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December News from Around the World

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Annual General Meeting of AEFJN in Rome: The contact persons of the 47 religious institutes, male and female, that constitute the Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN) met in General Assembly on 7th November in Rome. During the Assembly, a Comboni Missionary was elected a member of the AEFJN Executive Committee. The AEFJN, which links Africa and Europe, is present in all African and European countries. It lobbies the European Union and member states to promote just development in Africa; monitors the impact in Africa of EU policies and agreements and promotes socio-economic strategies that take into account the views of African people.

Ordinations to the priesthood: Ethiopia - 2, Uganda - 1, RSA - 1,

The youth of Notre Dame de Fatima refuse to give in. After the 28 May armed assault on the parish of Notre Dame de Fatima, many were left shocked and traumatised. It undid all the efforts for peace and social unity made up to then. In spite of all this, the youth of the parish decided to go against the current and choose the way of peace-making and the rejection of violence. To this end, from 11 to 14 September they held a parish forum for the local youth. During the forum the youth of the parish, with the support of the Comboni delegation of Central Africa, succeeded in laying the foundation for new possibilities. To help to make the event a success, a special day of spiritual, human and cultural preparation had been organised with the refugees accompanied by a concert of religious music. Through song and dance, everyone enjoyed a moment of relaxation and joy. The youth of Notre Dame de Fatima even went to the extent of producing a film "La colomba" (The Dove). It was written and produced by the youth to raise awareness among people and to foster social unity.
A confrere from Central Africa spent the month of October in the diocese of Bozen-Brixen engaging in mission promotion. He moderated a workshop with the youth of the dioceses of Innsbruck, Trent and Bozen-Brixen. He also shared the situation of the Church and the military and political crisis of Central Africa with the Christians of the various parishes of the area, thus helping them to come to know the real situations of the overseas missions. The true situations are not necessarily the same as those occasionally presented by the mass media about a country which is, despite everything, not well known.

The visit of Bro. Daniele Giusti to the north-east began at the Anoalite Hospital of Mungbere in order to identify the priorities for improving the sustainability of the hospital. This visit is in the wake of similar visits carried out last year to Mapuordit Hospital, Leer Technical School and the Lomin workshops in the Province of South Sudan. The introduction of the Total Common Fund in the Institute has brought to light the need for the Provinces to carry out a clearer evaluation of the long-term needs and commitments of some social and human promotion works that have significant social impact and require equally complex management. The visit ended with the celebrations for the closing of the 50th anniversary of Comboni presence in the Congo, in the third week of September, at Isiro.

Conclusion of the Comboni Course for over-70's: The first Course for Elderly Confreres, held in Rome in September and October, has come to a close. For the last week of the course, the missionaries went on pilgrimage to the home of the Founder in Limone sul Garda - October 21 to 30 - for their Spiritual Exercises. On Saturday, 1 November, the feast of All Saints, the Course ended with a Eucharistic celebration presided over by Fr. General.

The European Council for Basic Formation and Vocations Promotion met in Nuremberg from 11 to 12 November 2014. During the meeting the Council perused the Final Document of the Formation Assembly of Granada July 7-17, 2014, and highlighted a number of priorities, which will be submitted to the Provincials of Europe.

First united meeting. The councils of the Comboni Fathers and Comboni Sisters, together with the co-ordinating commission of the CLM, held their first meeting to follow up on certain initiatives. The meeting was held at the Provincial house in Madrid on the morning of 8 November. The starting point was the results of the meeting held in April for the 150th anniversary of the Plan. The Secular Missionary Women were not present but expressed their wish to be informed of the steps being taken at the level of the Comboni Family.

Golden Jubilee in Ethiopia. In December 1964 Fr. Bruno Maccani and Fr. Bruno Lonfernini († 1999) first set foot in the then small town of Hawassa, after a long trip on mules. Fifty years later, the Comboni Family in Ethiopia remembers and celebrates the humble beginnings of what has become the present Apostolic Vicariate of Hawassa, the largest local Church in Ethiopia. With the Comboni Sisters, who arrived in Hawassa in 1965, the Province is organizing a number of events aimed at animating the local Church in its missionary character - a vigil celebration on Mission Sunday 2015 and a symposium on selected topics on mission, scheduled for December 2015, at the closing of the year of grace for us and last but not least, on 28 December, Fr. General will make his first official visit to the Province. Two more local confreres were ordained priests on 22 & 30 November.

Projects Committee: The Province has set up a single committee to deal with projects both for Mondo Aperto Onlus and the Fondazione Nigrizia Onlus. (Both based in Vicolo Pozzo 1 - 37129 Verona). Requests may be made either to the Fondazione Nigrizia Onlus or to Mondo Aperto Onlus, according to the ambit of the project. The projects committee is to meet twice a year:

Fr. General visits Kenya: The Superior General visited the Province from 2 to 15 November. On his arrival, Fr. Enrique met the bursars of the province who were having their annual assembly.
The next day, Fr. General met the communities of Nairobi: Kariobangi (with a visit to some of the projects that are run by this community) and the newly open community of the Mission Promotion Centre at Embakasi. On 5 November, the confreres of Nairobi Zone had the opportunity to meet with Father General. Fr. General also visited the other two zones of the province: Turkana and Pokot.

Celebration: On August 19, eleven Comboni Missionaries, along with about 30 Comboni auxiliary members and friends gathered at St. Joseph Cemetery in Monroe, Michigan to honour the ten Confreres buried there. Following the dedication of the monument erected there by local mission supporters and in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Comboni Missionaries coming to North America, a special Mass was held at St. Joseph's Church.

A truly "catholic" Comboni presence. In September we held our Evangelisation Assembly. We continue to have the grace we experienced last year on the occasion of the celebration of the 75 years of the Province: missionaries of 13 nationalities from four continents working in harmony and fraternity, fruit of the reunification of our Institutes in 1979 with the name of Mccj. We may, therefore, realise the dream of our Founder who desired a "truly catholic" mission and who, in his own mission, had missionaries of 13 nationalities. We are working on the three priorities chosen for the provinces of Latin America: indigenous peoples (San Martín de Pangoa, in the forest with two ethnic groups with their own languages, a commitment assumed in 2009 with the consignment of Pozuzo), poor urban peripheries (Lima, Arequipa and Huánuco) and Afro pastoral at El Carmen-Chincha.

30 years in Chile. On 4 September, together with friends and benefactors, we commemorated our thirty years in Chile where we showed our charism especially through mission promotion in a Church with no opening to the mission ad gentes. The Verbites said they rediscovered their missionary charism thanks to our presence. Up to that time, they had been involved almost exclusively in education in large private institutions, especially for the upper class.


The Comboni mission from the Plan to the XVIII General Chapter. Nineteen Confreres from the 3 communities of the south of Portugal met on 3 November, at Santarém, to reflect on "The Comboni mission from the Plan to the XVIII General Chapter". The communities of the north and centre will do the same reflection later. These meetings are for the purpose of preparing the General Chapter of 2015.

Missionary Month and First Missionary Congress.
October was full of meaningful events in line with our missionary charism. On 9th of October we celebrated the jubilee of consecrated life of one of our Brothers while on the 10th all our communities celebrated the feast of our founder. The main event, however, was the first Missionary Congress held in South Africa, on the 25th and 26th of October. Although, it was held at archdiocesan level, it was a great moment of awareness of our common missionary vocation. Around 300 participants from different parishes of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg took part in the two-day Congress. The money gathered from the participants of the Congress and other sponsors, an amount of 10,000 $US, was sent to Bro. Rosario Iannetti in South Sudan to help build a new ward for the hospital of Mapuordit.

Meeting and pilgrimage for confreres over 45 years of age.
For the confreres over 45 years of age the Province held a meeting of ongoing formation in Juba, at the provincial house, from 28th to 30th October. Some 16 confreres reflected on the Plan of Comboni and the 2009 Chapter Acts in view of the 2015 General Chapter. They were also briefed on the workshop on Comboni's Plan held in Rome in September and the situation of the Province. On the last day of the meeting, the confreres made a trip to Gondokoro, where in 1852 the first mission in South Sudan was established by Fr. Angelo Vinco, the pioneer missionary among the Bari. About 10 confreres with other pilgrims and 3 Franciscan Friars travelled by boat on the White Nile. The present configuration of the area makes it difficult to be sure of the exact spot where the first mission was located and the first missionaries were buried. The pilgrims stopped first on the island of Jazira where there is a chapel called Holy Cross. The original chapel that was in Gondokoro was transferred to this island because there are more people here. The Eucharist was celebrated at the site which is believed to be that of the tomb of Fr. Vinco. It was presided over by Mons. Giorgio Biguzzi, a Xaverian Missionary and Bishop Emeritus of Makeni, Sierra Leone, who was on a visit to South Sudan. The mission of Gondokoro was officially closed in 1862, reopened in 1912, and in 1919 transferred to Rejaf, where the Comboni Missionaries built a spacious church, now the parish of All Saints, considered to be the mother church of the Juba Archdiocese.

Symposium on the Plan for the Regeneration of Africa.
A two-day conference on the Plan of St Daniel Comboni was held in Juba from 31st October to 1st November. The event was organized by the Comboni Missionaries of Juba, the Catholic University of South Sudan and St. Mary's College of the Catholic Diocese of Juba, as part of the commemorations of the 150th anniversary of Comboni's Plan. The conference embraced 3 main presentations - a biography of Comboni along with a history of Sudan from 1820 to 1956 (the year of Independence) and on to 1964 (when of all missionaries were expelled), secondly a presentation of the Plan of Comboni in the light of some theological and pastoral challenges, focusing on Sudanese society 150 years ago and that of the present time, and finally a paper on the challenges that the Plan of Comboni posed and continues to pose to the Church and the society of this new country. Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro, Comboni Missionary and Archbishop of Juba, and of Mgr. Paride Taban, Bishop Emeritus of Torit, enriched the Conference by sharing their personal experiences.

Introductory Course to South Sudan.
The Religious Superiors' Association of South Sudan (RSASS) has organised an "Introductory Course to South Sudan" for newcomers from among the 46 Religious Institutes working in the country. About 40 religious attended from 15th to 20th November and considered the history, geography, politics, economy, social life, the Catholic Church and other churches, ethnic groups, women, youth, and the role of the Religious today in South Sudan.


Meeting of young confreres. The Ongoing Formation meeting of the 7 young confreres (5 years of ordination) was held in Doba, 17 to 19 October.

Ongoing Formation. From October 19th to 25th at the Diocesan Centre for Ongoing Formation in Doba, 25 confreres of 18 nationalities gathered to reflect on the "The Rule of Life".


Bro. Mario Vermi (30.05.1938 - 27.11.2014)
Comboni Sisters: Dolores Panzeri & Anna Giulia Messa.

The death of Fr. John Ssenyondo: Fr. John Ssenyondo, a Ugandan, studied theology in Chicago and was ordained in 1991. In 1994 he was assigned to Mexico and on 29 April, 2014, he was incardinated into the diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa. On 30 April, he was abducted by armed men. He had just celebrated Mass at the indigenous community of Santa Cruz, at Chilapa de Álvarez, Guerrero. After waiting in vain for news of his fate, the members of his community went in search of him and, on 29 October, they discovered two mass graves containing 13 bodies, one of which was that of Fr. John. Last year he had already been the victim of a robbery at the parish house where he lived.

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