Wednesday, September 30, 2015
After the election of the General Council, the Chapter of the Comboni Missionaries is coming to an end. The election period began yesterday. In a plenary meeting, the secretary of the Chapter read the procedure for the election of the Superior General. This was followed by groups discussion to highlight the qualities required for this election and to put names forward. Immediately, after returning to the Chapter Hall, the Delegates proceeded to a poll to help identify the desired person. Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie got the most votes. In the picture, from left to right: Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins, Fr. Rogelio Bustos Juárez, Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie, Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla and Bro. Alberto Lamana Cónsola.
Bro. Alberto Lamana,
working in Madrid
for the magazine
This morning the voting proceeded quickly. On the first ballot, Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse had 62 votes out of 67 participants with the right to vote. The election was followed by a moment of exchange of best wishes and congratulations to the new elected. Fr. Tesfaye is a good-humoured person, very considerate to others. Equipped with many qualities, we believe that he will provide a good service to the Institute in collaboration with his team and with each confrere.
After the greetings, the Delegates listened to the reading of the procedure concerning the choice of the General Counsellors, the close associates of the superior general. Divided into linguistic groups, the Delegates indicated once again the qualities required in a general counsellor and proposed a few names. This first poll indicated the voters orientation. After the lunch break, all the Delegates gathered in the Chapter Hall to elect, one by one, the four remaining members of the General Council. The first to be elected was Fr. Peter Ciuciulla, Italian, Delegate of Chad, followed by Bro. Alberto Lamana, Spanish, working in Madrid for the magazine Mundo Negro. Rogelio Bustos, Mexican, and Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins, Portuguese, completed the list in the late afternoon.
After these elections, the Chapter will soon come to an end with a Mass of thanksgiving that could be brought forward to Saturday. Tomorrow, Thursday, October 1, the Delegates will meet Pope Francis, back from his long journey to Cuba and USA.
Many are the considerations concerning these elections. It has been a choice that indicates a break in continuity. Continuity, first, because a member of the previous General Council was elected Superior General. A break because, for the first time, an African has been elected as Superior General of the Institute that was founded by Daniel Comboni in 1863 for Africa and the Africans. He succeeds to a Mexican Superior General. A break also because, as it has normally happens in our Institute, there was a nearly complete renewal of the Councillors. May the Lord who has called them to those responsibilities help them to be good and faithful servants, for their confreres and the missions.
Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins.