Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
Improvements on the web of the Comboni Lay Missionaries
We want to share with you the improvements we are making in our web. We have restructured the section “Audiovisual resources” of the website. We have placed more than 5000 images about our history and service that we carry out as CLM; almost 200 CLM and Comboni’s videos (in the 7 languages we have) as well as over 50 songs about Comboni in different languages so that they are accessible to everybody. You will find the songs and videos differentiated in the various languages.
We hope you like this new enhancement. You can visit it by following this link: (http://www.lmcomboni.org/paginas/recursosEN.html).
Fr. Olok Denis (U) Layibi-Gulu (UG) 14.02.2015
Holy Redeemer Guild
March 01 – 07 CO 08 – 15 E 16 – 31 DSP
April 01 – 15 CN 16 – 30 EC
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.
April – That the celebration of Easter may strengthen and unite in the faith all the families of Comboni Missionary men and women. Lord, hear us.
Fr. Tonino Falaguasta Nyabenda, Jésus et encore Jésus, brève histoire du Christianisme, ed. Afriquespoir, Kinshasa, February, 2015. The book is meant to be a user-friendly and essential aid for catechists and leaders of Christian movements, especially where the reawakening churches present their version of the Christian reality. With 112 pages, it is an easy read. It is priced at 1,500 Congo Francs (a little more than one Euro).
Installation of Mons. Odelir José Magri
On 1 February, 2015, the Comboni bishop Mons. Odelir José Magri took official charge of his see in the diocese of Chapecó, SC, having been transferred from the diocese of Sobral, CE.
The installation ceremony was very beautiful with representatives from all forty parishes of the diocese. There were also in attendance twelve bishops of the state of Santa Catarina and a delegation from the diocese of Sobral, where Mons. Odelir was bishop for four years.
He was actually born in Chapecó diocese. The Church there is vibrant with thousands of active and well-trained leaders such as catechists, ministers of the Word and the Eucharist as well as pastoral workers. The diocese covers an area of around 15,000 Km² and has a population of 775,000 people scattered throughout eight communes.
“Mission and evangelisation is carried out by the feet of those who set out, the knees of those who pray and the hands of those who help”, said Mons. Odelir in reference to the situation of the diocese.
He then went on to say how he needed time to get to know the diocese better, to listen and to learn adding, “I shall do this determined to gather together, to be a bridge and to build up unity; to value all the resources and create networks of collaboration; to continue the consolidation of a Church committed to the message of the Gospel and therefore an evangelising Church, sensitive to God’s signs, especially in frontier situations and among the poorest communities: indigenous peoples, small farmers, people of African descent, the family, prison ministry, Fazenda da Esperança and other important realities in our evangelising work”. The ceremony was a moment of great joy and emotion for all those present.
From 11 to 16 February, 2015, about forty confreres gathered at Maison Saint Joseph, Kisangani, for the biennial Provincial Assembly. All the communities, from Butembo to Yanonge, from Kinshasa to Bambilo, were represented.
On the first day, after the presentation of the programme, the Provincial, Fr. Joseph Mumbere, bade everyone welcome and explained the situation of the province, the challenges we face and what we propose to do, after fifty years in Congo. We then analysed our contribution to the next General Chapter, the result of an enquiry carried out among the confreres of the whole province.
The next three days were devoted to the activities of the Secretariats with interventions by the respective Secretaries.
Mons. François Mwarabu, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Kisangani, brought greetings from Mons. Marcel Utembi Tapa and the encouragement of the local Church. The closing Mass of the Assembly, led by Fr. Mumbere, was celebrated at the Comboni parish of Malkia wa Mashahidi, in the outskirts of Kisangani.
On Monday, 16 February, two separate meetings were held for the young and not-so-young confreres. From Tuesday, 17 February, to Sunday 22, a dozen confreres took part in the retreat that was held at Simisimi, a Dehoniani centre, led by the Provincial. Afterwards, all the confreres returned to their communities.
Meeting of the General Councils
On Saturday, 24 January, 2015, the General Councils of the Comboni Family met in Rome at the Curia House.
The morning was spent reflecting on the challenges facing each branch of the Comboni Family in the contexts of their presence and the need to live the mission on the basis of the real needs of the people. We also reflected on diminishing numbers over a number of years; and also on the differentiation of our members – constantly fewer Europeans and more Americans and African – which moves us to take this diversity and a new style of mission into consideration. Finally, we dwelt upon the reality of our charismatic Family, our style of presence and, above all, upon our goal of being the seed of a more communitarian Church in which priests, religious men and women, the seculars and the laity may share responsibility and serve the people each one according to their abilities and uniqueness.
Course for new formators
The Comboni course for new formators began on 12 February at the Curia House in Rome. It is a complementary Comboni Course for the formation of those attending the Course for Formators at the Gregorian University. This year, it will centre on three pillars: Comboni-ness, the formative colloquy and the new text of the Ratio Fundamentalis. It will be articulated in three parts, the first of which was held on 12 and 13 February with an intervention by Rev. Méthode Gahungu, a Burundian priest and professor at the Salesian and Gregorian Universities. Prof. Gahungu introduced the seven confreres who are preparing for the service of formation to the reality of the young people of today. The other parts will take place in March and April.
Provincial commitment with immigrants
The commitment for migrants has been part of the tasks in the DSP since 2008, which involves accommodation and first assistance. Presently four Comboni communities are involved in this kind of work: Nuremberg, Mellatz, Ellwangen and Graz.
In Graz, the commitment for refugees started in 1997 with the Comboni community’s “Africa House”, where the person responsible is supported by the Board of Management of the Association “Africa House Daniel Comboni” for the promotion of students and asylum seekers from Africa. Three members of the board are Comboni missionaries. The asylum seekers remain in the house until they get a residence permit and find a job.
LEA in Ellwangen
Towards the end of January 2015 in Ellwangen, in the Federal State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, about 1.000 people gathered to demonstrate in favour of the asylum seekers. Six Comboni-Missionaries from the local community participated in the demonstration as well.
The occasion was the future opening – in March or April this year – of a LEA (place of first reception for refugees). From there the immigrants will be sent to other cities within the state. This place of first reception is located within the former barracks in Ellwangen: there is space from about 500 to 1.000 immigrants.
At the end of the march, some speakers pointed out the eventual difficulties of this issue. Among them, Fr. Reinhold Baumann, mccj, whose speech was very much appreciated by all.
“The happiest Refugee is the one who can stay at home”
Such was the topic prepared by the NAD (Network Africa Deutschland) on the occasion of their recent annual reunion, at which it had invited politicians, representatives of the Catholic Church and of other religious groups. The NAD is an institution of a pressure group (lobby), organised by Catholic missionaries and religious Institutes committed to working in Africa.
Once again they arrived at the conclusion that the best solution would be that – through economic agreements and partnerships – of improving life conditions of the population in their countries of origin, so that the people may remain in their land with hopeful prospects for the future.
XXVII Anthropology and Mission meeting
From 30 January to 1 February, at the Madrid headquarters of Mundo Negro magazine, the XXVII edition of the Anthropology and Mission meeting that takes place each year around this time. The theme for this year was: “Health in Africa, beyond Ebola”.
This edition was attended by experts in the public health, religious and social fields as well as by representatives of Doctors Without Borders, Doctors of the World, the St. John of God Brothers, etc.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Sr. Paciencia Melgar, a member of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, was awarded the 2014 Mundo Negro prize for Fraternity. Sr. Paciencia, who contracted the Ebola virus along with other members of the community of the hospital of St. Joseph, Monrovia (Liberia) of the Brothers of St. John Of God, recovered and was called to Spain to give her blood plasma for the treatment of other Ebola victims. Her testimony was very striking.
The prize, worth €10,000, was presented to her by the Provincial, Fr. Ramón Eguiluz, in the presence of people from a number of media outlets. The meeting ended with a Eucharistic celebration in thanksgiving on Sunday, 1 February, in the chapel of the Comboni community of Madrid, attended by many of those who took part in the meeting.
Spiritual Exercises 2015, in Limone
Since the exercises due to take place from 6 to 14 May are fully booked, it has been decided to continue the same theme the following week:
23 June, evening – 1 July, morning
Guided Spiritual Exercises
Fr. Pierpaolo Monella, mccj
A personally tailored journey of prayer and reflection in the light of our experience of St. Daniel Comboni (max. 8 places).
Assembly of European Comboni media in Verona
Comboni priests, Brothers, Sisters and Lay Combonians – a total of 24 in all – who work in the various publications – printed, audio-visual and digital, of the Comboni circumscriptions, gathered at the Mother House of the Comboni Sisters in Verona (Italy) from 24 to 27 February. Members of the Curia who took part were: Fr. Carmine Curci, Director of the MISNA agency and the South World website, Fr. Antonio Villarino, Assistant General, Fr. Jorge Garcia, Secretary General for Mission Promotion and Fr. Arlindo Pinto, responsible for the Comboni.org website.
The Assembly was opened with Fr. Jorge Garcia welcoming those present as he emphasised the importance of the meeting in the context of preparation for the XVIII General Chapter and the celebrations concluding the 150th anniversary of the Plan of Comboni. In fact, the Assembly was also intended to draft a document to be given to the Pre-capitular Continental Assembly to be held from 19 to 27 of May at Limone (Italy) and which, once approved by the Assembly, would be brought to the Chapter as a concrete contribution on the part of those working in the European Comboni media.
On the morning of Wednesday, 25 February, two external speakers intervened. Tiziana Cavallo, an expert in social communications from the university of Verona, spoke of “how to improve the service of communication in the light of the changes brought about by new means of communication”, and Paolo Rodari, an expert in Vatican affairs from the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica”, who spoke of “how religious and missionary news items are perceived by newspapers, how they are transmitted, how and why they are ignored and the difficulties involved in finding room for religious themes in a secular newspaper”.
An exhibition on the theme of “The Voyage” is taking place at the African Museum of Verona from 20 February to 21 March.
Earlier this year, the exhibition was displayed at the Diocesan Museum of Padua where it received more than 20,000 visitors.
The Verona initiative is sponsored by the St. Zeno Foundation in collaboration with the Comboni African Museum and is patronised by the Municipality of Verona.
The theme is fascinating and is interpreted as a brief experience of life, going through the history, sacred writings, non-Christian and mythological stories, rites and traditions, in an effort to bring out the emotive and spiritual dimensions of every departure and every return.
The seventy illustrations by artists from all over the world expound the theme, both in its aspects of the desire to know and discover, which have always been part of movement towards distant lands and peoples, and those aspects with psychological, emotive and spiritual implications which accompany the phases of the journey, and, together, create the feeling that any departure, whatever the destination, is also symbolic.
During the exhibition, guided tours for groups and workshops with artistic and manual activities for six to ten-year-olds are planned. There are also educational possibilities for catechism classes and day centres at primary school level as well as parish groups at lower and higher secondary school levels.
Mondiario 2015-16: The Great Peace
The Mondiario for the school year 2015-16 has been published. 30.000 copies have been printed and it develops the theme of The Great Peace, in connection with two important anniversaries of events that involved Italy: 100 years ago, on 24 May, Italy entered the Great War (First World War); 70 years ago, on 25 April, Italy was liberated. It is also the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
To remember, reflect and be committed to peace are the goals proposed by the Mondiario.
Peace and Disarmament Exhibitions
The African Museum has prepared two exhibitions on the themes of war and peace.
The first, “War and Peace”, is for primary and middle school pupils (10 panels). The second, “Hoping for Peace and Disarmament”, is a recent and up-to-date documentation on the theme (13 panels). The exhibitions may be purchased or hired. Contact: The African Museum (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Continental Assembly for vocations and basic formation
The promoters and formators (minor seminary, propaedeutic, postulancy, novitiate, scholasticate) of the circumscriptions of America/Asia held their meeting in Lima, from 19 to 23 January, 2015. This was the 12th Continental Assembly. The total number of participants was eighteen: 16 promoters/formators plus the Continental Coordinator of the sector and the Secretary General for VP and BF. All the Circumscriptions were represented except the NAP.
The main purpose of the meeting was to reflect on our service in the field of youth and vocations ministry as well as basic formation. The participants highlighted certain points and made some proposals which have already been submitted to the Continental Assembly of Provincial Superiors of America/Asia for approval and publication.
Continental Assembly on indigenous pastoral
The Comboni Missionaries working with indigenous peoples met from 10 to 13 February at the Provincial House in Lima, Peru. Comboni representatives from Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala and Brazil were present.
The Provincial of Peru, Fr. Alberto Barrera Pacheco, opened the work presenting the theme: History, cosmic vision and organisation of the indigenous peoples and the Plan of Comboni today. The Plan and its realisation today in indigenous pastoral, was, in fact, the theme which joined up the various moments of the Assembly that were unravelled during periods such as those devoted to conferences as well as the sharing of experiences and seeking common working priorities. Also present was Mons. Gerard Anton Zerdin, OFM, Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Ramón, who gave his testimony of faith and service in an indigenous village called Cumaria, where he spent thirty years among the Shipibo people.
The intervention of the indigenous Bolivian theologian Sr. Sonia Chipana, of the Holy Trinity Institute, was most interesting as she explained how the indigenous peoples walk with one foot in their culture and the other in the Christian faith; two feet walking different paths that never meet. This dichotomy between faith and culture is one of the major challenges to pastoral work among the indigenous peoples.
Assembly of local bursars
The eight bursars of the Comboni communities met from 26 to 29 January at the place of the Ndjamena delegation. The meeting commenced with a period of adoration led by the bursar of the delegation, Fr. Sebastian Chmiel.
The bursars examined the accounts or 2014 and the budgets for 2015. There followed clarifications and comments.
The Financial Secretariat appreciated the work of most of the communities which made an effort to administer well the resources of the Common Fund and benefactors. The Assembly then proposed that a register be kept and that budgets and projects be studied so that they may be presented more clearly and competently.
President Museveni praises the Comboni Missionaries
On Sunday, 15 February, 2015, on the occasion of the centenary of the missionary Catholic Church in the district of Kitgum, at the parish of St. Mary, the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, thanked the Comboni Missionaries, together with other religious leaders, for having brought the faith to Northern Uganda, for having developed it for the past hundred years, greatly improving the life of the population by setting up educational and health structures. In his speech he emphasised the completely new outlook brought by the missionaries, that of unconditional forgiveness, “something not very familiar to many Africans” – he said.
The Mass was celebrated by the Apostolic Nunzio to Uganda, Mons. Michael August Blume. During the occasion, the parish of St. Mary was handed over to the Local Church in the person of Rev. Anthony Nyeko, the new parish priest and successor of Fr. Elia Pampaloni.
THE MOTHERS: María Guadalupe, of Fr. Rafael Rico Hernández (KE); Norma Maria, of Fr. Antonio Bonato (MO); Rosa, of Fr. José Joaquim da Silva Araújo (MZ); Maria, of Fr. Giovanni Vicari (I).
THE SISTERS: Giuseppina, of Fr. Antonio Spugnardi (†); Giuliana, of Fr. Luciano Fulvi (†); Maria, of Fr. Bernhard Mai (DSP); Piera, of Fr. Giovanni Battista Bressani (EC).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. M. Cesarina Colombo; Sr. M. Tullia Coltro; Sr. Dora Agnese Bertoli; Sr. M. Alice Crotti.