Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
29° CONSULTA – MARCH 2015
1 Opening of the cause of Brother Giosuè Dei Cas
As previously announced, on March 20 in the priest’s house of Sondrio began the diocesan process for the beatification of Brother Giosuè Dei Cas. Through the work of the postulation we hope to know ever better the figure of Bro. Giosuè so that he will become for us and for the young people of our time a good example of a missionary consecrated to the service of the poorest. The sanctity of Bro. Giosuè and many others of our confreres is definitely a great challenge to all those who are called to live the missionary vocation in difficult situations and in a time that is particularly demanding.
2 General Chapter: observers and invited guests
During this Consulta the General Council has continued the work of preparing the next General Chapter. In the first week they have composed the text of the report of the superior general and his council which will be made available to the pre-capitular committee along with all the reports of the circumscriptions and continents.
After consultations among the scholastics and Brothers in formation, the GC has decided to invite as observers to the next Chapter the two scholastics Sylvain Alohoungo (Casavatore) and Deogratias Karere (Kinshasa) and the Brother José Alberto Mora M. (Bogotá).
Were invited as observers also the general secretaries of Mission Promotion, Evangelization, Basic Formation and Finance, while Fr. Fermo Bernasconi, the confrere elected by the Curia, will represent the field of Permanent Formation. The other people invited to this important event in the life of our Institute are: Mother Luzia Premoli, Superior General of the Comboni Missionary Sisters, Isabella Dalessandro, person responsible for the Secular Comboni Missionaries, and Mr. Alberto de la Portilla, representative of the Comboni Lay Missionaries. To these must be added one Comboni bishop and Fr. Gianni Gaiga from Poland.
3 Newly-professed and scholastics for missionary service
The Secretary of Formation, Fr. John Baptist Opargiw, taking into account the opinion of the novice masters, the provincial and the number of novices who will soon be making their first religious profession, presented to the CG an indication for their distribution in the various scholasticates. Once again we thank the Lord for the gift of vocations to our Institute. We realize, however, that it becomes increasingly difficult to keep open all our scholasticates currently in operation, especially due to the shortage of formators.
This year 30 scholastics will enter into the scholasticates and 2 newly professed Brothers and 3 others who have completed their professional formation in the CIF. Nairobi and Kinshasa will have the most numerous communities, while in the other scholasticates the number of confreres in formation will be around fifteen in each community.
As for the finalists, we have taken note of the scholastics who will be returning to their circumscriptions for their missionary service, and those who are about to finish their missionary service in the next months and will be preparing for their final vows and ordination.
4 Publication of the revised Ratio Fundamentalis
The work of revising the Ratio Fundamentalis ended with the approval of the new text by the General Council. We hope that it will become a useful and effective means for the formation of all the young people who wish to dedicate their lives to the mission in the Comboni Institute.
The new text has preserved all the principles and values on which we think it is necessary to base our formation proposal and it has actualized its content by taking into account the changes of the times. The Secretary General will make the new text available to all people concerned so that it can be used by formators at all levels.
5 Convention for the 150th anniversary of the Plan
From March 13 to 15 the convention “Africa in Cammino”, with which we concluded the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Plan for the Regeneration of Africa, was held in Rome. The event took place in the auditorium of the “Seraphicum”, close to our general house. The celebration aimed to let especially the Africans speak, present the progress made by Africa and show how much of the dream of Comboni has been implemented.
The realization of the convention relied on the collaboration of the Comboni Sisters and other people who have joined in the initiative with enthusiasm. It was attended by about 260 people. From the assessments made, it appears that we have achieved the purpose of this initiative.
The material of the conference can be found on the internet through the site www.africaincammino.it
We thank the people and institutions who have worked on this project and have sustained us with their support and contribution.
6 Comboni Year of Ongoing Formation
The General Council, in dialogue with the team in charge of the ACFP, the provincials and the participants, has completed the list of those who will take part in the next CYOF: there will be 22 confreres from 13 circumscriptions.
We are aware that this time of formation, wanted by the Institute for over the past ten years, at this time asks many sacrifices to the circumscriptions that have to give up confreres needed for the mission. However, given the situation which many confreres are experiencing in recent times, it seems very important to insist that they accept this experience as an opportunity for growth in their missionary life and in their human, spiritual and religious dimension. Perhaps it is also the time to remember that the CYOF is not simply a formation proposal offered by the Institute to the people concerned, but the decision of a Chapter that involves an obligation which does not leave too much space to negotiations or endless dialogues. Experience shows that the investment made on the people who take part in the CYOF has been a gain of quality for the mission and the Institute’s life.
7 Approval of the Vademecum on Continentality
The Vademecum on Continentality is a small document that contains information on the progress made at the level of the continents on the theme of continentality. As requested by the General Chapter, a commission was appointed to work on the study of the material that can serve as an orientation to the work that we continue to do in the continents for growing in the values of cooperation and subsidiarity.
The document has been approved by the General Council and shall be made available to all the circumscriptions to help them find new ways to live a stronger communion and a peaceful co-responsibility for the good of the mission.
8 Approval of the General Directory for Finance
On the last day of the Consulta, the General Council worked with the treasurer general on the revision of the General Directory for Finance which has now been approved.
This document is the result of the work of many people who in recent years have reviewed and updated this Directory, looking in particular to include all the changes that are due for the acceptance of the Total Common Fund. We sincerely thank all the members who have contributed in preparing this new Directory.
We think that the work was done with great care and attention. The document will be of great help to the Institute. Provincial and delegation superiors, treasurers and every missionary will find clear and precise norms to live with more responsibility, freedom and transparency when dealing with the means and resources that God makes available to us for the good of the Institute and the missions.
This Directory has been approved and will be the document that will regulate all the economic activities in the Institute as of 26 March 2015. The treasurer general, in making us acquainted with it, will give the necessary instruction for its application.
9 Visits and commitments of the GC
- Fr. Enrique Sánchez G.
10 – 12 April: Verona (Inauguration of the house in Castel d’Azzano)
20 April – 4 May: visit to the DSP
- Fr. Alberto Pelucchi
07 – 10 April: Limone for the Symposium
20 – 24 April: meeting of the European provincials in Maia (P)
19 – 27 May: Limone for the European Continental Assembly
- Fr. Antonio Villarino
07 – 17 May: visit to Mexico
- Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse
17 April – 2 May: Spiritual Exercises and visit to South Sudan
03 – 12 May: in Lusaka for the sub-continent Assembly of
13 – 15 May: Addis Ababa (ET)
- Bro. Daniele Giusti
07 – 16 May: in Cotonou for the sub-continent Assembly of
Comboni message from the World Social Forum 2015
To be like springtime in the Church and in the world today
After two years, the World Social Forum (WSF) is back in Tunis, in a context of growing instability and violence in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East. It was meant to be a sign of peace and hope in the process of the Arab Spring, threatened by terrorism and the risk of being distorted by religious fundamentalism and repressive governments. The Forum has found the welcome gratitude of a people in a process of emancipation that sees as protagonists the young people and women.
The Comboni Family (Comboni Network) was again present, with one of the most representative and international delegations: 37 members, working in 15 different countries.
In a multicultural frame of colours, rhythms and dances, the North African peoples were the most present in most of the debates and events.
Among the 1500 workshops, the main themes were: the defence of human rights (especially of women, migrants and minorities); the environment and climate, which also requires a change in lifestyle; alternatives to the neoliberal hegemonic system; spirituality and interfaith dialogue.
As Comboni Family we find ourselves very much in tune with the engagement of civil society organized in different parts of the world. This is an expression of our ongoing effort to update the Plan of Daniel Comboni, whom we felt walking with us in the different activities carried out at the Forum.
The stand set up by the Comboni family was an important instrument of mission promotion: in the plurality of our origins and backgrounds, we witness the Christian commitment to change together that which destroys life.
To be there as Comboni missionaries
We attended the Forum with the intention of echoing with our faith the processes of liberation that we are allowed to accompany together with the organised civil society. For this reason we have committed ourselves to taking every day a time for communal discernment and celebration.
We believe that the mission is primarily to share the mystique that feeds our actions and inspires a transfigured vision of “a different and possible world.”
In continuity with the discernment made in the last four Comboni Forum, we propose again the dimensions in which we are engaged and the need to support and develop them:
Called to recognize the “new areopagi” of the mission, we reiterate the importance of the Comboni presence at the World Social Forum, proposing it as a meeting point where to check the direction and effectiveness of our paths as we journey together with a humanity that is on a pilgrimage to “new heavens and a new earth”. (Tunis, 29 March 2015)
Sc. Adom Essosolam Jean Michel (T)
Holy Redeemer Guild
April 01 – 15 CN 16 – 30 EC
May 01 – 15 ET 16 – 31 I
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.
May – That Our Lady may teach us to keep the Word in our hearts, and to share it with all we meet. Lord , hear us.
Conference in the Curia
Wednesday, 25 March, in the Chapter hall was held the second of three conferences on the “existential peripheries” related to the realm of the family. The theme chosen was “Homosexuality, (in)compatibility between religion and psychology?”. The speaker was prof. Aureliano Pacciolla, psychologist, psychotherapist and lecturer at various post-university schools of psychotherapy.
More details can be found on the website www.comboni.org, in the section Current Comboni Press.
From September 21 (evening) to 26 (morning), at the “House of Our Lady of Mercy”, Via di Monte Cucco, 25 - 00148 Rome, Fr. David Kinnear Glenday, mccj, will conduct a retreat for priests and religious on the theme: “Jesus himself drew near (Lk 24,15): to live today the grace of the encounter.” For reservations: Ancelle della Carità di Cristo Re – Tel. 06 5035035.
From March 10-12 the majority of the Comboni Missionaries in Ethiopia gathered for the Annual Provincial Assembly. The main issue of discussion was the questionnaire sent by the General Council to all circumscriptions in view of preparing the XVIII General Chapter of the Institute.
The reports of the Provincial Secretariats included the proposals for the renewal of the Charter of evangelization and of the Charter of vocation promotion and basic formation.
The animated and serene discussion on the reports of the communities will be taken by the delegates to the Chapter to the meeting of the sub-continent. due to take place in Zambia from May 4-11, in order to prepare the continental report.
The missionary experience of the Comboni Missionaries among the Gumuz people, a Sub-Saharan Nilotic group inhabiting mainly the Western area of Ethiopia North to the Blue Nile River, on the border with Sudan, has given Fr. Juan González Núñez the opportunity to enter into the depths of the day to day life of this people.
As a result of Fr. Núñez’s missionary experience, the book “Pequeñas Exploraciones entre los Gumuz, un Pueblo Marginal de Etiopía” has been published by the Editorial Mundo Negro (Madrid). This is the second book of this kind, following the publication of the “Al Norte del Nilo Azul. Los Gumuz, un Pueblo Marginal de Etiopía” in 2010.
Shama Books Publications of Addis Ababa has now printed the English version of the latter under the title: “North of the Blue Nile. The Gumuz People”. The presentation of this book has taken place on 25 March, 2015, in the auspices of the Spanish Embassy, organized by the same book publishing company.
Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel
The elevation of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa to the rank of Cardinal, continues to be celebrated in different events. The solemn reception of Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel on February 22 was marked by a Eucharistic celebration with a crowd that filled the large compound of the Catholic Cathedral of Addis Ababa. The next event will take place at the Conference Centre of Bishops called by Monsignor John E. Kozar, President of the CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association).
Erection of the Eparchy of Bahir Dar-Dessie
April 26 has been chosen as the date for the formal erection of the newest Eparchy in Ethiopia. Formerly called: “Pastoral Territory of Bahir Dar”, this geographical circumscription becomes now independent of the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa.
Bishop Lesanu-Christos Matheos, the Auxiliary Bishop of Addis Ababa, has been nominated the first Eparch of the new circumscription. Two of the Comboni communities belong to this new Eparchy, namely Gilgel Beles and Gublak, the communities serving the Gumuz people, the fastest growing Catholic communities of the entire territory of Bahir Dar-Dessie, characterized by a strong presence of the Orthodox Church, and yet with groups of peoples yet to receive the Gospel for the first time, as it is the case among the Gumuz people.
Pan-Amazonian Church Network
The activity, the vision and the main efforts of the newly formed Pan-Amazonian Church Network (REPAM) were presented in Rome, during a coordination meeting held on 2 and 3 March, 2015. The reference person of REPAM, elected on 3 March, is Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, president of the Commission for the Amazon of the Bishops’ Conference of Brazil. Fr. Arlindo Pinto attended the meeting, rep-resenting the Comboni missionaries who are present in four countries (Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia) of the nine countries of the Amazon.
The Pan-Amazonian Church Network (REPAM) was born in September 2014 in Brasilia, during a meeting of Bishops in States in which Amazon regions are included, diocesan priests and missionaries, men and women, – including the Comboni – and representatives of some national Caritas, lay members of various structures of the Church and representatives of some organisations of Latin America. The meeting was the culmination of a process of integration and collaboration of the Church in the Amazon region, around the great challenges of this vast area: the evangelizing work of a Church that seeks to be “more and more the Amazonian face”, the preservation of cultures and ancestral knowledge, the fate of indigenous peoples, the defence of life and nature, the promotion of studies and research carried out by the Church in the Amazon, the promotion of an alternative model of development in solidarity.
Artefact of Museoafricano of Verona sent to the Venaria in Turin
On the occasion of the exposition of the Shroud and the bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco, the Palace in the “La Venaria” in Turin will host, from 11 April 11 to 30 August, 2015, an interesting exhibition: “Prayer. The encounter with the divine in the religions of the world”. The organizers have asked us for one of our artefacts for this exposition. We shall send the Islamic crown, called “Sibha”, which belonged to El Mahdi (1848-85) and which he donated to Joseph Cuzzi, an agent of General Gordon and later a prisoner in Sudan (1884-1898). Being in possession of this crown, Cuzzi’s life was spared and even released from captivity. Later, Cuzzi donated the crown to his daughter Margherita, who, in turn, donated it to Fr. Giovanni Vantini, who gave it to the Museoafricano.
Norms for financial projects
To better meet the needs and requirements of our missions that are submitting projects for funds, the Italian province has set up the “commission for projects”, with the purpose of receiving and assessing these applications, then presenting its opinion to the Italian Provincial Council for final approval, taking into account also the financial resources available.
To assist in a good presentation of the projects, the committee has drafted some norms that were sent at the beginning of the year to all provincial and delegate superiors of our circumscriptions to be followed when presenting the project.
All projects, once approved by the provincials and local delegates, whether addressed to Mondo Aperto or to Fondazione Nigizia, must only be sent to this address: Commissione Progetti (Attn P. Venanzio Milani), Vicolo Pozzo, 1 – 37129 Verona.
Celebration of the Day of Consecrated Life
The Religious Institutes in the Archdiocese of Juba held a three days programme to mark the closing day of the year of the Consecrated Life, launched by the Religious Superiors Association (RSASS) on 2nd February, 2014, feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
The programme began two days before with a pilgrimage done by a large number of Religious men and women and other faithful. They marched from St. Theresa Cathedral, in Kator, to all Saints Parish, in Rejaf, where the pilgrims celebrated the Eucharist of thanksgiving in the first church built by the Comboni Missionaries in 1919. On the second day of the programme another Eucharistic prayer was held at the cathedral of St. Theresa, in Kator. The prayer was led by His Grace Paolino Lukudu Loro. During the Mass, he stressed abundantly on the meaning of Religious life in the Church and its mission in South Sudan today. The three days programme was concluded with a talk on “the challenges of Consecrated Life in South Sudan today” by Sr. Janet Kiden and Sr. Cathy Arata, given at the Comboni House. Then followed the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Mgr. Roko Taban Mousa, Apostolic Administrator of Malakal, and the homily given by Fr. Daniel Moschetti, the Comboni provincial and chairperson of RSASS.
There are currently over 46 Religious Institutes present in the 10 States of South Sudan. They are more than four hundred men and women from different countries who consecrated themselves to serve this new Nation.
Certificate of Recognition awarded to Bro. Rosario Iannetti
A Certificate of Recognition has been awarded to the Comboni Missionary doctor, Bro. Rosario Iannetti, by South Sudan’s Ministry of Health for his outstanding medical performance. Bro. Rosario is the Medical Director of Mary Immaculate Hospital in Mapuordit, Diocese of Rumbek. The Mary Immaculate Hospital, situated some 75kms south west of Rumbek, capital of Lakes State, is one of the two County Hospitals of Yirol West County. It has grown to its present 115 bed status over the years, since it was founded in 2002. Mapuordit is situated in the middle of plain bush land in a village with an adequately stocked local market which has grown up around the Hospital and Mission Schools (Primary and Secondary). The Hospital is managed on behalf of the Diocese of Rumbek (DOR) by the Comboni Missionaries (three Brothers: two medical doctors, and one nurse anaesthetist and maintenance supervisor). The hospital employs local staff most of whom have received basic training for the auxiliary nurse status, as well as its own recently qualified staff, still supported by a small number of expatriate Registered Nurses/paramedical staff from the near East African countries and other countries. The Staff, paid directly by the State Ministry of Health (SMoH), has now increased to 51. A Health Pooled Fund (a consortium of five State donors lead by UK), allowed the health facility to employ some more 15 new staff and personnel of Mercy Beyond Borders (MBB).
The recognition to Bro. Iannetti is a great step done by the authority of the Central Government of South Sudan in recognition of the work and struggle of Bro. Rosario, the other Comboni Brothers and the staff of the hospital who are committed to improve the quality of life in those difficult areas of Lakes State.