First Professions 2016 (number of candidates):
Congo - 6 candidates
Mozambique - 5
Malawi-Zambia - 4
Uganda - 4
Ethiopia - 2
Kenya - 2
And one each for the Provinces of: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Togo-Benin-Ghana, Central African Republic.
TOTAL: 30 newly professed confreres
One confrere from Zambia
Retreat and Assembly: The annual retreat and Assembly was held from 4 - 14 May at Karis, on the hill of Tagaytay in Metro Manila. The five-day retreat was directed by Fr. General. The last three days were dedicated to the Assembly and included a debate on priorities for the future in which we expect our presence in Vietnam to be consolidated (. . . indeed, the first three Vietnamese candidates will enter our Postulancy in Metro Manila this coming year).
Obituaries on the website: The General Secretariat is looking at placing on the website www.comboni.org the obituaries not only of Combonians who died in recent years but of all those who died from the beginning of the Institute until today.
Provincial Assembly: The Provincial Assembly was held at Ellwangen-Josefstal from 1 - 4 May. Bro. Lamana, General Assistant, was present as the representative of the GC and gave a presentation of the figure of the missionary Brother today. In conclusion, Brigitte Kreiter presented the Comboni Lay Missionaries (CLM), how they came about and their goals in the DSP. They meet several times a year and are still in the consolidation and growth stage.
Comboni College of Science and Technology (CCST) is now offering courses in the Italian Language. In 2015, an agreement with Perugia University for Foreigners made the CCST an exam centre for official qualifications in Italian granted by Perugia University (CELI). On 12 May, this initiative took another step forward with the inauguration of the Comboni Italian Centre within the College by the Italian Ambassador in Sudan and the President of the Pentax Italian Society. In his address to journalists, the ambassador emphasised the role of the educational institutions of the Comboni Missionaries in Sudan in the integration of different cultures, pointing to them as privileged centres for intercultural dialogue. A week later, the first cultural activity of the Centre took place: a photographic display on some Sudanese tribes. The photos were taken by Fr. Pasquale Boffelli around 1980. For the CCST, the Centre is another bridge for dialogue with this mainly Moslem society.
Mundo Negro, Africa 2016 Special Issue: Every three years, Mundo Negro magazine publishes a special issue intended, first of all, to pay homage to the 1,215 million Africans who fill this continent with hope and make it look forward to the future. The centre pages are used as a dossier with charts of information on Africa, country by country, with its 55 nations, including Western Sahara. It contains five sections of political, social, educational, cultural and religious information. Over fifty thousand copies of this special issue have been printed. It contains contributions from Africans such as Fatou Bensouda (Gambia), Mgr. Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui, and Mbuyi Kabunda Badi (Congo) a professor and expert in problems of regional integration, development, gender, human rights and conflicts in Africa.
This year's Provincial Assembly coincided with the visit of Fr. General 12 - 14 April.
In line with the directives of the Institute and the local Church, the small community of Qillénso decided to concentrate its pastoral efforts in Adola, the most important city of the region where the Catholic Church was almost non-existent and some 35 km from the original mission. A centre for the formation of catechists, catechumens and new communities was opened in the city centre along with a public library. The outcome of this pastoral initiative is that now there exist 16 new Christian communities in this pastoral zone, a new Church is under construction, and the library houses more than 4,000 books and has space for 120 students at any one time. On 7 May, the church and library, were blessed and both were dedicated to St. Daniel Comboni. Among those present were the Apostolic Nuncio and the Bishop Emeritus of Hawassa.
Funeral of Mgr. Giovanni Migliorati: On the day of Pentecost, the Christian community of Bassano conducted the funeral rites of Mgr. Giovanni Migliorati who died on 12 May, after a short illness. Among those present were the Eparch of Bahr Dar-Dessie (representing the Bishops' Conference of Ethiopia), Assistant General Fr. Ciuciulla (representing Father General), the Provincial of Ethiopia, many confreres and Comboni Sisters, priests, religious and many lay people.
Hawassa - The burial of Mgr. Migliorati in Italy did nothing to prevent Ethiopia expressing its great sorrow, with an extraordinary manifestation of homage to a missionary who, for forty years, had given himself fully to his pastoral work as priest and bishop. The requiem Mass celebrated in Hawassa took place on 17 May, in the cathedral, in the presence of the Papal Nuncio, most of the 13 bishops of Ethiopia, about one hundred priests from all the dioceses, numerous men and women religious and members of the faithful who filled the cathedral as well as the surrounding courtyard. There was also present a substantial representation of civil authorities and leaders of other religious confessions with whom Mgr. Migliorati kept in close communion. There were also remarkable testimonies by the Archbishop of the Orthodox Church and the Sheik of the Moslem community. In memory of Mgr. Migliorati, third Bishop of Hawassa, a plaque was placed in the atrium of the cathedral, alongside the tomb of the first Bishop, Mgr. Armido Gasparini.
Comboni Missionaries and Immigration: We Comboni Missionaries, together with many others - Christians and non-Christian alike - welcome the visit of Pope Francis to the island of Lesbos, the first port of call for many migrants fleeing from war, dictatorships and situations of permanent insecurity. This gesture is prophetic and a true sign of solidarity and closeness both to the refugees and to the citizens of the island and all the people of Greece who are so generous in welcoming others. In its context, the visit of Pope Francis is a rebuke to the nations of Europe which, in violation of the principle of non-rejection of people in need of protection, approved by international law, have closed, or are closing their frontiers to migrants. (Comboni Missionaries - Italy)
Meeting of Brothers in Pesaro: The annual Convention for Comboni Brothers was held in Pesaro from 28 April to 1 May. Thirty Brothers from the Italian Province and the Curia accepted the invitation. As has become traditional in recent years, there were also three postulants from Padua who are preparing to enter the novitiate to become Brothers: thanks to them, the European novitiate will be reopened.
Renewal of religious vows: On 1 May, 13 theology students of the Naples house of formation renewed their vows at the hands of our new Vicar General.
Arms trafficking: Two articles in the May issue of Nigrizia on the "Government Report on the trafficking of arms" caused a flood of hits on Nigrizia Facebook and Twitter (almost 60,000 Facebook hits and almost 30,000 on Twitter). The usual average number of hits rarely exceeds nine thousand. Why so many hits? This success is due to the popularity of this theme and the data was new. The articles in Nigrizia were taken up by other online papers and magazines such as Il Fatto quotidiano, Repubblica, l'Internazionale, Articolo 21 (website of the Italian journalists), etc.
25th anniversary of the Peoples' Festival in Verona: On 22 May, the 25th anniversary of the Peoples' Festival was celebrated in Verona. Comboni Missionaries were remembered, especially Fr. Adriano Danzi, seen as one of the main promoters of the feast in the entire diocese. To mark the anniversary, an oak tree was planted in the locality of Villa Buri, where the first feast was celebrated. A plaque bearing the name of the promoters was attached to the tree.
Meeting of Circumscription Superiors: The annual meeting of Circumscription Superiors of the American Continent took place in Mexico City from 9 to 13 May. Fr. Rogelio Bustos Juárez, Assistant General in office, accompanied the meeting.
First vows: On Saturday, 14 May, at Xochimilco, four young men from different countries (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) made their first vows.
Young Comboni Missionaries renew their vows: The eight young men (from Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru, Kenya, Italy, Zambia and Mexico) studying theology at the Comboni scholasticate of Lima, in Peru renewed their religious vows on 1 May.
National Meeting of Missionary Cenacles: On 30 April the Cenacles of missionary prayer held their IX National Meeting. About 250 people from over thirty cenacles from various dioceses gathered at Maia for a special time of testimonies. The cenacles are a pastoral initiative in which lay people become evangelisers and missionary animators of their communities, in which they strive to achieve the Biblical model St. Daniel Comboni proposed for the Institute: a small cenacle of apostles who radiate the light and warmth of the heart of the Good Shepherd.
Qualified to teach Nursing: On 5 May Bro. Nunes Ferreira successfully defended his thesis "Knowledge of HIV-AIDS in the patients of a hospital in Lakes State, South Sudan" and received the qualification to teach nursing. Bro. Nunes already had a specialisation in community nursing. He is now back in South Sudan teaching at the Catholic Health Training Institute, Wau.
Saying Yes to God: Four novices (3 from Mozambique and from Portugal) made their first religious profession on 21 May, in the cathedral of Santarém.
The Association of Religious Superiors in South Sudan (RSASS) held its annual conference from 27 to 30 April, 2016, in Juba, South Sudan. The participants numbered 72 men and women religious from all over the country. The Papal Nuntio presided at the opening Mass and the closing Mass was led by the Comboni Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of the diocese of Juba.
First Profession: In Sarh, on Sunday 15 May, two young novices (one from Togo-Ghana-Benin and one from Central Africa), took their first vows.
On 1 May, in Cotonou, in the Comboni-run parish of St. Francis of Assisi, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the perpetual profession of a Portuguese Comboni Missionary Brother and the renewal of the vows of five scholastics and one other Brother belonging to the TGB Province.
Church dedicated to St. Daniel Comboni: The church which was built to commemorate the centenary of the coming of the faith to Gulu and dedicated to St. Daniel Comboni is now fully functioning. Bro. Elio Croce first proposed the project and it was he who bought the land and built the church. It is located on the road from Juba, near Lacor hospital. The apse is painted in the Byzantine style. To the left and right of the tabernacle there are figures of Daniel Comboni and the two martyrs of Paimol. Bakita, Anuarite, Bakanjia and the martyrs of Namugongo are also depicted. Above the arches of the nave, on one side, there are paintings of the bishops of the last century while on the other, still incomplete, the faces of our first missionaries and the first Sisters will be visible. "Since October, 2014 - Bro. Elio writes - we have celebrated the Mass every Sunday. The church is always full. A very good community has been formed with Small Christian Communities, a choir, altar servers, a catechist, the Legion of Mary and a charismatic group. There is a great demand for the sacraments with many baptisms and confirmations and some marriages. On 15 May, Pentecost Day, the Archbishop of Gulu, Mgr. John Baptist Odama, came to celebrate Mass for the first time".
IN PACE CHRISTI
Fr. Gianni Nobili (04.06.1940 - 12.04.2016)
Fr. Assunto Tebaldini (15.08.1936 - 20.04.2016)
Fr. Anton Pramstrahler (20.02.1937 - 10.05.2016)