Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
20TH CONSULTA – 3-28 June 2013
1. Unification of the Province of Brazil
After consulting the provincial councils and all the confreres of the two provinces of Brazil, and seeing that the majority were in favour of it, the General Council has decided to proceed with the unification of the two provinces of Brazil. The decree of unification was approved on 24 June, the feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist. Our best wishes go to the new circumscription and we hope this will be the beginning of a new era for the mission and the Comboni presence in Brazil. We are grateful to all the confreres who took part in this process.
The GC has appointed Fr. Moses Samuel Huruwella as second formator and bursar of the scholasticate of Cape Coast (GH), Fr. Benedetto Giupponi as socius of the Novice Master of Cotonou (BEN) and Fr. Tesfaghiorghis Hailè Berhane as formator at the scholasticate of Asmara.
3. Ongoing initiatives
The commission which is working on the various initiatives to animate the entire Institute towards discovering the riches of the Rule of Life met in the month of June.
Within the next few months, an invitation will be sent to the provinces of Europe to participate in a first experience that will take place in September, in Limone.
As well as that, a small commission has begun its work of preparing for the 150th anniversary of the Plan for the Regeneration of Africa. The GC has asked this commission to reflect upon some initiatives suggested so as to make known the riches of the Plan, and, above all, to help us to discover its relevance and validity for our missionary service today. Their aim will be to publicise the proposals that will emerge so that they can be used in the provinces.
4. Process for the election of the new Provincials and Councils
Almost all of the circumscriptions have begun the process of the straw ballot for the election of new Provincials. The results were received by the GC which gave the go-ahead for electoral voting. We would ask all our confreres to accompany this work with their prayers and serene discernment so that the Lord may help us to make the right choices and to give us the confreres we need for the service of authority.
5. Next meeting of the GC with all Circumscription Superiors
The GC has scheduled the next meeting of the General Administration with all the Circumscription Superiors who will take office on 1 January, 2014. It will take place in Rome from 9 to 23 February, 2014. The GC will prepare its details and content.
6. Course at the CCOGF
During the Consulta, the GC met with the coordination team of the Comboni centre for Ongoing Formation. The team gave their evaluation of the Renewal Course which was satisfactorily concluded at the end of May with an experience in the Holy Land.
The team also told the GC that they are preparing a course for confreres over seventy. It is planned for the second half of 2014. They will try to send further information about it to those interested as soon as possible.
In the meantime, some confreres are coming to Rome to take part in the Comboni Year and they need to learn some Italian. Around twenty participants are expected.
7. 10th Anniversary of the Canonisation of Comboni
On 5 October, 2003, St Daniel Comboni was canonised. This is the tenth anniversary. St Daniel Comboni was a figure who by now belongs to the entire church. We therefore invite all the communities to solemnise this event together with the people, using the occasion to make known more deeply the figure and the spirit of our Founder.
8. Visits and Trips of the GC
Fr. Enrique Sánchez G.
15 July – 12 August: visit to the Province of Malawi-Zambia;
1 – 22 September: visit to the Province of Khartoum
Fr. Alberto Pelucchi
15 – 22 July: meeting with the Comboni Bishops at Nuremberg (DSP);
3 – 18 August: pastoral youth camp
11 – 15 September: meeting with the Provincial Councils of Europe at Nuremberg (DSP)
Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse G.
15 July – 15 August: 2 courses of spiritual exercises for the confreres of Ethiopia; vacation
Fr. Antonio Villarino
10 July – 6 August: visit to the delegation of Central America;
6 August – 9 September: visit to the Province of Peru;
10 – 30 September: visit to the Province of Brasile Sud
Bro. Daniele Giusti
29 June – 6 July: retreat
13 – 28 July: vacation
20 August – 9 September: visit to some projects in South Sudan
Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia
Two great gifts from the King of Bahrain
On 11 February, (the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes) the grant of a piece of land of almost 9,000 square metres to the Catholic Church for the construction of a new church in Bahrain, was signed It was a gift from the King. The new church will be the ctahedral of the Vicariate of Northern Arabia and dedicated to Our Lady of Arabia, Patroness of the Persian Gulf. In doing so the King showed great courage as 188 Moslems (and also, it would seem, some Protestant churches)had written to the king asking him not to make such a concession.
On 25 June, 2013, the King of Bahnrain personally presented a Bahraini passport to the Vicar Apostolic, Mgr. Camillo Ballin. It is common knowlege that it is very difficult to obtain a visa for some of the Gulf States. Now, however, with his Bahraini passport, Mgr. Ballin may go unhindered to all the gulf States and all Arab countries and no visa will be necessary.
Appointment of Fr. Fernando Domingues
On June 4, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, announced to the officials of the Missionary Dicastery and to the personnel of the International Secretariats of the Pontifical Missionary Works the appointment of Fr. Fernando Domingues, Rector of the Pontifical Urbanian College, as General Secretary of the Pontifical Work of St Peter the Apostle.
The Pontifical Work of St Peter the Apostle, founded by Jeanne and Stéphanie Bigard in 1889 at Caen, in France, is dedicated to maintaining the formation of local clergy in mission Churches and also extends help to candidates to the religious life. It presently provides for the needs of seminaries in mission lands
Secretary for Missionary Animation
The directors of the publications of the Comboni provinces of Europe – Portugal, Spain, Italy, the London Province, Poland and Germany – met on 29 and 30 May at Maia in Portugal. The Vicar General, Fr. Alberto Pelucchi and the Provincial of Portugal, Fr. Alberto de Oliveira Silva also attended. Fr. Jorge García, General Secretary for Missionary Animation, opened the meeting with a Biblical reflection on the disciples of Emmaus.
During the two-day meeting, those in charge of the means of communication gave their reports on their activities and reflected especially on the suitability of creating a European Media Centre, a project that met with a degree of approval.
Various interventions mentioned the great changes that Europe is undergoing at all levels – social, economic, cultural and ecclesial – and consequently it was considered necessary to continue to study the themes connected to communication and missionary animation. The participants insisted upon the importance of holding an annual meeting for confreres working in this sector.
Coordinator of Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation
Anniversary of the foundation of AEFJN
On the 28th of May AEFJN (Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network) celebrated the 25th anniversary of its foundation.
The project of a European Network (on the model of the one founded in Washington in 1983 by some Institutes) was presented in January 1987 to 38 Missionary Institutes working in Africa and, in 1988, the Network was officially launched with the participation of 16 member Institutes, including the Comboni Missionaries.
Over the years AEFJN was able to gather information on forgotten crises in the Sudan, famine in Malawi, the conflict in eastern Congo and so on. Through all these initiatives AEFJN have exerted a positive impact on European policies in Africa and earned a reputation in Brussels.
The 25th anniversary was celebrated in Rome at the headquarters of the Divine Word Missionaries in the presence of Cardinal P. K. A. Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and numerous members of Missionary Institutes collaborating with AEFJN. The theme of this celebration was “Our God is a God of Justice”. The Cardinal emphasised that the encyclical letter “Pacem in Terris”, whose 50th anniversary is celebrated this year, emphasized that the transformation of the world was the task of a faith that practised justice, because it was in practicing justice that faith became history.
European Comboni Lay Missionaries Meeting
The coordinators of the Comboni Lay Missionaries (CLM) of Europe met on 22 and 23 June at the house of the Comboni Missionaries at Krakow, in Poland, to review the work done and plan activities up to the next European Assembly in 2016. The meeting was attended by representatives of the laity and Comboni Missionaries from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Germany as well as a representative of the Comboni Sisters of Europe, Sr. Maria do Carmo Ribeiro. Fr. Gianni Gaiga, Delegate of the Comboni Missionaries in Poland and Fr. Arlindo Pinto, Coordinator of the CLM at Institute level.
On the second day, when the work of the meeting was finished, elections were held to choose the members of the new European Commission of which the Provincial of Spain, Fr. Ramón Eguíluz Eguíluz, is also a member, chosen by the Provincials of Europe.
The meeting ended with a Mass presided over by the Franciscan Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Krakow, Mgr. Damian Andrzej Muskus.
Fr. Mora Masís Adrián J. (DCA) Ipis, Guadalupe (CR) 08.06.2013
Fr. Kariuki Charles Macharia (KE) Total, Nakuru (KE) 15.06.2013
Holy Redeemer Guild
July 01 – 07 LP 08 – 15 CO 16 – 31 MZ
August 01 – 15 M 16 – 31 MO
September 01 – 15 NAP 16 – 30 PE
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.
August – That all Comboni Missionary men and women may be able to offer the world a constructive and joyful witness of faith.
Lord hear us.
September – That all the young people in formation in our Institutes may allow themselves to be led by the Spirit of Christ and by their formators; may they be fascinated by the beauty and greatness of their call to evangelise the poorest and most abandoned.
Lord hear us.
Enzo Santângelo, Jovens com Cristo para uma nova Humanidade, Editora Alô Mundo, São Paulo, 2013. “The Comboni journalist Enzo Santângelo, uses an imaginary interview with St John Bosco, apostle of the youth, presents some guidelines for following the youth in their aspirations for the transformation of society, a society in which all may have a place at the table of life”. In these words Mgr. Odelir José Magri, Bishop of Sobral, introduces the author in the preface of the book.
From 29 May to 1 June, the city of Dekoa witnessed a time of relaxation in the Youth Forum, organised by the Provincial, Fr. Giovanni Zaffanelli, under the auspices of the diocese of Kaga Bandoro. Outstanding speakers were invited such as the parish priest of Sibut, Fr. Pierre Albin Assana, Fr. Pierre Long-Gnan, the personal repsentative of Mgr. Albert Vabuel, Professor Bernard Simiti, a historian and university lecturer, and the Imams Oumar Goni, Malik and Anadif, from the mosques of Bangui.
Over four days, the youth of Dekoa, without any religious distinction, gathered together with the youth of Seleka to carry out cultural initiatives, football tournaments, dances and theatrical presentations.
The Forum ended with a meal provided by the organisers and attended not only by the speakers and invited persons but also a large number of Moslems and members of Seleka. All sat at the same table and shared the food prepared by the Sisters and the Moslem women of Dekoa.
Conference on the economic crisis
On Monday 10 June, the Comboni Missionaries present in the Chapter Hall availed of the opportunity to assist at the second conference of Professor Carmine Tabarro, a bank director and lecturer at the Gregorian University.
The intervention of Prof. Tabarro is to be seen in the context of the group of initiatives proposed by the Curia reflection group to study issues of today. This latest conference entitled “How the economic crisis is seen and lived beyond Europe”, is the second part of a broad report on the economic crisis; the first part had been covered some months ago.
In the opinion of Prof. Tabarro, the present crisis in Europe has given rise to a deep crisis of values expressed in technocratic ideology which, in fact, reduces man to an object and considers the solutions to problems as simply “technical products”.
Referring to the attention paid by the mass media to the words of Pope Benedict on ethics, there is always the problem as to the meaning many people really give to the word itself.
Comboni Sisters celebrate 50 years in Ecuador
On 26 May, 2013, the faithful of the Comboni parish of San Lorenzo (Esmeraldas) organised a great feast to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the Comboni Sisters in Ecuador, who established their presence five years after the appointment of Mgr. Angelo Barbisotti as Apostolic Administrator.
The present Bishop of Esmeraldas, Mgr. Eugenio Arellano Fernández, speaking during Mass, outlined the beauty of the vocation and mission of many daughters of Comboni who dedicated themselves to this country where they received from the people a welcome, affection, gratitude and collaboration.
In fact, this region developed so well due to the many social works the Comboni Sisters founded and continue to run competently and professionally: a hospital, a maternity, a kindergarten, a school, a college, an institute for special education, the formation and organisation of women, evangelisation and the pastoral of the Christian communities.
After Mass, more than five hundred people, including adults and children, shared a meal, memories and sentiments.
Continental Commission for Afro-American Pastoral (APC)
A meeting was held in Quito, Ecuador, attended by Fr. Raffaello Savoia, Delegate of Colombia and head of the APC, Fr. Claudio Zendron, Provincial of Ecuador, Fr. José Joaquim Luis Pedro, in charge of the Afro Cultural Centre of Quito and the Afro sector of the pastoral of the Episcopal Conference of Ecuador, and Bro. Godfrey-Abel Dimanche, director of the Afro Pastoral Centre of Guayaquil. Fr. Mariano Tibaldo, Secretary of Evangelisation and Fr. Arturo Bonandi from the “Fr. Heitor Afro Pastoral Centre” of Salvador, Bahia, took part via Skype.
Having taken a panoramic view of the socio-economic situation of the Afro population and the Afro pastoral in the Continent, the meeting proceeded to update the Continental Afro Pastoral Plan. In particular, commitments and activities were evaluated to make them more fit for the new situation.
One of the more important concerns is the rotation of personnel working in the Afro pastoral and the difficulty in finding Comboni confreres willing to take on this mission.
The proposals that emerged will be examined with the Superiors, bearing in mind that Afro pastoral is one of the priorities that give meaning to the Comboni presence in the Continent.
Visit of the Superior General
The visit of Fr. Enrique Sánchez G. to the province was a moment of fraternal sharing and awareness of the Egyptian situation, particularly at the ecclesial and Institute level.
Fr. Enrique arrived on 4 May, the Oriental Easter Vigil. On Easter Monday we had lunch with the Nuncio, Mons. John Gobel, and the following day with the Bishop of Luxor, Mons. Johannes, followed by a visit of courtesy to the Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac and the Apostolic Vicar of the Latin Rite Mons. Adel Zaki.
Fr. Enrique was able to meet with each confrere of the Delegation.
On the 11th of May we began our mini assembly with Fr. Enrique sharing his impressions and reflections as we were about to start the straw-ballot vote for the new provincial of the new “Egypt-Sudan Province”. The mini assembly concluded with the Eucharist, followed by the inauguration and blessing of the “Comboni Crypt” under the church of Cordi Jesu, where once the Institute for the Mission of Central Africa stood.
Fr. Enrique appealed to all to work together, avoiding the creation of personal islands, and, looking in a realistic way about the amalgamation, reminded us of a joint discernment as we are starting together on a journey of renewal and requalification of both Sudan and Egypt. The Provincial of Khartoum, Fr. Angelo Giorgetti, was also present at the assembly and shared the anxieties our confreres were experiencing in Sudan concerning the future, due to the uncertainties of the political situation and the restrictions that the Sudanese government is imposing on them and the local Christian Church.
Fr. Enrique also met with a representative group of Comboni Lay Missionaries (CLM) during a Bible Congress in Zamalek on the 10th of May and shared his reflections on the relationships between the CLM and the Comboni Missionaries. Pointing out the CLM autonomy, he invited them to discover their own identity, which is a vocation not just another ecclesial activity.
Evangelization among the Gumuz
Last May 14, the communities working in the Federal State of Benishangul-Gumuz, bordering with Sudan, gathered together with the members of the Provincial Council to reflect, evaluate and propose ways, principles and priorities for evangelization among the Gumuz people.
Besides the Comboni Communities of Gilgel Beles and Gublak, the Comboni Missionary Sisters in Mandura and the Franciscan Sisters Missionaries of Christ in Gilgel Beles were also invited to this meeting organized by the Provincial Council, in the context of the program of ongoing formation concerning evangelization.
Three main topics opened the room for dialogue and sharing of ideas and experiences:
- “The missionary dimension of the Oriental Rite in the Ethiopian Context.” Abba Eyob Jemaneh, Diocesan priest, at present living in our community of Gilgel Beles in view of discerning his missionary vocation and his attraction to our Institute, gave his contribution by presenting an outline on the evangelization phases in Ethiopia and the guiding principles of Church documents on the theme, both in the Latin and in the Oriental Sui Iuris Churches.
- “Ethiopian Spirituality.” Abba Dawit Wubishet, Vice-provincial, formator of postulants and lecturer at the Capuchin Franciscan Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Addis Abeba, spoke of the complexity and the necessity to define both Spirituality and Ethiopian Spirituality. He went on to describe some characteristic elements of the Orthodox Ethiopian Christianity.
- “Methodology of Evangelization Among the Gumuz.” Fr. Juan González Núñez finally set the stage for discussion by presenting the developments of the Gumuz mission since its beginning in the year 2000.
Enlightened by the input given by Br. Alberto Parise during the last Provincial Assembly about the Pastoral Cycle, the group aimed at making concrete proposals. These will facilitate a service of evangelization that may take into account the needs of the people and point out the necessary elements which prepare the evangelizers to face the challenges with confidence and determination.
Anniversary of priestly ordination of Fr. Seyum Cahsay Hagos
Abba Seyum was ordained priest in the Eparchy of Adigrat the 2nd of June, 1963. Three years later he took temporary vows in the Institute of the Comboni Missionaries. Fr. Seyum is the first Ethiopian Comboni Missionary to reach this golden age, a fact that filled the participants with joy and gratitude.
The celebration took place in the provincial house of Addis Ababa, with the participation of numerous religious Sisters, some priest friends of his and a good number of relatives, including the Secretary General of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, Abba Hagos Hayish.
While Abba Seyum presided over the Eucharist, the provincial made a point to thank the Lord for the long and faithful service of Abba Seyum and his excellent contribution to the formation of laity and priests, to the translation of Church documents and by long years working in formation houses, especially in the Major Seminary of Hawassa and the Postulancy of the Comboni Missionaries.
The fraternal supper was animated by songs and traditional dances, led by drums of a marked Ethiopian tradition. A Papal Blessing, obtained by Fr. Pietro Ravasio and Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse, was the external expression of the universality of our identity.
The confreres of the province will celebrate the event in October, on Comboni Day.
We wish Abba Seyum blessings, a continued service in the building up of community spirit among us.
Tenth anniversary of the Canonisation of Comboni
The commission charged with preparations for the tenth anniversary of the canonisation of St Daniel Comboni, on 5 October, met in Verona on 10 June, 2013. The commission members, all of whom were present, produced a number of proposals: articles and dossiers that will be presented to the Comboni magazines in the month of October, reprints of books, spirituality supplements, videos and pilgrimages.
It is both appropriate and important that each community makes an effort to see that the event of the tenth anniversary assumes a high profile at Church level where the communities live and work. Fr. Venanzio Milani and Fr. Fernando Zolli will look into the possibility of something nationwide.
Also at the community level, it is desirable that each community should plan initiatives regarding the content of the event. The commission is, of course, open to comments and suggestions.
On 15 June, 2013, our deacon Charles Macharia Kariuki, together with an SMA (African Mission Society) candidate, was ordained priest at “Total Parish” in Nakuru Diocese. The event was held outside the Church as there were too many people. The whole of Pokot Zone, especially the Christians of Amakuriat, where Fr. Macharia did his Missionary service, was well represented, as well as the Nairobi Zone, the Turkana Zone and the Comboni Sisters.
The Holy Eucharist was presided by Mgr. Maurice Muhatia, bishop of Nakuru, who commented very well about the Comboni Missionaries and the work they have done in his diocese. It made us so happy when he publicly said: “You are completely free to do your work of animation in this diocese.”
After the ordination, we proceeded to Fr. Macharia’s home, which is roughly 80 Kilometers from Total Parish. The family received us very well and restored us with a very delicious meal. The following day we celebrated a thanksgiving Mass in the home parish of the newly ordained priest.
Fr. Macharia has been assigned to the province of Ghana.
First religious professions
On the afternoon of 25 May, Francisco Carrasco López, a Spaniard, and Giovanni Antonello, an Italian, took their first vows. Both of them completed two years of novitiate at Santarém. Francisco is a Brother candidate and will continue his formation in Spain. Giovanni has been appointed to the international scholasticate of Casavatore, at Naples, in Italy, for theological studies.
The liturgical celebration, attended by family members of the newly-professed and numerous friends, was led by the Provincial of Portugal, Fr. Alberto de Oliveira Silva. The Provincial of Spain, Fr. Ramón Eguíluz Eguíluz, was also present to receive the vows of Francis and the renewal of vows for one year of Bro. Walter Alexander Vallejo Narvaez (Spanish), who is at present residing at Viseu community. The liturgy was enlivened by the ‘Banda Missio’, directed by the Comboni priests, Fr. Leonel Rodrigues Claro.
Week-end of Comboni spirituality
“Like Comboni, you live and transmit the faith”, was the theme of the week-end of Comboni spirituality held at Maia from 7 to 9 June with about thirty participants. This year’s theme was chosen by Comboni Missionaries and the laity, taking into account the present Year of Faith.
Fr. Víctor Manuel Tavares Dias underlined the relationship between the many trials and difficulties undergone by Comboni, especially during the last years of his life, and the great strength and perseverance of his faith. Susana Vilas Boas, a Comboni lay missionary, spoke of the role of the laity in society and in the Church, reaffirming how, in the documents of the Church, the lay vocation is presented as a call by God to live the faith in the social, economic, political and cultural reality and how there must be no rivalry or competition between vocations and ministries, lay people and priests but instead, collaboration and communion.
THE FATHERS: Rafael, of Fr. J. Jesús Aranda Nava (Mex); José, of Fr. José António Mendes Rebelo (RSA); João, of Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins (RSA).
THE MOTHERS: Umbelina Augusta, of Bro. Bernardino (P) and Bro. João da Silva Ferreira (C); Ida Yacobi, of Fr. Timothée Hounake Kouassi (T); Jemi Setor, of Deacon John Hammond Sekyiamah (T).
THE BROTHERS: Adriano, of Fr. Francesco Antonini (MO); Pascal Koku, of Fr. John Bliss Boadi (K); Valentino, of Fr. Luigi Varesco (I); Don Innocente, of Fr. Giampietro Baresi (BS).
THE SISTERS: Innocenza, of Fr. Francesco Rizza (U); Irma, of Fr. Nereo Grandi (I); Liliana, of Bro. Alfredo Aguilar Cedeño (I).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Biancamaria Lorandi; Sr. Giuseppina Vecchi; Sr. M. Valentina Dalle Rive.