Kingdom of God”, led by Fr. James Noonan, missionary of Maryknoll.
The meeting started with a brainstorming session about issues that make up today’s reality in South Sudan. The following were the main burning issues: The role of leadership in the Church today; civil and Christian leadership and the role of the laity; how to build a national identity in South Sudan; the “new rich” politicians and military elite; how to motivate Christians and citizens to overcome passivity; the need of a thinking Church able to analyse the reality and the signs of the times; the Year of the Faith and more use of the Word of God as mirrored in this changing situation. The participants also shared a number of proposals to live the Year of the Faith as a community and as parishes.
At the end of the meeting, the Provincial Superior shared his Intercapitular experience.
Workshop for local superiors
The local superiors from all communities in South Sudan met from October 18 to 20 under the theme “Call to servant leadership” assisted, once again, by Fr. James Noonan.
The participants came up with the job description of the ideal leader: he is concerned to develop a servant’s attitude; to focus on values and motives; to relate to and care for others, to empower people and develop the gifts that they already have.
The participants also shared their personal experiences and acquaintance with the Social Teaching of the Church.
Feast of St. Daniel Comboni
The Comboni confreres and Sisters of Chad celebrated the feast of our Holy Founder at Sarh. It was also the occasion for celebrating some anniversaries and returns from holidays as well as the end of the rainy season. Despite the fact that some confreres and Sisters were absent for health or other reasons, there were more than thirty present.
The morning was dedicated to Ongoing Formation. The local Ordinary, Mgr. Edmond Djitangar, was invited to share his reflections on the Post-Synodal document Africae Munus. Mgr. Edmond was one of the secretaries of the second African Synod.
After his contribution on “Sharing life in our communities” by the Secretary for Ongoing Formation, the Provincial reported on the Intercapitular Assembly that was held in Rome in September. In the evening the Provincial presided at a Eucharistic celebration at the novitiate of Sainte Croix with the 19 youths of the four Francophone provinces of Africa who officially entered the novitiate.
Celebrating 10 October at the Adidogomé Postulancy
On 10 October, 2012, the Comboni confreres of the Province and the Comboni Sisters working there gathered at the St. Pierre Claver Postulancy of Adidogomé - Lomé. Almost all the confreres were present.
The programme was very full: solemn Lauds, reflections of the Holy Father at the opening of the Year of Faith led by Fr. Bernard Domara, a brief report by the Provincial Superior on the essential points of the Intercapitular Assembly and the situation of the Province, the Eucharist presided over by Fr. Louis Kouevi, assigned to the London Province and, in conclusion, a fraternal meal.
The late Bro. Alfio Guzzardi, our companion on our journey who just recently entered into the glory of the Father, was mentioned several times. During the Mass, which was offered for the happy repose of his soul, moving testimonies were given to his life. It was a simple life, totally given to the mission!
THE FATHER: Giovanni Battista, of Fr. Alberto Pelucchi (C).
THE MOTHERS: Lucy, of Fr. Paul Annis (EG); Mehret Hidrinkiel, of Fr. Mussie Abraham Keflezghi (ER); Anna, of Fr. Franco Pellegrini (†).
THE BROTHERS: Giovanni, of Fr. Pietro Ravasio (C); Mgr. Antonio, of Fr. Alfredo Paolucci (†); Franco, of Fr. Riccardo Mele (I); Giovanni, of Fr. Nereo Grandi (I).
THE SISTERS: Aurora, of Fr. Nereo Grandi (I); Ameteselassie, of Fr. Gaim Haileslassié (ER).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTER: Sr. Pia Gaetanina Lincetto.