Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus


Consultations for the appointment of Circumscription Superiors

The Superior General and his Council have sent all circumscription superiors a letter regarding the upcoming consultations for the appointment of Provincial and Delegation Superiors and their Councils.

The letter explains in detail the procedures for the straw ballot and voting as well as the timetable to be followed. The entire process should be concluded before the end of December, 2013.

The General Secretary has already sent the electoral lists to the Provinces and Delegations, updated to 1 July, 2013. All the professed members of circumscriptions on that date have an active vote (RL 119.1). “As we begin the process of discernment for the choice of provincial and delegate superiors and their councillors, I invite you to live this moment with an attitude of great openness to the Spirit, so that He may enlighten us. Let us pray together for the gift of superiors who will be able to make us live in depth our consecration and our Comboni missionary vocation” (Fr. Enrique Sánchez González).

Journeys and Visits of the GC

Fr. Enrique Sánchez G.

7 – 30 April, 2013: visit to the Italian Province

6 – 16 May, 2013: visit to the Delegation of Egypt

Fr. Alberto Pelucchi: remains at the Curia

Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse G.

16 July – 9 August: 2 Courses of Spiritual Exercises in Ethiopia

Fr. Antonio Villarino R.

03 – 06 April: in Limone

10 – 23 April: visit to the North American Province

10 – 30 July: visit to the Province of Central America

Bro. Daniele G. Giusti

11 – 18 April: visit to the Province of Central Africa

10 – 15 May: Brothers’ meeting in Nairobi

17 – 24 May: Francophone Africa Assembly in Cotonou

19 August – 8 September: in South Sudan

Perpetual professions

Sc. Yacob Solomon Shole (ET)

Juba (RSS)


Sc. Plinga Menguo-Mana (Job) (T)

Lomé (TG)


Sc. Hounongbe Kossi Alidjinou (T)

Lomé (TG)


Sc. Sekyiamah Hammond Kojo (T)

Lomé (TG)


Sc. Simtokena Sa’akaha Baènayem (T)

Lomé (TG)


Sc. Agboli John Hanson P. Kudjo (T)

Lomé (TG)



Fr. Billo Junior Bertrand Chris. (RCA)

Bangui (RCA)


Fr. Crespim Cabral de Benfica Baraja (MO)



Holy Redeemer Guild

May               01 – 07 ET             08 – 15 ER               16 – 31 IT

June              01 – 15 KE             16 – 30 KH

Prayer Intentions

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.

June – That the Holy Spirit may enlighten the decisions of the Comboni Missionaries regarding their circumscriptions, so that they may have superiors after the Heart of God, capable of serving and accompanying each confrere towards living fully his missionary vocation…


Visit by Bro. Daniele Giusti

Bro. Daniele Giusti has paid a visit to the communities of Bangui lasting from 10 to 18 April. The visit was decided upon by the General Council as a gesture of solidarity and sharing towards all the confreres of Central Africa who are faced with a situation of uncertainty and suffering due to the socio-political events of recent months that culminated in the seizure of power by Seleka rebels during Holy Week.

Bro. Daniele visited and met personally with all the confreres living in Bangui but could not reach the communities in the interior of the country which are still mostly cut off.

In Bangui itself he was able to participate at Mass on Sunday, 14 April. It was the concluding Eucharistic celebration of a week of prayer for peace called for by the Episcopal Conference of Central Africa. The main celebrant was Mgr. Nestor Désiré Nongo Asuabia, Bishop of Bossangoa (one of four bishops confined to Bangui as they could not reach their episcopal sees) and the Mass was celebrated at our parish of Our Lady of Fatima. Speaking on behalf of all the bishops, Mgr. Nestor invited all the Christians to keep hoping and not to yield to discouragement at the difficulties they have to face.

In the capital city, as is the case throughout the country, the looting continues with violence and the oppression of the people. Despite the recent announcement by the National Committee for Transition that Michel Djotodia was now the President of the Republic, thus giving the country a legal authority, the various factions making up the Alliance (Seleka) which have assumed power, do not recognise the central authority. Instead, they continue to attack civilian targets such as religious institutes (especially those that are catholic and Christian), the state institutions, entire villages and houses in the capital. This behaviour on the part of the occupying army, together with the fact that many of the members of the Alliance militias speak Arabic rather than the local language, raises serious doubts as to whether the rebellion really is in the national interest.

In this situation, the Pastors carry on trying to sustain the hopes of the people, pleading for them to be open to reconciliation without, however, yielding to passivity. It is only by the grace of God, granted through constant prayer, that such equilibrium may be attained.

All our confreres are well, even though they have been sorely tried by almost four months of insecurity and tension. They all freely chose to stay at their posts when, at a time when communication was still possible, the Provincial Superior granted all those who felt particularly tried by the situation, permission to leave the mission. Mgr. Aguirre, forced to remain in Bangui for some time, has now succeeded in returning to his diocese thanks to a Red Cross plane.

At the moment we are in contact with all the communities: the confreres at Dékoà are able to move in convoy; those at Grimari are able to reach Bangui using whatever transport they find. Instead, the confreres at Boda and Mongumba, Mgr. Rino Perin and Fr. Euro Casale at Mbaiki, are unable to move but are still in contact by telephone.

Bro. Daniele also met the Comboni Sisters based in Bangui and brought them their mail and greetings from their General Council.

As his visit came to an end, Bro. Daniele left a written message for all the confreres in which he thanked them for the courage they had shown and their good example in staying close to the people among whom they work, a sure sign of their desire and commitment to sustain their hope. He also assured the confreres of the willingness of the General Council to set in motion the process of solidarity and sharing of the Institute just as soon as the situation permits the organisation of the aid required to alleviate the sufferings of the people and to avoid the consequences of the approaching famine.


On Sunday, 21 April, 2013, Billo Junior Bertrand Chrysostome was ordained to the priesthood at the Comboni parish of Notre Dame de Fatima in Bangui. He is the fifth Comboni priest from central Africa. The ordaining bishop was Mgr. Dieudonné Nzapalaïnga, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bangui. Despite the shooting that could be heard and the torrential rain, a great number of Christians also from other parishes came to attend the ceremony.

Towards the end of the celebration, Fr. Jonas Beka, the first Central African Comboni, spoke on behalf of the Provincial and all the confreres to thank everyone for coming and to inform the congregation of Fr Junior’s appointment to Kenya.


Missionaries of Mother Laura Montoya

On 16 April, 2013, National Congress awarded an honour to the Institute of the Missionaries of Mother Laura Montoya, the foundress of one of the first and most important female missionary institutes in Latin America dedicated to Indios and African Americans. Mother Laura will be canonised in Rome on 12 May of this year and will become the first Colombian saint.

The award ceremony was attended – apart from the Superior General, Mother Ayda Orobio and the Secretary of the Nuntiature – by a representative of the indigenous movement and, representing the Afro Pastoral, the Comboni Brother Kakule Silusawa Lwanga, who works among people of African descent in the Suba sector of Bogotá.

Brotherhood of Afro-Colombian Theology

The latest meeting of this group of theologians and catholic experts in Afro pastoral open to ecumenism was held at Medellin from 2 to 5 April, 2013. Fr. Rafaello Savoia, delegate of Colombia, is the coordinator and secretary of the group. Thanks to Comboni collaboration, the first number of the Review of Afro-Latin-American Theology “Katanga” has now been published. Its main theme is “Afro-American Theology Today”. A digital version can be accessed in the virtual library of the Afro-Colombian Centre for Spirituality and Integral Development on the website of the Comboni Missionaries in Bogotá: https:/


Provincial Assemblies

The Provincial Assembly took place from 9 to 12 April at the Provincial House in Quito with almost all the confreres of the Province taking part. It began with a report by the Provincial who presented an overview of the Comboni presence in Ecuador in recent years and a reflection upon the letter of Fr. Antonio Villarino who visited the province last year. The letter emphasised four fundamental themes: vocations promotion and formation, mission today, the organisation of the Institute, spirituality and the quality of life in our communities.

The Marianist theologian, Fr. Cecilio de Lora, then presented the dynamics of the ad gentes-inter gentes, starting from the celebration of the Year of Faith and the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the document “Ad Gentes”, with reference to the importance of the Aparecida document and the continental mission which the Church of the continent is carrying out.

On Thursday, 11 April, during a beautiful and participated Eucharist, we celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the priesthood of Fr. Raffaele Minurri, who spoke to us of the joy of the priesthood and the work he did during his 42 years of mission in Ecuador. Fr. Raffaele recently returned to the Province after some years of service in Italy. During the same celebration, other anniversaries of confreres present at the Assembly were also remembered.

In February and March, the province had organised two preparatory meetings in view of this Assembly: one for the bursars and one for the superiors. The ‘patriarch’ of the Province, Fr. Efrem Angelini, was also present. Now 93 years old, he is still firmly and very compassionately leading the Comboni parish of Carmen and devotes much of his time every day to hearing confessions and giving spiritual direction to the faithful of the parish.


Foundation stone

During the work of restoration of the Cordi Jesu church in Cairo, the foundation stone of the chapel dedicated to the Sacred Heart was discovered. Searching through original archives, Fr. Benito Cruciani found a document bearing the following annotation: “Foundation Stone from Famiglia Comboniana-CJ - Extract: pages 15-16, Blessing and placing of the foundation stone of the Cordi Jesu church”.

On 27 and 28 December, 1880, the foundation stone was blessed and Daniel Comboni signed the contract for the construction of the church. The document found bears witness to the desire of Comboni to dedicate a shrine to the Sacred Heart – the first – in Africa.

New book by Fr. Scattolin

Fr. Giuseppe Scattolin has just published a new book in Arabic entitled “Reflections on Sufism and on interreligious dialogue”, something of a synthesis of his view of dialogue between the spiritualities of the world and Islamic spirituality, especially Sufism.

“The aim of the book – says Fr Scattolin, who has lived in the Arab world (Lebanon, Sudan and Egypt) for about 40 years – is to propose a problem that concerns us all and to indicate possible pathways of life, thought and action, especially to the Islamic world, presently captive of political Islam that threatens to overpower it with its mixture of religion and politics in an endless chain of devastating wars and conflicts”. “Reflections on Sufism and interreligious dialogue” has been printed by the General Organisation for Egyptian Books (a government organisation) and it costs 20 Egyptian pounds (about 2.50 Euro).


VI Comboni Symposium

The VI Comboni Symposium organised by the European Group for Theological Reflection (EGTR) has taken place in Limone from 3 to 6 April. There were about forty participants – Comboni Missionaries, Comboni Sisters and lay people – from various European provinces and they reflected upon the theme: “Comboni mission in Europe – which ministries?”. The participants considered the theme to be of great importance for mission today, especially in the context of the local European Churches. The main thesis sees ministeriality as the realisation of the mission, a journey of responsibility of all men and women in the community and for the community. In particular, ministeriality – and this was the central idea – is born out of fraternity and causes a growth in fraternity which has at its centre the person of Christ.

News from the Comboni Multi-media Centre

On 20 April, the African Museum of the Comboni Missionaries of Verona opened a display about Fr. Giuseppe Ambrosoli and the work of Kalongo hospital, Uganda. The display will remain open until the beginning of October. School and parish groups are expected to be among the many visitors.

The “Mondiario” diary for the coming school year has been published and more than 20,000 copies have already been sold.

The Nigrizia Onlus Foundation has issued a film entitled “Danzando in Perù” (Dancing in Peru). It was shown at the festivals of Monselice and Cortona. Copies are available from the media centre in Verona.

The Comboni Sisters have left the community of Rebbio

Having been present in Rebbio since 1948, the Comboni Sisters left our community on 9 April, 2013. With the departure of the Comboni Sisters from Rome, EUR at the end of 2012, Rebbio had been the last Comboni community in Italy where they were present. The community marked their departure in a positive manner, involving also the parish of Rebbio where, on Sunday, 7 April, both priests and people said goodbye to the Sisters. The main celebrant at the Mass was the Parish priest, Fr. Giusto, a Fidei Donum priest in Cameroon while Fr. Pietro Bracelli gave the homily instead of the Superior, Fr. Luigi Generoso, who was still in hospital in Milan. At the end of Mass, Sr. Angela Maria Reduzzi thanked the parishioners on behalf of her two colleagues in the community, Sr. Renata M. Sala and Sr. Ines Maria Stefli. A thanksgiving Mass was celebrated on the Monday morning attended also by four Sisters from Buccinigo and around twenty benefactors and friends. It was followed by a fraternal meal, attended by the Parish Priest and the staff of the house. With an embrace by all present, the Sisters left our community and the diocese of Como for good at 3pm. The Italian Province wishes to thank the Comboni Sisters, especially that long line of Sisters who, during the past 65 years, gave their cooperation to the Comboni Missionaries at Rebbio, particularly during the time when there was a junior seminary there.


Provincial Assembly

During the week of April 15-19, the confreres of the North American Province (NAP) held their provincial assembly. Most of the members attended together with Fr. Antonio Villarino, member of the General Council. Fr. Manuel Baeza, provincial superior, opened the proceedings the evening of Monday, April 15, by leading a meditative prayer service and giving a brief introduction to the themes of the assembly: the future of the NAP and the upcoming accreditation with Praesidium for the protection of minors. Fr. John Converset was the main moderator of the assembly.

The first full day started with the Eucharist and a series of reports. The afternoon was given to a revision of the section on finances in the provincial directory, a discussion on the criteria established for occupation of the “senior” rooms. There was also enough time for an exchange of ideas concerning our publications.

Wednesday, April 17, started with the Eucharist presided over by Fr. Jerry De Tomasi, who is celebrating his golden jubilee. Then Fr. Antonio Villarino guided us through an overview of the state of the Institute and introduced the topic of the clustering of provinces vs. province-to-delegation change and made clear the mind of the GC on the subject. The work day ended with a re-reading and brief discussion of our own Code of Conduct. A picnic with the current staff, their spouses and several of our former employees concluded the day and revived old friendships.

Thursday morning was given entirely to a power point presentation given by a member of Praesidium. It was interesting to discover that the rules of conduct drafted by the NAP years ago were the basis for our own deontological code and go hand in hand with current national standards. The afternoon was given again to a discussion on the future of the NAP during which various options emerged. The final topic was a discussion on how to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Comboni Missionaries in the United States (1939-2014). The day and the assembly ended with a Eucharist presided over by Fr. Villarino, assisted by Fr. José A. Pimentél who will soon leave Cincinnati for California.

The atmosphere of the assembly was very fraternal and serene and we appreciated the active presence and the words of encouragement of Fr. Villarino.


Golden Jubilee of Priesthood

There was a great celebration at Adidogome on Saturday, 6 April, when Fr. Fabio Gilli gave thanks to God for his fifty years of priesthood. Parishioners, men and women religious, priests of the Archdiocese and Comboni confreres took part in the Mass presided over by Archbishop Denis Amuzu Dzakpah of Lomé. Of his fifty years of priesthood, almost forty were spent in Togo at the service of the mission in pastoral work, in formation and in works of charity towards the visually impaired. Starting in 1979, Fr. Fabio dedicated his life to meeting the needs of the blind in Togo where he created centres for their human and social formation and growth.

Perpetual Vows and Diaconate

On 9 April, at the Provincial House in Lomé-Cacaveli, five scholastics, surrounded by their families, friends and confreres, took final vows. They are: John Hammond Sekyiamah and John Agboli from Ghana; Job Plinga, Jean de Dieu Hounongbe and Kevin Simtokena from Togo. The main celebrant at Mass was the provincial Fr. Girolamo Miante who, in his homily, encouraged them to live their identity and belonging to the Institute with fidelity. Job Plinga will go to South Africa, John Agboli to Central Africa, and John Hammond to Ethiopia while Jean de Dieu and Kevin will remain in the Province.

On Saturday, 20 April, the vigil of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the five scholastics were ordained deacons in Adidogome, at the parish of Mary, “Mother of the Redeemer”, by Mgr. Denis Amuzu Dzakpah. Four Franciscan Brothers (OFM) were also ordained along with them. This event was a marvellous testimony for the young people of the parish who took part in the ceremony

Ongoing Formation and the Second Vatican Council

The entire Province held its Ongoing Formation Assembly on 30 April and 1 May, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II. The moderator of the meeting was Mgr. Paul Vieira, Bishop of Djougou (Benin) who helped the participants to study the documents of the Council regarding pastoral and missionary commitment.

Let us pray for our beloved dead

THE FATHER: Juan Angel, of Fr. Gonzalo Antonio Dasilva Fernández (E).

THE BROTHERS: Piero, of Fr. Vittore Gilardi (I); Manuel, of Fr. Angel Camorlinga Maldonado (NAP); Pierino, of Bro. Francesco Ragnoli (†).

THE SISTER: Adele, of Fr. Alberto Martinuzzi (†).

THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Videlma Bortoletto; Sr. Giuseppina Restelli.