Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
30th CONSULTA – JUNE 2015
1. The opening of a novitiate in Mozambique
The Superior General, with the approval of his Council, erects at Nampula, as from 1 July, 2015, the seat of the Novitiate in Mozambique situated in the house hitherto used as a pre-postulancy. This Novitiate will be called after St. Francis Xavier, Patron of the Institute and once a missionary in Mozambique.
2. Appointment of Formators
The Superior General, with the approval of his Council, appoints the following formators:
1. Fr. Herreros Baroja Tomás Formator at Lima Scholasticate (PE), as from 1 July, 2015.
2. Fr. Ndjadi Ndjate Léonard Novice Master of the Cotonou Novitiate (TGB), as from 1 July, 2015.
3. Fr. Dawit Wubishet Teklewold Novice Master of the Lusaka Novitiate (MZ), as from 1 July, 2015.
4. Fr. Leandro Araya Leonardo Novice Master of the Nampula Novitiate (MO), as from 1 July, 2015.
5. Fr. José Júlio Martins Marques Socius of the Novice Master of the Nampula Novitiate (MO), as from 5 June, 2015.
3. Pre-capitular Commission
The Pre-capitular Commission has been working all through the month of June. As they began their work, they had a meeting with the General Council during which they were given indications concerning their work. During this period they kept in contact, thus facilitating collaboration. At the end of the month, they had another meeting with the GC during which the material prepared and the programmes for the assistance of the Chapter work were discussed and evaluated.
The Commission began their experience with the participation, for several days, of Bro. Enzo Biemmi, who is continuing his collaboration as a facilitator.
Among the material prepared are the Chapter Statutes, the syntheses of the various provincial and continental reports, the proposal for a working instrument, the programmes for the preparatory week and the time to be devoted to the work of the Chapter.
On behalf of the General Council, we thank the members of the Commission for the work done and for the commitment they have shown in this mission which will be of great help for the forthcoming General Chapter.
4. Substitutes of the Chapter delegates
The election of the substitutes of the Chapter delegates (both Priests and Brothers) has been completed in all the circumscriptions and the Secretary General has communicated the results to all circumscription superiors.
5. June Consulta
On 27 June, the GC concluded the work of the month of June Consulta. No more meetings of the GC are foreseen for the next two months and only after the General Chapter will the new GC continue to deal with matters that still require a response or a conclusion.
We wish to take this opportunity to thank all the provincial superiors, the delegates and their councils, for the work done in communion with the GC. As we end our service to the Institute and to the mission, we recognise and are very much aware that without your help and collaboration, the work done would not have been possible.
We also wish to ask for pardon if, in any way, we have not been able to do all the good expected of us. The Lord knows we have done our best and we give thanks for having been chosen for this service that has helped us grow in our missionary and Comboni vocation.
6. Invitation to pray for the Chapter
At this moment in time, as we are preparing ourselves for the imminent General Chapter, we wish to invite the whole Institute to pray and have others pray so that this very important time in our missionary life may become an opportunity to live our vocation more intensely.
We wish to encourage all the communities to organise moments of prayer that the light of the Spirit may shine especially on our Chapter members who will meet in Rome to discover together what the Lord wants of us as missionaries and followers of Comboni in this particular moment in the life of the world. Various bishops of the dioceses where we are present have already written to us to assure us of their prayers and, in some provinces and delegations, the people who are part of our mission are being involved.
7. 25th anniversary of our presence in Poland
On 20 and 21 June, we celebrated in Warsaw the 25th anniversary of our presence in Poland. On that weekend, the relatives of our Polish confreres, the two communities of Warsaw and Krakow, friends, benefactors and people who had been close to us during those years, gathered together.
On Sunday 21, there was a Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Archbishop of Warsaw with the participation of various priests and religious, friends of the Comboni Missionaries. After the Eucharist, all who took part in the celebration were invited to share a meal.
As we thanked God for the journey made by the Comboni Missionaries who worked in Poland, we also recognised the extraordinary gift of the 15 Polish confreres who now work in the four continents where the Comboni Missionaries are present.
We wish the confreres engaged in this small Comboni presence a future of abundant blessings and we pray that the Lord may continue to sow the seed of the Comboni vocation in the hearts of many young people of Poland.
Sc. Anane Kwaku Joseph (T) Lomé (TG) 12/06/2015
Sc. Eliwo Nonge Bernard (CN) Abéché (TC) 22/06/2015
Fr. Chilimba Pius Albert Joseph (MZ) Chingadzi (MW) 20/06/2015
Fr. Gilingere Limingere Lwanga (EGSD) Wau (SS) 28/06/2015
Holy redeemer Guild
July 01 – 15 KE 16 – 31 M
August 01 – 15 MO 16 – 31 MZ
September 01 – 15 NAP 16 – 30 PCA
July – That our pastoral work may help the poor to understand that God is on their side, and that the attention of the Christian community is focused on them. Lord, hear us.
August – That, while recalling the foundation of their Institute (22.08.1951), each Secular Comboni Missionary Woman may commit herself to living out radically the gift received through Fr. Egidio Ramponi. Lord, hear us.
September – That the celebration of the 18th General Chapter may cause the joy of the mission to bloom again in the heart of every Comboni Missionary. Lord, hear us.
Tonino Falaguasta Nyabenda, “50 anni di prete, la storia della mia vita”, pp 116 with colour photos; not for sale.
Golden Jubilee of priesthood
On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the ordination of Fr. Luciano Marini, who was 78 in May, the Comboni Missionaries of the communities of the provincial house, the scholasticate and the shrine of Santa Cruz da Reconciliação gathered together to celebrate. Fr. Luciano was born in Villorba, Italy. He was ordained priest in June, 1965 and left soon afterwards for Brasil where he spent most of his priestly life.
The celebration was beautiful, enriched by the testimony of Fr. Luciano who shared some of the history of his fifty years of missionary service in Brasil, with its joyful and sad times, all of which were, as he himself said, filled with missionary spirit.
Guerrilla warfare continues
The unilateral cessation of hostilities decreed in December, 2014, by FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) was abandoned after the army killed a group of guerrillas and so hostilities were resumed. Our confreres report that, at Tumaco, on the Pacific coast, six bombs were exploded. The Comboni Missionaries suffered no physical injuries but tensions are high: Fr. Daniele Zarantonello was forced to postpone a diocesan meeting for the formation of catechists. The diocese published a communiqué appealing for peace and the non-involvement of civilians in the conflict.
An International Congress on Consecrated Life was held in Bogota from 18 to 21 June, organised by CLAR (Latin-American Conference of Religious), and which was attended by Fr. Raffaello Savoia, Superior of the Columbia Delegation and coordinator of the workshop on multi-ethnic Consecrated Life, some Comboni Sisters from Columbia and Costa Rica and one Secular Comboni Missionary.
The work of the Pre-capitular Commission
On Monday, 1 June, the members of the Pre-capitular Commission – Fr. Rogelio Bustos Juárez (Mexico, coordinator of the Commission), Fr. John Richard Kyankaaga Ssendawula (Egypt-Sudan), Fr. Joseph Mumbere Musanga (Congo), Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla (Chad), Fr. José da Silva Vieira (Portugal), Fr. Miguel Pedro Andrés (Spain), Bro. Alberto Degan (Italia) and Fr. Dario Bossi (Brasil) – began their work at the Generalate in Rome.
During the first week, the Commission concentrated its work on revising the Statutes, trying to make of them an effective instrument, easy to understand and to apply, in such a way as to allow the work of the Chapter to run smoothly and, possibly, uncomplicatedly. The Statutes will be subjected to review by the Chapter members right from the first introductory week (31 August – 4 September).
The second week of work by the Commission was totally dedicated to preparing the Instrumentum Laboris, the most sensitive part. The Instrumentum, in fact, being based upon the reports, constitutes a synthesis of the content of the proposals received in recent months from the General Administration, the Continental Assemblies, the Circumscriptions and various confreres. The work was based upon the four dimensions that have oriented the reflection of all confreres in view of the Chapter: Persons, Spirituality, Mission and Reorganisation, seeking to make the inspirational theme of the “Joy of the Gospel” cast light on all these dimensions.
During the third week, a proposed programme for the Chapter was prepared and a more attentive examination was made of the organisation of the introductory week.
On Friday, 19 June, the Commission met with Mgr. Marcello Semeraro, Bishop of Albano and Secretary of the group of cardinals chosen by Pope Francis as his Consultors. Bishop Semeraro proposed a study of Evangelii gaudium in the light of Comboni challenges. He will guide a day of retreat during the introductory week.
Golden Jubilees of priesthood
On Monday, 22 June, 2015, Fr. Torquato Paolucci and Fr. Danilo Cimitan celebrated their Golden Jubilees of ordination at the Generalate in Rome.
Fr. Torquato, who was born in Urbania in 1940, was ordained on 26 June, 1965. He worked for more than thirty years in Uganda and twelve in the Curia in two periods, first as superior of the community and then in charge of mission promotion and benefactors, a position he still occupies.
Fr. Danilo, a native of Godega Sant'Urbano, is also seventy five and was ordained in the same year. He spent his years working in the missions of Mozambique, Brasil and in the Curia, as a member of the Ongoing Formation Commission.
In his homily, Fr. Torquato, who presided at the Mass, took the experience of Abraham – the call to go out – and spoke of his desire to become a missionary when he was only ten years old, as the natural and serene outcome of the faith lived out in his family. He underlined God’s faithfulness and his patience: “God is faithful and does not change. Abraham experienced this up to the end and I am experiencing it now”. Nevertheless, there were also some difficult times. Of these he said: “something always happened that restored my confidence and hope. These events were often brought about by simple people who evangelised me and made me rediscover Christ. Others have given me so much! It is not mere rhetoric to say that I have received much more than I gave: this is the ‘African sickness’ we hear so much about”.
On 25 June, on the occasion of the 191st anniversary of the creation of the Province of Manabí, during a solemn session at the conference centre of Portoviejo, in the presence of the President of the Republic, Rafael Correa Delgado, of Prefect Mariano Zambrano, of the Archbishop Mgr. Lorenzo Voltolini, of ministers of state and several members of parliament, ordinary people, leaders and catechists of El Carmen who had worked alongside Fr. Alberto Ferri, and of the Missionary Sisters of Santa Maria of Manga del Cura, a commemorative plaque was presented to Fr. Claudio Zendron, representative of the Comboni Missionaries in El Carmen-Manabí, in recognition of the immense work of Fr. Ferri in Manga del Cura, an area of conflict due to the lack of secure borders between Manabí, Los Ríos and Guayas.
The Deputy Mayor mentioned the more than seventy chapels built with the people, the schools, dispensaries and a credit and savings cooperative run by Fr. Alberto from the nineties to 2009, the year he died. The inscription on the plaque mentions the pastoral and material work carried out by this illustrious Comboni Missionary who managed to nourish in the area of Manga del Cura a profound feeling of identity and territorial unity. Fr. Claudio, in expressing his thanks, emphasised that, from 1977, before Fr. Alberto’s time, until today, many Comboni Missionaries had worked and were still working to spread the Gospel and promote the dignity of the people of this Province, who are so religious and welcoming.
Mgr. Menghesteab Tesfamariam receives the Pallium
Among the 46 new Metropolitan Archbishops who received the Pallium from the hands of Pope Francis on 29 June last, was the Comboni Archbishop of Asmara, Mgr. Menghesteab Tesfamariam.
The ceremony was held at the Vatican on the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul and was attended by the Superior General of the Comboni Missionaries, Fr. Enrique Sánchez G., accompanied by some confreres.
A symbol of the ties of communion that exist between the See of Rome and the Churches of the whole world, the Pallium, blessed and presented by the Pope – as it’s customary – was later officially conferred on Mgr. Menghesteab on Sunday, 5 July, in Asmara, by the Apostolic Nuncio to Sudan-Eritrea.
Fr. Fidel González receives the “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” award
The Holy Father Pope Francis has granted the award “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” to Fr. Fidel González Fernández. The award was conferred on him on 28 May, 2015, during an academic function held in the Aula Magna of the Pontifical Urbanian University attended by the academic staff and students.
Before presenting the honour, the Rector read the Bull decree explaining the reasons why it was being conferred: “The long and exceptional service to the Church and to the Holy Father” as Consultor in various Decasteries (The Evangelisation of Peoples, the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints and the Pontifical Council of Culture), as well as his “dedication to academic life and the passion with which he consecrated himself for the university academic formation of many young people of the mission world, and especially his work with the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and research on the history of evangelisation with numerous works on the subject”. Mention was made of his recent works on the history of the event of Guadalupe, the history of persecution in Mexico (4 editions), the history of Missionary Institutes under Propaganda Fide, his ongoing direction of a Dictionary of the Cultural History of the Church in Latin America, and the numerous Causes of canonisation in which he intervened as Consultor and Relator.
Before receiving the honour, Fr. Fidel, Ordinary of the History of the Church of the Pontifical Urbanian University and Professor of the Faculty of the History of the Church at the Pontifical Gregorian University, gave the Lectio magistralis on the theme: “The Study of the History of the Church and Theology”.
Meeting of the heads of Comboni magazines for children
For the first time, the directors and some collaborators of the magazines Audacia, Aguiluchos and Piccolo Missionario (PM) met on 4 and 5 May in Madrid. Their aim was to try to examine the situation of the magazines and to indicate some proposals for future collaboration.
Mercedes Alonso of the Spanish catholic commission for children, an expert in children’s and youth literature, opened the meeting, presenting an evaluation of the three magazines and making some suggestions regarding their content and graphics.
It emerged that the magazines, in varying degrees, are losing subscribers and that this can only be reversed by means of the collaboration of the communities and circulation managers.
It was also agreed to start doing some common “projects” such as that planned for this year, for 2016 and 2017 involving the publication of more than twenty “reviews” of the patrimony of humanity according to UNESCO, entitled “UNESCO City”, and a project on the school in Peru to be financed together.
As the meeting ended, the Provincials and Councillors of Italy, Spain and Portugal were asked to devote more attention to the promotion and circulation of the magazines (even by appointing someone to this task) and to seek greater co-responsibility on the part of the communities as a practical expression of mission promotion and evangelisation.
Ordination to the priesthood
The scholastic Joseph Chilimba Pius Albert is the only Comboni missionary of his group of five companions to be ordained priest this year. The ceremony took place on 20 June, 2015, in his home parish of Chingadzi, Malawi, in the archdiocese of Blantyre. After completing the philosophical studies at Balaka, Pius did his novitiate in Namugongo (Uganda) and studied theology at Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Both parents of Pius Chilimba died while he was a child. His only sister also died prematurely and Pius was reared by his grandmother and financially supported in his studies by his uncle John Chome.
Pius Chilimba’s ordination coincided with the Golden Jubilee of his parish. The celebration was broadcast by the local television for almost four hours, also because the Malawian President, originally from the area, was present with his wife and government authorities.
Many Comboni confreres working in Malawi were present, led by the provincial Fr. Kanyike Edward Mayanja. We wish Fr. Pius a successful missionary service as he is going to North Western Kenya.
Postulants awarded school diplomas
As the school closed in June at the Balaka Inter-congregational Institute, the last official act has been the awarding of school diplomas to postulants of five Institutes. In the presence of two bishops and the Rector of the Catholic University of Malawi, some 35 young men graduated, including six Comboni students.
While presenting the awards, Bishop Tumbuka asked the new graduates to become men of faith and wisdom. He also recalled the great and invaluable work done by the missionaries in bringing the faith to this part of the world.
Finally, he challenged the future missionary candidates to become more creative and open to new forms of ministry and missionary service without necessarily repeating what the diocesan clergy are already doing, asking the Holy Spirit to inspire them with wisdom to be able to counteract the many attacks that the Catholic faith is experiencing, but without simply making it more appealing to the society of today.
Jubilarians in the NAP
Fr. Paul Joseph Ewers and Fr. Kenneth John James Gerth celebrated their Golden Jubilee this year, 2015. Fr. Paul celebrated with a special Mass in Covina, California, on May 31, and in Cincinnati on June 27. He has spent a lot of his missionary years working in Ecuador and the United States. Fr. Paul currently lives in Covina, California, at the Comboni Mission Center.
Fr. Ken celebrated with a special Mass at St. Joseph Syro Malabar Church in Seffner, Florida, last October. For the past 19 years Fr. Ken has been working as a chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital in Tampa, Florida. He has very fond memories of working in Uganda.
The confreres working in the NAP celebrated the 50th anniversary of Fr Paul and Fr Ken during their Provincial Assembly on April, 17. Many blessings to the Jubilarians!
Fiftieth anniversaries of priesthood
Fr. Luís de Albuquerque and Fr. José de Sousa, both Portuguese and seventy five years old, have celebrated together their Golden Jubilees of ordination. Both missionaries are from the same town, Sargaçais (Aguiar da Beira), and the same parish of Souto da Beira, in the diocese of Viseu. Fr. Luís was ordained by the then Cardinal Montini, the future Paul VI, on 26 June, 1965, in Milan, while Fr. José was ordained the next day in Verona.
The weekend of 27 and 28 June was, therefore, one of celebration and thanksgiving, not only for Frs. Luís and José but also for all their families and friends, the Comboni confreres and the faithful of Souto da Beira and the cathedral of Viseu who gathered round them in simplicity and joy. On Sunday, the Mass was celebrated in the cathedral with Mgr. Ilídio Pinto Leandro, Bishop of Viseu, presiding.
Fr. José has spent his missionary life in Mozambique and Brasil and now continues his mission through ministry and prayer at the Retirement Centre in the Comboni house in Viseu. Fr. Luís, after a short period of holidays, will return to Mozambique where he has already worked – in two separate periods – for twenty years.
Two churches opened
After a long period of work and preparation, the Comboni Missionaries and the Christian community of the diocese of Yei have at last managed to celebrate the opening of a church at Lomin and another at Mondikolok. This achievement was due to the commitment of the parish priest, Fr. Victor Adekoun Kouandé, with the assistance and dedication of Bro. Erich Fischnaller.
On 12 June, 2015, during the Feast of the Sacred Heart to whom it is dedicated, the new, spacious and beautiful church of Lomin was opened by Mgr. Paulino Lukudu Loro, Archbishop of Juba, in the presence of Mgr. Erkolano Lodu Tombe, Bishop of Yei. Fr. Daniele Moschetti, provincial, and many confreres were also present.
On the following day, at Mondikolok, another church, not quite as large, was blessed by Archbishop Paulino and Bishop Erkolano. At the same time, a new dispensary and a small hospital were opened.
On Sunday, 14 June, eighty-four adults were confirmed at Lomin church by Archbishop Paulino and Bishop Erkolano.
It was also a Mass of thanksgiving for the great work of development experienced by the people in recent years in the fields of the faith, health care, schools, pre-schools and carpentry workshops run by Bro. Erich and Bro. Fafa Pierre Ayih Teko, which employ many workers and produce furniture and other articles for sale also in other areas of South Sudan.
On Sunday, 28 June, 2015, Lwanga Gilingere Limingere was ordained priest at Wau cathedral by Bishop Emeritus Mgr. Paride Taban, of the diocese of Torit. Lwanga hails from Deim Zubeir, the parish of Raja in the diocese of Wau.
After his formation in South Africa and two years of missionary service in the parish of Holy Cross at Yirol, in Lake State, where he took perpetual vows, he had been ordained deacon on 1st January of this year.
Fr. Daniele Moschetti, provincial of South Sudan, and Fr. Angelo Giorgetti, provincial of Egypt and Sudan, joined the family and friends of Fr. Lwanga and the Christian community of Wau for the ordination ceremony. Fr. Lwanga has been assigned to the Province of Congo.
Solemnity of the Sacred Heart
The solemnity of the Sacred Heart provided the opportunity to meet together as the Comboni family at the provincial house of Cacaveli (Lomé). It was the first time for the five newly-professed to participate in a provincial meeting. After Lauds, Fr. Provincial shared a reflection using the Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee Year of Pope Francis: “Misericordiae vultus”: we are all invited to live in the concreteness of our lives the mercy of the Father as shown in the face of Jesus. As missionaries in present-day Africa torn by many problems of violence and abuses of power, we cannot but proclaim good news consisting of love, forgiveness and mercy. The guiding words that will accompany us are: “merciful as the Father is merciful”.
The concelebrated Eucharist, attended by friends and family members, saw us gathered round the Scholastic Joseph Anane Kwaku, a Ghanaian, who made his perpetual profession. In his homily, Fr. Miante, referring to the Word that was heard and the message of the Superior General for the feast of the sacred Heart, invited everyone to take up the responsibility of guarding and increasing the grace we received the day we answered “yes” to God, especially Joseph, on the day of his definitive consecration.
On Saturday, 27 June, in Cape Coast (Ghana), at the parish of the scholasticate of St. Paul of Nkanfoa, Joseph Anane was ordained deacon by Mgr. Matthias Nketsia, Archbishop of Cape Coast. The parish participate in great number, eager to welcome one of the first fruits of the new scholasticate, opened in 2009. It was a nice experience of mission promotion and vocational witness for the many young people present at the celebration, which was accompanied by the parish choir.
Diploma of honour
Afanya is one of the two parishes that had been entrusted to the Comboni Missionaries on their arrival in Togo in 1964. On Sunday, 31 May, the parish celebrated the 25th anniversary of its consecration. Its construction was started by Bro. Adone Santi and completed by Bro. Virginio Negrin. For the occasion, the community of the faithful wished to mark the missionary work done in the many years of dedicated service with diplomas of honour: one was presented to the Comboni Missionaries and one to each of the two confreres who spent so much of their lives at Afanya: Fr. Bruno Gilli and Fr. Elio Boscaini. The tomb of Bro. Santi also serves as a perpetual reminder of the Comboni presence at Afanya.
THE FATHER: Fernando, of Fr. Miguel Ángel Llamazares González(A).
THE MOTHERS: Bruna, of Fr. Stefano Zuin (I); Elena, of Fr. Jorge Lautaro Quevedo Herrera (U); Marina, of Bro. Luis Humberto Gonzáles Jiménez (ET); Maria Eugénia, of Fr. José Alberto Maximino de Almeida (†); Hagush Lemlem, di P. Asfaha Yohannes Weldeghiorgis (EGSS).
THE BROTHER: Luis Israel, of Fr. Angel Camorlinga Maldonado (NAP).
THE SISTER: Ernestina, of Fr. Cornelio Menegatti (I).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Fidenzia Marzorati; Sr. Gianna Franca Rodeghiero; Sr. M. Daniela Bariola Bon; Sr. M. Serena Cattaneo.