Wednesday, January 31, 2024
The Provincial and Delegate Superiors of the English-speaking African Circumscriptions and Mozambique (APDESAM – Egypt/Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi/Zambia, South Africa and Mozambique) gathered for a week-long annual general meeting (AGM) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from January 23 to 30, 2024.
The participants at this continental meeting included Bro. Alberto Lamana (Assistant General in-charge of APDESAM), Fr. Diego Dalle Carbonare (Egypt/Sudan, Secretary APDESAM and in-charge of Interreligious Dialogue and Islam), Fr. José Joaquim Luis Pedro (Mozambique, Coordinator for Mission and in-charge of Missionary Reflection Group), Fr. Anthony Kibira (Uganda, Coordinator for Formation and in-charge of Mass Media), Fr. Gregor Schmidt (South Sudan, Coordinator for Finance), Fr. Andrew Wanjohi (Kenya, Vice Secretary and in-charge of CLM), Fr. Michael Mumba (Malawi/Zambia, Vice Continental Coordinator – APDESAM and in-charge of Mission Animation), Fr. Asfaha Yohannes (Ethiopia and in charge of OGF), Fr. Gaim Haileselasie (Eritrea and in-charge of JPIC), Bro. Gédéon Ngunza (Representative of Brothers in APDESAM) and Fr. John Baptist Keraryo Opargiw (South Africa and Continental Coordinator – APDESAM). This year’s AGM was graced by the presence of the Superior General Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie.
After a half-day recollection on the theme Servant Leadership and Collaborative Ministry based on the experience of Moses in Exodus 18:13 – 27, the Continental Coordinator welcomed and thanked all the members for their presence and active participation. A Big Thank You goes to the Province of Ethiopia for the fraternal and generous hospitality. The atmosphere was serene and conducive to sharing, discussion, discernment and lived-in experience of fraternity. The values of our APDESAM continental experience were acknowledged and appreciated: communion, contextualization, subsidiarity and collaboration.
Ample time was accorded to the Reports from the Circumscriptions and from the major sectors of Formation, Mission (with its sub-sectors – Mission Animation, JPIC, CLM, Mass Media, Interreligious Dialogue with Islam) and Finance. Reports on the APDESAM joint projects such as New People Magazine, CASE and Comboni Study House were also presented. The feasibility of merging the Circumscriptions according to a proposed new configuration was considered and it was decided that we needed more consultation of all the stakeholders both in the sub-continent and in the General Administration. Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse and Bro. Alberto Lamana gave a briefing from the General Council on pertinent themes such as Internationality/Interculturality in the Comboni Institute, Formation, Sustainability and Safe-guarding of minors and vulnerable people.
From all the above-mentioned proceedings, the Assembly harvested some resolutions and motions which were put to a vote and the outcome of our reflection and study will be duly presented to the General Council for their information and feedback, and to all the confreres of the English-speaking African Circumscriptions and Mozambique, in order to facilitate our common awareness of the continental vision and experience. Besides, the Assembly made a revision of the APDESAM Charter. During this AGM we had an encounter over lunch with His Eminence Souraphiel Card. Berhaneyesus Demerew, C.M. – the Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa who gratefully acknowledged and appreciated the good missionary work the Comboni Missionaries are doing in Africa and exhorted us to pray for peace in the war-torn areas of the world.
Finally, we had a relaxing and worthwhile tour of the ancient site of the palace and church in Addis Ababa built by King Menelik II on a hill (about 3,000 metres above sea level) overlooking the ever-expanding Capital City of Ethiopia.
United in Christ and Comboni mission,
Fr. John Baptist Keraryo Opargiw
Continental Coordinator – APDESAM