MONTHLY NEWSLETTER OF THE COMBONI MISSIONARIES OF THE HEART OF JESUS
150th Anniversary of the Institute
On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the founding of our Institute, a Symposium was held in Rome, from 26 May to 1 June, at the General Curia. This is an outline of the Programme.
Friday 26 May: Opening of the Symposium (Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse mccj, Father General); History of the Comboni Institute (a conference by Fr. Fidel González mccj).
Saturday, 27 May: The reconfiguration of the Institute in the light of our history (a conference by Fr. Manuel Augusto Lopes Ferreira mccj); Pope Francis’ vision of mission (a conference by Fr. Diego Farés SJ).
Sunday 28 May: Visit to the ‘Combonian’ places in Rome; Eucharistic Celebration (Urbanian College); Participation in the Regina Coeli with Pope Francis; continuation of the visit to Rome.
Monday 29 May: The Institute, a new message of God to the missionary Church (a conference by Fr. Teresino Serra mccj); Belonging with gratitude (a conference by Fr. David Glenday mccj).
Tuesday 30 May: The Comboni Missionaries and the challenges of the XXI century (a conference by Fr. Enrique Sánchez mccj); the social dimension of the Comboni mission (a conference by Fr. Francesco Pierli mccj).
Wednesday 31 May: General Audience with Pope Francis; Comboni Missionary Sisters (a conference by M. Luigia Coccia CMS); “Panorama” of the Comboni Family.
Thursday 1 June: Solemn Eucharistic Celebration presided by Cardinal Fernando Filoni (11am); Lunch.
The conferences will be published later on.
Lusaka (MZ) 6 May 2017 (12 professions)
Sc. Epieru Augustine (U)
Sc. Etabo Joseph Lopeyok (KE)
Sc. Idro Kenyi Denis (U)
Sc. Mbithi Clement Mutie (KE)
Sc. Mina Albeer Tawfik Kalds Abdelshahid (EGSD)
Sc. Mina Anwar Habib Atia (EGSD)
Sc. Mugerwa John Bosco (U)
Sc. Nsinga Robert (U)
Sc. Nzuka Evans Musyoka (KE)
Sc. Ochieng David Oduor (KE)
Sc. Tekle Melaku Wolde (ET)
Bro. Manyozo Fanuel (MZ)
Cotonou (T) 13 May 2017 (16 professions)
Sc. Adanlesossi Koku Delanyo (Crépin) (TGB)
Sc. Amini Bin Kib’Landu Chançard (CN)
Sc. Atsou Kokuvi Elom Joseph (TGB)
Sc. Attigan Jean Koffi (TGB)
Sc. Djato Wilfried (TGB)
Sc. Djekoundamde Florent (TC)
Sc. Kasereka Valyene Edgard (CN)
Sc. Katembo Katina Damien (CN)
Sc. Muhindo Kyasalya Michel (CN)
Sc. Muyisa Kapitula Mumbere (CN)
Sc. Nsimba Makengo Gloire (CN)
Sc. Tabasse Taramboui Ebed Melek Ruben Dario (RCA)
Bro. Mbungi Mulambu Alfred (CN)
Bro. Mbusa Tsongo Pontien (CN)
Bro. Mpia Mpoo Joseph (CN)
Bro. Yenga Ramazani Jérôme (CN)
Xochimilco (M) 13 May 2017 (4 professions)
Sc. Cerritos Abarca Roger Alexander (PCA)
Sc. Valverde Arce Byron José (PCA)
Bro. Coelho de Faria Marco Antonio (BR)
Bro. Valverde Paredes José Jean (PE)
Holy Redeemer Guild
June 01 – 07 ER 08 – 15 LP 16 – 30 P
July 01 – 15 KE 16 – 31 M
June – That the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute may help the Comboni Missionaries to remain faithful to the inspiration of the Founder and give themselves entirely, until their last breath, for the evangelisation of the world. Lord hear us.
July – That, as members of the Comboni Family, we may be faithful to Comboni’s dream of a collaboration network with the mission at its centre, serving the poorest and most abandoned. Lord hear us.
Fr. James Kasitomu. Matama a Bulu, Balaka (Malawi) 2015. The book has 24 homilies that contain different narrations of Fr. James’s personal experiences acquired in different places where he has been working. It has a number of legendary stories, analogies and real experiences, rich in their meaning, which Fr. James has decided to publish, as they have touched the real lives of the people. For this reason, at the end of each homily, he has proposed suggestions on which the reader may reflect in the desire to change one’s life. The book is written in Chichewa, the national language of Malawi.
Fr. Bruno Gilli, Un culte du Vodu Hebiesso. Approche d’une religion africaine chez les Ouatchi du Sud-Togo, Ed. Haho, Lomé 2016. The result of research lasting many years – as is stated in the preface – this book proposes a historical, thematic and symbolic analysis of the ouatchi practices that are found in Togo, Benin and Ghana. It involves a “hidden and revealed treasure” by one who has been teaching for many years, forming generations of students of anthropology, ecclesiology, missiology and “African” theologies, with the intention of instructing, informing and forming!”.
Comboni Missionaries Sisters and Comboni Missionaries: “Evangelizing in time”: New models of mission in the Ethiopian context. 2015, St. Michael Pastoral Centre, Addis Ababa. The Conference was intended as a platform to provide an update on the new perspective of mission especially with regard to Ethiopia (context, changes and challenges, possible new models).
St Daniel Comboni Chapel, produced by the Italian Province of the Comboni Missionaries, Bologna, April 2017. A readable guide for an easy approach to the figure of St Daniel Comboni and the main events of his with a useful map of the Comboni Places in Verona.
Chorus of Anniversaries
From 8 to 13 May, the Assembly of the Delegation was held for the first time in Taiwan.
Using the reports of the different sectors (evangelisation, formation, vocations and missions promotion) the past was reviewed; despite being a small Comboni group (with about twenty members) the work done was of high quality and significance and this gives us reason to be forever grateful. The future is contained within the Six-Year Plan that was drafted during the Assembly. The best part of the experience was, however, the joy of the present moment: communion, fraternity and the enthusiastic desire to be together once again. The present challenges of the mission in Asia were illustrated by Fr. Willie, CICM, a missionary with many years of experience in the Chinese world.
The Assembly was particularly marked by the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the arrival of the Comboni Missionaries in Taipei, Taiwan (1997) and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Comboni presence in Macao (1992). It was nice to see the old photos of our beginnings and to find that most of the Comboni ‘pioneers’ are still young and with the benefit of years of experience. The celebration of the two anniversaries will be held in both places with their respective parishioners.
Our short stay in Taipei was crowned with an enjoyable excursion that included visits to historical and other places of interest.
About thirty Combonians met in Sao Paolo for the Mission Assembly. The process of unification requires a renewed commitment to renewing and harmonising the concept of mission and evangelisation in which each individual and each community has their place.
Over two days’ debate, there was an effort to reinterpret the role of the Christian and missionary communities inserted in the urban peripheries, especially through the parishes but also through the commitment to specific pastorals such as those of the prisons and minors.
Moved by the growing challenge of urban violence, answers are being sought by reintegrating the commitment of the faith communities with the numerous sectors of organised civil society dedicated to the defence and promotion of human rights.
The Assembly provided an occasion to go ahead with a reply to the Chapter (n. 45), which demands the requalification of specific pastorals, networking and a local plan for specialisations.
Feast of friends and benefactors at the General House in Rome
On 7 May, the Good Shepherd Sunday, friends and benefactors of the Comboni missionaries of the Curia in Rome met in the General House to share and joyously celebrate with the community half a day on the theme of the mission. The most significant moments of the day were the testimony of Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla, general assistant, who talked about his life and missionary work, especially in Chad, and then the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Fr. Peter.
He recalled some events of Chad’s political and ecclesial social history, the life of the people and of the Comboni missionaries. During the homily of the Holy Mass, concelebrated with about twenty other Comboni priests, Fr. Pietro, referring to the Sunday readings, to the Good Shepherd Sunday and the Day of Prayer for Vocations, emphasised in particular that we are all called to be missionaries and to announce and witness the Gospel to all creatures, following the footsteps of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and of our founder, St. Daniel Comboni.
The celebration ended in the dining room by sharing in a fraternal meal.
Visiting our roots
One hundred and fifty years ago, in 1867, in Verona, Daniel Comboni founded the Institute for the African Missions. The DSP decided to celebrate this event with a pilgrimage – from 2 to 5 May – to the communities of Milland, Limone, Verona and Castel d’Azzano. Twenty-two confreres took part.
Comboni went a number of times to Bressanone, also because it was there that his great benefactor and protector, Johannes C. Mitterrutzner lived. We visited our community and the graves of our deceased confreres interred in the cemetery of Milland.
The next stage, Limone sul Garda (the birthplace of the Founder) began with a half-day retreat directed by the community Superior, Fr. Pierpaolo Monella, who invited us to remember our history with profound gratitude: “Only those who contemplate history without prejudice will see in it the footsteps of God”.
The following day we left for Verona where both the landscape and our own horizons were widened. We visited the magnificently arranged African Museum with its numerous graphic illustrations in the corridors, the Comboni Chapel with some reliquaries and the images of some confreres immortalised in the stained glass windows, who spoke to us of the worldwide dimension of our mission.
This vision of ours was also reinforced by a visit to the new community of Castel d´Azzano, where around sixty confreres were expecting us. The mission is still very much alive among them. Our sharing with so many confreres who worked for many years in Africa and America went on so long that we had no time to visit the houses of the other ‘Comboni Places’.
We greatly appreciated the hospitality shown us by our Italian confreres and the opportunity, for many of us, to meet again confreres with whom we had worked in the mission and whom we had not seen for many years.
We wish to thank the communities of Milland, Limone, Verona and Castel d´Azzano for their warm and fraternal welcome that made us feel and experience in a new way our belonging to the “Comboni Family””. (Fr. Karl Peinhopf)
Assembly of Comboni Missionaries working in the media sector
The Comboni Missionaries working in the media sector in Europe from Portugal, Spain, Italy, the London Province and Poland, together with lay collaborators for a total of 26 persons, met from 23 to 25 May 2017, in Madrid, at the provincial house. Bro. Alberto Lamana, Assistant General, and Fr. Arlindo Pinto, member of the Secretariat for the Mission and director of the ‘Comboni.org’ website also attended. For the first time, the Combonis responsible for the administration of publications in Africa: “New People” in Kenya, “Afriquespoir” in the DR of Congo, “Vida Nova” in Mozambique and “Leadership” in Uganda. The director of the magazine “Worldwide”, published in South Africa, was unable to attend.
The meeting was opened by Fr. Pedro Andrés Miguel, the Provincial of Spain. He spoke of how important it is to “stir up emotions and transmit to others”, and, in reference to the message of the Pope for Social Communications Day, he emphasised that information and communications must “foster the encounter”. He also reminded the gathering that Daniel Comboni attributed great importance to communications, this being why he founded the magazine “Annals of the Good Shepherd” which had as its objective to “promote prayer, economic means and vocations for the mission”.
Fr. Arlindo Pinto then briefly presented the official website of the Institute and the new element “Communications Sector” inserted into the section of the General Administration in Rome.
The afternoon of 24 May and the morning of the 25th were dedicated to the presentation of the first draft of the “Communications Plan of the Comboni Circumscriptions in Europe”, which defines, among other things, the vision, the mission, the objectives and the readership. This work was monitored by Bro. Alberto Lamana and Fr. Arlindo Pinto.
XI Limone Symposium
Once again this year, about forty members of the Comboni Family met from 18 to 22 April at the birthplace of St. Daniel Comboni in Limone sul Garda, to hold the XI Limone Symposium on the theme “Migration and Mission. Towards a new Europe: from migrants to citizens”.
On the morning of the first day of the work, Wednesday 19, Fr. Benito De Marchi launched the Symposium referring to the conclusions of the 2016 Symposium – on Migration and Mission – and the progress made on the theme of migration and the GERT reflections. In the afternoon, the accounts of three experiences with and between migrants were followed by a brief ‘question time’ with questions and comments by the participants.
On the morning of 20 April, Camillo Ripamonti, a Jesuit priest, presented the work of the Centro Astalli Foundation, of which he is the Director, and gave a theological-pastoral reflection on presence among and service of migrants, carried on by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) whose mission is basically to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and other forced migrants. After lunch, the Biblical scholar Felice Tenero and Maria Soave presented a reflection on the “Migratory Processes in the Bible”.
The final day began with a conference given by Senator Prof. Gianpiero Dalla Zuanna, “Politics and society: migrants and civil rights, challenges and pathways”, which developed the theme of migrations centred on the concepts of needs (workers, for instance), selection and integration.
Lastly, the participants decided to write a letter to the Comboni communities of Europe as a small sign of communion and sharing. The account of the Symposium, together with its conferences, experiences and group work will be published within the next few months.
Annual Brothers’ Meeting
The Comboni Brothers of the Italian Province met in Pesaro for their annual meeting entitled “One hundred and fifty years since the birth of the Institute – Comboni Brothers for mission today”. The meeting began on the evening of 30 April and concluded on 3 May. About thirty Brothers took part, coming from the communities of the Province and also from the General Curia and other European Provinces. The encounter had two purposes: to renew awareness of one’s vocation in the light of the last General Chapter and ongoing events and to examine together one of the final steps in the six-year planning that the Italian Province is now engaged in.
The schedule of the meeting included a historical review from the foundational moment, proposed by Fr. Fidel González Fernández, and a study of the challenge presented by the phenomenon of migration, guided by two young people involved in receiving people seeking political asylum (Alessandro Lorato and Giulio Farronato) and by Comboni Father Alessandro Bedin, lived as a time of staying together and mutual witness.
On the third day, Fr. Giovanni Munari, Provincial Superior in Italy, was given time to present the draft of the Six-year Plan and to hear comments and suggestions from the Brothers.
The testimonies, during which about ten Brothers recounted key episodes in the evolution of their understanding of their vocation and the outing-cum-pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Loreto added a note of profound gratitude and thanksgiving to the encounter for the abundance of gifts received. At Loreto sanctuary, the group offered special prayers for some seriously ill confreres, entrusting them to the loving care of the Blessed Virgin and St. Daniel Comboni.
A Street named after St. Daniel Comboni
On 20 May, in Valeggio sul Mincio, in the presence of local civic and religious authorities and a considerable group of people, a street was named after St. Daniel Comboni. On the part of the Combonis, Fr. Teresino Serra and Fr. Venanzio Milani as well as the Mother General of the Comboni Sister Luigina Coccia and the Provincial Sr. Dorina Tadiello, also attended. Valeggio is the home of many missionaries. Most famous of these is Don Giovanni Beltrame, and then the deceased Comboni Missionaries Frs. Venturelli and Giacomelli and Sr. Venturelli; among the living it also counts Fr. Enrico Cordioli and Sisters Lucia Giacomelli and Giovanna Valbusa.
Our Padua community has organised a celebration for 11 June, on the ninetieth birthday anniversary of PM with games, music, workshops, foods of the world, clowns etc. planned for the day. New subscriptions to the magazine will also be promoted.
Celebrating the 150th in Verona
In Verona, on 18 June, the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Comboni Institute will take place with a Eucharist celebrated in the Basilica of St. Zeno, presided over by the Bishop of Verona Mons. Giuseppe Zenti with the participation of Superior General Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse. The clergy, Institutes, friends and well-wishers are all invited.
Visit of the Superior General
During his visit to the Province, Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse visited the Social Ministry Institute at Tangaza University College. The ISMM was founded in 1994 by Fr. Francesco Pierli. That was the year when the first Synod of Bishops dedicated to Africa was held and also the year of the genocide in Ruanda. Those were events of despair and hope that brought the continent into the media spotlight, giving different impressions. Africa was emerging from a dark moment made up of civil wars, attempts at democracy and apartheid. It was also a time, when, in many countries, civil society was taking shape, offering some hope. Right from the start, the ISMM presented itself as a centre for the preparation of agents of social transformation in line with the social magisterium of the Church’
During his visit, Fr. Tesfaye met with the academic staff, the present director Brother Jonas Dzinekou and Fr. Giuseppe Caramazza who works in the Institute. Fr. Pierli presented the activities and the people who direct them. Fr. Tesfaye, on his part, showed his interest in the formation work carried out by the ISMM, underlining the correspondence between the charism of the university Institute and the dream of Comboni: to prepare African agents of transformation to impart new drive to the continent.
Twelve Newly Professed Comboni Missionaries
The sixth of May 2017 was a great day for the Comboni novitiate of Lusaka, Zambia. Twelve novices from five countries took their first vows: four from Kenya, four from Uganda, two from EGSD, one from Malawi and one from Ethiopia. One of them is a Brother candidate from the hosting province. They have finished the novitiate and on this day they committed themselves to the Lord through the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, in the Institute of the Comboni Missionaries.
The Chapel of the novitiate was small for the people who came to participate in the celebration: the Provincial Superiors of the novices, the Comboni Missionaries, priests and brothers, present in Lusaka, the Comboni Sisters, some priest friends of the novices, many friends and relatives. The mass was animated by the choir of St. Kizito, a Comboni parish in Lusaka. They gave a joyful and prayerful tone to the whole celebration.
It was beautiful to participate in the celebration and in silence to listen to the formulas of the vows, simple and at the same time deep in their theological meaning. One by one, before their respective Provincial Superiors, the novices took their vows and officially entered the Comboni Family.
Bro. Alberto Lamana and Fr. Jeremias, Assistants General, were present at the celebration. Fr. Jeremias presided over the Eucharist. In his homily, he underlined the centrality of Christ and the personal encounter with him as the only reason for our consecration. Thus, the need of always keeping our eyes fixed in the Pierced Heart of the Good Shepherd and not to lose track of the meaning of the Comboni Missionary consecration. Bro. Alberto addressed the novices with some references to the richness of our institute, present in so many countries in the world and made up of a great variety of languages, cultures and nations.
At the end of the mass, Fr. Edward Kanyike spoke on behalf of the Provincials, one novice addressed the assembly on behalf of the newly-professed and Fr. Dawit W. Teklewold, the novice master, announced to the Assembly the places where the newly-professed were appointed to continue with their formation: Pietermaritzburg, SA (2), Bogota, Colombia (1), Sao Paulo, Brazil (2), Nairobi, Kenya (2), Lima, Peru (4) and Napoli, Italy (1). After some holidays at home with their own families they will start moving to their new destination.
We are grateful to the Lord and to the formators and all those who contributed to the formation of our young brothers. May they remain faithful to the Lord who called them and who is Himself faithful.
The Comboni Missionaries of the Province gathered at the St. Daniel Comboni catechetical Centre from 24 to 28 April to take part in their Annual Provincial Assembly. Twenty-nine confreres attended. The purpose of the Assembly was to reflect upon, discuss and prepare the Six-Year Plan. “It was an ideal occasion to grow in fraternity and communion in view of a renewed missionary service. With the motto: ‘To live with joy and hope the inheritance of St. Daniel Comboni in Mozambique’, we are all committed to serving with fidelity and to promoting the values of the Kingdom of God”, said Fr. José Júlio Martins Marques.
European Bursars’ Assembly
The Comboni community of Krakow hosted the European Bursars’ Assembly from 24 to 28 April. Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla, Assistant general, the representative of the Vicar General in Poland, Fr. Tomasz Marek, and Fr. Claudio Lurati, General Treasurer, also participated. All the European Comboni Provinces were represented.
The meeting was carried out according to the programme of pre-established themes and each Bursar described the present economic situation of his own Province. This sincere and fraternal exchange on the joys and sorrows of the economic life of the Institute was found to be of great benefit to all. The meeting ended with some concrete proposals to be carried out in the near future.
The Bursars enjoyed a half-day break that allowed them time to visit the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Krakow.
Celebrating seventy years of Comboni Presence
The official date of the arrival of the first Comboni Missionary in Portugal is 22 April 1947. On that day, Fr. Giovanni Cotta took up residence in Viseu and, from there he commenced a period of history that has lasted seventy years to date. To celebrate this event, the Portuguese Combonis organised, from 24 to 30 April, a week full of activities at the Mission seminary in Viseu and in some schools and parishes of the diocese.
The culmination of the commemorations was the solemn Eucharistic celebration on Sunday, 30 April, presided over by Mons. Ilídio Pinto Leandro, Bishop of Viseu, and concelebrated by Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse G., Father General, as well as other Combonis and priests. Many benefactors, friends and some celebrities were invited whose presence testified to their appreciation of the work of the Comboni Missionaries. Among these was the President of the City Council, António Joaquim Almeida Henriques. The chapel was packed.
During the week, Fr. Manuel Augusto Lopes Ferreira presented his book “Missionários Combonianos em Portugal – Uma história singular” (Comboni Missionaries in Portugal – a special story), of almost 400 pages of great historical interest in discovering the roots of the Comboni presence in Portugal.
We urgently need to conjugate the verb ‘innovate’
Fr. José da Silva Vieira, Provincial Superior, was re-elected president for a second mandate of three years of the Conference of Religious Institutes in Portugal (CIRP), during the course of the XXIV General Assembly of the institution, which took place on 2 and 3 May, at the House of Our Lady of Carmel, Fatima.
Communications in the digital age was one of the themes for ongoing formation chosen for this Assembly. In his opening address, Fr. José Vieira, who has vast experience in this field, said: “we urgently need to conjugate the verb ‘innovate’”.
Forty years of Comboni presence
The year 2017 is of special importance to the Combonis in Chad since, besides being the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute, it also marks forty years of presence in the Province. It was on 15 August 1977 that three young Comboni Missionaries, Fr. Claudio Gasbarro, Fr. José Delgado and Fr. Miguel Ángel Sebastian – now Bishop of Laï – were introduced to the Christian community of Moïssala, the first Comboni mission.
The presence of the Comboni Missionaries in Chad began with the expulsion of the missionaries from Sudan in 1964. A group of these followed the Sudanese refugees who fled to the Central African Republic and from there the missionaries moved to Chad at the request of the bishops who sought a Comboni presence in that poor country, considered an area of first evangelisation. In fact, the Church in Chad is one of the youngest on the continent. For forty years now, many missionaries passed through the various missions of the Province; some of them, like Fr. Celestino Celi and Fr. Francesco Tomasoni, died there.
All of this leads us to thank God for the many gifts he has given to the province, especially by way of vocations. Today, seven young men from Chad became Combonians, three young women entered the Institute of the Comboni Missionary Sisters and there is already a small group of Lay Comboni Missionaries. There are also people in formation. We do well to remember that the first parish in the world dedicated to St. Daniel Comboni – just a few days after his beatification – is in Chad.
Celebrations of these events will take place next August in Moïssala, the first mission.
The Comboni circumscriptions of Francophone Africa joyfully celebrated, on Saturday, 13 May, at Cotonou (Benin), the first religious profession of sixteen novices from Congo, Central Africa, Chad and Togo. After two years of formation in the novitiate and due preparation, these young men, ten of whom are Congolese, four Togolese, one a Chadian and one a Central African, consecrated their lives to God and the mission. The Eucharistic celebration, presided over by Fr. Médard Longba, Delegate Superior of Central Africa, who was celebrating that same day his eleventh anniversary of ordination, and concelebrated by about thirty priests, both religious and diocesan, was very lively and well participated. In his homily, Fr. Victor Kouande, Provincial of TGB, invited the newly-professed to fill their lives with the love of God, who alone is able to transform the world and nourish the people of God with hope.
At the end of the celebration, Fr. Joseph Mumbere, Provincial of the DRC, presented the missionary work that is being carried out in the field of formation and mission promotion. He availed of the opportunity to thank the formators of the novitiate for their service rendered with great dedication and sincere firmness. Soon afterwards, the Provincial of TGB read out the destinations of the newly-professed, to the boundless joy of all concerned.
Among those present at the Mass were the Comboni Missionary Sisters who had come from Lomé, men and women religious serving the Archdiocese of Cotonou, the families and friends of the Togolese novices and the faithful of the parish of St Francis of Assisi of Fidjrosse.
We thank the Lord who continues to call to Himself young men drawn by the love of Christ, the Comboni charism and the testimony of the lives of the missionaries. The next group of novices is expected in Cotonou on 9 September 2017.
Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Institute
In the context of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Institute, the Combonis on mission in the Archdiocese of Cotonou organised a missionary week-end for young people on 26, 27 and 28 May. Thus, contemporaneously with the opening of the Symposium in Rome, the celebrations in Cotonou witnessed the arrival of about a hundred young people from the different parishes of the Archdiocese who gathered on the evening of Friday, 26 May, for a period of preparation and Eucharistic adoration at the parish of St. Francis of Assisi in Fidjrossé.
The following day, the young people set out from that parish on a “missionary march” of about 30 kilometres along the Atlantic coast from Fidjrossé to Djegbadji. At mid-day, Mass was celebrated at Avlékété Plage.
On Sunday morning, all joyfully took part in the Mass presided over by Fr. Benjamin Guivi, the first Beninese Comboni Missionary, now working in Mozambique, concelebrated by Fr. Canisius Metin with the Comboni deacon Prosper Tehou assisting.
The jubilee of 150 years will continue until 1 June, 2018.
Annual Assembly of the Uganda Province
The Comboni Missionaries of the Uganda Province gathered from the 24th to 28th April 2017 for their Annual Assembly at St. Daniel Comboni Spirituality Centre in Layibi. As a preparation for the celebration of the 150 years of the Institute’s foundation, an input about the theological meaning of the memory was given by Fr. Cosimo De Iaco. In the same respect some important dates and periods in the history of the Institute and the province were presented. The thread that holds all the historical moments together is the devotion to the Sacred Heart as the centre of our missionary spirituality.
The participants (51 confreres and 1 Lay Missionary) shared their experiences in groups about some Comboni Missionaries who inspired them for various reasons. The result was a “cluster of witnesses” who really loved the people to whom they were sent. Their example, especially in making common cause with the people, challenges us all to keep the fire burning for mission among the poorest and abandoned of our time. The participants, among other topics, identified the areas of strength which will be reflected in the Six-Year Plan of the Province.
THE BROTHERS: Komi Eric, of Fr. Antoine Kondo Komivi (T); Amanuel Ghebrechristos (O.F.M. Cap.), of Fr. Tesfamariam Ghebrecristos Woldeghebriel (ET); Ambrogio, of Fr. Giovanni Baccanelli (ET).
THE SISTERS: Leonilde, of Fr. Tiziano Laurenti (LP); Sofia, of Fr. Riccardo Mele (†); Dorinda, of Fr. Feliz da Costa Martins (EGSD).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. M. Pasqualina Ghilardi; Sr. M. Bernardina Cerea; Sr. M. Gabriella Ghidei Alawi.