MONTHLY NEWSLETTER OF THE COMBONI MISSIONARIES OF THE HEART OF JESUS
The next Bulletin
The next MCCJ Bulletin will carry the letter of the General Council after the Intercapitular Assembly, the decisions of the GC regarding the Scholastics, the decree on the Total Common Fund, the report of the GC and the reports of the General Secretariats, those of the Continents and those of the Sub-continents.
Fr. Stefano Mario Vanzetto on 21 June, 2012, was awarded a Licentiate in Canon Law at the Pius X Faculty of Canon Law in Venice, “summa cum laude”. His thesis was entitled: “Can. 1274: Ipotesi a confronto per una perequazione tra Enti" (Compared assumption for equality among the Institutes. The Relator was Prof. Mgr. Luigi Mistò (The present Secretary of APSA).
Sc. Otii Alir Moses (U)
Sc. Kariuki Charles Macharia (KE)
Ordinations to the priesthood
Fr. Samuel Yacob Langena (ET)
Fr. Fasil Kebede Eshete (ET)
Fr. Fufa Ensermu Wakuma (ET)
Fr. Kifle Kintamo Kirba (ET)
Fr. Leytón Espinoza José Felix (PE)
Fr. Keyali Teddy Njaya (KE)
Holy redeemer Guild
December 01 – 15 U 15 – 31 CN
January 01 – 07 A 08 – 15 C 16 – 31 BNE
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.
January – That the God of peace may help us to become instruments of fraternity, justice and love through our witness of life and faith. Let us pray.
Essere missione oggi – Verso un nuovo immaginario missionario (Being mission today – Towards a new image of the missionary), edited by Fr. Fernando Zolli. The book, published in November, 2012, contains contributions by various confreres. They speak of human mobility, the law of supply and demand, the socio-environmental question, some of the major signs of the times that challenge missionaries to adopt new language, to “provoke” the ecclesial communities and to seek new paradigms that are no longer colonial and pyramid-shaped. In other words, it is no longer possible to remain in Italy, or the West, busying ourselves exclusively with “mission promotion” but rather with how to “be” mission.
Expo-Afro 2012 was a significant event in the development of Afro pastoral in Bogota. The aim we set ourselves as Comboni Missionaries was to promote an Afro Eucharist for the hundreds of thousands of Afro-Colombians living in the capital which has already more than eight million inhabitants. The proposal was welcomed by the active groups that collaborate in the proclamation in the various periphery quarters where the Afro have come to live, most of whom were forced to leave their homes and their lands by FARC and paramilitary violence as well as that of criminal gangs. A truly collaborative project successfully promoted and sustained by Bro. Marco Binaghi.
There was a high degree of participation by the members of the Afro community, and the celebration, embellished by a group of dancers who accompanied the various parts of the Mass, was especially festive. Mgr. Aldo Cavalli, Apostolic Nuncio to Colombia, presided at the Mass in the church of the Las Aguas quarter. Afterwards, dances, songs and messages of hope for the Afro-Colombians were performed and delivered in the churchyard. The large audience applauded the performances of the various folk groups.
Various stands around the piazza, including that of the AEI (Afro-Colombian Educational Initiative), promoted by the ‘significant work’ of the Comboni Brothers: now that this work has been consolidated, various professionals are taking it up.
Seeing the great success of Expo-Afro 2012, the Afro pastoral agents have decided to repeat the event, certain that it will become a tradition.
CMP Congress in Kinshasa
As has been done annually since the year 2000, on the first Sunday of November, this year the solemnity of All Saints, the Congress of Cenacles of Missionary Prayer (CMP) was held. It is a missionary event, now in its twelfth year.
The spacious hall of the Guanellian community in the industrial zone of Limete accommodated around 400 members of the 28 CMP’s of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa and one CMP from Kisantu diocese. Their aim was to live together a day of formation, prayer and celebration.
The day began with an address by Fr. Godé Mavunga, SVD, National Director of the POM (Pontifical Missionary Works), on the theme of World Mission Day, 2012: “The CMP are called to make the Word of truth shine out”. In the light of the message of the Holy Father, Fr. Godé said that the immense task of evangelisation is the concern of all the baptised and not just of a few “experts” in mission.
After the time devoted to formation, four missionary testimonies were presented.
Fr. Stéphane Kamanga, MCCJ, due to leave soon for the mission in Guatemala (Central America), spoke of his conviction that the missionary call is a grace of God which must be answered in a spirit of giving and receiving.
Adèle Likambo, a Lay Comboni Missionary, spoke of the experience of her Cenacle of St Augustine and the visits they make to the orphanages and the centres for street children.
Two young Comboni postulants, Natalie and Elisabeth, who are about to leave for Uganda to commence their novitiate, gave their vocation testimonies.
Abbot Alfonse Marie de la Croix, POM Director in the Archdiocese of Kinshasa, presided at the Eucharistic celebration. In his homily he said that the true missionaries are those who “give their heart to the Lord” even to the point of sacrifice, so that name of Jesus may be known by all and everywhere.
The CMP were founded in 1987 by the Comboni Missionary Fr. Claudino Ferreira. Begun in Kinshasa with the consent of Abbot Marie de la Croix, they received the blessing and encouragement of Cardinal Frédéric Etsou in September,1998. The CMP are communities or fraternities of Christians committed to creating awareness towards the universal mission of the Church and collaborate in their respective parishes in the activities of the POM.
Meeting with Mgr. Menghesteab
On Monday, 29 October, 2012, Mgr. Menghesteab Tesfamariam, MCCJ, Eparch of the diocese of Asmara in Eritrea, met with the members of the Curia in the Chapter Hall of the seat of the Comboni Missionaries in Rome to speak of the “New Evangelisation”, the theme of the Synod of Bishops that had just ended.
The Synod Fathers wanted to stress – said Mgr. Menghesteab – the ardour and the new attitude required in presenting the Gospel, apart from using means suitable for the new world situation. Commenting on some points of the final message of Synod and the Propositions, The Eparch stressed the newness of the message to the people of God with respect to the previous messages, namely the fact that the final address was directed to the Churches in the various continents. Furthermore, he indicated that, in the Propositions, “the cities and their culture are to be considered areas of new evangelisation and that the credibility of the Church is very important, especially through bishops and priests as the authentic witnesses of the Gospel”
The meeting continued with questions being put to Mgr. Menghesteab. In reply he said that the novelty of this Synod consisted not in great proclamations or innovative decisions but in the “encouragement given to bishops in this time of crisis”, noting how “a certain relativism in the Church may have weakened its evangelising mission”.
Meeting of the Financial Council
The Financial Council, which meets twice a year, has just finished its autumn sitting (5-7 November). Its function – as set out in the Directory for Finance – is to carry out a thorough check of the accounts, both those of the Provinces and those of the General Administration and to indicate the fundamental options in the economic planning of the Institute, taking account of the global financial context.
The members of the Council include: the five members of the General Secretariat for Finance, four continental representatives and two expert councillors who have the specific task of preparing and reviewing the accounts of the General Administration. The Assistant General in charge of the sector also attends the meetings.
The meeting had two main aims: to prepare the budgets for 2013 and the revision of the Accounting Plan that will accompany the implementation of the Total Common Fund, something that has already been adopted in almost all circumscriptions.
Fiftieth Anniversary of the Boys town
From 10 to 15 September, 2012, the Golden Jubilee of the Boys town, Esmeraldas, was celebrated. It is worth noting that three important anniversaries occur in 2012: it is the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Boys town, the fortieth anniversary of the death of Mgr. Angelo Barbisotti (the founder) and the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Fr. Lino Campesan (director from 1973 to 1982 and the great steersman of this project so important for Esmeraldas).
All the media covered the event and especially the solemn ceremony carried out in the presence of the authorities with their appreciation for the many people who dedicated years of their lives to this institution. Space was given to the Mass in the cathedral packed with people, many of whom were former pupils of the Boys town, and many Combonis, diocesan priests as well as men and women religious of the various Institutes working in Esmeraldas.
Boys town began its work in 1962. Great missionaries served there such as: Fr. Pino Mariani (the first Director), Fr. Lino Campesan (the most important name in the list of Comboni Missionaries who served at Boys town), Bro. Giuseppe Zordan (Agriculturalist and great worker in Boys town), Bro. Vincenzo Pannice (carpenter and founder of the musical group, formed from among the pupils of Boys town, “Los Alegres Vagabundos”), Bro. Gino Baldo (a missionary who understood and was close to the pupils), Bro. Ivan Bernardi (a gifted administrator) - not forgetting the Comboni Sisters.
As Mgr. Eugenio Arellano, the bishop of Esmeraldas, said: “These have been fifty years spent in the service of children and boys; fifty years during which thousands of them found the warmth of a family, education in values and technical qualifications that gave them the possibility of finding dignified work.”
During October, the zone of Cañar e Azuay, in the south of Ecuador, was visited by the Comboni Family on the occasion of the celebration of the ordination of José Luciano Campoverde Vicuña, presided over by Mgr. Carlos Aníbal Altamirano Arguello, Bishop of Azogues.
The ceremony was prepared by a full month of missionary animation carried out by Fr. Pedro Indacochea, Fr. Vanderlei Bervian, formator of the scholasticate of São Paulo and the Comboni Sister Sr. Monserrat García, with Deacon Luciano Campoverde himself as coordinator.
On 20 October the cathedral of Azogues was full of people. Among those present were: Fr Provincial, Fr Vice-Provincial and the confreres of the Province of Ecuador, the family and friends of the one to be ordained, many young people who were attending the IX Assembly of “Missionary America” and the faithful of Biblián and Azogues. On the following day, Sunday 21, the newly-ordained priest celebrated his first Mass at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Rocío, Patroness of Biblián; this celebration, too, was attended by many people. After the Mass all those present were invited to a meal during which they were entertained by folk music and dancing.
IX Assembly of “Missionary America”
On 20 and 21 October, the Ecuadorian Church, particularly the Archdiocese of Cuenca, received 120 young people from all parts of Ecuador. The national team is committed to working, during the Year of Faith, among the youth. The theme they chose was: Renew the faith to be witnesses to the Risen One and their motto: “I know him in Whom I have believed” (2Tm 1,12). The annual meeting was carried out in joy and spontaneity and with deep reflections on the missionary commitment.
Perpetual vows and ordination to diaconate
The 18th of November was a very colourful day at Amakuriat Parish as our scholastic Charles Macharia Kariuki took his perpetual vows. The church was full to capacity and people were very happy. We all enjoyed wonderful choruses from the excellent parish choir. The family of Charles travelled all the way from Kiptangwany, Nakuru, to witness the ceremony. There was also one brother of his who is a Cistercian priest. Charles was ordained deacon the following Saturday, November 24, 2012.
The Centenary of Mboro Parish (1912 – 2012)
On Saturday, 3rd November, 2012, more than two thousand Christians gathered at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Khartoum for the thanksgiving Mass on the occasion of the celebration of 100 Years of Evangelization among the Fertit – the small tribes living around Wau Town – in Western Bahr el Ghazal. The parish of Mboro was founded by the Comboni missionary Fr. Angelo Arpe in 1912 among the Ndogo people. The Church is dedicated to St. Joseph and it was the first parish in South Sudan.
The celebration was organized by the parishioners of Mboro present in the archdiocese of Khartoum, and also involved our confrere Fr. Matthew Remijo Adam Gbitiku and Fr. Oswald Baptist, both originally from this parish, and other priests and religious. The Holy Eucharist was presided over by Fr. John Dingi the parish priest of the Cathedral, who gave thanks to God and to the Comboni Family for bringing the faith to the people of this area.
This celebration has also marked the three unforgettable events in the life of the local population. Firstly, the first Eucharistic celebration of Fr. Archangelo Ali Konogo on 1st November, 1946: he was the first priest from Mboro, the second from Bahr el Ghazal and the first Sudanese priest martyred. The second event was that of Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako, the present archbishop of Khartoum, who on that same day, at the age of five, received his First Holy Communion. Thirdly, in the very evening of that day, Fr. Angelo Arpe, the parish priest, was speared to death by a person from Mboro.
The celebration in church was followed by traditional dances and songs from the various tribes of Western Bahr el Ghazal who expressed their joy and gratitude to God for all the blessings and graces received during these hundred years of Faith.
Ordination to Diaconate
On 20 October, 2012, Crespim Cabral de Benfica Baraja was ordained deacon by Mgr. Germano Grachane, Bishop of Nacala in northern Mozambique. The Marian sanctuary of “Maria, Mother of Africa” in the Comboni-run parish of Alua was packed with parishioners. Crespim, 35, originally from Beira, the capital of the Mozambican province of Sofala, met the Combonis in his parish of Alto da Manga where, struck by their commitment and fascinated by the figure of St. Daniel Comboni, he felt called to the religious and priestly life.
The long liturgical celebration, enlivened by hymns in the Macua language and with dancers in multi-coloured “capulane” (typical material for women), was celebrated with great emotion by everyone present, especially by the family and friends of the newly-ordained deacon.
Comboni Ladies Auxiliary of Monroe celebrate sixty years
On October 17th, 2012, more than sixty-five members, friends, and benefactors gathered at the Monroe Golf & Country Club to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Comboni Ladies Auxiliary of Monroe, Michigan, who have been supporting the Combonis since the opening of our novitiate in Monroe. Present were also eleven priests, of which nine were Comboni Missionaries. Fr. J. Manuel G. Baeza, the provincial superior, said Mass and Fr. Peter Premarini gave the homily.
After brunch was served, president Barb Heising gave everyone the opportunity to share a special memory of the Auxiliary. Special recognition and a commemorative plaque were given by Fr. Louie Gasparini to Shirley Noland for her sixty-plus years of service and dedication to the group.
Secretariat of Evangelisation
On 18 and 19 September, 2012, at the provincial house of Monterrico, the Evangelisation Assembly took place. The secretary, Fr. George Duku, welcomed each of those present. This year Salesian Sr. Eliana Salas was invited to speak on the theme of pastoral work among the indigenous peoples. Each community presented the work of evangelisation it is doing and the challenges it meets. It was very interesting to see that, in some of the parishes in which we are present, the plan of the NIP (New Image of the Parish) is still being carried on. In conclusion, proposals were made for the celebration of the 75 years of our presence in Peru.
Meeting for the “under 45”
After two years without meeting, the under forty-fives finally came together at the provincial house at Monterrico on 20 September, 2012. Eleven took part. The purpose of the meeting was to get to know each other and create bonds of brotherhood. Fr. Pedro Percy Carbonero Mogollón welcomed all present and gave a reflection on religious life in today’s world. Each one present was given the opportunity to make a short presentation and comment on the theme. Mass was celebrated at midday.
Meeting for families
On 8 October, 2012, a public holiday in Peru, the meeting of the families of the radical members of the province wash held. For the past four years it has been held at the postulancy. Attendance was good. After the welcoming and greetings, letters were read and power point presentations were made from the Peruvian confreres working in mission abroad. Fr. Roy Carlos Zúñiga Paredes invited the families to collaborate in the mission. Fr. Luis Alberto Barrera Pacheco presided at the Eucharist, appealing to the families to support their own sons. After the meal there was singing and a time for relaxation.
Commemoration of the faithful departed
As always, on 2 November, Mass for the dead was celebrated in the British cemetery of Callao. Some Comboni Sisters were also present. Fr. Luis Barrera presided at the Mass. All the deceased Comboni Missionaries who worked in the Province were remembered, as well as relatives and benefactors. The Mass was followed by a visit to the graves.
Assembly for missionary animators
From 13 to 16 November, 2012, at Praia de Coimbra in the diocese of Coimbra, the Assembly for male and female Missionary Animators working in Portugal took place. The aim of the Assembly was to integrate missionary animation in the pastoral work of the local Churches, in the context of the new evangelisation. The point of reference for reflection was the pastoral letter of the Portuguese bishops As I have done to you, do you also – Towards a missionary face of the Church in Portugal. The almost fifty male and female missionaries present at the meeting represented 32 Institutes dedicated to missionary animation in the country.
Fr. Alberto de Oliveira Silva, Provincial Superior of Portugal and President of the Missionary Institutes, noted that faith is mature only when it becomes missionary, that is, when one feels the need to share it with others. In his intervention he also spoke of the Missionary Exhibition held in Fatima from May to October, 2012 and visited by more than 140,000 people, describing it as a “praiseworthy initiative” carried out by the missionary Institutes, by the Pontifical Missionary Works and by the Shrine of Fatima.
Concert-prayer-meeting by Banda Missio
On 3 November, the Banda Mission held its concert-prayer-meeting on the Year of Faith at Braga. It was the final act by the pop/rock band founded in 2009 by Fr. Leonel Rodrigues Claro, a Comboni and in charge of the Vocational Youth Centre of the Comboni Missionaries. The band seeks to do missionary animation through its music, especially among the youth, particularly in central and northern Portugal. Their songs are almost all original compositions by the group.
Banda Missio has already taken part in hundreds of events obtaining a number of awards. In 2010, at the Jota a Paredes de Coura Festival, they were chosen as the Revelation-band of the “Teu Palco”. On the same year they won the award “Evangelisation 2010”, sponsored by the Kerygma association.
South Sudan and Kenya kick-start the merging process
The Provincial Councils of South Sudan and Kenya met in Juba from November 9 to 12 to kick-start the merging process of the two provinces. The 2011 Provincial Assembly of South Sudan and the 2012 Provincial Assembly of Kenya gave the green light to go ahead.
The participants shared information about their countries and provinces and ideas and fears about the process. They prepared a roadmap leading to the merger in 2017. The two Provincial Superiors wrote a joint letter introducing the roadmap to the confreres.
Introductory course for newcomers
The Comboni Missionary Sisters, Comboni Missionaries and “Solidarity with South Sudan” organized a five-day introductory course for newcomers. Around 40 people from a number of religious Institutes took part in the event from November 17 to 21 at Comboni House.
Journalists, academics and politicians presented the history and geography of the two Sudan, the political, social and economic situation in South Sudan, ethnic groups, the Catholic Church and other Churches, the government’s vision, the media, the new Republic and the journey of women in the new country.
An outline on the pastoral ministry was also presented to the newcomers.
Theology section moved to Juba
The Theology section of St Paul’s National Major Seminary moved from Khartoum to Juba and the new academic year opened on November 19. Bishop Rudolf Majak of Wau presided over the inaugurating Eucharist. Thirty two theology seminarians reported and another five were expected from South Sudan and the dioceses of Khartoum and El Obeid. The diocese of Yambio sent some of its seminarians to Gaba, in Uganda. Fr Guido Oliana – and Fr Fernando Colombo in the future – are part of the teaching staff. Bro. Benhard Hengl, SCBC fundraiser, is overseeing the works to accommodate seminarians and staff.
The Vatican has ordered the closure of the Philosophy Section for at least two years. Juba Archdiocese opened its own Philosophicum in Rejaf.
Bro. Alfio Guzzardi: a month later
On Saturday, 11 November, one month after his death (8 October), the local Church of Djougou (Benin) met at the Comboni parish of Toko-Toko for a Mass of thanksgiving and for the repose of the soul of Bro. Alfio Guzzardi. Mgr. Paul Vieira, Bishop of Djougou, presided at the Mass in the presence of the Provincial Superior and surrounded by numerous diocesan priests, men and women religious, Comboni confreres from Toko-Toko and from Manigri, novices doing their mission experience and members of the faithful. It was a very beautiful celebration with great participation and fraternal communion as Bro. Alfio was remembered. He lived in that parish right from its establishment in December, 2008.
A photograph of Bro. Alfio was displayed over the cross-shaped wooden altar made by Bro. Alfio himself and which he had presented to the Bishop last April, before he went back to Italy for health reasons. In his homily, Mgr. Vieira, who presided at the funeral Mass at the Mother House in Verona on 9 October, spoke especially of Bro. Alfio’s vocational identity: he was happy to be a Brother and lived his vocation with enthusiasm and simplicity. He was a man who expressed his views freely and lived in peace with everyone; he was a man of simple but profound prayer. The Bishop recalled how Bro. Alfio, then at Toffo’s parish where he worked from 1999 to 2008, expressed his availability to work in his diocese. He also told of how, during the Brother’s illness, he had been close to him with his prayer and reassurance.
Fr. Girolamo Miante, provincial of TGB, thanked the Bishop at the end of the Mass in the name of the Institute and the Province for his presence in Verona and Toko-Toko, and for his esteem and great brotherhood towards the Comboni Missionaries.
MA Assembly for Francophone Africa
The Assembly of Missionary Animation in Francophone provinces was held from 11 to 20 November, 2012, at Cotonou (Benin). About 20 Comboni confreres gathered at the Provincial House together with the General Secretary Fr. Jorge Garcia Castillo, the Provincial Superior of TGB and the provincial Superiors of the Comboni Sisters of Congo-Togo-Benin and Central Africa-Chad.
Fr. Girolamo Miante welcomed the participants, expressing the desire that the days of work and sharing might give rise to greater and more qualified commitment in the sector of MA, one of the main priorities of the Francophone provinces.
The first two days were devoted to Ongoing Formation: Fr. Vincent Makoumayena, a Sulpician Togolese and professor at the major Seminaries of Lomé and Djime (Abomey), presented a reflection on “Mission and New Evangelisation in the postmodern context”. Fr. Enrique Bayo Mata, coordinator of MA in Francophone Africa and member of the Afriquespoir team of Kinshasa, sought to connect this Assembly to the conclusions reached by that of 2010. The themes chosen for discussion were four: Afriquespoir, lay missionaries, the formation of animators and the sub-continental coordination of the MA sector. The last days were dedicated to drafting the MA charter for Francophone Africa. There was also time to appreciate the joy of being in Benin: some were seeing the ocean for the first time! A visit to Ouidah provided an opportunity to visit the voodoo temple with its sacred serpents and to live through a page of history on the Slave Coast.
The next Assembly, in 2014, will be mostly concerned with the practical formation of male and female animators in our provinces.
Handover of Holy Rosary Parish
It was a day of joy and thanksgiving as the Parish of Holy Rosary, in Gulu town, was handed over to the local church on 7 October, 2012. The Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese, Mgr. John Baptist Odama, in his message for the occasion said that “the Comboni Missionaries were very instrumental in establishing this parish in the early 1960s." The late Fr. Gino Milani was the first parish priest. Since then a total of 25 confreres worked in Holy Rosary. During the time of the long war in northern Uganda, Holy Rosary became a safe haven for many people in Gulu town.
The provincial superior, Fr. Sylvester Hategek'Imana, expressed his confidence in the capacity of the local Church to take over the responsibility for the parish and to build upon the foundations laid by the Comboni Missionaries.
The handover process was well planned and everything went well, to everybody's satisfaction. The celebration started with the blessing of a monument dedicated to St. Daniel Comboni and as a sign of the legacy the confreres leave behind to this vibrant Christian community.
THE MOTHER: Rosa dos Anjos, of Bro. Artur Fernandes Pinto (P).
THE BROTHERS: Marcello, of Fr. Roberto Ardini (I); Dominic Njoroge, of Fr. Joseph Maina Mwariri (KE); Giuseppe, of Fr. Lorenzo Farronato (CN) and of Fr. Elio Farronato (CN).
THE SISTERS: Joséphine, of Fr. Lazare Sowah Ako Kossi (PO-TG); Agnese, of Mgr. Giovanni Migliorati (Vicar Apostolic of Hawassa, Ethiopia).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Marisa Gazzola; Sr. Giuliva Bigardi.