MONTHLY NEWSLETTER OF THE COMBONI MISSIONARIES OF THE HEART OF JESUS
Meeting of Comboni bishops
The Comboni Missionary bishops, accompanied by Fr. Angel Lafita, Procurator General, gathered at Limone sul Garda from 16 to 21 September, to share their experiences. The Superior General, Father Tesfaye Tadesse, also took part in the meeting.
On Saturday 16, the bishops paid a visit to the confreres resident at Castel d’Azzano. The morning was filled with personal sharing, each bishop making a presentation, a guided visit to this new establishment and, lastly, a meal prepared by the community.
On the following day, Sunday 17 September, the bishops took part in the Sunday Mass in the parish church of San Benedetto Abate, the same church where St. Daniel Comboni was baptised. In an emotional atmosphere, the prelates, together with the parish community and the civic authorities of Limone, celebrated 150th anniversary of the founding of the Institute. The Eucharist was presided by Mons. Juan José Aguirre Muñoz, Bishop of Bangassou in the Central African Republic, wearing the liturgical chasuble of St. Daniel Comboni.
Also present were the Superior General of the Comboni Missionary Sisters, various civic authorities and a large congregation. The Mayor of Limone, Franceschino Risatti, in his brief historical account of the life of St. Daniel Comboni, thanked the entire Comboni Family as the inheritance of the town of Limone sul Garda.
During the next three days, the bishops shared their personal pastoral experiences, so full of challenges and plans for the future. An important element was the visit of Fr. Giovanni Munari, provincial of Italy, who described to the bishops the situation of the Italian province; this was followed by a debate on some important issues.
On the afternoon of the final day, Fr. Manuel Augusto Lopes Ferreira, a member of the community, presented his reflection on the 150th anniversary that was followed with deep interest and enriched with questions and answers.
At the conclusion of the meeting, a letter was read and approved which was addressed to the Congregation for Divine Worship asking that the liturgical celebration of St. Peter Claver be elevated to an obligatory memoria for the whole Church.
Golden Jubilee of Priesthood
Of the 41 Comboni priests ordained in 1967, there are now 21. Nine of them met for a couple of days at Limone to celebrate their Golden Jubilee. Fr. Danilo Castello led them on the first day, devoted to prayer. The second day was dedicated to sharing their priestly and missionary experiences and concluded with a Mass at the parish church of Limone, with Mons. Giuseppe Franzelli presiding and animated by the charismatic enthusiasm of Fr. Octavio Raimondo. The group also remembered their confreres who could not be with them for the meeting and thanked the community of Limone for their fraternal welcome.
Sc. Gbego Gratien (T)
Lomé Cacaveli (TG)
Sc. Hakpa Komlatsé Aimé (T)
Lomé Cacaveli (TG)
Fr. Anoumou Mossi Kuami Bernardin (T)
Holy Redeemer Guild
October 01 – 07 RCA 08 – 15 TCH 16 – 31 RSA
November 01 – 15 SS 16 – 30 T
October – That all the missionary men and women who work in the various continents may proclaim the Gospel through the joy of their witness and so cause the desire for God to arise in every heart. Lord hear us.
November – For our Comboni Missionary martyrs and all deceased confreres who sacrificed themselves that life might triumph over death, that they may help us to recognize and accompany the situations of martyrdom in today’s world. Lord hear us.
On 26 June, 2017 Fr. Joseph Maku defended the Doctorate Dissertation in philosophy, “Dialogue in the philosophical anthropologies of Martin Buber and Gabriel Marcel”, at the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome.
On 15 September, 2017, Fr. José Joaquim Pedro defended the Doctorate Dissertation in Biblical Theology, “Rhetoric and Orality in 2 Timothy 4:2-8: A Case Study of the Makhuwa People of Mozambique” at the Catholic University of East Africa, Nairobi.
Giulio Albanese, Poveri noi! – Con Francesco dalla parte dei poveri, EMP 2017. As Cardinal Walter Kasper states in the Preface, “This book guides us through the long history of the problem of poverty, analyses the present situation of the world economy and dwells on the causes of migration and the political challenges associated with it, with the grave human and cultural consequence we witness daily”.
The book by Fr. Tonino Falaguasta Nyabenda, “Cristiani e Musulmani: dialogo nella verità”, has just been published; it has 72 pages and a cover in colour. The book, simply and briefly, examines the issue of dialogue.
National Missionary Congress
Various Comboni men and women took part in the IV National Missionary Congress that took place in September in Recife, the home of the prophetic bishop Mons. Helder Câmara.
The 700 delegates were offered hospitality in the families of the diocese. The event, which saw the full involvement of the Local Church, was preceded by a missionary week, with home visits in many of the city quarters.
The theme of the Congress, "The joy of the Gospel for a Church that goes forth", was debated and studied in its many aspects: the ad gentes perspective, prophecy and martyrdom, synodality and ecclesial communion and the joy of the Gospel in St. Luke.
The next phase will be the American Missionary Congress (CAM 5 – COMLA 10), to be held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) from 10 to 14 July, 2018. Brazil is to have 200 delegates, including some Combonis.
It will also be an opportunity for the meeting of provincials of the American continent and the delegate for Asia.
Beginning of the Comboni Year of Ongoing Formation
A Eucharistic celebration marked the beginning of the 18th edition of the Comboni Year of Ongoing Formation on Thursday, 21 September. A group of twenty-three Comboni missionaries are participating this year in this ongoing formation activity. They have worked in 13 countries in Africa, 4 countries in Latin-America, 1 country in Europe and 1 country in Asia.
Many of these missionaries have been working in very difficult situations such as war and conflict zones, in extremely poor and often violent communities, with prisoners and in far-off and isolated communities.
The opening Mass for the ‘Comboni Year’ was presided by Fr. General, Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse, and took place in the main chapel of the General House in Rome. Fr. Tesfaye thanked each missionary for the service they have rendered to the people of God and to the Institute and encouraged them to take this time of rest and renewal as a moment of grace and ongoing formation.
Verona – First Tuesday of the month in Africa Hall
- October 3 will see the first of the meetings planned for the Tuesday of each month in Africa Hall by the Comboni Missionaries of Verona. It will open with a special showing of the filmT- Junction, by Amil Shivji, winner of the European African Festivals Award at the ZIFF- Zanzibar International Film Festival 2017.
- On 10 October, in the same Hall, there will be a special meeting with Fr. Daniele Moschetti who will speak about the situation in South Sudan.
PM: change of editor and initiatives for the 90th anniversary
- With Paolo Sartori retiring after 27 years as editor of PM, his place will be taken by Mrs. Jessica Cugini. Many thanks and good wishes.
- A PM exhibition will be held from 9 October to 6 November at the Civic Library of Verona: L’Africa fa 90. It will include animated readings, puppets, flash-mob with migrants and a video on the 90 years of PM.
- There will also be a special section with over a hundred children’s books ranging from pre-school to middle and high school. The section will later be available to the libraries of Borgo Roma, Borgo Venezia, and Santa Lucia-Golosine.
- The exhibition, instead, will, from 12 December 2017 to 21 January 2018, be relocated in the African Museum. It will be accompanied by an exhibition Children’s Rights, concerning the rights of children throughout the world.
- The start of the new school year will see the launching of the many educational proposals of the African Museum: 33 workshops for students of all school levels; guided visits with ethic aperitifs by the African communities of Verona; workshops on manual crafts both for adults as well as families; cultural events and initiatives to help to know and understand Africa better.
- As regards what is new in the temporary exhibitions to be held in the Museum, from 21 October to 3 December there will be a photographic display “Africa in print”, by the Cameroonian artist Angèle Etoundi Essamba. The photos are of women at work and in the various stages of dyeing and colouring textiles. The display is to have its own workshops and events.
- From 12 December to 21 January, the Museum will host the PM exhibition.
African Film Festival
The 37th edition of the African Film Festival will be held from 3 to 12 November in the city of Verona and, from 13 November to 3 December, in the Province, with more than fifty showings in twenty municipalities. More than thirty films will be shown. Last year there were 12,849 spectators.
Verona University and Foundation Nigrizia NGO Convention
To facilitate the movement of students towards countries with limited resources and to maintain the promotion of development and world citizenship, a convention has been formulated between the University of Verona and the Nigrizia NGO Foundation. The University has agreed to propose 35 students or new graduates for work experiences in the missions, agreeing to meet the travelling expenses and €300 per month to help towards board and lodging. It is up to the Foundation to indicate the missions where students will be placed. The students are available to serve in the areas of health, education, economy and culture. Any mission wishing to receive students should contact Fr. Venanzio Milani (email@example.com).
Mission Festival – Brescia
During the days of the Festival, our Brescia house will exhibit some displays.
Nigrizia’s dossier for the 150th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Institute will form part of a special edition that will also carry publicity for our magazines and the activities of Nigrizia Foundation NGO.
A representation of Brothers, 18 in all, working in the APDESAM circumscriptions – those in Anglophone Africa and Mozambique – met from 12 to 15 September at the Brothers International Centre, Nairobi.
The meeting was attended by Brothers from Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia e Mozambique. One of the main themes was teamwork. The aim was to seek out the elements and methodologies that enrich and develop this type of work because – as stressed by Bro. Alberto Lamana, who took part in the meeting also as a representative of the General Council – “it is not possible to continue the mission today without a clear commitment to collaborate, where each person brings their own gifts. We are involved in increasingly complex projects that require different abilities in order to respond to challenges professionally and, at the same time, make every effort to seek dialogue between life and faith.”
Bro. Matthias Adossi, who took part last July in the General Assembly of Formation in Maia (Portugal), synthesised the main themes, especially those concerned with the formation and the mission of the Brothers.
Other themes such as the reduction in the number of Brothers in the Institute, their low level of representation in the posts of government in the Institute and the role of the Continental Brother Representative in line with the 2015 General Chapter. During the meeting a resolution was in fact passed asking the provincial superiors to nominate in each circumscription a Brother to be a member of the provincial vocations promotion team.
The Brothers evaluated the Comboni Works for Human Promotion as valid and effective. It was also said it is to be hoped that there be a commission of Brothers with the task of launching specific ministries of human promotion according to the needs of the mission and the Institute.
Father General’s Visit
In the context of the 150th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Institute, seventy years of Comboni presence in Mozambique and 25 years since the death of Bro. Alfredo Fiorini, Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse, Superior General, visited the Province, accompanied by Fr. António Manuel Bogaio Constantino, provincial superior. Bro. Alberto Lamana Cónsola, Assistant General, also accompanied him up to 28 August.
Besides taking part in the celebrations, visiting the communities and speaking personally with each of the confreres of the Province, Fr. General met the bishops of all five dioceses – Maputo, Nampula, Nacala, Tete and Beira – where we are present. In each diocese, one of the parishes in the care of the Comboni Missionaries was chosen for a more solemn celebration of the three anniversaries.
The journey began in Maputo with a visit to the Apostolic Nuncio, Mons. Edgar Peña Parra. Fr. General then visited the postulancy at Matola. On 20 August, the parish hall of the parish of São Francisco Xavier of Benfica, in the outskirts of Maputo, was filled to capacity with the faithful who took part in a Eucharistic celebration at which Archbishop Mons. Francisco Chimoio presided.
From 22 to 30 August, Fr. Tesfaye visited some of the communities of the dioceses of Nampula and Nacala, and particularly the pre-postulancy and the novitiate. The main celebration of the Jubilee was held on Sunday 27, at the parish church of Carapira, “The heart and cradle of our presence in Mozambican territory”, Fr. Bogaio Constantino said.
Fr. Tesfaye called to mind the years of war, the death of Comboni Sister Teresa Dalle Pezze, on 3 January, 1985, at the age of 46 and Bro. Alfredo Fiorini, killed at Miravale on 24 August, 1992, when he was just 37 years old.
Sr. Ruth Valencia, Superior of the Comboni Sisters in Mozambique, referred to the work done as a Comboni Family during the past seventy years as they lived together in mutual respect and esteem, with love for the mission and the people of Mozambique. Father General then visited the diocese of Tete and, on 4 September, began his visit to the Archdiocese of Beira where he stayed until 10 September. The following day he went to Maputo before returning to Rome.
Third Assembly of the Comboni Lay Missionaries
The third African Assembly of the Comboni Lay Missionaries took place from 24 to 30 July, 2017 at Carapira. Taking part were six Comboni Missionaries (MCCJ), a Comboni Missionary Sister (CMS), eight Lay Comboni Missionaries (CLM) and four lay people from other groups, from eight different countries.
The CLM affirmed that they were confident they would continue the journey begun at their first meeting in Layibi (2011) and continued in Kinshasa (2014), intending to do everything possible to actuate their vocation in the African context, despite the challenges they face.
The importance of realising the missionary aspect was stressed along with the suggestion to create missionary communities within their own countries and to try to launch the missions also from without.
The reflections of the week resulted in a series of conclusions on the themes of organisation, formation, fields of mission, economics, the Comboni Family, JPIC and communication – that will allow the provinces to prepare an action plan.
Visit to the NAP
The staff and communities of the North American Province were pleased to welcome Fr. Rogelio Bustos, Fr. Peter Ciuciulla, and Fr. Claudio Lurati in September. The two General Assistants had the opportunity to meet with each community and explain the current situation of the Comboni Missionaries and the plans for the future. The staff were able to ask questions and learn more.
The two General Assistants were also invited to meet the families of the staff at different events, reconnect with old friends and benefactors, and visit local parishes.
Fr. Peter and Fr. Claudio also accompanied Mr. Tony Potts and Fr. Ruffino Ezama to Bogota, Colombia, to take part in the Continental Assembly and Meeting of the Delegation Treasurers.
THE FATHERS: Luis Mejía Jimenez, of Fr. José Luis Mejía González (C); Hernando, of the sc. González Jalver Lizcano (COL).
THE MOTHERS: Maria Durvalina, of Fr. Silvério Simões Malta (BR); Rose Manzombi, of Bro. Gédéon Ngunza.
THE BROTHERS: Beniamino, of Bro. Ciriaco Gusmeroli (I); Charles, of Fr. Kenneth J. J. Gerth (NAP); Guerrino, of Fr. Corrado Masini (ET).
THE SISTERS: Virginia, of Fr. Giuseppe Brunelli (I); Weletemedhin, of Mons. Mengesteab Tesfamariam.
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTER: Sr. Angelalucia Garagiola.