Friday, February 15, 2019
The Comboni Renewal Course (CRC) is a sabbatical period that the Comboni Institute offers to confreres between the ages of 45 and 65. This year it is attended by 17 missionaries at the General Curia in Rome, Italy. It will last from January to May, interrupting their normal activities, to help them make a wisdom reading of their life experience and then return to their mission.

This year, the participants to the CRC come from 13 countries and a variety of ministries from the different sectors of missionary activity. The age range goes from 48 to 68. The CRC is held every two years and is coordinated by Fr. Siro Stocchetti, Bro. Guillermo Casas Rosell and Fr. Elias Sindjalim Essognimam, a team with a lengthy experience in the sector of ongoing formation and in accompanying confreres during this phase of their life.

The missionaries spend a good part of their time in an encounter with their own selves and with God. Just like the first apostles, these Comboni missionaries have responded positively to the invitation of Jesus: “Come aside, to a solitary place, and rest a while.” (Mk 6:31)

During the CRC a lot of importance is given to community life, and to reflection and prayers in small groups, thus giving an opportunity to each one to share more freely and easily one’s experiences of personal life and of mission. An entire week is given to this sharing that will foster knowledge of each other.

Usually, every day a theme of formation is offered, in an attempt to help the confreres review the various dimensions of personal, community, religious and missionary life. For this reason, week after week various themes are lined up that cover the dimensions of life and help the missionary to review his own individual and community life, to renew himself spiritually and in his vocation, to remember the life and the Writings of Comboni, to renew one’s life style, the economic aspect, health… During this entire process, the participants are individually accompanied by professional experts, belonging, for the most part, to other religious and missionary institutes.

The CRC also includes several study trips and life experiences in order to create a better community spirit. The group has already visited Assisi – the land of St. Francis, great inspiration to the simple and missionary life – and it has already visited and attended a number of celebrations in St. Peter at the Vatican and in the area of the “Three Fountains,” where the group resides. The program still has two very special and lengthier visits that create in all a lot of expectation. One is to Limone sul Garda, the land of our Father and Founder St. Daniel Comboni, while the other, covering the last three weeks, is to the Holy Land, in order to get to know the biblical places and the byways where Jesus accomplished his mission.

The group celebrated Holy Mass at the tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican.

Fr. Carlos Alberto Nunes tells us about the course and how he is experiencing it personally: “The spirit of the participants of the 2019 Course is decisively positive, with variations due to the different origin and experiences that, together, give a picture rich in gifts and graces. Community life is respectful and open and there is joy, sharing and mutual help. Personal and community prayer, together with other celebrations have been well prepared and carried out, thus becoming a source of spiritual life for all. The topics of the meetings help us to get to know and to deepen aspects of our human, religious and missionary life that, at this point, we consider very useful and necessary.

The community grows in spirit and life. We are all always in mission. A journey is accomplished by moving forward, listening, sharing and evaluating the personal and communitarian reality of each one. Only in this way shall we prepare together to return to the mission. This is our life and vocation.

I think to be expressing a common feeling if I say that I give thanks to God for this opportunity he has given me. I am happy to be here. I hope, and I am sure of it, that this new life will help me to be renewed in the new mission to which I will be assigned.”