Monthly Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
1st CONSULTA – NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2015
1. A summary was made of the evaluations of the XVIII General Chapter. It’s more relevant aspect was the climate of serenity and communion experienced during the Chapter. The responsible participation of all was pointed out while the main criticism concerned discernment: the allocation of periods of time did not always favour discernment even though there was constructive continuity between the work of circumscriptions, that of the Pre-capitular Commission and the work carried out during the Chapter. It was remarked that the groups were too large to allow for real dialogue and that there was insufficient debate in the Chapter Hall. There was also the usual Chapter problem of languages and simultaneous translation. The discreet presence of the facilitator was viewed positively.
2. The new GC wishes to thank sincerely Fr. Enrique Sánchez González and the members of the previous GC for all they did for the Institute during the past six years and especially for the availability they showed during the days of the hand-over of commitments and offices to the members of the new GC. With their thanks, they extend to them their best wishes for the new ministry that awaits each one of them.
3. During the meeting of 9 December, 2015, the GC elected Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins to the office of Vicar General of the Institute. He will be the Major Superior of the District of the Curia and in charge of canonical processes and confreres in difficulty. He will also accompany all the circumscriptions of APDESAM (Anglophone Africa and Mozambique).
4. Within the new GC, the other commitments were distributed as follows:
Fr. Rogelio Bustos is responsible for Basic and Ongoing Formation and the circumscriptions of America and Asia.
Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla is responsible for the economy sector and the provinces of Francophone Africa and Italy. He is also a member of the District Council and responsible for relations with other members of the Comboni Family.
Bro. Alberto Lamana is responsible for the Mission sector (EV and MA), JPIC and CLM, as well as the Information sector including the Website and Comboni Press. He is also the reference person for all the Brothers and the provinces of Europe (except Italy).
5. New e-mail addresses for some of the General Assistants:
- General Assistant in charge of the circumscriptions of Anglophone Africa: email@example.com
- General Assistant in charge of the circumscriptions of Francophone Africa: firstname.lastname@example.org
- General Assistant in charge of the circumscriptions of America and Asia: email@example.com
6. The GC confirms (RL 124.1) the appointment of Fr. Fabio Baldan as acting Vice-provincial of South Africa until 31 December 2016.
7. The GC confirms the appointment of Fr. Fidele Katsan Fodagni Kokouvi as acting Vice-delegate of Chad while still staying most of the time at the seat of the novitiate in Sarh.
8. The GC wishes to remind especially the circumscription superiors and bursars that the time for presenting projects to the GC is that of the March and October Consultas.
9. The Renewal Course for confreres over seventy years of age will be held in Rome during the months of October and November, 2016. The GC invites those confreres who wish to attend to make arrangements in good time with their Provincials/Delegates and with the reference person for ACFP in Rome (Fr. Siro Stocchetti).
10. Programme of visits of the members of the GC in the coming months:
Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse
16 – 28 December: absent from his office
29 – 31 December: Verona
9 – 12 February 2016: Casavatore
24 – 26 February 2016: ACFP Rome
Fr. Bustos Juarez Rogelio
21 – 23 December: Rebbio
Fr. Ciuciulla Pietro
17 – 19 December: Verona
23 December – 8 January 2016: on holiday
27 March – 4 April: financial course at the Kinshasa scholasticate
Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins
14 December – 8 January 2016: on holiday in Portugal
February 2016: visiting the communities of the Generalate
Bro. Lamana Cónsola Alberto
12 – 23 December: Spain (university)
9 – 15 January 2016: Spain (university)
2 – 26 February 2016: Spain (university).
Chapter Acts 2015
The “Chapter Acts 2015” have been printed in the respective languages and sent by courier before Christmas to all Provincials and Delegates. Hopefully, they will all be delivered soon.
From the Holy See Website
On 17 December, the Holy Father authorised the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints to promulgate the decree on the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Giuseppe Ambrosoli, a priest of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus who was born on 23 July, 1923 and died on 27 March, 1987.
Bro. Rizzetto Paolo (SS-I) S. Dona di Piave (I) 19/12/2015
Ordinations to the priesthood
Fr. Chintu Paul Eugene (MZ) Chawama-Lusaka(Z) 21.11.2015
Fr. Chisha Daniel (MZ) Chawama-Lusaka(Z) 21.11.2015
Fr. Anane Kwaku Joseph (GH) Lome (TG) 19.12.2015
Fr. Milungo Mangulani Pascal (CN) Isiro (RDC) 27.12.2015
Holy Redeemer Guild
January 01 – 15 A 16 – 31 BR
February 01 – 15 C 16 – 28 EGSD
January – For all migrants who are forced by war and hunger to leave their own countries, that they may find in us Christians a welcome and solidarity. Lord hear us.
February – That, as we conclude the Year of Consecrated Life, we may remain faithful to the gift received and feel the need to renew every day the joy of the gift of ourselves to Christ for the Mission. Lord hear us.
The Comboni Missionaries (MCCJ) in Ethiopia after World War II. 50 Years of Evangelization, by Fr. Giuseppe Cavallini, October 2015, written to mark the Golden Jubilee of the establishment of the Vicariate of Hawassa. The beauty of this story lies in the fact that, as underlined by Fr. Julio Ocaña Iglesias in the preface, the leaders “present and future, of the Church of The Vicariate of Hawassa are not so much the Comboni Missionaries as the local clergy, the great number of Sisters and Brothers of various Institutes, the laypeople working in the formation and leadership of the Christian communities and the faithful who make up the framework of the presence of the Church in an area that includes the territories of the Sidama, the Gedeo, the Gugi, the Borana and the Amaro-Kele.
Comboni Missionaries who worked in Ethiopia and died in the last 50 years of evangelization by the MCCJ in Ethiopia (1965-2015). This booklet, as the title signifies, is a collection of biographies (many of which have been published in the MCCJ Bulletin “In Memoriam”) of the now-deceased confreres who worked in Ethiopia and who remain in the hearts and the memory of the people who received the Gospel from them.
Fantastiche avventure di missione. Una luce infinita, Fr. Maurizio Balducci, 2015. As stated by Cardinal S. Piovanelli in the preface, “you will be sorry you have come to the end and will want to continue and become ‘a neighbour’ to those women and men in those particular situations... to go out to others and give meaning and joy to our daily existence”.
Symposium on evangelization
This is the symposium program we followed in Addis Ababa in the first half of December to celebrate 50 Years of our presence – as Comboni Missionaries (Sisters, brothers, lay people and priests) – in Ethiopia.
First day: Keynote speech by Cardinal Berhaneyesus, Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa; Defining new prospects: Mission inter-agents, prophetic dialogue and evangelization, by Fr. Roger Schroeder; Mission as ministry of dialogue and reconciliation, by Fr. Robert Schreiter; Mission in the Johannine perspective: That they may have life, by Sr. Mariolina Cattaneo.
Second day: challenges and opportunities today for mission inter-gentes in Ethiopia, by Fr. Groum Tesfaye; Which mission today for the Catholic Church in Ethiopia? A diocesan perspective, by Fr. Petros Berga; Which mission today for the Catholic Church in Ethiopia? A female religious perspective, by Sr. Elaine Kohls, MMS; A catholic plan for today: the plan of St. Daniel Comboni and inter-gentes, by Bro. Jonas Dzinekou Yawovi; Reading the plan of St. Daniel Comboni today, by Fr. Juan Antonio González Nunez.
Scholastics receive the ministries of lector and acolyte
The Comboni Scholasticate of Casavatore, Italy, was in festive mood on 20 November last. The scholastics Stefano Treviso (Italian), Kasika Emmanuel (Congolese) and Anatole Luke Welemu (Malawian) received the ministries of lector while the scholastics Giovanni Antonello (Italian), Jonathan Luna Sánchez (Peruvian) and Sylvain Alohoungo (Beninese) received that of acolyte.
Formerly called minor orders, these ministries were instituted by the Church to assist candidates to the priesthood to prepare themselves to exercise in a more dignified manner the service of the Word and the altar. Fr. Juan Climent Vilaplana, Superior of the community of the Generalate in Rome, was invited to preside over the celebration.
Apart from the formators – Fr. José de Jesus Villasenor Galvez and Fr. Carmelo Casile – other confreres such as those of the community of Castelvolturno, where the scholastics engage in pastoral work, and many friends and people from the area of the scholasticate, wishing to demonstrate their affection, were also present.
During its last meeting, the Provincial Council of Italy approved 15 projects for Mondo Aperto and 3 projects for Nigrizia Foundation Onlus, to be added to the 15 projects approved last February. Those in charge of the projects have been informed of their approval. The projects will be financed as soon as funds become available – not always a simple matter. New projects are to be sent to the Projects Commission (c/o Fr. Venanzio Milani) in Vicolo Pozzo, 1, Verona. Projects are, of course, set out using the “Guide to Projects presentation” which all provincials and delegates already have. The next meeting of the Commission will be held in April 2016.
Opening of the Novitiate
On 28 November, in the northern city of Nampula, in the heart of the country, the novitiate was officially opened. The opening ceremony began at 11.am, with a procession outside the chapel of the new house. This had been preceded by the reading by the ten new young novices of the last words of the Founder with which he asked his missionaries for courage and fidelity: “Take courage… Swear that you will be faithful to your vocation... I am dying but my work will not die”.
The procession was followed by Mass celebrated in the chapel and presided over by Fr. José Luis Rodríguez López, Provincial Superior, who addressed the ritual questions to the novices for the purpose of ascertaining their real vocational and missionary intentions, before allowing them to begin this new two-year journey that will end with temporary profession of the vows of religion, by which they will officially become part of the Institute.
Fr. José Luis invited the novices to experience the presence of Christ in their lives. A presence which, like a tattoo on the skin, no one will ever remove”. After the homily, he presented them with the Rule of Life and a copy of the Writings of Comboni.
Besides the formators, Fr. Leonardo Leandro Araya (Novice Master) and Fr. José Julio Martins Marques (socius), various confreres representing the five dioceses in which we are present, some Comboni Sisters and CLM were also in attendance.
Mossuril parish is handed over to the diocese
The Comboni presence in Mozambique goes back to 1946, with the arrival of Fr. Giuseppe Zambonardi. The mission of Mossuril was the gateway. On 6 December, 2015, the parish was handed over to the diocese of Nacala – a sign that the Plan of Comboni – Africa for Africans – is being carried out: the local Church is taking shape and, little by little, is taking up the pastoral commitments of its territory.
“After 68 years – the Provincial Superior, Fr. José Luis Rodríguez López affirmed – we may today thank God for the great gift of our charism which invites us to have confidence, to hand over, to leave trusting in local resources, so that they may become the protagonists of the mission”.
He then reminded the Comboni Missionaries that they formed and still form part of this mission, mentioning especially the Delegates and Provincial Superiors who contributed to the consolidation of our presence in Mozambique, including those now deceased – Fr. Giuseppe Zambonardi (1946-1953), Fr. Giorgio Ferrero (1954-1963), Fr. Ernesto Calderola (1964-1969), Fr. Severino Peano (1970-1975) – and those still living both within Mozambique and elsewhere: Fr. Danilo Cimitan (1976-1981), Fr. Francesco Antonini (1982-1987), Fr. Giacomo Palagi (1987-1992), Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins (1993-1998), Fr. Giorgio Giboli (1999-2004), Fr. Massimo Robol (2005-2010) and Fr. José Luis Rodríguez López (2011-2015).
Novitiate of Cotonou
On 10 October, 2015, the Novitiate of Cotonou (Benin) celebrated the first ten years of its existence. The occasion was marked by a beautiful Mass of thanksgiving with some confreres who formed part of the first group who opened the novitiate house: Fr. Bernard Domara, Fr. Jean de Dieu Hounongbe, Fr. Johnny Agboli, Fr. Kevin Simtokena and Fr. Canisius Metin. The confreres of Cotonou concelebrated, surrounded by the 19 novices from the four circumscriptions of Francophone Africa.
The spiritual exercises for the whole of the Province were held during the month of November. Almost all the confreres gathered at Vogan, one of the first missions of Togo, at the Spirituality Centre of Our Lady of the Cenacle, to live together this annual event. The spiritual exercises were preached by Fr. Fidele Katsan, a Togolese from Vogan, Novice Master at Sarh in Chad. Fr. Fidele helped us to live the Year of Consecrated Life, focusing his meditations on the three pillars of our life: spirituality, life in common and the mission. With simplicity and conviction, he shared his experience and encounter with the Word to confirm us in our journey of service and the giving of ourselves.
The exercises were a preparation to welcome the Acts of the XVIII General Chapter in view of our missionary commitment in TGB during the coming years.
Islam reflection Group
From 29 November to 4 December, 2015, the Province of TGB received the group of reflection on Islam of the Anglophone and Francophone circumscriptions of Africa. The theme of the meeting was indeed topical: Islamic fundamentalism. The papers presented were both interesting and profound and helped all the participants to understand this difficult and challenging reality of the world of today. Certain policies for our pastoral work as Comboni Missionaries were identified, taking account of the various situations of the African circumscriptions. The importance of these encounters was emphasised in line with the directives of the XVIII General Chapter which invites us to increase in ourselves the dimension of ministeriality as a concrete way of living the mission today in focussed and specific collaboration.
Ordination to the priesthood
On Saturday, 19 December, together with 19 young men of the Archdiocese of Lomé, Fr. Joseph Anane, a Ghanaian Comboni, was ordained priest. The celebration took place at the parish of St Lucy, Baguida, in the presence of hundreds of the faithful, priests and friends of those being ordained. Archbishop Denis Amuzu-Dzakpah, emphasised in his homily the service of the priesthood in this Holy Year of Mercy: to be the tender face of the Father for every person the priest meets.
This is what we, as the TGB Province, wish Fr. Joseph who is already appointed to his mission in Ethiopia. The day after his ordination, Sunday 20 December, Fr. Joseph celebrated his first Mass at Cacaveli, in the community of the Provincial house where he did his missionary service.
THE FATHER: Geoffrey Gogu, of Fr. Evans Kotoku Lawson Kwaku (RSA).
THE MOTHERS: Maria dos Prazeres, of Fr. Feliz da Costa Martins (EGSD); Eugénie, of the Sc. Vincent Messan Sikpa Hounlessodji (T); María del Carmen, of Fr. José Luis Alvarez (E); Maria Luigia, of Fr. Cosimo De Iaco (U).
THE SISTERS: Maria, of Fr. Mario S. Cisternino (†); Sabah, of Fr. Sobhy Basily Attalla (EGSD).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Maria Noemi Piazza; Sr. Pia Vincenza Intiso.