Celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Reunification of our Comboni Institute


Thursday, June 20, 2019
“Happy Feast of the Holy Trinity, Happy Feast of the 40th anniversary of the Reunification of our former two Institutes – FSCJ and MFSC – into one Comboni Institute the MCCJ. This is what today we celebrate”, said Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse, Superior General, at the Holy Mass on Sunday, June 16 in Ellwangen, Germany. We publish below the homily of Fr. Tesfaye.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, greetings and prayers. Happy Feast of the Holy Trinity, Happy Feast of the 40th anniversary of the Reunification of our former two Institutes – FSCJ and MFSC – into one Comboni Institute, the MCCJ. This is what today we celebrate. I thank Fr. Karl Peinhopf, Provincial Superior of the DSP, the members of the Provincial Council and the confreres of the province for having invited Bro. Alberto Lamana, Assistant General for Europe, and myself to celebrate together with you this big day. I am happy that Reverend Fr. Venanzio Milani, who has had important roles of service in the General Council and our Institute, is here among us to share his experience of the Reunification. I am happy that next week you will have another celebration with confreres going from here to Limone.

We will listen also from Fr. Josef Pfanner and stay together with many confreres who did a lot for the Reunification. In the General Direction the life of Fr. Alois Eder, Fr. Otto Fuchs, Fr. Joseph Uhl, Fr. Alois Weiss, Fr. Fink Anton have been a blessing. Many others who stayed in Rome among whom Fr. Markus Korber and some others who served in commissions, such as Fr. Franz Weber, Bro. Hans Eigner and others: have contributed in the services and initiatives of the General Direction of our Reunified Institute

Dear and Reverend Fr. Georg Klose, a big thank you for your symbolic embrace with Fr. Tarcisio Agostoni, on the day of reunification, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, 22 June 1979; when you, the two Superiors General, sealed the reunification of the two Institutes after 56 years of separation.

We, the Comboni Missionaries of the young generation, approach this Feast with a great sense of gratitude, because I believe the reunification of our two Institutes has contributed a lot in the process and journey of Interculturality and Internationalization.

We, thank God for our confreres who worked so much for the reunification. We thank God for all the positive experiences of collaboration which led our two Institutes to one missionary and religious family, the positive experience of collaboration in Spain, in Peru, in Ecuador, in South Africa, in Uganda. On 22 June 1979, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Cardinal Agnelo Rossi, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and representative of the Pope, ratified the reunification. We don’t say that all things were soft and smooth. But we thank God, we thank the Holy Spirit because at the end of the day with a lot of hope and an experience of purification we have become once again one Institute and as one of the most exemplar missionaries, Fr. Andreas Riedl of the DSP, who gave himself for the mission in Spain and Peru, told Fr. Luis Weiss of his conviction: “If we reunite, we shall receive many blessings from the Heart of Jesus”. This blessing beside being an issue of the two Comboni Institutes it has become a blessing for the Comboni Sisters, Comboni Lay Missionaries, Comboni Secular Missionaries and also for the encounter among many Local Churches in different countries and continents.

Coming to the Word of God of today, the Feast of the Holy Trinity, I want to take two possible points for our prayer.

  1. When we celebrate the Holy Trinity we celebrate reciprocal confidence in the Divine Community.
  2. We also Celebrate the Missionary commitment of the Holy Trinity.

1. Today we contemplate that God is Trinity, God is communion and is the fruit of the communion of the Father with the Son in the Holy Spirit, Triune God United in communion. God is telling us that He is not a reality of an Isolated God very distant and aloof, but God is communion, God is relationship, love and mutual reciprocity. God the Father trusts the Son and the Son trusts the Father. God is always in dialogue and continuous gift of self. It is about life of communion, abundance of love and much commitment at the service of humanity, it is not mainly about adding, it is more about multiplying. Living our life in community and in interculturality we are invited to work for communion, dialogue, love, cooperation and also reconciliation, because our God is communion. The Reunification of our Institutes has been a strong step ahead in the journey of communion and reciprocal trust and collaboration. The Holy Spirit continues to heal and empower us all. How do I see myself: as someone in whom the Holy Trinity has faith and trust? Do I see, perceive and trust that the Holy Trinity is present and active in the life of my brother and sister, created in God’s Image?

2. God, the Holy Trinity, is not only a communion within the Divine Reality but it is also an Exodus Mission, God goes out of the Divine Context and comes to us all. God that Father has created us and started to be interested in us, our Savior Jesus has come to us sent by the Father and the Holy Spirit, has come down on all of us and continues to operate in our hearts. Well our Triune-One God is a Missionary God and we all are called to participate in this Missio Dei. When we do the Kerygma – the Proclamation of the Good News, the Martyria – witness of our life and the Diaconia-service to our brothers and sisters, we are inside the nature and reason of the existence of God the Holy Trinity.

We thank the whole of the DSP for the confreres coming from the DSP, the work Mission Promotion, Vocation Promotion, Accompaniment of the CLM, Financial Solidarity with the Mission and the General Administration, Specialization of our Confreres and also the big contribution in Formation of our youth, in a particular way in the former Scholasticate of Innsbruck. The great missionary work done in South Africa, Peru..., the life witness of big known and not famous missionaries who witnessed the Gospel and the Comboni life, the service we have given through human Promotion in the missions and here with the needy brothers and sisters forced to migrate to Europe who knock at our doors. This is all participation in the Mission of the Holy Trinity.

This missionary dedication has been a long experience of missionary commitment of the Churches which form a good part of what today we call the DSP.

St. Comboni says this about missionaries from today’s DSP, in one of his writings:
“[2744] The Missionaries who laboured in the midst of immense privations in this vast field, now laid open to the love of the Gospel, were three sons of St. Ignatius and many worthy priests from Austrian and Bavarian Germany, especially the German Tyrol. They were recruited by the distinguished Committee of the Association of Mary and through the enthusiastic interest of the praiseworthy Professor Mitterrutzner. On the banks of the majestic Nile, which flows between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator, they succeeded in founding four very important mission stations and chose as their centre of communication the capital of the Egyptian Sudan, the political conditions and geographical position of which destined it to be the forward base for Europeans who ventured into those distant lands.”

We all thank God, the Holy Trinity, for this. Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, now and forever.

Happy celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Reunification and thanks to you all our friends and supporters.