MONTHLY NEWSLETTER OF THE COMBONI MISSIONARIES OF THE HEART OF JESUS
Sc. Gilingere Limingere Lwanga (EGSD)
Sc. Adom Essosolam Jean Michel (T)
Bahta Uqbaghiorghis Medennes (ER)
Holy Redeemer Guild
February 01 – 15 C 16 – 28 EGSD
March 01 – 07 CO 08 – 15 E 16 – 31 DSP
February – That, following their 9th General Assembly, The Secular Institute of Comboni Missionary Women may take up with determination the priorities that emerged from it. Lord, hear us.
March – That Saint Joseph may stir up in the hearts of many young people the desire to place their lives at the service of the Gospel. Lord, hear us.
Mariangela Vai, Padre Carlo Negri. Missionario Comboniano. Apostolo nel Bahr el Ghazal, ed. Fotoincisa Lodigiana, Salerano sul Lambro (LO), December 2014. This biography, embellished with a number of photos, is – as Cardinal Zubeir Gabriel Wako writes in his comments at the beginning of the book – “not just a memorial to a great Missionary but also a presentation of the development of the Church in South Sudan”. In that mission, Fr. Carlo – says Fr. Pietro Ravasio in the Presentation – “who lived there from 1947-1964, lived through the drama of the brutal expulsion… has continued to pray and send aid … Bahr el Ghazal remained in his heart until his death in 2013”.
Fr. Neno Contran, Cosa hai fatto nella vita? P. Francesco Grotto, Fondazione Nigrizia Onlus, Verona, October 2014. The Preface states: “This is a book of very simple memories of an active life that was always directed by the desire to make the Gospel known and to share it in action. Differences, historical, racial and cultural etc., may be overcome: choices have to be made, and compromises. In short, a life that may suggest something even for ours”.
Fr. Aurelio Boscaini, Innamorato dell’Africa fino a morirne. P. Fulvio Cristoforetti, Fondazione Nigrizia Onlus, Verona, December 2014. Africa was the love of his life. “An Africa that Fr. Fulvio identified with Uganda – writes Fr. Giovanni Munari in the Preface – and more closely with the people of Kasaala to whom he gave his all. He really was a good shepherd to his people, always attentive to their spiritual but also material needs. Then came suffering. After that attack and the blood transfusion that made him HIV positive... all were captivated by the odour of sanctity that emanated from his person that he allowed to be forged by the grace of God.”
Fr. Guido Oliana, The Joyful Power of the Gospel. A Spirituality for the New Evangelization, Nairobi, Paulines Publications Africa 2014, 166 pages. The aim of this book is to show how effective the Lectio divina experience can be for an open and welcoming heart. The new evangelisation aims at giving a vivid presentation of the Gospel message, which is “new in its ardour, methods and expressions” (John Paul II). This is primarily to reawaken and revitalise the faith, hope and love of many people who have already received a first announcement of Christ (first evangelization), but are not living its concrete implications in all areas of human existence.
Comboni Renewal Course 2015
On 4 January, the Comboni renewal Course, due to last until 31 May, 2015, commenced at the Generalate in Rome. There are fifteen participants – twelve priests and three Brothers – of six nationalities: nine Italians, two Portuguese, one Mexican, one Congolese, one Ecuadorian and one Egyptian. The two youngest are 58 and the eldest is 71. The Course, organised by Fr. Siro Stocchetti, Bro. Guillermo Casas and Fr. Danilo Cimitan, is not so much aimed at academic updating as at the renewal of each participant and every situation lived during their years of consecrated Comboni missionary life.
The programme includes, as in previous years, visits to Verona and Limone and other spiritually important places such as Assisi, and a retreat of seven days. The Course will end with the experience of twenty days in the Holy Land.
The deacon Bahta Uqbaghiorghis Medennes was ordained to the priesthood on the 10th of January 2015 at Holy Saviour’s Church in Halibmentel, Catholic Eparchy of Keren, by the bishop Abune Kidane Yebio.
At the ordination all the Comboni Missionaries were present, many Comboni Sisters from different communities with their new provincial superior, Sr. Teibe Medhanie, many priests of Keren Eparchy and representatives of the other dioceses, religious men and women.
Most of the people of the village were also present and a small group of Kunama who had been prepared for their first holy communion by Abba Bahta himself.
The Bishop in his homily underlined the value of being faithful to one’s consecration, always ready to carry the cross daily and to love and serve the people entrusted to us.
Bahta was born in Halibmentel on 3 March 1986. He entered the Comboni seminary after grade seven in 2001. Because of the situation in the country, he completed all of his studies and religious education in Eritrea but with many positive experiences in our missions among the Kunama, a different tribe from his own, with a different language, customs and traditional religion. He knows well the Latin rite as well as the Ghe’ez rite. Always due to the situation in the Country, Fr. Bahta cannot be assigned to other countries.
Mons. Menghesteab Tesfamariam appointed first Metropolitan
On 19 January, 2015, the Holy Father erected Eritrea as a Metropolitan Church sui iuris, separating it from Metropolitan Archeparchy of Addis Ababa, and appointed Mons. Menghesteab Tesfamariam, Eparchal Bishop of Asmara since 2001, as the first Metropolitan. The seat of the new metropolitan Church is Asmara, now elevated to Metropolitan Eparchy.
The new Metropolitan Church includes the whole of Eritrea with the Archeparchy of Asmara and the eparchies of Barentu, Keren and Segheneity.
Fr. General celebrates Christmas twice
The Superior General, Fr. Enrique Sánchez G., after celebrating Christmas in Rome, left on 28 December for Ethiopia on his first official visit to this Comboni province.
On 7 January, accompanied by the Provincial of Ethiopia, Fr. Julio Ocaña Iglesias, Fr. Enrique paid a courtesy visit to Mons. Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa, to pay his respects, congratulate him on his recent appointment as Cardinal and to wish him a Happy Christmas, celebrated in Ethiopia and the Oriental rites on the day of the Epiphany.
The Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church of the oriental Rite, following the Julian calendar, celebrated Christmas with faith and hope for the future, despite the situation of fear and violence that pervades that region.
Fr. General returned to Rome on 15 January.
African Film Festival in Verona
Figures show the success of the 2014 Film festival, Spectators, including students and citizens of Verona and the Province, increased by 2,146 compared to that of 2013.
The 34th edition had 7,750 spectators (3,251 in Verona and 4,499 in the 16 towns involved). They were mostly young people with 6,047 students (2,164 in Verona and 3,883 in the Province). To these figures we must add a further 2,055 who benefited from the Festival attending workshops, meetings with writers, cinema debates, exhibitions, musicals entertainments and a theatre play... without counting the 9,492 visitors to the site of the Festival in the month of November!
Thirty five films of various lengths and documentaries were shown in 20 cinemas (3 in Verona and 17 in the Province).
There were 46 showings in schools of all types (16 in Verona and 30 in the Province), involving as many as 357 teachers (87 more than in 2013). There were forty showings for the general public in the city and the Province of Verona.
Perpetual vows and ordination to deaconate
This year the Christmas Holidays took on a new meaning in our parishes of Nakwamekwi, in Turkana and of Amakuriat in West Pokot. On 26 December, Nakwamekwi was the venue for the perpetual vows of two of our scholastics: Jean Paul Bitia Mbowaka from Congo, who is completing his missionary service in Nakwamekwi, and Pius Albert J. Chilimba from the province of Malawi-Zambia who is serving in Amakuriat.
The parish church of Nakwamekwi was filled to capacity and the songs of joy and thanksgiving resounded throughout the celebration as everyone prayed that, through the example of Jean Paul and Pius Albert, new missionary vocations may arise in Turkana district.
A few days later, on 1 January, 2015, it was the turn of our parish of Amakuriat to host the ordination to diaconate of Pius Albert and Jean Paul. The ordaining bishop was Mons. Damiano Guzzetti, bishop of Moroto in Karamoja. The beautiful outdoor celebration again saw a huge number of Christians in attendance together with many Comboni Missionaries from Kenya and Uganda, together again with Fr. Joseph Maina Mwariri.
The Christian community of Amakuriat then honoured them and celebrated the new deacons by conferring on them the symbols – according to the Pokot culture – of maturity and responsibility as men and elders of the community.
Gold medal awarded to the Province
On 19 January, the provincial superior Fr. Luis Alberto Barrera Pacheco accepted the following award in the name of the confreres: “The Episcopal Conference of Peru hereby awards the Gold Medal of Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo to the Institute of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus for its 75 years of service to the Church of Peru, thus contributing to the enrichment of the faith of our people”.
This, therefore, was a continuation of the memorial of the anniversary, celebrated by the Province in 2013 to thank God for his gifts and for having confreres of 14 nationalities and 4 continents. During the Provincial Assembly (12-16 January) a motion was approved asking that a monograph be written on the reunification of the two Institutes in 1979, to which we owe our inter-continentality. The participation of almost all the 55 members once again presented an occasion to demonstrate the fraternity that exists among us all.
Bro. Kuno – 60 years of religious profession
During the Provincial Assembly, we marked the occasion of the sixty years of religious profession of Bro. Kuno Stösser, by listening to his testimony concerning the gift of his vocation and the service he rendered to the Province since he first came to Peru in 1955, first as cook in various communities, then in charge of building. Among the latter, we must mention the more important ones, such as the Sanctuary of Muruhuay, entrusted to him by Mons. Antonio Kühner, and the cathedral of Huánuco. Since 1984, Bro. Kuno has been the bursar at the provincial house. Now 84, he tirelessly continues his life of prayer and work as the soul of this community of hospitality for many confreres and events.
Continental Formation Assembly
From 19 to 23 January, 2015, the formators and vocations promoters of the provinces of America and Asia held an Assembly at the provincial house in Lima, Peru. There were 18 confreres present including the continental coordinator of the sector, Fr. Luis Barrera Pacheco, Provincial Superior, and Fr. John Baptist Opargiw, Secretary General of Formation.
The objective of the Assembly was to spend favourable time in ongoing formation, sharing Comboni experiences and evaluating the progress made from the last General Chapter (2009), up to the present day.
At the start of the Assembly, a letter was read from Fr. Antonio Villarino, Assistant General in charge of America/Asia, whose message of thanks, communion and exhortation to improve the standard of our work in the sector of vocations and formation helped those present to undertake the work of those days with renewed enthusiasm.
Two parishes consigned to the archdiocese of Arequipa
On 11 January, two important communities of our parish of Arequipa, dedicated to Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe were consigned to the archbishop for the service of the diocesan clergy. Next to the church of Christ the King, decorated with paintings by our confrere Fr. Gianluca Roso, a presbytery was built and the diocesan priest can immediately begin work in his new parish.
Perpetual vows and ordination to the diaconate
The scholastic Lwanga Limingere Gilingere made his final profession on 31 of December 2014 and the following day, 1 January 2015, was ordained Deacon at Holy Cross Parish, Yirol, by Mgr. Rudolf Deng Majak, Bishop of Wau, in the presence of Fr. Daniele Moschetti, the provincial of South Sudan, Fr. Norberto Stonfer, delegate of Fr. Giorgetti, provincial superior of Egypt-Sudan, and Fr. Emmanuel Denima Darama. Lwanga is actually from Raga and belongs to Egypt-Sudan province. He did his scholasticate in South Africa, followed by two years of missionary experience.
This joyful occasion was of particular importance to Lwanga, first of all, because it took place at Holy Cross, the first mission where Daniel Comboni worked; secondly, because Lwanga’s father, Cornelio, was imprisoned in Yirol by the Anyanya One Movement, falsely accused of cooperating with the rebels. To give a testimony of his Christian faith he told the truth and, as a consequence, was put in prison for eight months.
Deacon Lwanga Cornelio will continue serving in Yirol until his priestly ordination in June, on the feast of Sacred Heart.
Meeting of the confreres under 45 years of age
Eleven confreres under 45 years of age held their meeting of ongoing formation in Juba from 16 to 18 January 2015. The meeting provided them with the opportunity to share about their missionary experience in South Sudan, their joys, hopes and disappointment. They also reflected on the theme of the upcoming XVIII General Chapter: Comboni missionary disciples called to live the joy of the Gospel in today’s world.
The eleven young missionaries concluded their meeting with a Eucharistic celebration and a picnic in Rejaf, by the River Nile, the first mission of the Comboni missionaries in the diocese of Juba, built in 1919.
Administration course for scholastics
Bro. Daniele Giusti, Assistant General and Fr. Claudio Lurati, Treasurer General, spent from 23 December to 10 January visiting us, with Fr. Timothée Hounaké Kouassi, at the international scholasticate in Cape Coast, Ghana, where they conducted a course of administration and economics for the Comboni scholastics. This was the fourth such course and followed those of Casavatore (Italy), Pietermaritzburg (South Africa) and Nairobi (Kenya).
On 4 January, Epiphany Sunday, three third-year scholastics – Anyaja Pious, from Uganda, Gbego Gratien, from Benin, and Ngayo Akigala Pierre, from Congo – received the ministry of acolyte.
The ceremony took place during Sunday Mass in one of the chapels of the parish of SS. Peter and Paul, in the care of the Combonians of Cape Coast.
Perpetual vows and diaconate
The New Year, 2015, began well with the perpetual profession of Sc. Jean Michel Adom Essosolam, from Togo, on Saturday, 3 January, in the chapel of the Postulancy at Adidogomé. It was a beautiful ceremony, presided by the provincial, Fr. Girolamo Miante, with Comboni and diocesan priests concelebrating. Jean Michel was surrounded by family, friends and acquaintances.
On Saturday, 24 January, Jean Michel was ordained deacon by the imposition of hands of Mgr. Denis Amuzu-Dzakpah, Archbishop of Lomé. The celebration took place at Comboni parish of Adidogomé, where Jean Michel is doing his missionary service. In his homily, the Archbishop highlighted the proclamation of the Word and works of charity in diaconal service. Occurring during the Year of Consecrated Life, this ordination should be a testimony and an example for many young people of making them open to the voice of the Lord who calls.
THE MOTHERS: Liliana, of Fr. Alberto Pelucchi (C); Consuelo, of Fr. Jorge Martínez Vargas (M).
THE BROTHERS: Giuseppe, of Fr. Aristide Guerra (ER); Rosario, of Fr. Antonio Patanè (I); Don Vittorio, of Fr. Guido Grilli (I); Lorenz, of Fr. Josef Altenburger (DSP); Yohannes (Werii), of Fr. Woldai Agostino Tesfai (I); Romano, of Fr. Archimede Fornasari (I).
THE SISTER: Rita, of Fr. Antonio Franzini (I).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTER: Sr. Teresilia Fagiani.
Fr. Franco Troi (15.01.1940 – 23.01.2015)
Fr. Franco Troi was ordained a Comboni priest on 27 June, 1965. After ordination, he was assigned to Comboni College, Khartoum. In 1972 he became a military chaplain at Bolzano and Vipiteno. In 1976 he was incardinated into the diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone. RIP.