MONTHLY NEWSLETTER OF THE COMBONI MISSIONARIES OF THE HEART OF JESUS
Holy Redeemer Guild
June 01 – 07 ER 08 – 15 LP 16 – 30 P
July 01 – 15 KE 16 – 31 M
June – That the small steps towards opening between the Vatican and the People’s Republic of China may help to increase the understanding and respect of the government towards all Christians living in China. Lord hear us.
July – That in moments of loneliness and difficulty we may feel the presence of the Lord and succeed in making these situations into occasions of closeness and listening to his Word so as to become light and hope for the whole world. Lord hear us.
COTONOU (Bénin) (13) – 4 May 2019
Sc. ABONGA MAZOLIA Jean-Marie (CN)
Sc. BOUZOU Theo-Gracia (RCA)
Sc. DANGNINOU Codjo Constantin (TB)
Sc. DJIMINI Hermann Mahunan (TB)
Sc. EKLO Honyo Kossi V. Celestin (T)
Sc. MAKANGA YAOFANGOLA Joseph (CN)
Bro. MBOLIPATILANI MITEHINDULE Jean Bosco (CN)
Sc. MUHINDO KAPANZA Lwanzo (CN)
Sc. MUHINDO MUHIWA Fiston (CN)
Sc. OCLOO Komla Elisée (T)
Sc. OLENGA KALONDA Dieudonné (CN)
Sc. TAWIAH Emmanuel Essou Kwaw (TG)
Sc. ZIDA Koffi Magloire (T)
XOCHIMILCO (Mexico) (6) – 11 May 2019
Sc. CHÁVEZ Ixchacchal Mynor Rolando (PCA)
Bro. GARCÍA HERNÁNDEZ Pedro Enrique (PE)
Sc. GONZÁLEZ ROBLEDO José Rodrigo (M)
Sc. ORTEGA RAMOS Salud Eduardo (M)
Sc. RAMÍREZ MENDOZA Krísteller (M)
Sc. YBAÑEZ Joevin Sebogero (A)
LUSAKA (Zambia) (8) – 4 May 2019
Sc. AWANGE Bernard Amolo (KE)
Sc. KOMAKECH James Kenyi (SS)
Sc. LEMESSA Mintesnot Simeneh (ET)
Sc. LIKONYE Emmanuel (MZ)
Sc. MASANJALA Hendreson (MZ)
Sc. MATIKI Herbert (MZ)
Sc. MWANGI Samuel Ngugi (KE)
Sc. SSABAYINDA Yuda (U)
NAMPULA (Mozambique) (4) – 25 May 2019
Sc. JONASSE Seventine (MO)
Sc. GIL Fernando (MO)
Sc. SAMUEL Miguel (MO)
Sc. SIMIÃO Ernesto Noventa (MO)
Sc. Dansou A. A. A. (Achille) (T) Lomé (TG) 01/05/2019
GIM: 50 years old… and doesn’t show it
About fifty years ago, a small group of Combonis, in Venegono Superiore, in the north of Italy, started a new approach to youth and vocations ministry which they called GIM: Giovani Impegno Missionario (Youth Involved in Mission). Soon afterwards, the Comboni Sisters and then the Secular and Lay Combonis followed suit, creating teams and, little by little, creating their own GIM methodology. Some of the GIM animators are well known.
It was a completely different experience from the vocations promotion carried out up to then, placing it in the broader context of service to youth and the local Church: a journey of missionary spirituality to help young people choose their way of life. The missionary and Comboni vocation has always been presented clearly and considerable results were obtained by way of vocations (Comboni Missionaries, Comboni Sisters, Secular and Lay Comboni Missionaries).
During their journey with the GIM, young people are accompanied personally with a view to vocational discernment.
When the experience began, one of the things that caused consternation was the fact that boys and girls formed part of the same group. In those times, it was a prophetic and almost scandalous gesture. There has also been an abundance of prophetic initiatives during the past fifty years: national GIM conventions, caravans, summer camps in Italy, Albania, Europe and in our missions in Africa and Latin America.
This Golden Jubilee is not seen as an exercise in nostalgia for former glories (the number of young participants is now very low, but not their quality) but rather as an opportunity to help those Italians who joined the GIM in the past, to meet together under a new impulse. We listened to the life testimonies of people for whom the GIM was a launch-pad for their choice of the mission, service, politics or alternative information, so as to be a stimulus for the times we live in.
It was decided to celebrate the Jubilee in Bari, in the south of Italy, in the region of Puglia, where there are many challenges but also many daring Christian and non-Christian responses. The young people placed themselves face to face with serious situations – the mafia, illegal labour, trafficking of women and pollution of the environment – and with the responses of committed groups. It would have been irresponsible to omit an encounter with the spirituality of Bishop Tonino Bello who continually challenges the youth. Speaking of challenges, Mons. Pino Caiazzo, Bishop of Matera, a pastor who knows how to talk to young people, and who bears the marks of his encounter with the mafia, gave a moving testimony.
It was a great honour to celebrate the Eucharist with missionary symbols and led by Fr. Alex Zanotelli, in the beautiful cathedral of Bari, where we were happy to penetrate its solemn atmosphere with our youthful and missionary enthusiasm!
Unfortunately, the rain prevented the concert by Fr. Fabrizio Colombo & Band being transformed into a great public meeting in the busiest part of the city. Our young people had it all to themselves and they lived it to the full.
Full steam ahead, GIM! There is still much work to be done!
Clandestine minerals on display
For two months our house in Brescia hosted a display of “clandestine minerals”. Attendance was good, especially among students, with over 800 visitors. The display was accompanied by interesting videos showing the different sorts of minerals – coltan (used in mobile phones), cobalt (batteries for electric cars), tungsten, tin, gold, etc. – and especially those who work mining them: many are children as young as eight who work very hard in unsafe conditions and for a mere pittance.
The visitors were amazed to find out about things people hardly ever speak of, situations of violence, injustice, child labour and illegal workers, etc. Head of the list is the Congo which provides 80% of world supplies of coltan and cobalt.
The display is available from the African Museum in Verona.
Celebrations for the ACSE Jubilee are continuing in Rome. Following the successful encounter between Fr. Zanotelli and Mimmo Lucano at the church of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Roma, introduced by the Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, Mons. Lojudice, recently appointed to Bishop of Siena, on 18 May there was a performance by the ACSE “Rome University” choir in the ancient and beautiful church of St. Agata dei Goti. The concert included African and classical songs.
On 23 June there will be an ACSE celebration at the Comboni EUR Generalate: a conference by Fr. Giulio Albanese, Mass in the Congolese rite, dinner, films, etc. Colleagues, volunteers, migrants and friends are among those invited.
Caring for creation – Administration and responsibility
David Platt once said “The desire to proclaim the glory of Christ to the ends of the earth must involve not only how to declare the Gospel but also how to demonstrate it visibly”. This surely demands the radical evangelical testimony of the values that belong to it. Evangelical testimony, therefore, goes beyond merely announcing the Word; it must also involve the attitudes and responsibility of each person towards material goods.
It is this conviction that moved the General Secretariat for Finance to organise a workshop on the theme "Caring for creation – Administration and responsibility ", which was held from 13 to 18 May at the New People Media Centre in Nairobi. It was attended by scholastics and Brothers, some confreres of the province and the provincial bursar of Peru. The workshop was intended to increase the sense of responsibility of the participants in fund-raising and in the administration of goods as well as to present the principles that guide good administration and book-keeping. The theme was approached from various angles: Canon Law, the Rule of Life, the Code of Conduct and the "Banana" programme, to mention but a few.
The experience was very formative and encouraging. It provided those of us working in basic formation with those fundamental elements so necessary for bringing together good administration and witness to evangelical poverty. The participatory presentations really did increase our sense of responsibility but also our feeling of belonging to the Comboni Family and reinforced the conviction that it is possible to be happy with just a few things in a world with abundance but never satisfied.
The valuable knowledge gained during the workshop challenged those who participated to continue to deepen their reflection on the responsible management of the material goods we have at our disposal, so that our witness as light and salt of the earth may be clearly seen in the most difficult fields of our ministry. (Sc. Christopher Silwembe)
On 11 May, the continental novitiate of Xochimilco enjoyed a day of celebration. Six novices from Mexico, Guatemala, the Philippines and Peru made their first religious profession, consecrating their lives to God for the mission in the Institute of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus.
The ceremony began at eleven o’clock in the morning at the novitiate chapel in the presence of a large gathering of priests and confreres including Fr. Alcides Costa, General Assistant, Fr. John Baptist K. Opargiw, General Secretary for Formation, Fr. Víctor Hugo Castillo Matarrita, Provincial of Central America, Fr. José Francisco Martín, Provincial of Peru, Fr. Enrique Sánchez G., Provincial of Mexico and those who were taking part in the Continental Assembly for Formation that was then being held at the provincial house.
The novices Ixchacchal Mynor R. Chávez, Pedro Enrique García H., José Rodrigo González R., Kristeller Ramírez M., Salud Eduardo Ortega R. and Joevin Sebogero Ybañez were surrounded by many family members and friends who had come to accompany and support these young religious as they demonstrated their desire to devote their whole lives to the mission.
During the celebration the provincial, Fr. Enrique Sánchez G. echoed the words of the prophet Jeremiah in the first reading, and invited the novices to live out the gift of their vocation, accepting it as a special grace that God had reserved for them from all eternity. He exhorted them to live out their consecration radically and responsibly, always bearing in mind that the mission is God’s and he will always be the protagonist in the journey which they, as consecrated people, are now called to live out with all their hearts. Concluding his homily, he reminded them of the need to continue to grow in Comboni spirituality, allowing the presence of Comboni on their journey to be a source of inspiration and confidence.
When Mass was over, all those attending – the entire Comboni family, the relatives of the newly-professed and a number of friends of the novitiate – continued the celebration into the afternoon, enjoying the traditional music of the maracas.
At the end of the day we were all happy and grateful to God for the grace of these Comboni Missionaries who will continue their mission in the various scholasticates and centres of formation for Brothers to which they have been assigned.
Let us ask Comboni and Our Lady of Guadalupe to accompany each of the newly-consecrated and to grant them to live each day the joy of the mission. (Fr. Enrique Sánchez G.)
A time for celebrations
The feast of our Comboni relatives was held on 28 April in Viseu, in the presence of around 150 people including relatives and missionaries. Bro. António Nunes (South Sudan), Fr. Luís Filipe Dias (Brazil) and Fr. Filipe Resende (Kenya) who recently returned to the province, shared their missionary experiences. The Provincial presented the state of the life of the province. Mons. António Luciano Costa, Bishop of Viseu, presided at the Eucharist. After a fraternal meal, a concert of classical music, open to the public, was held in the chapel of the missionary seminary.
The former Comboni students celebrated their annual gathering at the missionary seminary of Viseu on 4 May where they met with friends of their childhood and youth. Those present numbered 92 between students, parents and Combonis. The meeting was in honour of the students of the class of 1969 and they turned out in numbers. The Provincial presented the state of the Province and Fr. Fernando Domingues – who joined the minor seminary in 1969 – presided at the Eucharist and gave his testimony. There was also a presentation of a book of poetry (a percentage of the profits is to be sent to Mozambique to help the victims of Cyclone Idai) and the participants donated two scholarships.
Retreat for the Comboni Family
About forty members of the Comboni Family (Comboni Sisters, Comboni Seculars and Comboni Missionaries) took part in a common retreat at Leiria from the evening of 20 May to lunchtime on 25 May. The CLM theologian Susana Vilas Boas directed the spiritual exercises which had as their theme “A heart that beats for the mission”. Susana Vilas Boas worked for five years in the Central African Republic and teaches at the Portuguese Catholic University.
Comboni Family Assembly
On 11 and 12 May the V Annual Assembly of the Comboni Family was held in Madrid. About thirty missionaries of the four different branches – Comboni Sisters, Comboni Seculars, Comboni Lay Missionaries and Comboni Missionaries – met to reflect upon the theme of the Shared Mission.
The shared mission is a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church and is not to be confused with a passing fashion or an improvised solution. It is an ever clearer understanding of the universality of the foundational charisms which cannot be monopolised by any one group but must be lived out by all of them: laity, religious and seculars, with neither confusion nor exclusion. All the charismatic Families of the Church are invited to take part in this process of a shared mission, not simply by “making room for the laity” or by the pragmatic “sharing of roles”, but as a journey of authentic communion. In the case of the Comboni Family this continually developing process is going ahead in different areas of the world with varying degrees of success. We all draw water from the same well of the Gospel and the same spirituality of Saint Daniel Comboni and make missionary these sources relevant and alive by being ourselves missionary.
The Assembly was led by Belén Blanco Rubio and Juan García Callejas, from the national CONFER team, who work with various religious families to reawaken and promote the spirit of a shared mission. We also took some time to speak of the different activities in which we are engaged.
THE FATHERS: of Fr. Francisco Javier Galicia (M), of Fr. Gerardo Sandoval (M); Salvatore, of Fr. Carmine Curci (LP); Primo, of Fr. Gilberto Ceccato (I).
THE MOTHER: Geltrude, of Fr. Fabrizio Colombo (I).
THE BROTHER: Josef, of Fr. Eduard Falk (PE).
THE SISTERS: Emilie, of Fr. Josef König (DSP), Vittoria, of Fr. Giovanni Battista Zanardi (†); Sr. Albina Maria Placida, of Fr. Pietro Settin (I).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Rosa Maria Barin, Sr. Paola Maria Albrigi.