MONTHLY NEWSLETTER OF THE COMBONI MISSIONARIES OF THE HEART OF JESUS
GENERAL NOTES – CONSULTA OF DECEMBER 2019
1. APPOINTMENTS as from 1 January 2020
Fr. González Galarza Fernando is appointed General Secretary of the Mission.
Bro. Parise Alberto is appointed Assistant General Secretary of the Mission and Head of the JPIC Sector and GMS Coordinator of the Year of Ministeriality.
Fr. Giorgetti Angelo is appointed Assistant General Treasurer.
Fr. Manuel Augusto Lopes Ferreira is appointed Coordinator of the Library Council (Archives, Library and Studium Combonianum).
Fr. Arlindo Ferreira Pinto remains head of the Communications Office, member of the Mission Secretariat and GC reference person on the CLM Central Commission.
Fr. Ciuciulla Pietro is appointed reference person of the GC in CANAM (service towards sick confreres in Italy).
2. The General Council wishes to remind all confreres of what is said in No. 79 of the Rule of Life: “Before publishing books or producing means of social communication, the missionary seeks permission from his Major Superior”. And also No. 79.1: “According to the norms of ecclesiastical legislation, the missionary submits to the judgement of the diocesan Bishop, before publication, writings which concern faith and morals”.
3. The GC recommends that there be a certain degree of continuity in the composition of circumscription councils. It is not appropriate that anyone who has agreed to being elected to this service in a circumscription should ask to be transferred to another circumscription; where possible, he should render this service for the entire triennium.
4. Regarding the Assembly of Circumscription Superiors to be held at the Generalate from 15 February to 1 March 2020, the GC has set up a reference logistics committee composed of Fr. Alcides Costa (coordinator), Bro. Alberto Lamana and Fr. Claudio Lurati.
5. The process of beatification of Fr. Giuseppe Ambrosoli: the process begun in 1999 is coming to a conclusion. We are now waiting for the Pontifical Decree, which will indicate the place and date of the solemn celebration. All of us Comboni Missionaries are called upon to live these days of expectancy and preparation with a great spirit of faith.
6. As indicated in the Guide for the Implementation of the XVIII General Chapter, the year 2020 will be dedicated to reflection on the theme of Ministeriality. Some supplements will be included in Familia Comboniana. Other indications will be given in due course by the General Administration.
7. The GC wishes to thank most sincerely all the confreres who have given their service to the Institute as Circumscription Superiors over the past three years. In the case of those who have ended their service, it wishes them, after a due period of rest, a peaceful transition to whatever missionary commitment and service the Institute shall entrust to them. It offers its best wishes to the confreres who have been called for the first time to render this service in the Institute: on them and on those who have been re-elected, the GC invokes the abundant gifts of the Holy Spirit so that their leadership may bear fruit in their circumscriptions.
8. Journeys and commitments of the GC
From 6-8 March 2020 the GC will be in Ariccia or Nemi for a weekend of prayer and reflection.
Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse
15 December 2019 – 8 February 2020 Visit to the Congo and Uganda
Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins
10 – 16 December 2019 Visit to Paris
16 December 2019 – 3 January 2020 In Portugal
Fr. Ciuciulla Pietro
8 – 17 December 2019 Meeting of ASCAF Provincials in RCA
23 December 2019 – 2 January 2020 In Sicily
5 January – 8 February 2020 In Uganda
Bro. Lamana Cónsola Alberto
8 – 15 December 2019 In Colombia (CIF)
16 – 19 December 2019 In DSP (Provincial Assembly)
29 January – 3 February 2020 Holidays in Spain
Message from the General Secretariat
In view of the reprinting of the Annuario Comboniano in 2020, the General Secretariat would like the superiors and all the confreres to check that the Annuario details of next of kin and their home address are correct. There are about fifty cases of confreres whose parents died years ago without their names being replaced.
Towards the beatification of Fr. Giuseppe Ambrosoli
The long process to bring about the beatification of Fr. Giuseppe Ambrosoli is practically complete.
Begun in August 1999 at Kalongo and then at Como in November of the same year, it was granted Validity by Rome on 7 May 2004 as to the completeness and the quality of the inquiry carried out in the areas of testimonies and documentation. The Positio, prepared by the Postulation, was approved by the Theologians on 4 December 2014. This resulted in the Decretum Super Virtutibus of December 2015, in which was recognised a sound complex of missionary virtues in our confrere and Servant of God Fr. Ambrosoli, who was deemed worthy of the new title of Venerable.
Meanwhile, a diocesan inquiry was opened at Moroto (Uganda) concerning a presumed miracle in favour of a Karimojong mother, Mrs. Lucia Lomokol. On 6 February 2019, the Medical Commission recognised her sudden, complete, lasting and scientifically inexplicable cure. For their part, the Theologians of the Special Congress of 13 June of this year, 2019, unanimously recognised the connection between invocation and cure and, therefore, the miraculous character of the event. All the documentation was then presented to the Cardinals and Bishops assembled on 15 November 2019. The outcome was the approval by Pope Francis of the promulgation of the Decree on the miracle.
We are now waiting to receive that Decree which will include details of the place and date of the Beatification, depending upon the engagements of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu.
We believe that the entire Institute is called to assume responsibility for the recognition of the missionary sanctity of our confrere Fr. Giuseppe Ambrosoli. It is, in fact, a special grace that he was able to express his missionary service in working for the good of the local people, with simplicity and goodness equal to the depth of his inner life. Our Lord is raising him up before our eyes so that Evangelii Gaudium may increasingly shine through in our Comboni Family. Later we will be informed about the organising commissions and the series of activities of promotion and celebrations to take place in the more important places where Fr. Giuseppe lived and where he is remembered as a true son of Saint Daniel Comboni.
Fr. Revolledo Villanueva Eduardo Antonio (PE) Lima (PE) 21/12/2019
Giacomo Ghedini, Da schiavo a missionario. Tra Africa ed Europa, vita e scritti di Daniele Sorur Pharim Den (1860-1900), Studium editions, Rome 2020. This book is the result of a degree thesis – writes Gianpaolo Romanato in the Presentation – broadly based on unedited documents. It is the story of a young Dinka of what is now South Sudan, a runaway slave taken in by Comboni, baptised by him with his own name and sent to school. Daniel Sorur became a priest, learned to speak and write in a number of languages and visited all of Europe. His considerations concerning the condition of the African man, his defence of the equality of human beings, the anticipatory value of his reflections on many questions, and much more, “together make of him an unicum whose discovery was overdue”. The text contains an introductory note by the General Council thanking the author on behalf of the Comboni Missionaries.
Fr. Antonio Berti, Nzoni Mbaye Ti Nzapa Na Azo, L’Histoire Sainte, Grimari (RCA) 2018. The book is a supplement for catechists and those heading Movements and Fraternities – Fr. Berti writes in the acknowledgements. Fr. Berti, is a Comboni Missionary who works in the parish of Notre Dame de Liesse, in Grimari – so that they may know and teach others the sacred history of God who, by means of men and women, has made known his Name and his Face.
Fr. Lorenzo Mboriguié Frattini, Doctrine Générale du Droit. Réflexions à partir de la coutume/réconciliation et dans la perspective de l’interculturalité, Éditions “La Perle Noire”, Bangui 2019. The reflections contained in the text, as we read in the introduction, derive from the need to teach. As a matter of fact, the author is Director of a course in Law at a Higher Institute of Philosophy, and this required him to carry out accurate and complex research, in an effort to discover the challenges that the juridical African culture brings.
Holy Redeemer Guild
January 01 – 15 A 16 – 31 BR
February 01 – 15 C 16 – 28 EGSD
January – That all the inhabitants of the world may work to guard this common home which God entrusted to us so that future generations may also enjoy it. Lord hear us.
February – That the MCCJ circumscription Superiors meeting in Rome may be enlightened by the Spirit and so discover the best ways to impart new vigour to our missionary service in the various continents. Let us pray.
Handover of the parish of Menino Jesus
On 28 December 2019, in the city of Timon (Maranhão), Holy Mass was celebrated in thanksgiving for the Comboni presence in the parish of Menino Jesus of Prague.
Comboni Missionaries had worked in Timon city for 35 years. The Plan of the Province included the closure of this community before the end of 2020, in harmony with the indications of the General Chapter and with the aim of reinforcing our presence in other places.
It was a beautiful and intense moment in which the People of God showed – as they always have – their great affection for all the Combonis who served in this city.
In the persons of Fr. Silvério Malta, Fr. Francisco Coqueiro and Fr. Armindo Dinis, who made up the Comboni community of Timon, we summarised the memory of the many Combonis who worked so hard in this city bordering the state of Piauí.
The Bishop of the diocese, Mons. Sebastião Duarte, who presided at the celebration, emphasised how the Combonis gave witness by organising a lively parish, involved in the life of the people and in social progress. He then spoke of the historical importance of the Education Project “Mãos Dadas (Hand in Hand)”, founded by Fr. Dinis for the families of Parque Alvorada, a city quarter known for its challenging level of violence. It was also at Timon that the activity of mission and vocations promotion called “Cejupaz” was started; for a number of years it has animated the youth of North-East Brazil.
The parish is well established and capable of looking after itself, all the more so after the intense process of the Holy Peoples’ Missions. It is to be entrusted to the care of a diocesan priest who is to be installed on 8 February 2020. The Combonis have been “sent out” and blessed by the people.
Speaking on behalf of the Province, the Provincial thanked the People of God for everything the missionaries learned and built up during this journey, placing the future in the hands of God.
Comboni Course for the Elderly 2020
The team coordinating the Comboni Courses that are held in the Ongoing Formation Centre at the General House has made available the details concerning the fourth edition of the Course for the Elderly, to be held in 2020.
5) Enrolment: those wishing to participate, having received the approval of their respective circumscription superiors, must contact the Course coordinator, Fr. Elias Sindjalim, using this e-mail: email@example.com.
A Close Call
On the evening of 1 December 2019, at 8 pm, Fr. Elvis survived an attempt on his life while he was returning from evening ministry and on his way to collect Fr. Isaiah at Dabokokokel chapel on the main road towards Gublak. Two kms before he reached Dabokokokel, his vehicle was struck by a hail of arrows that seemed to be aimed at the driver. There were also two catechists inside the pick-up and a third on the open back. Several arrows came close to him but none of them found their mark, thanks be to God. Fr. Elvis also escaped injury, even though he had the window of the vehicle open. The pick-up, instead, was struck by a number of arrows, mostly on the driver’s side: there were several arrows still stuck in the vehicle when they reached home. After the attack, Fr. Elvis continued his journey and only after some time did he realise what had happened. He arrived at Dabokokokel and, together with Fr. Isaiah, went to the local police. Together they went to the place where the attack occurred but found nothing. They then remembered that, on the previous day, on that very spot, one of the people of the Gumuz village had been abducted. He was later found dead, his body hacked. From this they deduced that the attack was most likely not aimed at themselves but was some sort of vendetta they happened to encounter.
Our confreres believe it best not to attach much importance to the incident since they feel really safe and well protected among the people they serve and feel encouraged by them to continue their apostolate. In all probability, they will try to bring forward the schedule of their visits to the community even if the people find it easier to assemble in the evening when they have returned from their work in the fields or from the hunt.
We join our confreres of the area in thanking God for their escape from danger and in praying for the person who was killed, for social harmony and for the great heavenly gifts of forgiveness and reconciliation. (Fr. Sisto Agostini)
Don Luigi Ciotti in Verona
On 3 December, more than a thousand people attended a conference by Don Luigi Ciotti in Verona, at the large and magnificent church of Saint Anastasia. He was presented by Fr. Venanzio Milani, coordinator of the initiative “The Tuesdays of the World” and introduced by Don Carlo Vinco, a diocesan priest, with an interesting analysis of the situation in Verona: a city of solidarity and hospitality, but also open to drugs and the mafia.
The founder of the “Gruppo Abele e Libera” commented on the message of Pope Francis on poverty: “The hope of the poor shall not be disappointed”. He emphasised, among other things, that it is necessary to fight against poverty, and especially against all that aggravates it. Woe to solitary travellers: what we need is a collective commitment.
Initiatives for the Golden Jubilee of Acse
The encounters in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Acse continue.
On 14 November at the Major Pontifical Seminary in Rome, a conference was held on the theme: “Migrants are a Resource”. There were interventions by Mons. Pierpaolo Felicolo, Director of the Migrantes of the Vicariate of Rome, Prefect Mario Morcone, Director of CIR (Italian refugee Council) and Dr. Ornella Martella, coordinator of the Acse school. The Moderator was Dr. Paolo Masini.
On 13 December, in the Chapter Hall of the Comboni Missionaries Curia in Via Lilio, Rome, a conference was held on the theme: “Africa is a Gift”. The speakers were Fr. Elias Sindjalim, a Comboni from Togo, Welly Marguerite Lottin, a native of Cameroon and President of the GRIOT Intercultural Association, and Constant Nzimbala Mfuka, a Congolese geologist. The Moderator of the discussions was Sr. Maria Rosa Venturelli, Vice President of Acse.
From the Diary of Fr. Giuseppe Puttinato
Khartoum, 25 November 2019. When I joined the Comboni College Khartoum community in 1959, there were 26 of us: 22 Fathers and 4 Brothers. Today, at the end of November 2019, it sometimes happens that I am the only person attending Vespers and supper (and I am 85 years and eight months old). The community now consists of five Fathers. Not one Brother. A disaster? A failure?
Have we come to the end of a work that many considered most worthy in the past? In 1959, 30 years after it was opened, there were 915 students and 15 lay teachers. Today, in late November 2019, 90 years after the Primary and Secondary Schools were opened and 18 years since the University College was founded, there are 3000 students following long courses and 700 enrolled in short courses. There are 147 lay employees between teachers and administrators. The work, it would seem, is neither dead nor dying.
THE MOTHERS: Marie Therese, of Fr. Eugene Nordjoe (E); Batakobana, of Bro. Abule Kabungi Philippe (CN).
THE BROTHERS: Francesco, of Fr. Alberto Vittadello (†); Tarcisio, of Fr. Aldo Pusterla (EC); Nicanor, of Mons. Jaime Rodriguez (M).
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. M. Luciana Marcazzan, Sr. Virginiana Pelacchi, Sr. M. Cristina Pirra.