Rome, Sunday, May 5, 2013
The confreres of the Comboni Renewal Course 2013 (CRC) came to the end of the residential phase in Rome on April 19. The next day, they left for a pilgrimage on the footsteps of Comboni and of Jesus. They went to Limone sul Garda, Arco, Brescia and Verona. Now they are in Egypt and then they will go to the Holy Land. The conclusion of the CRC is foreseen for May 30, when they will return to Rome and then leave to resume their missionary commitments.
Twenty three Comboni Missionaries – 20 priests and 3 brothers – are taking part in the 45th edition of the CRC, which started in Rome on January 7, this year. The group is made up of people representing eight nationalities: 9 Italians, 4 Mexicans, 5 Spaniards, 2 Portuguese, 1 Eritrean, 1 Chilean, 1 Irishman. The youngest is 45 and the oldest is 75.
The residential phase in Rome ended on April 19. During the celebration of the Eucharist, which united all the communities of the General Curia, some members of the CRC thanked the Institute for this opportunity to reflect and review their life with the aim of making their missionary call more authentic and more generous. “During the evaluation, we all pointed out the spirit of community which prevailed among the participants. This family climate fostered the exchange of experiences and the mutual enrichment,” said Fr. Saverio Paolillo, one of the participants.
The itinerant phase of the CRC started on April 20. During the last week of April, the missionaries made a pilgrimage on the footsteps of St. Daniel in Italy, visiting first of all his birthplace, Limone sul Garda, and then the communities of Arco, Brescia and of the Motherhouse in Verona. During this last stop, beside getting to know the activities of the Nigrizia Foundation and visiting the confreres who are sick, there was also time to visit the Motherhouse of the Comboni Missionary Sisters, the Don Mazza Institute, the cemetery, where many Comboni missionaries are buried, and some of the historical landmarks of the city, in order to understand the context, especially the ecclesial context, in which the vocation of Comboni developed and matured.
“During all of these stops – said Fr. Saverio – we had time to deepen the knowledge of the life of our Founder and the history of the Institute, but the most impacting aspect was the meeting with people who shared the passion for the Comboni charism. Especially moving was the meeting with the older Comboni Missionaries and with those who are sick, where we found various confreres who had contributed to the basic formation of some of the members of the CRC or who had shared with them some of their missionary experiences. It was an opportunity to thanks all those who have sacrificed their life for the missions and who continue to live it through prayer and the offering of their sufferings.”
On May 1, the second pilgrimage began: first in Egypt to get to know what Comboni and the Comboni Missionaries have accomplished, especially during the first years of the mission, and then in the Holy Land where, with the help of Comboni Fr. Fausto Beretta, the confreres of the CRC will be able to “place their feet” in the footsteps of Jesus in order to give themselves with added trust to his call.