Improvements on the web-site of the Comboni Lay Missionaries. The "Audiovisual resources" section of the website has been restructured and we have also placed on it more than 5000 images about our history and service plus almost 200 CLM and Comboni videos (in 7 languages) as well as over 50 songs about Comboni in a number of different languages. You can visit it at:
Priestly ordinations: Uganda - 1
Fr. Tonino Falaguasta Nyabenda, Jésus et encore Jésus, brève histoire du Christianisme, ed. Afriquespoir, Kinshasa, February, 2015 (pp. 112). The book is an aid for catechists and leaders of Christian movements.
Installation of Mons. Odelir José Magri. On 1 February the Comboni bishop Msgr. Odelir José Magri took official charge of the diocese of Chapecó, SC, having been transferred there from the diocese of Sobral, CE. The installation ceremony was attended by representatives from all 40 parishes of the diocese, along with 12 bishops of the state of Santa Catarina and a delegation from the diocese of Sobral, where Mons. Odelir was bishop for 4 years. Bishop Odelir was actually born in Chapecó diocese and the Church here can boast thousands of active and well-trained leaders, catechists, ministers of the Word and Eucharist and other pastoral workers. The diocese covers an area of around 15,000 Km² and has a rather scattered population of 775,000 people (i.e. 4 times the size of the Diocese of Leeds and serving 6 times as many people).
Provincial Assembly. From 11 to 16 February about 40 confreres gathered at Maison Saint Joseph, Kisangani, for the biennial Provincial Assembly. All the communities of the Province were represented. From Tuesday, 17 February, to Sunday 22, a dozen confreres took part in a retreat led by the Provincial.
Meeting of the General Councils. On Saturday, 24 January the General Councils of the Comboni Family met in Rome at the Curia. The morning was spent reflecting on the challenges facing each branch of the Comboni Family.
Course for new formators. On 12 February at the Curia in Rome the Comboni course for new formators - which incorporates the Course for Formators at the Gregorian University - was opened. There are 7 participants.
Commitment to immigrants. The DSP's commitment to migrants has been part of the life of the Province since 2008. Presently 4 of our communities are involved in this kind of work. In Graz, the commitment to refugees started in 1997 with the "Africa House" initiative where support is offered for the promotion of students and asylum seekers from Africa. Asylum seekers are given hospitality until they are able to find work and a place to live for themselves.
LEA in Ellwangen. Towards the end of January in Ellwangen about 1,000 people gathered to demonstrate in support of asylum seekers. The demonstration was occasioned by the planned opening - March/April - of an LEA (a kind of Detention Centre) with room for 500 to 1,000 immigrants. From here, the immigrants will be moved elsewhere ……. possibly also to other cities within the state.
"The happiest Refugee is the one who can stay at home". Such was the topic prepared by the NAD (Network Africa Deutschland) on the occasion of their recent annual reunion, to which were invited politicians, representatives of the Catholic Church and of other religious groups. The NAD is a pressure group, organised by Catholic missionaries and religious Institutes working in Africa, to lobby the authorities on issues concerning the well-being of Africans at home and abroad. Once again they arrived at the conclusion that the best solution would be to improve the living conditions of Africans in their countries of origin - through economic agreement and partnership -so that the people may remain in their own lands with hopeful prospects for the future.
From 30 January to 1 February, in Madrid at the offices of Mundo Negro, the XXVII Anthropology and Mission meeting took place. The theme for this year was: "Health in Africa, beyond Ebola". The meeting was attended by experts in public health, religious and social fields as well as by representatives of Doctors Without Borders, Doctors of the World, the St. John of God Brothers and others. At the conclusion of the meeting, Sr. Paciencia Melgar, a Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, was awarded the 2014 Mundo Negro prize for Fraternity. Sr. Paciencia, who contracted the Ebola virus along with other members of the community of the hospital of St. Joseph, Monrovia (Liberia) of the Brothers of St. John of God, recovered and was called to Spain to give her blood plasma for the treatment of other Ebola victims. The prize was worth €10,000.
Spiritual Exercises 2015, in Limone. Since the exercises due to take place from 6 to 14 May are fully booked, it has been decided to continue the same theme the following week (23 June, evening - 1 July, morning).
Assembly of European Comboni media in Verona. Confreres, Sisters and Lay Combonis - a total of 24 in all - who work in our European media hubs - print, audio-visual and digital - gathered at the Mother House of the Comboni Sisters in Verona for a meeting from 24 to 27 February. Inputs examining the impact - if any any -of presenting religious themes in a secular society, and insights into how to make best use of modern communication technology were given by external experts.
An exhibition called "The Voyage" is taking place at the African Museum of Verona from 20 February to 21 March. The exhibition is an interpretation of the emotive and spiritual dimensions of every departure and every return (the experience of a journey) with reference to history, sacred writings, non-Christian and mythological stories, rites and traditions. It encompasses 70 illustrations by artists from all over the world highlighting the human desire to know and discover - always part of our movement towards distant lands and peoples - and the psychological, emotive and spiritual implications which accompany the different phases of any journey. Departure, whatever the destination, is always symbolic. Earlier this year, the exhibition was displayed at the Diocesan Museum of Padua where it received more than 20,000 visitors. The Verona initiative is sponsored by the St. Zeno Foundation in collaboration with the Comboni African Museum and is supported by Verona City Council.
Peace and Disarmament Exhibitions. The African Museum has also prepared 2 further exhibitions on the themes of war and peace.
Continental Assembly for vocations and basic formation. The promoters and formators of the circumscriptions of America/Asia held their meeting in Lima, from 19 to 23 January, 2015. This was the 12th Continental Assembly. The total number of participants was 18. The purpose of the meeting was to reflect on our service in the field of youth and vocations ministry as well as basic formation.
Continental Assembly on pastoral service among indigenous peoples. Confreres working with indigenous peoples met from 10 to 13 February at the Provincial House in Lima, Peru. Comboni representatives from Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala and Brazil were present. The intervention of the indigenous Bolivian theologian Sr. Sonia Chipana, of the Holy Trinity Institute, was most interesting as she explained how the indigenous peoples walk with one foot in their culture and the other in the Christian faith; two feet walking different paths that never meet. This dichotomy between faith and culture is one of the major challenges to pastoral work among the indigenous peoples.
Assembly of local bursars. The 8 community bursars met from 26 to 29 January in Ndjamena.
President Museveni praises the Comboni Missionaries. On Sunday, 15 February, 2015, on the occasion of the centenary of the Catholic Church in the district of Kitgum, at the parish of St. Mary, the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, thanked the Comboni Missionaries, together with other religious leaders, for having brought the faith to Northern Uganda, for having developed it for the past hundred years, greatly improving the life of the population by setting up educational and health structures. In his speech he emphasised the completely new outlook brought by the missionaries, that of unconditional forgiveness, "something not very familiar to many Africans" - he said. The Mass was presided over by the Apostolic Nunzio to Uganda, Mons. Michael August Blume.
IN PACE CHRISTI
Fr. Aldo Accorsi (10.04.1935 - 03.02.2015)
Fr. Giuliano Chistè (13.01.1930 - 15.02.2015)
Fr. Jorge Manuel dos Santos Gouveia (05.01.1938 - 15.02.2015)
Fr. Karl Kuppelwieser (21.03.1934 - 24.02.2015)
COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. M. Cesarina Colombo; Sr. M. Tullia Coltro; Sr. Dora Agnese Bertoli; Sr. M. Alice Crotti.