Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus


Documents regarding our young people in formation

The General Administration extends heartfelt thanks to Scholasticate and IBC formators who have promptly sent in copies of the main documents regarding our young candidates in formation. We would like to see this as a first step towards establishing the custom of more regular communication between the grass roots and the centre.

Secretariat for Formation

Annual Statistics – 2013/2014

1. There are only two minor seminaries left in the whole Institute (one in Mexico with 19 candidates and one in Eritrea with 20 candidates). The pre-postulancy (propaedeutic) exists in most circumscriptions with a total of 100 candidates. The Circumscriptions with the highest number of postulants are: Congo 45 (35+10 Brothers), Mozambique, 25 (22+3), Uganda 25 (22+3), Malawi-Zambia 22 (20+2), TGB 21, Kenya 17 (16+1), Ethiopia 13 (12+1), RCA 12.

2. Novitiate

For the year 2013 there are 21 newly-professed confreres who have celebrated their First Religious Profession in the month of May - (18 scholastics and 3 Brothers). Africa: 18 (16 scholastics and 2 Brothers) Europe: 2 (1 scholastic and 1 Brother) and one scholastic from America. The General Council has already assigned the newly professed to the various scholasticates and IBCs during the March Consulta.

For the new Formation Year 2013 – 2014:

Year I: French-speaking provinces - Cotonou 22 (21+1= CN 10+1, TGB 6, RCA 4, TC 1); English-speaking provinces - Lusaka 17 (16+1= KE 6, U 4+1, MZ 5 EG 1); Europe and Mozambique - Santarem 8 (P 2 + PO 1 + MO 5); America and Asia - Xochimilco 7 (6+1= PE 3, M 2, NAP 1, BNE 1 Brother). TOTAL: 54

Year II: French-speaking provinces - Sarh 19; English-speaking provinces - Namugongo 15 (14+1); Europe and Mozambique - Santarem 6; America and Asia - Xochimilco 6 TOTAL: 46

3. Scholasticate/IBC

Scholastics and Brothers in Temporary Vows:

Total:133 (113 scholastics and 20 Brothers in Temporary Vows).

By Continent: Africa: 110 (95 scholastics and 15 Brothers), America: 14 (12 scholastics and 2 Brothers), Europe: 6 (3 scholastics and 3 Brothers), Asia: 3 scholastics.

4. Perpetual Vows 2012: Total: 25 confreres: Brothers 4; Scholastics 20; Priest 1: Africa 16, America 7 (5+2); Europe 2 Brothers.

5. Newly Ordained Confreres 2012: Total 20 confreres: Africa 14; America 4; Europe 2.

6. Scholastics and Brothers in Temporary Vows who left the Institute in 2012: Total 11 (8+3): America 6 (5+1); Africa 4 (3+1); Europe 1 Brother.

In 2013 – to date 8 confreres (7 scholastics and 1 Brother) on Temporary Vows have left the Institute: Africa 6 (5 scholastics and 1 Brother); America 2 scholastics.

7. Personnel in the sector: Total 132: 56 vocations promoters and 76 formators

8. Specializations and Courses for Formators – 2013

Bro. Jean-Marie Mwamba Kabaya (Congo) - Doctorate in Philosophy for 3 years at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Fr. Shane Degblor (TGB) - Specialization in Pastoral Catechetics for 2 years at the Institut Catholique de Paris, Fr. Andrew Bwalya (RSA): Journalism Course for one year at the University of Pretoria; Bro. Pomykacz Jacek Andrzej (Poland): Two-year Licentiate in Social Doctrine of the Church at the Lateran University; Fr. John Korir (EG) - Islamic Studies at the PISAI for 2 years; Fr. Simon Mbuthia (EG) - Doctoral Program in Islamic studies at the PISAI; Fr. Jorge Naranjo (Khartoum / Spain) – Pedagogy (Spain); Fr. Zoé Musaka (Congo) - Two-year Licentiate in Theology with specialization in Vocations and Formation at the Gregorian University;

Fr. Ndjadi Ndjate Leonard (Curia) - Two-year Licentiate in Theology with specialization in Vocations and Formation at the Gregorian University; Fr. Robert Ochola Lukwiya (RSA): Short Course for Formators at the Salesian University (February-May, 2013)

Planned: Fr. Anicet Komi Maté Labite (TGB) - Two-year Licentiate in Theology with specialization in Vocations and Formation at the Gregorian University; Fr. Anthony Kimbowa Kibira (Uganda) - Diploma for Formators of Candidates for the Priesthood and Consecrated Life for a year at the Gregorian University; P. Gabriel Martinez (Mexico): On-going Formation Course and a Sabbatical for a year at the Institut Catholique de Paris and Lyon; Sc. Anatole Mughendi Mwengulo (Congo) - Two-year Licentiate in Theology with specialization in Vocations and Formation at the Gregorian University.

First professions

Bro. Aluma Edward (U)

Lusaka (Z)


Sc.  Moindi Polycarp Ntabo (KE)

Lusaka (Z)


Sc.  Dungu Robert Kinena (KE)

Lusaka (Z)


Sc. Musonda Cosmas (M-Z)

Lusaka (Z)


Sc.  Orishaba Elias (U)

Lusaka (Z)


Sc.  Zacarias Tobias Miguel (MO)

Lusaka (Z)


Sc.  Luna Sánchez Jonathan A. (PE)

Sahuayo (M)


Sc.  Alohoungo Abib A. Sylvain (TGB)

Cotonou (T)


Sc.  Atti Razack Théophile(TGB)

Cotonou (T)


Sc.  Babley Komla D. Daniel (TGB)

Cotonou (T)


Sc.  Dansu Ayawovi A. Achille (TGB)

Cotonou (T)


Bro. Kamala Piyabalo Moïse (TGB)

Cotonou (T)


Sc.  Sakie Tchawè Noël (TGB)

Cotonou (T)


Sc.  Karere Ncuti Deogratias (CN)

Cotonou (T)


Sc.  Kasereka Wasingya Amini (CN)

Cotonou (T)


Sc.  Fazili Makanzu Germain (CN)

Cotonou (T)


Sc.  Biseka Ntoya Guerlain-Joachim (CN)

Cotonou (T)


Sc.  Malema Bati Maurice (CN)

Cotonou (T)


Sc.  Matungulu Maniene Blondel (CN)

Cotonou (T)


Sc.  Antonello Giovanni (I)

Santarém (P)


Bro. Carrasco López Francisco (E)

Santarém (P)


Perpetual professions

Sc. Ayebare Archangel (U)

Rushere (UG)


Ordinazioni sacerdotali

Fr. Moses Otii Alir (U)

Abim (UG)


Holy Redeemer Guild

June                  01 – 15 KE             16 – 30 KH

July                    01 – 07 LP              08 – 15 CO          16 – 31 MZ

Prayer intentions

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. Lord hear us.

July – That our missionary service may be a ferment of new life for us, for our communities and all the people entrusted to us. Lord hear us.


Justino Martínez Pérez, Espiritualidad de los Salmos. Me rodeas de cantos de liberación, San Pablo, Madrid, 2013. The book was launched in Barcellona on 27 April, 2013, and the author, at present in the province of Brazil Nordeste, was linked by video-conference. The book was published last year (2012) in Catalan by Claret publishing house. Fr. Justino – using a simple vocabulary and vivid examples - aims at bringing both individuals and communities closer to the Psalms that speak of God’s infinite faithfulness, goodness and mercy.


Delegation Assembly and Thanksgiving Celebration

The annual Delegation Assembly this year was enriched by the Thanksgiving Mass that took place in our Comboni Mission Centre in Sucat, to mark the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of the presence of the Comboni Missionaries in Asia and of World Mission magazine. The Silver Jubilee Year started with the Friends of the Missions Fiesta last December and will end on the same occasion next December.

The Assembly started on May 8 in Tagaytay, on the hills outside the metropolis of Manila. It was a moment of communion and fraternity, made easier by the cool atmosphere of the hills and the very conducive setting of KARIS, the retreat House that was hosting us. After two days dedicated to Asian and Filipino spirituality and the study of the Code of Conduct, on Saturday May 11 we came down to Sucat for the Eucharist which had a special characteristic: it was the first time all the 21 Combonis presently in the delegation of Asia were together.

The chapel was also packed with friends, relatives and benefactors from the area. After the Eucharist and the meal, joyfully shared by all, there was the signing of the souvenir book “World Mission: 25 Years”, a slim coffee-table publication, printed by World Mission for the occasion, containing a selection of articles published in the multi-award-winning magazine from the beginning to the present day. In the evening we went back to Karis for a further two days to complete the agenda of our Assembly.


Second phase of the Comboni Renewal Course 2013 (CRC)

On April 19, the residential phase in Rome of the confreres doing the CRC came to the end and the itinerant phase began. During the last week of April, the missionaries made a pilgrimage within Italy, in the footsteps of St. Daniel, visiting first of all his birthplace, Limone sul Garda, and then the communities of Arco, Brescia and the Mother House in Verona. During this last stop, besides getting to know the activities of the Nigrizia Foundation and visiting the confreres who are sick, there was also time to visit the Mother House 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 ecclesiastical context, in which the vocation of Comboni developed and matured.

Especially moving was the meeting with the older Comboni Missionaries and those who are sick, where they 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.

On May 1, the second pilgrimage began, beginning with Egypt, to get to know what Comboni and the Comboni Missionaries have accomplished, especially during the first years of the mission, and then the Holy Land where, with the help of Fr. Fausto Beretta, the confreres of the CRC were able to “walk” in the footsteps of Jesus in order to give themselves with added trust to his call.

Meeting with friends and benefactors

Sunday, May 5, at the General House of the Comboni Missionaries, about a hundred people, including friends, benefactors and supporters of the Comboni mission met for the annual encounter.

At 10:30 am, General Assistant Fr. Antonio Villarino gave an input about the presence of the Comboni Missionaries in the world and the challenges they face in carrying out their mission. Fr. Antonio also brought up the issue of vocations, especially of their dearth in Europe and in the northern hemisphere. This situation contrasts with the growing number of teenagers and young people in Africa who apply to be admitted to the Institute. The latter fact – said Fr. Antonio – is a source of hope and optimism because it is in tune with the dream of Daniel Comboni: “Save Africa with Africans”.

At noon, Fr. Villarino presided at the Eucharist in the main chapel of the house. Concelebrating with him were seven confreres from the General Curia. In his homily, he spoke of the action and the central role of the Holy Spirit in the mission. To support his assertion, he told of a personal experience: the conversion to Catholicism of a voodoo priestess. When the missionary asked her why she wanted to be baptised, she replied: “Because I want to live in the shadow of the great light.” The meeting was concluded with a meal shared in fellowship.

First annual meeting of the General Financial Council

The first annual meeting of the General Financial Council, held at the Generalate in Rome from 6 to 9 of May has been concluded. The agenda dealt with the following points: the approval of the budget of the General Administration, revision of the reports of the circumscriptions, planning the general assembly of treasurers to be held in 2014 and the juridical standing of the Institute’s activities.

The members of the General Financial Council are the five members of the General Treasury, four continental representatives and two technical advisers, with the specific task of checking the accounting of the General Administration. The Assistant General in charge of this sector, Bro. Daniele Giovanni Giusti, regularly attends such meetings.

Comboni Missionaries with His Holiness Tawadros II

General Assistants Fr. Antonio Villarino Rodríguez and Fr. Gebresilasie Tesfaye Tadesse, on the afternoon of Sunday, May 12, paid a visit to His Holiness Tawadros II, Patriarch of Alexandria and of the See of St. Mark, who is the Head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt and now in Rome for his first visit abroad after his recent election. His Holiness Tawadros II was received in audience by the Holy Father, Pope Francis on May 10.

The meeting of Fr. Antonio Villarino and Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse took place in the context of the social and liturgical feast celebrated by the Patriarch Tawadros II and the Coptic bishop of Rome, Anba Barnabas El Soryani, in the monastery church of the Virgin Mary in Rome, frequented regularly by the Egyptian Copts and, sometimes, by the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox faithful who live in the southern part of Rome. The meeting, at which the two confreres had the opportunity to participate, was very significant for the Egyptian Copts in Rome and for all the Christians of the Middle East.


Mundo Negro has a new Director

Fr. Jaime Calvera Pi is to be the new director of Mundo Negro, the Comboni magazine founded in Madrid 53 years ago with the aim of promoting the missionary charism and the passion for Africa in Spain. Fr. Jaime takes over from Fr. Ismael Lopez Piñón who hopes to return soon to the mission.

On the occasion of the announcement of the new appointment, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, Luis Esteban Larra, presented a special issue on Africa which will be published soon. It will be an issue with ample studies of history, politics, society, economy, development, education, culture, the Church and religion. It will be accompanied by an attachment “Africa, country by country”, with a series of tables giving the main data of each African country.

Fr. Jaime, the new director, has worked for 16 years in the outskirts of Pretoria in South Africa, a country which he has learned to love. He says he accepts the challenge with confidence and joy because he is enthusiastic, first of all, at the prospect of providing exact information about Africa, about which little is reported and often in a distorted fashion, and, secondly, to be able to do so at this particular moment when we have a new Pope who - Fr. Jaime emphasised - with his “sympathetic attitude connects very well with the vitality surging up in the world of Africa and, with his gestures, speaks to us of hope”.


Fr. General has visited the Province

The Superior General, Fr. Enrique Sánchez González, spent from 5 April to 1 May visiting the Italian province. “It has been a fraternal encounter, a time of communion among ourselves and the whole Institute, a time that encourages us to live the mission in Italy as a gift, motivating and renewing our commitment”, said Fr. Corrado Masini, provincial superior of Italy.

The first part, at Limone sul Garda, represented a meaningful encounter with Comboni and the various confreres working in Europe who, at that time, were participating in the VII Comboni Symposium as they gathered at the home of St. Daniel Comboni to reflect upon missionary ministry in Europe. The last community he visited was that of the Verona Mother House which houses some provincial offices, the Comboni magazines and the multi-media centre of the Province. In between the visits to these two places, especially significant to the Province and the Institute, there was the long “pilgrimage” to call upon all the other communities.

Fr. Enrique, accompanied by the provincial superior, Fr. Corrado Masini, had the opportunity to meet with the confreres and form an idea of all the types of missionary presence and service in the Province: mission promotion, youth ministry and vocations promotion, evangelisation, the care of the elderly and the missions procure.

Among the more important events of the visit were the four zone assemblies, each lasting one or two days: Padua for the north-east, Brescia for the north-west, Pesaro for the central zone and Bari for the confreres of the south. Fr. General chaired the assemblies which had four parts: part one, dedicated to listening to the communities; part two, composed mainly of reacting and reflecting with Fr. Enrique; part three, on the theme of information concerning the Institute; part four, composed of prayer and a Eucharistic celebration. Each zone assembly was followed by visits to the various communities of the same zone.

The visits ended in Pesaro with two important days: 29 April, when Fr. Enrique took part in the Provincial Council, which included lively exchanges about the Province, and the following day when he took part in the Brothers’ Assembly on this year’s theme for ongoing formation “Fraternity: paths of reconciliation”.

“We thank Fr. Enrique, the Superior General, for the time he devoted to us and for the stimuli he offered towards deepening the quality of our life and qualifying our missionary service”, said Fr. Corrado Masini at the conclusion of the visit.

Coming together for the Brothers of the Province

The customary coming together for the Brothers of the Italian Province took place in Pesaro from 29 April to 6 May. The meeting envisioned a full programme of ongoing formation centred upon the theme chosen by the Institute for the current year: “Fraternity”.

The meeting, in which about thirty confreres participated, was opened by the Superior General, Fr. Enrique Sánchez González, who re-proposed the content of the letter of the General Council “Fraternity and Paths of Reconciliation”.

On the afternoon of the first day, Bro. Daniele Giusti reported on the situation of the Brothers in the Institute. There was no shortage of impressive testimonies by confreres who recently returned to Italy, or of times for relaxation and encounters with the ecclesiastical situation of the Church in the Pesaro zone. The meeting with the Brothers also marked the conclusion of the canonical visit of Father General to the Italian Province.


Meeting for Brothers

The triennial meeting for Brothers of Anglophone Africa and Mozambique took place in Nairobi from 9 to 12 May, at the Comboni Brothers Centre. Bro. Daniele Giusti, the General Assistant in charge of the Brothers, took part in the meeting while visiting the province of Kenya. There were twenty Brother participants from the various provinces. The objectives of the meeting were to identify ways and means to strengthen the promotion of the vocation to the Brotherhood, closer communication between the confreres and a better understanding of some of the issues regarding the Brothers in the Institute.



On 20 April, Crespim Cabral de Benfica Baraja was ordained priest by the Archbishop of Beira, Mgr. Claudio Dalla Zuanna, at the parish of Alto da Manga, in Beira, and Crespim’s home territory. He will carry on working in Mozambique at the parish of Alua, in Nacala diocese, where he had been doing his missionary service for the past two years.

The Provincial, Fr. José Luis Rodríguez López, thanked especially Mgr. Claudio for the profoundly missionary tone which he gave to the celebration, and all those present who came to join in the Crespim’s feast: relatives, friends and confreres from the five dioceses of Nacala, Nampula, Tete, Maputo and Beira in which the Comboni Missionaries are present.

Golden Jubilee of priesthood

Fr. Leonello Bettini, 75 years of age, originally from Mondavio (PU), Italy, celebrated his fifty years of priestly life on 7 April. Fr. Leonello has been working in Mozambique for over forty years, twenty of which he spent in the parish of Benfica, on the outskirts of Maputo. He was ordained priest on 30 March, 1963. A large number of the faithful of the parish community, numerous confreres and Mgr. Francisco Chimoio, Archbishop of Maputo, took part. While saying goodbye to Fr. Leonello, who is leaving the parish, Mgr. Chimoio introduced the new parish priest, Fr. Juan Sánchez Arenas, a Spanish Comboni with more than a decade of experience in Mozambique.

The Religious organise the first Social Week

The two conferences of male and female religious in Mozambique organised the first Social Week that ran from 22 to 26 of April, at the Nazareth Formation Centre in Beira. The Comboni priests Fr. Herivelto de Sousa Marques, a Brazilian, and Fr. Filip Andrzej Jan, a Pole, participated. The Archbishop of Beira and President of the Episcopal Commission for Consecrated Life, Mgr. Claudio Dalla Zuanna, chaired the work of this first Social Week in which 53 representatives of 38 Institutes of consecrated life – including the Comboni confreres and Comboni Sisters – two secular Institutes and the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace.

The meeting concluded with a declaration with which the participants expressed their commitment to work against human trafficking and violence against women in Mozambique.


Renewal of Vows and farewell to Fr. José Luis Román Medina

On the first of May, the eight scholastics of the community of Pietermaritzburg renewed their vows. Besides this important event, this year Fr. José Luis Román Medina, commonly known as Fr. Pepe, was bidding farewell to the community after almost eight years of dedicated service in the field of formation.

The feast was preceded by a day of reflection and prayer guided by Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins, provincial superior of RSA, who helped the community to see the vows and the Comboni missionary vocation in the context of the Year of Faith. The Eucharistic celebration and the renewal of the vows, as well as the farewell, started at five in the evening. Many friends from the area of Pietermaritzburg and the parish joined in the celebration, expressing their joy and gratitude for the gift of the Comboni community in their midst and for the commitment of the scholastics to a life of total dedication to the mission. It was stressed that the renewal of the vows is a witness to a different way of living in a world that prioritizes power, sex and money.

Fr. Jeremias took the opportunity of the farewell feast of Fr. Pepe to show gratitude for the gift of his person, for his work, his creativity and his joyful attitude even in moments of difficulties and stress. He wished Fr. Pepe a wonderful missionary service in his own country.


Perpetual profession and renewal of vows

The scholastic Yakob Solomon Shole, from Ethiopia, took his perpetual vows, while the scholastics Ketema Dagne Tadesse, from Ethiopia, and Lwanga Gilingere Limingere, from South Sudan but belonging to the province of Khartoum, and Bro. Paolo Rizzetto (from Italy) renewed their consecration for another year on April 13, in Juba, at the end of the provincial Retreat preached by Fr. Guido Oliana on the theme “God’s Love in us: source of our missionary energy.”

The Retreat was attended by a dozen confreres and four Comboni Sisters.

Yakob was ordained deacon on May 19 in Leer where he did his mission service and where he will return as assistant parish-priest.

Scholastics Ketema and Lwanga are doing their mission service in South Sudan. Bro. Rizzetto, a medical doctor, is attached to “Solidarity with South Sudan” and teaches nurses and midwives at the Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau.

Pre-postulancy reopens

The Pre-postulancy reopened on April 15 in Lomin with three candidates. The community was erected on March 1: Fr. Louis Tony Okot Ochermoi is the formator and superior and Fr. Salvatore Pacifico is the assistant formator. The pre-postulancy will be transferred to a popular neighbourhood in Juba as soon as the MCCJ get a plot of land from the local authorities.

Reconciliation workshop

About 30 people attended a four-day workshop organized by the Evangelisation Secretariat on reconciliation and peace-building from April 15 to 18 at Comboni House in Juba. Half of them were Comboni Sisters and confreres. The other participants came from the local church, Solidarity with South Sudan and a protestant organization.

The participants prepared a text with reflections and proposals on five areas of action: dialogue between traditional and Christian reconciliation; theological reflection with the people; work with women for reconciliation; collaboration to promote reconciliation; and youth and reconciliation. The Secretariat is preparing a booklet with all the inputs presented at the workshop.


Ongoing formation for local superiors

In line with the plans made by the Secretariat for Ongoing Formation, the local superiors met at Doba on 16 April for a meeting of sharing and formation about the mission promotion work of our communities. Following suggestions of the Chapter Acts, the Six-year Plan of the Province and the five guidelines (spirituality, fraternity, ongoing formation, finance and pastoral life) indicated by the General Secretariat, the theme chosen to orientate the sharing was: From the Plan of Comboni to the Plan of the Comboni Missionaries in Chad, carried out by our communities.

For each of the guidelines we chose some values to be lived, supporting structures to be created within our communities and some concrete actions to take up, so as to follow the path towards the dream of Comboni: the Communities as cenacles of Apostles.

The words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta – “the greatest suffering is solitude and not feeling loved” – were our guide for the duration of the meeting.

Let us pray for our beloved dead

THE FATHERS: Fredrick, of Paulino Mondo Twesigye; Jacob, of the Sc. Alohoungo Abib Ayodèlè Sylvain (TGB); Zacarías, of Bro. Hernán Romero Arias.

THE BROTHER: Narciso, of Fr. Lodovico Bonomi (BS).

THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Maria Chiara Marini; Sr. M. Agnese Tamanza.