MONTHLY NEWSLETTER OF THE COMBONI MISSIONARIES OF THE HEART OF JESUS
The Institute, the Superior General and the members of the General Council are deeply moved by the sudden death of Fr. Rogelio Bustos Juárez, Assistant General, at his family home in León, where he was staying before undertaking his visit to the Province of Central America (PCA). The GC, in the name of all the members of the Institute, wishes to thank all those who participated in this great and sudden loss through their messages of sympathy and appreciation for Father Rogelio and for the service he rendered for a number of years in Mexico and Peru and, more recently, in Rome.
Fr. Moses Francis Bwanali, provincial bursar of Malawi-Zambia, has been awarded a Master’s Degree in Public Management of Bolton University (UK), at the Malawi Institute of Management (MIM), Lilongwe, on 17 November 2017. Congratulations.
Holy Redeemer Guild
February 01 – 15 C 16 – 28 EGSD
March 01 – 07 CO 08 – 15 E 16 – 31 DSP
Marzo – That the figure and role of women in the Church may be more deeply understood and that a profound feminine theology may be developed, through the intercession of St. Daniel Comboni, who grasped the importance of female talents in the mission. Lord hear us.
April – That we, the members of the Comboni Family, inspired by St. Daniel Comboni, may be able to unify all our resources for the service of the Mission. Lord hear us.
Seminar on land-grabbing
From 13 to 15 January, at the provincial house in Kinshasa, a seminar was held on the theme of land-grabbing, chaired by Fr. Gian Paolo Pezzi, a member of VIVAT International.
Those who took part were pastoral agents from some Kinshasa parishes, the members of the Justice and Peace Commissions, lawyers, law professionals, women’s associations and Comboni Lay Missionaries resident in the city.
The main purpose of the seminar was to sensitise the participants and help them to acquire the knowledge necessary to fight for global and lasting development.
Fr. Pezzi used the occasion to redefine some key terms and such problems as water, land, land law, land titles, common law and positive law.
A new round of conferences
The next Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will have as its theme “The youth, the faith and vocational discernment” and will take place in October, 2018. The world of youth is understood less and less and the Church itself finds it difficult to enter this ‘universe’, to understand its soul, its aspirations and its dreams and to come up with useful proposals that meet the demands of life and the deepest desires of the youth.
For this reason the General Curia of the Comboni Missionaries has organised some conferences on the theme: The youth and the search for happiness.
The first conference will be held on 15 February 2018 on the theme: The youth and the social media: influences affecting the choices of life; the relator will be Sr. Caterina Cangià, a Salesian, who teaches Pedagogy and Media Communication. The second conference on 1 March will be led by Fr, Zbignew Formella, a Salesian who teaches Psychology of Education and he will speak on the Psychological Profile of Youth Today. The final conference will be held on 22 March on the theme: Youth and religion: educational challenges, values and conscience, presented by Fr. Giulio Parnofiello, a Jesuit, chaplain of the Sapienza at Rome University.
Since 2014, during lent, the General Curia has been organising conferences on themes of social and ecclesial actuality. The aim of the conferences is not simply to provide information on current topics but to propose the Gospel of life and mercy as the key to understanding events. In short, the conferences are meant to be an instrument of mission promotion.
Immigrants in the community of Granada
The community of Granada welcomed eighteen migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in order that they, too, might enjoy Christmas with dignity. They are all young people aged between eighteen and twenty five who arrived on small boats to the coast of Spain some weeks ago.
It all began with a random encounter at the bus station: Bro. Kakule Silusawa Lwanga had just come from Madrid to take part in a youth meeting when he came across a group of young Africans whose only document was that of expulsion. He tried to speak with them and went back the next day to meet them. The Comboni community then decided to take them in and is now receiving help from various associations to solve the many problems involved, mostly bureaucratic and legal. The smiles on the faces of these young people bring great joy to the missionaries who welcomed them into their home.
The provincial superior, Fr. Pedro Andrés, in reply to the letter sent by the superior of the community of Granada to inform him of what had happened, replied: “as hereto, the migrants will always be welcome”.
“Mundo Negro” Fraternity Award 2017
The Mundo Negro Fraternity Prize for 2017 has been awarded, during the XXX African Encounter (Madrid, 2-4 February 2018) with the Title “Migrant. A Person”, to the Spanish journalist Helena Maleno and to the Eritrean priest Fr. Mussie Zerai, for their work with the communities of migrants who seek to come to Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
Helena Maleno works as a researcher and expert in migrations and human trafficking. Her own experience with migrants in Morocco produced the “Caminando Fronteras” network, formed by migrants themselves together with public health workers, social assistants, teachers and lawyers who carry out investigations, speak to survivors, identify the dead, make contact with families, start judicial proceedings, document other cases of violence and protect the victims of trafficking.
Mussie Zerai, from Eritrea, was born into a dictatorship and in the middle of a war for independence lasting thirty years. When he was seventeen, he came to Rome in search of freedom and peace. Having suffered himself as a migrant to Europe, he decided to help others like him. In 2006 he founded the Habeshia Agency, an association that defends the rights of refugees and provides them with professional training. In 2010 he was ordained, desiring to be an immigrant priest for immigrants. He was nominated a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015.
Silver Jubilee of Ordination
On 12 December 2017 there was a great feast, organised partly by the pastoral council, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ordination of Fr. Melaku Tafesse Amente, at the cathedral of the Nativity in Addis Ababa where his uncle, Abba Gebre Mariam Amente, was parish priest for thirty years and nourished the beginnings of Melaku’s vocation to the Comboni mission.
Fr. Melaku, even though very busy with his programme of mission promotion in Leeds (Great Britain), managed to return home and celebrate his anniversary in Ethiopia, among the many people who love him and appreciate his dedication to the mission both at home and abroad. The feat was a wonderful occasion to meet old and new friends as well as his elderly mother and some of his brothers, one of whom even came from Sweden for the occasion.
The celebration continued in Fr. Melaku’s home parish near Nekemte in Oromiya State.
Saint Daniel Comboni School opened
The celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Institute concluded in the province with the official opening of “Saint Daniel Comboni School”. The ceremony took place on Friday, 26 January, at Embakasi, Nairobi. Bishop Alfred Rotich celebrated the rite of blessing with the participation of numerous benefactors, local authorities, members of the faithful and members of the Comboni Family in Nairobi.
The provincial, Fr. Austine Odhiambo Radol, explained the genesis of the school and its main characteristics. The idea began when the community of Karagita offered the land and various benefactors made donations. “The school – he said – aims to provide the youth of Kenya with quality education based on Christian values. Its motto is: knowledge, love and service. It will be a private school so that we may run it according to our criteria and a day school so as to involve the parents in the training of their children; it will be a secondary school so that we may be part of the critical phase in the development of the youth of the country; it will be a mixed school to promote mutual support and respect among the youth”.
Mons. Rotich thanked the Combonis for the initiative and invited the youth to work hard. Similar sentiments were also expressed by Mauro Massoni, the Italian Ambassador to Kenya. Speaking on behalf of the bishop of the diocese of Andria-Canosa-Minervino (Italy), Fr. Gianni Massaro, Vicar General, expressed his happiness at seeing the school become a reality through their support.
The Foundation Nigrizia Onlus in 2017 raised funds in the amount of €419, 833, 00 and financed 30 projects in Africa and Latin America in the amount of €320,662.96. These projects include those of Nigrizia aid to the Congolese magazine Afriquespoir and that of PM (Piccolo Missionario) to the school of Montegallo damaged by an earthquake. The remaining funds will be disbursed as soon as we receive a report on the progress of the works. The campaigns continue on behalf of South Sudan and central Africa. South Sudan is afflicted by an unending war and a serious famine that are sorely trying so many people. As for the Central African Republic, there is guerrilla warfare more or less throughout the country and this prevents people from living a normal life whether at work, in the schools, in the streets and in their homes.
Those wishing to apply to the Italian province for project funds (both to Mondo Aperto and Fondazione Nigrizia) should write to the Commissione progetti - missionari comboniani, vicolo pozzo, 1 Verona (email@example.com)
Spiritual exercises and Provincial Assembly
From 8 to 18 January 2018, the Combonis working in Central America gathered to share two special fraternal Comboni events.
The spiritual exercises, preached by Fr. Pedro Jaramillo, Pastoral Vicar of the Archdiocese of Santiago of Guatemala, were centred on the Person according to the 2015 Chapter Acts, as their main point of reflection.
The first part of the Assembly comprised an evaluation of the provincial secretariats and the sectors within which each secretariat functions; those components of the six-year plan which had been achieved were highlighted and proposals were made for the continued actualisation of the Six-Year Plan throughout the entire Province.
The Assembly allowed us to conduct the first part of the revision of the Rule of Life according to the criteria provided by the Central Commission. Finally, an exercise of discernment was carried out in preparation for the 2019 Assembly, bearing in mind what was proposed by the previous general Chapter regarding the reorganisation of the Institute.
Between the Assembly and the exercises, Mons. Vittorino Girardi, mccj, celebrated the Eucharist at Santiago Atitlán, in an indigenous community blessed in the past with the gift of martyrdom.
Provincial Assembly and visit by the Assistant General
Bro. Alberto Lamana Cónsola, a member of the general Council, spent from 4 to 23 January visiting the Comboni Province of South Sudan. Both for Bro. Alberto and for the Province, it was an experience of joy and renewed encountering. As a matter of fact, it was in South Sudan that Bro. Alberto began his missionary work at the mission of Mapuordit. Bro. Alberto visited the five communities of Mapuordit, Yirol, Tali, the provincial house of Juba and the pre-postulancy in the outskirts of Juba, in a locality called Moroyok.
In each of these communities he had to opportunity to meet the confreres individually and to visit some parish centres, the schools and the hospital. He was also able to attend the Provincial Assembly that took place from 16 to 23 January, during which he helped the province to understand the personnel situation and encouraged the process of clustering.
One of the 34 confreres attending the Assembly was General Bursar Fr. Claudio Lurati who spoke on the theme of “Finance as a service in the Church and in religious life”. The first two days of the Assembly were devoted to the communities.
The delegation held its annual Assembly from 8 to 12 January at Donia, in the diocese of Goré. For serious reasons, two confreres could not attend. The atmosphere was one of great serenity and fraternity. In his report, the Delegation Superior invited the confreres to cultivate an attitude of hope, quoting from an author “the sort of faith I prefer is hope” and invited the group to develop the spirituality of the anawim, the poor of Yahweh, meaning an attitude of humility with less domineering and more collaboration with local resources.
The themes discussed during the meetings were the following: the presentation of the four pastoral projects of the Delegation (training of leaders of the Base Communities, youth ministry, JPIC and inter-religious dialogue), Revisiting and revising the Rule of Life, Formation in the postulancy and the Comboni Lay Missionaries. The pastoral projects were presented by the specially appointed commissions while the theme on the Rule of Life was presented by Fr. Enrique Rosich who insisted on the importance of life sharing in the light of our Constitutions to avoid carrying out a merely bureaucratic work. Regarding the CLM, all were in agreement on the need to reflect upon and restructure the group, special attention being paid to their formation and better defining their identity. The topic of formation also came up seeing the increase in candidates.
There then followed the reports from the secretariats, a report on the workshop on the 150 years of the Institute’s existence, by Fr. Filippo Ivardi, and that of the CLM Assembly in Anchilo (Mozambique), by Fr. Olivier Bachulo. The Assembly was also an opportunity to celebrate the New Year.
Golden Jubilee and Perpetual Vows
On 17 December 2017, there was a double celebration: for the parish of Dono-Manga, in the diocese of Laï, and for the Comboni Missionaries who run it.
The parish was celebrating its fiftieth anniversary and for the whole of the weekend, hundreds of people from the entire area took part in the various activities presented by the organising committee: conferences, sharing experiences, concerts, games, etc.
The diocesan Bishop, Mons. Miguel Angel Sebastián, a Comboni, presided at the Mass. He gave thanks for the fifty years of life of the parish, calling to mind some of the priests, catechists and other pastoral agents who contributed to consolidating the faith of many people and invited everyone to renew their commitment for the next fifty years. There is still a long way to go before the parish becomes autonomous but we are all journeying in communion with one another.
During the Eucharist, the Togolese scholastic Michel Kossi Esseh professed perpetual vows before the delegation Superior and the many Combonis who had come from various communities. Michel is now doing his missionary service in the parish of Dono-Manga.
Ordination to the Diaconate
On 28 January 2018, the scholastic Michel Kossi Esseh was ordained deacon by Mons. Miguel Angel Sebastián Martínez, Bishop of Laï, in the parish of Dono-Manga. The ceremony was held in the presence of the Delegation Superior Fr. Fidèle Katsan, the confreres working in the parish, a large number of Combonis who had come from other missions and diocesan priests, religious and a large and joyful gathering of the faithful.
In his homily, Mons. Miguel Angel emphasised the fact that Michel, as a missionary, was ordained for the universal Church. He then invited the ordinand to announce the Word of God and not his own word or his own ideas and to announce it in the concrete situation of the daily life of the people, to give a word of hope to these people who are enduring difficult times due to the socio-economic crisis. We must listen to god but also to the people to announce the Word with authority as Jesus did, Mons. Miguel Angel said. He then invited the people to hear the prophet and nurture hope, adding that Christian hope is dynamic and demands that each one be committed to the transformation of the present situation.
After the ordination, a fraternal meal gathered the participants at the parish house. The deacon will continue his missionary service in Dono-Manga parish. His ordination to the priesthood is planned for August in Lomé (Togo).
The visit of Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse and Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla
From 28 December 2017 to 20 January 2018, the Province of Togo-Ghana-Benin received a visit from Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse, Superior General, and Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla, Assistant General responsible for Francophone Africa. Together with Fr. Victor Kouandé, Provincial Superior, they visited the various Comboni communities of the three countries.
The Provincial Assembly, held from 15 to 19 January, was a moment of great communion, a time of grace during which the exchange of reflections on the life of the Institute and the Province was carried out in an atmosphere of notable openness and fraternity.
Let us Bless the Lord for how well the visit went and for all the graces received.
THE MOTHERS: of Fr. Lino Salvi (†); María Dolores, of Fr. José Luis Román Medina (E).
THE BROTHER: Luis, of Fr. A. Pavia (E).
THE SISTER: Olímpia, of Bro. António Martins da Costa (P).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Eleonora Pilati, Sr. Lemlem Teclai Tensaeu, Sr. Maria Agamennone Amiti, Sr. Rosa Letizia Freddi, Sr. Gianna Ausilia Rigamonti, Sr. Annacleta Cattacin, Sr. M. Lorenza Tomasoni.
The General Secretariat wishes to make it known that, due to a mix-up, a number of e-mail addresses were lost. We therefore ask the confreres interested in receiving the various publications (Familia Comboniana, etc.) and other messages, to renew their request using the e-mail address of the Secretary General: firstname.lastname@example.org