Perpetual professions: 3 from Kenya, 1 from Peru-Chile, and from the Philippines.
Perpetual vows and ordination to the diaconate: Theology student Margarito Santiago Garrido III took his perpetual vows on 21 March and was ordained deacon, at the hands of Bishop John Hung, Archbishop of Taipe, the following day. The ceremonies took place in Taiwan where he is assigned and is at present learning Mandarin.
The 17th Comboni Year of Ongoing Formation (CYOF) came to a close with a Mass concelebrated together with the other communities of our General Curia in Rome, Italy. For the 20 participants in the CYOF it was a solemn moment of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord. Twenty Confreres from 12 countries on four continents attended the course, which began on October 19, 2015.
On 16 April, 2016, Fr. Karl Wetzel celebrated his 95th birthday. The morning celebration of the Eucharist was followed by a gathering in the Centre for Elderly Confreres during which the relatives and friends of Fr. Karl also took part in a shared meal with the community and expressed their best wishes. In the afternoon, everyone met in the Comboni Hall to watch a short video on the life of Fr. Karl, produced by a relative of his. The beautiful celebration concluded with music, some songs, poetry recitations and birthday greetings ad multos annos by everyone present.
This year's Spiritual exercises for the Province will be held in June, July and October and there will be a choice of 3 different preachers in two separate locations.
Some 40 Confreres and Comboni Sisters working in the provinces of Europe took part in the Limone Symposium 2016, an event organized by the European Group of Theological Reflection from March 29 to April 2. The topic for this year was, "Migration and Mission." The thread that ran through the meeting was an understanding that refugees and migrants must be treated as brothers and sisters and seen as an opportunity for building a more pluralistic society and for strengthening interreligious dialogue. The European Union, on the other hand, should stop the sale of weapons if they really want to foster an end to injustice and war.
"Citizen of the World" - This ninety minute docu-film is the work of the young Cameroonian director Blaise Essoua who lives in Bari. It touches upon extremely important and sensitive themes such as identity and cultural diversity. It is an invitation to look at part of our humanity through others' eyes. He presents the people of Bari as a kaleidoscope of ethnic groups and a breeding ground for multi-culturalism. The Nigrizia Foundation contributed towards the costs. The DVDs will soon be available from our Italian community of Bari, which gave excellent support to the production, and from Nigrizia Foundation, Verona.
From 15 to 30 April, the civic library of Verona held an exhibition entitled "A panoramic view of Veronese cartoons". The cartoons of Piccolo Missionario (PM) were also exhibited. The exhibition was also sponsored by the Commune of Verona and Foundation Nigrizia.
Due to last from 3 May to 2 October, 2016, the African Museum has opened a photographic and study display that helps to understand not only the difficulties of life in a shanty town but also to appreciate the resourcefulness of the people who live there.
Sunday, 10 April, 2016, was an important day for the Comboni Missionaries and especially for the diocese of Lodwar when three of our theology students were ordained deacons. The Mass was presided over by Msgr. Dominic Kimengich, assisted by the Provincial Superior and various diocesan and missionary priests including the confreres who work in the missions of Lokichar, Amakuriat and Kacheliba.
Abramo Sireu Ang'Irotum, from the parish of Amakuriat, in West Pokot, did his missionary service at Kacheliba and is the first Pokot to be ordained, after 30 years of Comboni presence in the area. He completed his studies at Lima (Peru) and took perpetual vows on 3 April. Benjamin Avoga, from the diocese of Kisii, did missionary service at the parish of Amakuriat, among the Pokot and took final vows on 27 March. Benjamin Studied theology in Nairobi (Kenya). Ahiro David Khayesi, from the parish of Kakamega, in Nakwamekwi, in the area of Lodwar, made his perpetual profession on 6 April and studied with Abramo in Lima. The celebration was very beautiful and especially meaningful for the fact that the two ethnic groups of the Pokot and the Turkana - usually in conflict - joyfully celebrated together.
On 30 March, following a longstanding tradition of the Province, the Confreres - working in the central Sierra and the Peruvian forest gathered at Palca for their Easter Week meeting.
From 5 to 8 April, 2016, in Juba the annual workshop on evangelisation and education was held on the theme of "The truth will set you free". There were 46 participants between religious, diocesan priests, catechists and lay people working in Institutes of Catholic Education and Catechetical Centres. After an updated overall view of the situation in education in South Sudan, the new programme of studies launched in 2015 was presented, which indicates that the Ministry is trying to promote quality education and that it is aware of what has been done in this sector by the Comboni Missionaries, despite their limited resources, in the County of Fangak (Jonglei).
After going through the history of evangelisation in South Sudan, the following themes were tackled: the importance of catechists and the use of the local language in spreading the Gospel; the extent to which the Church might challenge or embrace local cultures and how to transmit Christian values and behaviour in a meaningful way. The issue of trauma healing was also discussed since it is an issue of great importance for this people so afflicted by war in the past years, by a civil war now in course and by their almost daily experience of violence. It was reaffirmed that it is only with this healing that the process of transformation, leading to real change in the lives of the people and society, can take place.
From 10 to 16 April, 2016, the spiritual exercises organised by the community of Rumbek and preached by Fr. Salvatore Ferrao, SJ, took place. Eleven Comboni confreres and a Sister took part. At the conclusion of the retreat, during the final Mass, Bro. Patrick Lumami Mwanza and Bro. Fafa Peter Ayih renewed their temporary vows. Early next August, they will go to the CIF in Nairobi to prepare for their perpetual profession which they will make in their respective countries (Togo and Congo). After their holidays at home, they will resume their service in the missions of Wau and Lomin.
IN PACE CHRISTI
Fr. Efraín Camey Pumay (05.03.1971 - 07.03.2016)
Bro. Aldo Benetti (08.03.1928 - 29.03.2016)
Fr. Guglielmo Maffeis (13.02.1933 - 31.03.2016)
Fr. Giovanni Nobili (04.06.1940 - 12.04.2016)
Fr. Assunto Tebaldini (15.08.1936 - 20.04.2016)
Sr. Antonia Maria Manini
Sr. M. Jolanda De Girolamo
Sr. M. Leonina Fantin
Sr. Rosa Ancella Martini
Sr. M. Giovanna Marcello