Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
19th CONSULTA – 4-27 March 2013
1. New circumscriptions
During this Consulta, the Superior General and his Council have decided to proceed to the erection of the new jurisdictions, as called for by the XVII General Chapter.
Following the discernment done in recent years and the dialogue with the circumscriptions concerned, the General Council (GC) decided to proceed with the unification of the delegation of Egypt with the province of Khartoum, which, as from January 1, 2014, will become the new province of Egypt-Sudan (EGSD). On the same date, the delegation of Central America will become a province (PCA), and the provinces of the Central African Republic and Chad will become delegations (RCA and TCH, respectively).
The province of London, for internal reasons, will continue to remain a province, though the confreres’ number does not reach the requested amount.
There are other circumscriptions in the process of merging (BS+BNE; KE+SS; EC+CO+PE; NAP+M; E+P). They are dialoguing with the CG with a view to arrive at concrete proposals by the next General Chapter.
To all these circumscriptions, the GC has sent a letter to inform them of the decisions taken, together with the decrees of erection and the instructions to be followed in this transition to a new legal status.
2. Consultations for Circumscriptions Superiors’ appointment
During this Consulta, the GC has prepared a letter to be sent to all the circumscriptions to begin the process of discernment and choice of future provincial and delegation superiors and their councils.
The lists of the personnel belonging to each circumscription are presently being prepared so that they may be available for the first of May, when consultations will start.
The calendar prepared to carry out this task foresees, in fact, that the opinion polls begin during the first days of May, so that the entire process may be completed by the end of December, as it is customary in the Institute.
This is an important moment in the life of our Institute and we are all invited to seek the light of the Spirit, so that we may choose for this service of authority those confreres whom the Institute and the mission need. We ask that in all the circumscriptions this process be accompanied by prayer and reflection.
3. Comboni Year 2013-14
We have sent to the circumscriptions the list of the participants to the next Comboni Year which will begin in Rome, at the headquarters of the Centre for Ongoing Formation, at the end of September or early October. The team responsible for organizing this special time of ongoing formation is already at work and in touch with the provincial and the confreres who, in the coming months, will take part in this course.
The participants will be about twenty. We hope that this group will find an opportunity to intensely live the gift of our missionary and Comboni vocation. The CG wishes to all the participants a year full of blessings and a time of great tranquillity to grow in the missionary passion.
In this Consulta the GC has made several appointments to the various services of the Institute:
Fr. Gabaglio Luigi has been appointed member of the Council for Finance for three years, as from 15 March, 2013.
Fr. Locatelli Mario and P. Manuel Ferreira Horta have been confirmed as auditors of the financial reports of the General Direction.
Fr. Ruiz Molina Jesús has been appointed vice-provincial of the Central African Republic until 31 December, 2013.
Fr. Ngumba-Lelo Joseph has been appointed ad nutum superior and first formator in Pietermaritzburg, as from 1 June, 2013.
Fr. Casillas Hernández José Manuel has been appointed ad nutum second formator and bursar in the community of Pietermaritzburg, as from 1 June, 2013.
Fr. Kiwanuka Achilles Kasozi has been appointed ad nutum novice master of the novitiate in Namugongo (U), as from 1 July, 2013.
P. Alenyo John Peter has been appointed ad nutum novice master of the novitiate in Lusaka (Z), as from 1 July, 2013.
5. Seminar on the Rule of Life
The General Council has welcomed the suggestions made by the Commission on the Rule of Life and their members’ willingness to continue its facilitation, reflection, deepening of knowledge and internalization, as it had been recommended by the XVII General Chapter.
At continental level, the circumscriptions’ superiors discussed the possibility of organizing some local initiatives. The General Council is encouraging these proposals and, in dialogue with the Commission, will try to organize a seminar to prepare the circumscriptions’ animators.
6. Statistics of confreres in formation
During this Consulta, the General Council has admitted nine confreres to Perpetual Vows and to Holy Orders. Eight scholastics come from circumscriptions in Africa and one from America. They have just finished their period of missionary service.
Six other finalist scholastics were recommended and accepted to begin their missionary service shortly. The General Council has dispensed instead from the normal missionary service two scholastics who will follow an alternative journey before making their Perpetual Vows.
This year we expect to have 21 newly professed, 18 candidates for the priesthood and 3 for the Brotherhood. The General Council has assigned them to various Scholasticates and CIF. Two newly professed Brothers will return to their provinces of origin to complete their professional preparation. Let us welcome with joy these new confreres whom the Lord is giving us.
Coordinator of JPIC and Laity
The World Social Forum – held from 26 to 30 March in the University Campus in Al Manara, in Tunis – is now over. For the first time, the Comboni Missionaries and Sisters have taken part not just as listeners, but also by presenting themselves with their activities, experiences and messages.
Indeed, in the same environment of the World Social Forum, 31 missionaries – 19 Comboni confreres and Sisters and 2 laypersons – organized the Comboni Forum on the 25th, 30th afternoon and 31st of March, at whose conclusion they published a final document.
To commit ourselves together as the Comboni family is not the goal, but the initial and necessary condition to be missionaries today. They renewed their commitment to work for three priorities: The trafficking in people and the forced migrations, the care of creation, especially against land grabbing and the plunder of the common goods and, finally, the interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
The praying on the tomb of the first Christian martyrs of this land was an opportunity to renew the courage to bear witness till the end to one’s faith and to offer one’s life without reservation, so that all may have life to the full.
Sc. Benavides Orjuela Jorge A.(CO)
Sc. Torres Cobos Pablo Gabriel (M)
La Paz (MEX)
Holy Redeemer Guild
April 01 – 15 DSP 16 – 30 E
May 01 – 07 ET 08 – 15 ER 16 – 31 IT
April – That the resurrection of Jesus may revive us with enthusiasm towards evangelisation, mission promotion and the fostering of new apostles of the Gospel. Lord hear us.
May - That the Symposium on the Plan for the Regeneration of Africa and the Rules of 1871 may be an event of grace for the Comboni Missionary Sisters and help them towards making ever more incisive and prophetic charismatic choices in the world of today. Lord hear us.
Fr. Lorenzo Mboriguié Frattini:
1) Teologia Sociale. Teologia dei Diritti Umani (Social Theology. Theology of Human Rights) Cittadella Editrice Assisi, 2012. pp 200; € 16.50. It presents the epistemological foundation of social theology and studies human rights as a possible knowledge of God who manifests himself in the defence of human dignity.
2) Discernimento, Ritiro Spirituale al Sacro Monte di Varese (Discernment, A spiritual retreat at Sacro Monte di Varese). Gruppo Editoriale l’Espresso, 2013. pp 122; € 15. The meditations and teachings given during a spiritual retreat at the Monastery of the Ambrosian Romite Nuns. The texts reflect the wisdom of the spirituality of the oriental Church.
On March 15, the anniversary of St. Daniel Comboni’s birthday, a Photo Exhibition was inaugurated in the House of the St. Daniel Comboni Seminary (Quezon City). The event is one of the series of activities organized during the Year of Grace for the 25 years of presence of the Comboni Missionaries in Asia.
The exhibition, under the title “MCCJ in Asia @ 25: Journeying together on Asian Roads”, offers pictures of the various important moments and activities of the Comboni Missionaries in Asia: the arrival of the pioneers, the blessing of the Postulancy, first professions, the pastoral in Macau, etc. A good number of the friends of the missions, many of whom have known the MCCJ during the last 25 years, attended the event. It included the celebration of the Eucharist, the official opening of the Exhibition and a simple concert, while people enjoyed a light dinner.
The exhibition will remain open for the rest of the year to welcome visitors and as a means of mission promotion.
A parish is handed over and another is received
The Comboni Missionaries of Brazil North-East, with the parish priest Fr. Dario Bossi, handed over the parish of St. John the Baptist in Açailândia, in the south-east of the Brazilian State of Maranhão, to the diocese of Imperatriz. The new diocesan parish priest, Fr. Domingo Gonçalves da Costa, took possession on February 23, during a ceremony presided over by Mgr. Gilberto Pastana de Oliveira, bishop of that diocese since 2005.
During the celebration, which lasted over two and a half hours, Mgr. Gilberto thanked the Comboni Missionaries for the 22 years of their presence in Açailândia and for the work done in evangelization and human promotion, naming each one of the missionaries who served the parish.
The next day the celebration continued in Piquiá, 13 km from Açailândia, where the province took over the parish of St. Lucy. In front of all the people, while the main doors of the church remained closed, there took place the reading of the decree of erection of the new parish – Santa Luzia do Piquiá – and of the document of nomination of the new Comboni parish priest, Fr. Angel Yáñez García, who received the keys to the church from Mgr. Gilberto and, in the course of the Eucharist, the appropriate symbols: water (for Baptism), a purple stole (for the Sacrament of Reconciliation) and the tabernacle key (to keep the Eucharist).
BRASIL DO SUL
Closing of the Vocation Year and 60 years of Comboni presence
The Comboni Missionaries of Brazil closed the Vocation Year and the celebrations for their 60 years of presence on Brazilian soil on March 15, 2013. The closing ceremony was attended by members of the Comboni Family – priests, brothers, sisters, lay missionaries – and many friends, benefactors and co-operators.
The provincial superior of Brazil South, Fr. Alcides Costa, turned the closing of the Vocation Year and of the celebrations for the 60 years of presence in Brazil into a special moment of thanksgiving to God for all that has been accomplished.
On Sunday, 24 March, the rebels of the Séleka coalition took over Bangui, the capital of the Central Africa republic, causing President François Bozizé to flee. Michel Djotodia, leader of one of the groups of Séleka (= alliance, in the local Sango language), proclaimed himself President of the Republic.
About our confreres: the communities of Grimari and Dekoa are still cut off. The Provincial is in contact with all the other confreres by telephone.
The rebels – many of whom are from Chad or Sudan – reached the gates of the capital city on Saturday. The next morning they entered the city and attacked the Presidential Palace. It took them less than two hours to take it over. Then the looting began. A considerable number of the religious communities received “visits” to relieve them of their vehicles and other valuable items. Up to now, our Bangui communities are still untouched.
There has been no electric power in the city since Saturday afternoon, though the telephones are still working. The regular army soldiers are fleeing, reaching Boda at mid-day yesterday where they looted the city. They also went to the Catholic mission but failed to steal the car. We are not aware of any other damage. The telephones there are out of order so it is not possible to have any further news. This is what happened in the last two days. Despite everything, the confreres are basically – and surprisingly – very serene, to say the least. Theirs is a truly authentic witness.
Let us continue to entrust the country to the protection of our holy Founder.
Ordination to the Diaconate
Jorge Alberto Benavides Orjuela was ordained deacon on 17 March, at Turmequé, a large agricultural centre in the province of Boyacá. The church was packed for the occasion with people coming from the capital, Bogotá, as well as from the ‘veredas’ – the nearby villages.
The celebrant was Mgr. Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, Archbishop of Tunja, a Consolata missionary and one of the best-known experts in Latin American missiology. Jorge Alberto, had made his definitive consecration to God and the mission at Bogota IBC in the presence of the superior of the Delegation, Fr. Raffaello Savoia, and many other Comboni Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Seculars, Lay Comboni Missionaries and priest friends.
Useful publications for the theme of Ongoing Formation – 2013
The theme chosen by the General Council for 2013 is ‘Brotherhood: pathways of reconciliation”. These are the title of some useful material.
1. The Evangelising Comboni Community, Secretariat for Evangelisation, Comboni Missionaries, 2012.
2. Attention to the person in the Comboni community. Letter by the GC, 25 January, 2001.
3. Psychosocial dynamics of community life, Vincenzo Percassi, Rome 1996.
4. The Comboni community, gift and journey, in CA, 2003 (Chapter IV).
5. Chapter Acts 1969: Community life (pp. 470-480).
6. Communion and Missionary Communities (CEI 1980).
7. Animating Comboni communities: Tools (OGF, Rome 1988).
8. Community life and the view of the Founder, Fr. Alfredo Neres (MCCJ Bulletin 128, June, 1980, pp. 14-18).
9. Living the values. Formation as initiation (Secretariat for Formation, Rome 2003).
10. Reconciliation that generates life (MCCJ Bulletin 251, April, 2012, pp. 129-135).
11. Interculturality in the Comboni Community. Letter by the GC, 6 January, 1999.
12. Together towards the Intercapitular Assembly, 2006. Letter by Fr. Teresino Serra, 1 January, 2006.
Meeting of the European Provincials in Paris
The first 2013 meeting of the European provincial superiors took place in Paris. During the two-day meeting, topics common to all the European provinces were discussed. In particular, the coordinator of the European provincials, Fr. Alberto de Oliveira Silva, from Portugal, presented an agenda with the following topics: the three European projects, (namely Limone House as a spirituality centre; a European Centre for Mass Media; a project of involvement in work with and for migrants); the criteria for participation in the World Social Forum and the Comboni Forum, every two years; and the sharing of information between the various sectors of activity.
There was also a reflection on the topic of unification (grouping) of the Comboni circumscriptions in Europe. In his presentation, Fr. Alberto Pelucchi, Vicar General of the Institute and responsible for the provinces of Europe, shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of the possible fusion of the provinces. It was decided that the topic will be reconsidered at the next meeting due to take place in Nuremberg, Germany, in July.
The Afro-Ecuadorian Cultural Centre promotes a library online
As we know, the Afro pastoral is one of the priorities of the Comboni provinces of Latin America. In Ecuador, two communities are totally dedicated to the Afro-descendants. Fr. José Joaquim Luis Pedro, Secretary for Evangelization, explains the reasons why it was decided to start this library on line: “The idea is to establish a network between the three libraries – Quito, Bogotá and Salvador Bahia – in order to propagate all the Afro-American literature and thus create an awareness of the situation of the Afro-descendants, a kind of mission promotion for them.”
Fr. José Joaquim invites everyone to visit this library online, while asking the cooperation of anyone who may contribute new material: “You may visit our library and download the material you need; send us other links of virtual libraries dealing with the topic of the Afro-descendants. We will upload many of our books in PDF form and you will be able to download some for free. Other material, for which we will post an index and a summary, will be sent, upon request, at a low price. The Library will exclusively hold books, pamphlets and audio-visuals. News items of the Afro-descendants and the Afro pastoral activities will be published on our internet page.”
Fr. Giuseppe Scattolin was chosen (with other three Egyptian intellectuals: Murad Wahba, a Coptic philosopher; Ammar Ali Hasan, a famous journalist and writer; Mona Abu Zayd, deacon of the Faculty of Letters at Helwan University) by the Zagaziq University to receive on 10 March, 2013, an honorary recognition on behalf of UNESCO for their contribution to Arabic culture. UNESCO sponsors the course of philosophy at University of Zaqaziq. Every year, some persons are chosen for their contribution to Arabic culture and intercultural dialogue.
On the occasion Fr. Giuseppe prepared a topic on Cultural and Religious pluralism.
Assembly for Bursars
The Italian province held its Assembly for Bursars in Pesaro from 4 to 8 March. The folders given to each participants bore the words of the monk Evagrio Pontico: “Do not say: ‘this is mine and that is yours’, because in Christ everything is in common!”, a most appropriate quotation for this time when we are deepening our understanding of the Total Common Fund (TCF).
Reflections presented by Fr. Claudio Lurati, General Treasurer, helped the participants to view the TCF in a constructive way as a means towards common responsibility and a moment of growth. This includes the use of the General Norms published by the General Secretariat for Finance.
With the help of Fr. Luigi Codianni, the accounts of the various communities were noted and it was decided to meet again at zone level, in a few months’ time, to implement the process that will start the journey of the TCF in 2014. The contribution of those who cooperate closely with Fr. Codianni helped us to understand how the service of the bursar in the communities does not consist simply in keeping in order the administration and the accounts but also in taking responsibility for various personnel, security and legal situations that require an increasingly arduous and laborious commitment. The Provincial Superior emphasised how we are called to live the mission today with more responsibility, transparency, sharing and honesty, promoting a sober and simple lifestyle. He called upon the bursars to be the animators of the true values of finance in our communities.
At the end of the first meeting of Combonis working among the indigenous peoples of the American continent (Mexico City, 18-23 February, 2013), the participants wrote an open letter to all the confreres of the Institute. Our involvement among the indigenous peoples – together with those of African descent and people in urban peripheries – is one of the priorities of the American continent.
The letter presents the socio-economic and cultural challenges imposed upon the indigenous peoples of the Americas and expresses the desire that the Comboni Missionaries may participate actively in shaping their future. The confreres also undertake to identify the populations in the different provinces who are most affected by the abandonment and destruction of their cultural and environmental patrimony and to adopt an attitude of listening and respect for their uses and customs; furthermore, they assume the responsibility of collaborating in the construction of a Church that is truly autochthonous and self-ministering and to follow up the desire for justice and the aspiration towards the recognition of the rights of the indigenous peoples, being available to facilitate dialogue with the various organisations of society to inform and prophetically condemn all forms of oppression.
Rebirth in Comboni
On the occasion of the 182nd anniversary of the birth of the Founder celebrated on 15 March, 2013, the Provincial Superior, Fr. José Luis Rodríguez López, sent a letter to the confreres entitled “Rebirth in Comboni” in which he invited them to celebrate the holiness of Comboni, his history and his foundation, as members of the Comboni family.
In the same vein he referred to the document “Becoming Brothers”, by Fr. Manuel João Pereira Correia, the first supplement published on the theme of our Comboni reflections chosen for 2013 (Brotherhood: paths of reconciliation), which emphasises the need to establish a special and privileged relationship between all the members of the Institute, by reason of the common life ideal they share. He also quoted St. Thomas Aquinas who said that “the more important is what we have in common, the deeper is our friendship”.
As is traditional, both the scholastics and the postulants in Lima arranged to lend a hand, during the holidays, in the missionary work of the Comboni communities of the province. In recent years they have helped the community of Pangoa, which works among the people of the Peruvian Selva, an area of first evangelisation. There is a high level of violence there due to the presence of terrorists (Shining Path) and drug trafficking.
Both the scholastics and the postulants say they were very happy with the experience during which, despite the many hardships, they were “recharged” with enthusiasm. Once again we see that, as the 2009 Chapter Acts state: “The missionary is formed for the mission and the mission forms the missionary” (CA 2009, 72).
Meeting for those in formation
Again this year, at the beginning of the academic year, the scholastics and postulants organised a meeting that was held at the Lima Postulancy on 9 March. The two postulants of the Comboni Sisters were also invited.
Fr. Luis Weiss, presently based at Palca (Tarma), addressed the gathering and shared his missionary experience in Peru, linking it to the 75 years of Comboni presence in the Province.
The meeting, which lasted a whole day, was begun with a prayer and a welcome and ended with Mass and supper. It was, of course, a good opportunity for sharing missionary and pastoral experiences.
Handing over Nyamlell
On January 13, the Comboni Missionaries entrusted the mission of Nyamlell, among the Dinka in the diocese of Wau, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, to the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, a new Indian Institute which arrived recently in South Sudan, together with the Sisters of Mary Immaculate.
Fr. Michael Barton ran the parish and the primary school for twelve years. He had the collaboration of Fr. Raymond Pax and some Indonesian sisters for some time. Fr. Pax passed away in 2009 and is buried in the compound of the parish where he will forever keep watch over Nyamlell.
Handing over of the Comboni Comprehensive College in Lomin
On February 27, the Comboni Missionaries handed over to the diocese of Yei the Comboni Comprehensive College in Lomin, one of the best mixed secondary boarding schools in South Sudan. The late Fr. Eugenio Magni founded the college in 2000, to provide secondary education to students who had been affected by the war in various parts of South Sudan.
Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe of Yei, Provincial Superior Fr. Daniele Moschetti and former Principal Fr. Ezio Bettini, were among the crowd that witnessed the handover ceremony. The two acting principals and the staff, in collaboration with the 400 students, prepared the beautiful event.
Pilgrimage to Pan Nhom (Holy Cross Mission)
Eighty people made a four-day pilgrimage to Pan Nhom in East Yirol to pray for reconciliation, justice and peace in South Sudan and for the election of the new Pope under the theme “A thousand lives for the mission in the footsteps of St. Daniel Comboni.”
Pan Nhom is considered to be the location of Holy Cross Mission, where Daniel Comboni and five companions arrived in February 1858, but had to leave 11 months later defeated by death and illness.
The pilgrims, youths from Yirol, Mapuordit, Talì and Kajo Keji, some confreres and Comboni Sisters, a fidei donum priest from South Korea and an Italian volunteer, on March 12 and 13, visited five communities of Yirol Catholic parish, including a returnees’ camp, to pray and interact with the local people.
Due to the weather, the going was tough. On March 14, thirty eight pilgrims, including Fr. Michael Barton, managed to reach the place after walking for almost six hours, mostly through mud and water. The others decided to celebrate the Eucharist at the last resting point before reaching Pan Nhom.
The pilgrimage concluded on March 15, the birthday of St. Daniel Comboni, with a thanksgiving Mass in Yirol. The mood was great despite the two days of sleeping rough and the long and tiresome walk with little food or water. Some participants underlined the experience of togetherness, care, solidarity and prayer during the four-day pilgrimage.
THE FATHERS: David, of Fr. John Baptist Keraryo Opargiw (C); Domingo, of Fr. Guillermo Chacón Rodríguez (CO); Jos Mpotela, of Fr. Fred Ahiro (KE).
THE BROTHER: Luigi, of Fr. Aurelio Boscaini (I).
THE SISTERS: Francesca, of Frs. Francesco (†) and Antonio (†) Rinaldi Ceroni; Cilly, of Fr. Alfred Ziegler (DSP).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Flora Marzarotto; Sr. Maria Itala Pinato; Sr. Bruna Colombo; Sr. Pieralba Figini.