MONTHLY NEWSLETTER OF THE COMBONI MISSIONARIES OF THE HEART OF JESUS
Sc. Tomety K. M. Agbéko Christ Roi (T) Cacaveli-Lomé (TG) 30/11/2018
Fr. Pellegrino Mario Vincenzo (I) Marsala (I) 03/11/2018
Fr. Mose Chrisantus Keengwe (KE) Nyahururu (KE) 03/11/2018
Holy Redeemer Guild
December 01 – 15 PE 16 – 31 U
January 01 – 15 A 16 – 31 BR
December – That we may allow the light of Christ incarnate to shine in us as we proclaim that light to all who await the Lord in the darkness and solitude of suffering. Lord hear us.
January – That the conclusions of the VI General Assembly of the CLM may help the members of the movement to grow in unity, fraternity, collaboration and missionary commitment both within and beyond their own countries. Lord hear us.
Fr. Tonino Falaguasta Nyabenda, “L’Africa del Comboni e le periferie di Papa Francesco”, Missionari Comboniani, Cordenons 2018. In this booklet, the pages that tell of Comboni (white pages) alternate with those (yellow pages) that speak of other saints. This is as if to stress that – as Father General writes in the preface – “Attention to the needs of the poor and most abandoned has always been a constant in Christianity. Saint Daniel Comboni simply followed illustrious examples and so his story has come down to us today”.
Fr. Aurelio Boscaini, “Padre Renato Bresciani, Testimone di accoglienza”, Fondazione Nigrizia, Verona 2018. This is a brief biography of the founder of Acse, written on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Comboni Association for the Service of Migrants and Refugees. Fr. Renato, as we read in the preface by Fr. Giovanni Munari, anticipating what Pope Francis never ceases to tell us, “has for as many as thirty years been the champion of welcoming and defending the human rights and dignity of our immigrant brothers and sisters, especially Africans”.
“Justiça nos Trilhos” wins award
On Tuesday 27 November 2018, in Geneva, during the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, “Justiça nos Trilhos” (Justice on-track) received the Human Rights and Business Award Foundation award, together with a donation of $ 50.000.
“Justiça nos Trilhos” is an organisation supported by the Comboni Missionaries which works alongside the local communities in a remote area of Brazil – among the indigenous people, small farmers and people of African descent – to observe human rights and environmental abuses committed by mining companies and steel producers, especially the Vale multinational.
The members of the Administrative Council of the Human Rights and Business Award Foundation who launched this annual award to recognise the exceptional work done by those who confront the impact on human rights caused by businesses, declared that “‘Justiça nos Trilhos’ incarnates that profile, working rigorously and conscientiously for many years in difficult circumstances and always in close collaboration with the local community”.
Congress of the Cenacles of Missionary Prayer
The first Sunday in November is the day on which the XVIII Congress of Cenacles of Missionary Prayer (CMP) is held. This year, the Congress was celebrated on Sunday 4 November 2018 at Limete-Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the theme: “CMP involved in the culture of justice and peace”.
In his presentation, Fr. Boniface Gbama Nsusu emphasised how “the work of education towards a culture of peace is extremely important. This is because education, the key to the sustainable development of any society, is the most powerful weapon against poverty. No country can eradicate poverty without education. Developing a culture of justice and peace is the duty of all. Each person at their own level is called to undertake to make this world a better place. This, however, also requires sacrifice and of this Jesus is the exemplar (1 Peter 2:21)”. That same Sunday, a new choir was founded with the name of “Afriquespoir”. The Congress concluded with a Eucharistic celebration and a fraternal meal.
Golden Jubilee of Priesthood
The Comboni Missionary Fr. Giuseppe Scattolin was ordained priest on 30 November 1968, the Feast of St. Andrew Apostle. The celebration of the Golden Jubilee of his priestly ordination took place on 16 November 2018, at 6p.m. at the church of Cordi Jesu in Cairo. “I thank God for his mercy and love – Fr. Giuseppe said –. I thank everyone who helped me during these years. May the Spirit guide us along the way of Christ”. Many Happy returns Fr. Giuseppe, and may God bless you.
Opening a new mission
On 17 November 2018, a new mission was opened at Galye Rogda, close to Wolkite, in the eparchy of Embdibir, among a group of Gumuz who took refuge in the area during the time of Emperor Menelik, more than a hundred years ago.
These people, who now number well over a thousand, received the Gospel only recently, even though the Combonis did open a mission station among the Gumuz in 1939 at Wombera, a place far from Galye Rogda. This group welcomed the faith thanks to the visits by our Catholic catechists coming from other parts of the Gumuz area. They went there for the first time accompanied by Fr. Juan González Núñez.
The apostolic solicitude of Eparch Abune Musie Gebreghiorghis and the evangelising zeal of the Missionaries of the Order of the Imitation of Christ (OIC), an order following the Catholic Malankarese Rite of the Christians of Saint Thomas, with the help of God, did the rest.
The bishop fully recognised the work done by the Combonis in the first evangelisation of the Gumuz of Galye Rogda and also the generous contribution of the Institute in the construction of the beautiful church of this mission.
A village has grown up around the church as well as a school run with apostolic care by the Sisters of Saint Anne.
Thanks to the cooperation of Radio inBlu, from Monday to Friday at 12.03, radio inBlu transmits throughout Italy the Africa Radio News prepared by Nigrizia and produced by Afriradio. It can also be heard in streaming on inBlu radio https://www.radioinblu.it/live/
This is more than just good news since it is three minutes of news from Africa very unlikely to be heard from other sources.
InBlu is a national Christian radiophonic project (cf. TV 2000) at the service of the transmitters present in the country. It proposes a complete set of programmes (transmitted via satellite, via internet, via app for mobile phones and via FM in the city of Rome) which each station can integrate within its programme schedule following a plan of collaboration and sharing. Radio InBlu is received by as many as 123 local radio stations.
Comboni Missionaries in Limone: 50 years of history
The celebration of fifty years of Limone history, begun on 15 March of this year, was concluded on 18 November with a solemn Mass of thanksgiving in the church of San Benedetto, presided by Fr. Venanzio Milani, superior of the Multimedia Centre in Verona. These events were interwoven with meaningful “encounters” such as those with relatives, friends and supporters in October and a solidarity dinner organised by the Limone Alpini on the vigil of the conclusion. The money raised was sent to Mons. Menghesteab, Archbishop of Asmara, for his human promotion projects in Eritrea.
We started literally from scratch. The house of Comboni’s birth was run down and in need of renovation. There was no electricity, water or roads. Over the past fifty years, many people lovingly helped to enhance this place and make it an oasis of peace and inspiration.
Fr. Guido Bertuzzi (Superior in Limone from 1972 to 1979) provided a strong impulse so that this place, so dear to the hearts of every Comboni Missionary, should become a place of spirituality and vocations promotion. During these fifty years many young people have passed through Limone: GIM and all sorts of volunteer movements. The fifty years of Comboni Family presence in Limone coincided with its opening up to the world of tourism, mostly German-speaking (95%). In this way, the unfolding of history surprisingly took us back to the “fascination of our origins”: Germany, Austria, South Tyrol, Limone and Verona, the cradle of the Comboni missionary movement.
As a token of gratitude, the Comboni Family donated to the Parish an ebony crucifix (indicating the roots of the mystic of the cross). They also donated to the Town Administration a column of the togu na (Dogon, Mali), whose symbolic value was explained by Fr. Milani: “For all Comboni Missionaries, the city of Limone represents our place of origin where our Founder Daniel Comboni was born, and this town therefore represents the source of life of the Institute. Daniele Comboni was always very attached to his native land and always showed his appreciation for his fellow countrymen who, in turn, responded with affection and gratitude, supporting him and the Institute in many projects over the years and even today. Daniel Comboni, somewhat like the togu na column, is a reference point in the history of Limone.
New Lectors and Acolytes
The Institute has been enriched with four new Lectors and four new Acolytes. These ministries were conferred on Sunday 18 November during a Mass presided by Mons. Salvatore Visco, Archbishop of Capua, in the parish church of Santa Maria dell’Aiuto in Castel Volturno. Among the concelebrants there were Combonis from the community of Castel Volturno and Fathers Tesfamariam Ghebrecristos Woldeghebriel and Körber Markus Lorenz, both formators of the scholasticate of Casavatore (Naples).
After the homily, the Comboni scholastics Moisés Zacarias (Mozambique), Valverde Arce Byron José (Costa Rica), Djekoundamde Florent (Chad), and Tekle Melaku Wolde (Ethiopia) were elected to the ministry of Lector. Deivith Harly Zanioli Gonçalves (Brazil), Angella Gabriel (Uganda), Oduor Kevin Otieno (Kenya), Paluku Vindu Moïse (RD. Congo) were elected to the ministry of Acolyte. The Bible was handed to the Lectors while the Acolytes received a chalice and a paten with the hosts and wine that were consecrated during the Mass.
Meeting of the European Mission Council
The European Mission Council (ECM) met from 20 to 22 November in Verona. The ECM is made up of Frs. Giorgio Padovan (Italy, co-ordinator), Dário Balula Chaves (Portugal), Martin Devenish, (LP Provincial and responsible for the Mission Sector), Théotime Akpako (Poland), Franz Weber (DSP), Javier Alvarado (LP), Roman Medina (Spain) and Mariano Tibaldo (General Secretary of the Mission Secretariat).
The meeting began with a discussion on some aspects of the European situation at the social, ecclesial and political levels. A degree of racism, xenophobia and fear towards migrants was noted but also examples of generosity and welcoming by many people. Each of the ECM participants spoke of the priorities and the progress of their own provincial mission secretariats.
Much of the time was devoted to the European Mission Workshop due to be held in Verona from 1 to 6 July 2019. The workshop is intended to implement the content of the Limone Symposium 2018 in the respective provinces, combining reflection with practical proposals adapted to the various dimensions of the provincial mission (missionary animation, lay people, JPIC, communications, etc.).
This was the second meeting of the ECM; its importance consists in coordinating the various missionary activities in Europe. In fact, mission problems go beyond the geographical boundaries of a circumscription and it is only from a continental perspective that they can be tackled effectively.
Regional CONFER meeting
From 19 to 21 October 2018, the regional CONFER (Conference of Religious in Peru) meeting of members from the central-eastern dioceses of the country (Huanuco, Huancayo, Tarma and Pucullpa, and Ayacucho) was held at Pucallpa. The participants belonged to 18 nationalities and 4 continents, due to the presence of religious women from India, the Philippines, Madagascar, the Congo and elsewhere.
We reflected upon two themes: "New wine, new wineskins", presented by Fr. Pedro Veliz Valencia, a Capuchin, on religious life in the world of today, and "The visit of Pope Francis" (January 2018), presented by Fr. Juan Carlos Morante, SJ, who stressed the precious message of the Pope for Peru and all Amazonia.
The reflections and activities of the meeting were carried out in an atmosphere of universality – like a little Pentecost with no frontiers – and, at the same time, of fraternal joy with a boat trip on Lake Yarinacocha, a visit to the zoological gardens, the traditional presentations by the diocesan delegations and dances from the Amazon rainforest...
It was a beautiful and unforgettable experience for me, a Comboni, as I was aware how the Institute will dwell next year on the theme of “multiculturality", a challenge to our presence in the world of today. (Fr. Luis Weiss)
Visit by Father General
From 30 October to 10 November we were happy to have with us Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse. The main purpose of his visit was to preach the spiritual exercises but there was also time for meetings and conversations with all the confreres and for a visit to the Shrine of Jasna Gora in the concentration camp of Łagiewniki and Birkenau. We thank Father General for giving us of his time and for his example of evangelical simplicity and fraternity. (T. Basiński)
Message to the Central African Republic
The General Council is close to the Central African people and Church who once again mourn their dead after an attack by the ex- Seleka rebels and the UPC armed group on the Bishop’s House in Alindao where about 26,000 displaced people were being sheltered.
Having sacked and burned the cathedral, the rebels turned on the refugee camp killing at least 42 people. The number of confirmed dead has since risen to 70 or more. The General Council condemns all forms of violence in the Central African Republic as well as in all other parts of the world and joins in prayer with the mourning and suffering inflicted upon the people and the Church in that country.
In Johannesburg, Fr. Dario Bossi took part from 12 to 15 November 2018, in the Thematic Forum on mining activities organised by various groups, one of which was the network The Church and Mining Activities, founded by the Combonis.
There were 350 participants at the Forum coming from 50 countries, 28 of which were African. Almost half the participants were individuals, organisations and movements associated with the Christian churches; also present were representatives of some episcopal conferences and the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development.
The Forum confirmed the gravity of the theme of mining activities and extraction which threatens populations and territories in various parts of the world and the growing interest of the Church in these matters was clear to all. (Fr. Dario Bossi)
Training session for local bursars
From 6 to 9 November a training session for local bursars was held in Lomé, chaired by Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla, Assistant General responsible for Francophone Africa and the economy. The subject presented was the management of the goods of the Church as laid down in Canon Law and the General Directory of Finance of the Institute. It also gave the local bursars the opportunity to present their reports and their projects for 2019.
THE MOTHER: Giuseppina, of Fr. Goffredo Donato (MZ).
THE BROTHER: Cesare, of Fr. Giorgio Aldegheri (I).
THE SISTERS: Rosa, of Fr. Miguel Torres Madrigal (NAP); Teresa, of Bro. Giovanni Bonafini (U); Elizabeth, of Fr. John Downey (LP); Maddalena, of Fr. Tiziano Laurenti (LP).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. M. Chiara Mazzucco, Sr. M. Annunziata Albiero, Sr. Veronica M. Weldemariam, Sr. M. Romilde Spinato.