Wednesday, June 5, 2019
The confreres in charge of Comboni publications in Europe, directors and administrators, met in the Comboni house of Maia, Portugal, on May 27-31. The formation theme chosen for this year was “Religious marketing. New means of editorial circulation”. It was presented by the Portuguese experts João Maria Neves and Cristina Alçada. Fr. José da Silva Vieira, provincial superior of Portugal and in charge of the media sector at the European level, was the moderator.

The Comboni Lay Missionaries working in media in the European Comboni provinces presented their reports on the Comboni publications, both those on paper and digital, and shared experiences and ideas tied to the challenges that today’s media present to the evangelization and the mission promotion of the Comboni Missionaries in Europe. Bro. Alfredo do Rosário Almeida Durão and Bro. António Carvalho Leal spoke of their experience in the circulation of the magazines “Além-Mar” and “Audácia” in Portugal.

Cristina Alçada, Portuguese expert on “Religious marketing".

Fr. Arlindo Pinto presented the final proposal of the “Guide for the Development of a Plan of Communication for the Comboni media of Europe” (see attachment), elaborated together with Bro. Alberto Lamana, assistant general. “To be successful – said Fr. Arlindo – everything in life must be programmed and planned. In our case, it is what has to do with communication…  This document, therefore, is an instrument that helps to create a common vision and actions in communication that will answer the challenges we meet as Comboni Missionaries in today’s Europe. This outline is flexible and must be adapted to the concrete realities of each country and of each publication, be it on paper or digital, or to other communication activities.

After a short debate, it was decided that each circumscription will adapt this Plan to its own local situation. Fr. Enrique Bayo, from “Mundo Negro” in Spain, presented a draft of the Plan that the magazine has already begun to prepare. A sharing of the various Plans will take place next year.

Fr. Carmine Curci shared that the new multi-lingual European Internet portal on the Web, an initiative already approved by the European provincials, that will be operated by the London Province, could be ready by October 2019.

The next meeting will take place on May 25-29, 2020 in Sunningdale, England and will deal, beside the sharing of the Plans of communication from the various circumscriptions, with the publications on line and with the challenges of the transition from paper to digital.

The directors of the European publications have created a WhatsApp group to exchange urgent information. Meanwhile, they have also decided to share information on Pope Francis’ trip to Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius, planned for September 4-10, 2019, on the Synod of the Amazons of October 6-27, 2019, on the possible trip of the team of “Mundo Negro” to the Sudan in 2020 and on the possible sharing of a common program for a photography archive and exchange of pictures.

The meeting was attended by the Comboni Missionaries and Lay Missionaries representatives from Spain, Italy, Portugal, UK (London Province), Poland, Germany ()DSP), the Curia and by a representative of the Comboni Sisters, Sr. Paola Moggi. The evaluation of the meeting was positive and Fr. José Vieira together with Bro. Bernardino Frutuoso were complimented in particular for their hospitality.