Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
General Secretariat for Evangelisation
Fr. Mariano Tibaldo, General Secretary for Evangelisation, informs us that the booklet entitled “La nostra missione, esperienza e riflessione” (Our mission, experience and reflection) with the conclusions of the process of the Ratio Missionis – in Italian, English, Portuguese, Spanish and German – has been despatched to the circumscriptions for distribution to the communities. The circumscriptions that wish to send the text to each of its members should print themselves any more copies they need. The text is available in various languages on the website: http://www.comboni.org//contenuto/view/id/106295
Fr. Tewoldeberhan Nayir Berkay (ER)
Fr. Najarro Morales Oscar Aníbal (DCA)
Fr. Rodríguez R. José Benjamin (M)
Fr. Ghebrezghiabiher W. Kidane (ER)
Holy Redeemer Guild
February 01 – 15 BS 16 – 28 CA
March 01 – 07 DCA 08 – 15 EG 16 – 31 EC
February- That, as we remember the birth of the Secular Institutes in response to the challenges of the world of today, all consecrated persons may renew with enthusiasm their complete self-giving to the service of all who await the proclamation of the love of God. Lord hear us.
March- That St. Joseph may encourage us in our daily labours and sustain the Church in its evangelising mission. Lord hear us.
Guido Oliana, The theological project of Paul Tillich. The challenge of the courage to be and of the believing realism, Antolini, Tione di Trento 2012. The present work is the continuation of the previous study of the author. The book focuses on the need of the contemporary human being to pose existential questions which call for enlightening and prophetic religious answers.
Moses Otii Alir, The Transforming Presence of the Mystery of Christ. Odo Casel’s Mystery Theology and the Possibility of an African Liturgical Theology, Antolini, Tione di Trento 2012. The book deals with the pioneering work of the German Benedictine Odo Casel (1886-1948) who has promoted an understanding of the sacraments as liturgical celebrations, which make really present and operative the very saving deeds of Christ Himself. The author, Moses Alir Otii, is a Comboni Missionary scholastic who studied at Innsbruck and is now rendering his missionary service in the Central African Republic.
On Sunday, 20 January, the hall at the Provincial House at Kingabwa was filled to overflowing with people who had come for the ceremony commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of the presence of the Comboni Lay Missionaries (CLM) in the Comboni Family of the Congo (DRC). Mr Anicet Paypay, President of the Cenacles of Prayer and the Comboni Parents and Dido Likambo, Coordinator of the CLM in the Congo, had invited all the members of the Cenacles of Prayer of the capital, all the CLM and the families of the Comboni Missionaries for the occasion.
After some words of welcome by Fr. Enrique Bayo Mata, Fr. Tonino Falaguasta Nyabenda conducted a conference entitled Saint Daniel Comboni and the African laity.
The text, printed by Afriquespoir, has now been published and is available to all.
Sr. Espérance Bamiriyo Togyayo, Provincial Superior of the Comboni Missionary Sisters, presented the activities of the Congolese Comboni Sisters now working in various parts of the world.
Fr. Kike Bayo and Dido Likambo then spoke of their experience in Portugal, on the occasion of the world meeting of the CLM. The Mass was led by Fr. Eliseo Tacchella, provincial superior.
We thank the Lord for the great gift of the priesthood which he granted to our Delegation in January of this New Year. The two Comboni Eritrean scholastics, Tewoldeberhan Nayir Berkay and Ghebrezghiabiher Woldehawariat Kidane, having taken their final vows and having been ordained to the Diaconate in the first week of August, 2012, did five months of pastoral service at Haykota and at Decameré. They are from two different regions of Eritrea with differing traditions; they belong to two different dioceses and were ordained in different places and on different days.
Abba Tewoldeberhan was ordained at Ghilas, to the north of Keren, on 12 January, by the Heparch of Keren Abune Kidanemariam Yebio. The event had been prepared with days of mission promotion by the formators of the Minor Seminary and the Scholasticate, by the scholastics themselves and some Sisters.
The ordination was attended by all the Comboni Fathers and Brothers and a number of Eritrean Comboni Sisters. After the ceremony, all the participants moved to Abengulet, Abba Tewoldeberhan’s home town, just 3km from Ghilas, where the majority are Moslem and where the Catholics only have a small church – too small to hold the large congregation. The Moslems joyfully took part in the feast with dancing and singing declaring that, among them, Catholics and Moslems are all brothers.
Abba Ghebregziabiher was ordained on 20 January at his home town of Adebaur, located between Decameré and Saganeity, to the south of Asmara, by the Heparch of Saganeity, Abune Fikremariam Hagos. The new church of the town could barely hold all the participants: all the Comboni Fathers, Brothers and seminarians, many diocesan priests, religious Brothers and Sisters of every Institute from Asmara and the surrounding towns as well, as all the people, naturally, of the town. The people went to take the to-be-ordained from his home and accompanied him in procession to the church. After the ordination ceremony he was again escorted to his home where his ordination was celebrated with songs and dancing.
Provincial Assembly of Promotion and Evangelisation
From 7 to 10 January, more than 30 of those involved in the field of evangelisation and promotion in Italy gathered at Pesaro for their annual evaluation and planning Assembly.
The theme of the Assembly was chosen bearing in mind the Year of Faith and the Synod on the New Evangelisation: “Being mission today, fifty years after the Second Vatican Council”.
Serena Noceti, Vice President of the Italian Theologians, brilliantly and appropriately illustrated the originality of Vatican II, starting from the four dogmatic constitutions and the Decree Ad Gentes, bringing us into the present-day reality and the need to be mission in a changing world.
The Assembly showed the growing conviction in those involved that, being mission in Italy today must move us to be increasingly part of the texture of the local churches, including the fostering of agreements with the bishops, especially as agents in the missionary contexts such as immigrants, inter-religious dialogue, missionary pastoral care, popular and contextualised Bible reading and the pastoral care of the youth.
Here is, in fact, a growth in commitment to and for immigrants, in the desire for teamwork with the CLM and other branches of the Comboni Family as well as a renewed commitment to pastoral care through new styles of life and faith.
The Assembly also approved two initiatives that will be carried out in a collaborative manner and shared with the other Secretariats and the Comboni Family: a convention that will reunite all former participants in the GIM initiatives in past years and the support of the movement of the laity with concrete proposals related to the Comboni charism and being mission today.
This initiative will be prepared in the various communities of our Province and will culminate at the birthplace of St. Daniel Comboni at the beginning of November, 2013.
The second initiative will see us involved (especially from 1 October, 2013, to March, 2014) in keeping the living memory of the first ten years since the canonisation of our Founder by promoting spirituality days, conventions and pilgrimages to significant sites in the footsteps of St. Daniel Comboni.
An evening on “Nelson Mandela’s dream come true” in Rome
It was a successful evening on 25th January in the crowded room “Pietro da Cortona” in Campidoglio, Rome, on the theme “Nelson Mandela, the dream that has become history,” and on the special issue of Nigrizia. The speakers were Walter Veltroni, J. L. Touadi, Itala Vivan, Paolo Masini and the Comboni Missionaries Fr. Efrem Tresoldi and Fr. Venanzio Milani. There was also the first counsellor of the Embassy of South Africa in Rome.
The initiative was promoted by Fondazione Nigrizia, Combonifem, ACSE and other Roman organizations interested in Africa. We distributed over 100 copies of Nigrizia.
“Tuesdays of the world” in Verona
In Verona we have resumed the “Tuesdays of the world”: Meetings, debates, current affairs, which are held in the Africa Hall at the Comboni Missionaries’ residence.
The Diocesan Mission Centre and Combonifem take part in these meetings.
The first debate, on 5th February, will be about “The Legacy of Mandela in South Africa today”, with the participation of prof. Rocco Ronza from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan.
Meeting of local superiors
The meeting of the local superiors took place in Chipata from 14 to 17 January. The facilitators of the meeting, in which the superiors of the various communities of Malawi-Zambia took part, were Fr. Enrico Colleoni, Fr. Joaquim de Sousa Pereira and Fr. Dario Balula Chaves.
Having assessed the situation of the communities and personnel in the province, the participants reflected and shared on the theme for 2013: “Fraternity: pathways for reconciliation” and on the various tools for animating the communities as proposed by the General Commission for Ongoing Formation, namely: the community charter, the pastoral project, the weekly community day, the community council, life sharing and the personal life project.
The participants also discussed ways of using these tools in the communities and proposed some concrete resolutions to be implemented during this year in which we celebrate 40 years presence and missionary work as Comboni Missionaries in Malawi-Zambia.
From 14 to 18 January, 2013, the Provincial Assembly was held at the Provincial House of Monterrico (Lima), attended by a good number of the members of the Province.
On the first day, Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P., a well-known Peruvian theologian, held a conference on the New Evangelisation which – he clearly stated – in the Latin American context must be characterised by the preferential option for the poor, taking into account the situations of marginalisation and discrimination.
This option must, even more so, make the ad gentes missionary stand out from all others.
During the course of the Assembly and the liturgical celebrations, there were some testimonies by Comboni missionaries who have spent a great part of their lives in the Province.
It was very inspiring to listen to them and hear of their wonderful missionary experience. The annual report of the Provincial – as well as those of the Secretariats and Commissions – assisted the participants in understanding the situation of the Province.
As the Assembly concluded, Mgr. Rodríguez Salazar, Bishop of Huánuco, presided at Holy Mass to mark the opening of the 75th year of the Comboni presence in Peru-Chile. As he mentioned the three first missionaries to arrive, he exhorted the Province to be always faithful to the charism of the Founder.
Visit of Fr. Alberto Pelucchi to the province of Portugal
From January 8 to 25, Fr. Alberto Pelucchi, Vicar General, has been visiting the Province of Portugal, meeting with the seven missionary communities and the bishops of the dioceses where our confreres are present.
The visit was intended “to build ties between the General Council and the Province, to strengthen our presence in that territory and to encourage the confreres to remain faithful to the Comboni missionary vocation,” said Fr. Pelucchi.
Fr. Alberto de Oliveira Silva, the Provincial Superior, has underlined that the visit of a member of the General Council is “an occasion for strengthening the communion with the Institute and for helping us to rethink our mission and our activities in Portugal, from the point of view of the European context and of the current situation of the Institute.”
The program of the visits to the communities included a brief dialogue with the Superior of each community, a personal meeting with each confrere, sharing about the community charter, information about the present state of the Institute and a community Mass.
Fr. Pelucchi also addressed the topic of the pastoral commitments in Camarate and Calvão, recently taken up by the Comboni Missionaries.
The Vicar General will also examine the vocational situation of the Portuguese province and, to a certain extent, that of Europe, visiting the European novitiate of Santarém and the Postulancy of Maia, two houses that currently have 12 young men aspiring to join the Comboni Missionaries.
Putting our lifestyle under the microscope
The local superiors met with the Provincial Superior and his Council under the leadership of Fr. Francesco Pierli to evaluate our lifestyle as Comboni communities.
Fr. Pierli employed the Pastoral Cycle Method to engage the participants and to elicit from them the wealth of experience that they had within themselves. The steps of the method were followed: sharing of life, social analysis, theological and biblical reflection, action. The results were remarkable.
This is quite a challenge for a pluralistic community whose members have multiple origins and backgrounds although it is attainable through fidelity to renewing the Comboni structures like the Com-munity Council, Community Charter, Retreats, Ongoing Formation and the regular evaluation and revision of these structures.
Visit to the Province
Fr. Enrique Sánchez G., Superior General, and Bro. Daniele Giusti, Assistant General, visited the Province of South Sudan from 23 December, 2012, to 16 January, 2013, to convey the affection and support of all the Institute to the confreres who work in that country, to witness their apostolic work and motivate them in their pastoral and missionary commitments. They also visited the bishops and other pastoral agents of the local Church.
The first stop during their visit was at Talì in Central Equatoria where Fr. Enrique and Bro. Daniele spent Christmas with the local community. From Talì they went to the community of Yirol, in Lakes State, among the Dinka. The territory of the parish of Yirol, dedicated to the Holy Cross, extends as far as the site of Holy Cross Mission where Daniel Comboni spent some months during his first missionary journey (1858). The visit to the nearby Christian communities was something of a pilgrimage to the roots of the presence of the Comboni Missionaries in South Sudan. On New Year’s Eve they visited Mapuordit. They greeted the New Year of 2013 in a joyful and appreciative atmosphere in the presence of all the missionary and volunteer communities. Rumbek, the diocesan see, was their next stop. It was especially moving for them to visit the tomb of the late Mgr. Cesare Mazzolari who died on 16 July, 2011, just a week after the proclamation of the independence of South Sudan, something he ardently desired to see. They then left for Wau where the impressive cathedral and the diocesan complex bear witness to the long and fruitful presence of the Combonis.
The second last community to be visited was that of Old Fangak: at the small port a crowd of Christians of all ages offered festive greetings to the visitors and then accompanied them to the mission.
The visit ended at Juba where, on the day coinciding with the opening of the Provincial Assembly, (14-20 January, 2013), Fr. Enrique and Bro. Daniele directed a short period of spiritual retreat and reported on the present situation of the Institute. Bro. Daniele also held a meeting with the Brothers working in the Province.
THE MOTHER: Matilde, of Fr. Antonio del Pozo Álvarez (E).
THE BROTHER: Aldo, of Fr. Lino Salvi (†).
THE SISTER: Cecilia, of Fr. Emilio Franzolin (†); Marcella, di P. Josef Pfanner (DSP).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Samuella Castagna; Sr. Clarinda Bellucci; Sr. Pia Valentina Pasquali.