26th CONSULTA - 6-30 October 2014
Kinshasa-Kimwenza Novitiate (DRC)
Due to the outbreak of Ebola, Chad has delayed entry permits for the 6 Congolese novices who were due to commence their novitiate in Sarh. After due consultation, the GC decided to re-open the novitiate at Kimwenza, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The novitiate starts on 23 October, 2014.
Towards the XVIII General Chapter
The process for the election of the delegates to the next general Chapter is already taking place in all the circumscriptions. We have received the results of the straw ballots and we hope to have the results of the actual elections in time for the December Consulta in order to proceed with the appointment of the precapitular commission. The preparation work required for the Chapter will be sent out as information to all the circumscriptions very soon thereafter.
In view of the Chapter, the continental assemblies are planned for the beginning of next year. Members of the General Council will also participate in these meetings and the Assistants are already in communication with the continental coordinators.
The Situation in Central Africa
We continue to follow with concern the situation in Central Africa and all the problems our confreres are facing, together with the people of that country. The process of peace and reconciliation still seems very slow and there are times of danger and suffering.
Formulary for undertaking periods of formation and further studies
To improve the planning of periods of formation and specialisation offered to or requested by some confreres, Provinces or the GC, we believe it necessary to define more clearly: the purpose of such studies, the time required, the expense involved, the hosting community etc. .. The formulary will be sent to all circumscription superiors so that agreement may be reached and the necessary dialogue commenced with those involved.
Workshop on the Plan
In September, in Rome, a workshop was held devoted to reflection on the Plan of Comboni, on the 150th anniversary of its writing. The work lasted one week.
Assembly of bursars and procurators
The Assembly for Bursars and Procurators of the entire Institute was held in Rome in the second half of September. Work was carried out especially on the General Directory for Finance which is due to be presented for approval at the next General Chapter.
Best wishes to provinces
In the course of 2014, various Provinces are celebrating the arrival of the first Comboni Missionaries. We join with them in their thanksgiving to Our Lord for all the good accomplished and for the gift of mission, lived with joy by many of our confreres. In Togo, Congo, Brasil, NAP, Perù and Ethiopia, celebrations were held with moments of mission promotion and reflection on our mission and vocation.
Vademecum on Continentality
At the request of the last Chapter, a commission has prepared a booklet on continentality. The text contains indications to be followed as far as possible and is open to further development. It is to be sent to all circumscriptions with an explanatory letter by the GC.
Visits by the GC (Nov. - Feb.)
Fr. Enrique Sánchez G.: Kenya, Ethiopia
Fr. Alberto Pelucchi: Uganda
Fr. Antonio Villarino: In sede
Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse: Uganda
Bro. Daniele Giusti: Congo, Cape Coast
Secretary General for Formation
It is true that the geography of vocations has moved from the northern to the southern hemisphere but these vocations are the new face of the Comboni Institute and this fact requires of each of us an attitude of welcome and fraternal communion. In general, prospects seem good in Africa, especially in Congo, Togo-Ghana-Benin, Malawi-Zambia, Mozambique, Uganda and Kenya. In the Americas, there is a small increase, especially in Mexico, PCA and Brazil. In Europe vocations are very few. In Asia, after a good start in the Philippines, the number of vocations is now very much reduced.
Global Statistics 2014/2015
1. Theology students in training: (94)
Africa: 78; Americas: 8; Europe: 6; Asia: 2
2. Theology students on missionary service: 17 (all Africans).
3. Brothers in basic formation and temporary vows: 16
Africa 10; Europe 3, Latin-America 3.
4. Novices: 73
Africa 61: Americas: 10; Europe: 2; Asia: 0.
5. Postulants: 226
Africa: 184; Americas: 33; Europe: 6, Italy 3, Poland 1, Portugal 2; Asia: 3.
6. Perpetual vows 2014: 15 (12 scholastics, 3 Brothers)
7. Ordinations to the priesthood 2014: 19
Perpetual professions: 2
World Mission magazine awarded: Added to the various awards already received by World Mission magazine were another three given by the 36th Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) on October 29, 2014. The awards came in the following categories: Best Family-Oriented Magazine; Best Short Story, "Oasis of peace and joy" by Fr. David da Costa Domingues; and Special Citation Best Special Feature, "You must announce from the housetops" by Arch. Thomas Menamparampil.
Confreres in the urban mission of the Americas: The International Scholasticate of Sao Paolo was chosen as the venue for the continental assembly (Oct. 20-13) of those working in the urban outskirts of the great cities of the continent. Participants came from Ecuador, Peru/Chile, USA, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia.
Symposium in Kinshasa: On the occasion of the 50th. anniversary of the Comboni presence in Congo, a missionary symposium was held in Kinshasa at the parish of Notre Dame de Fatima from 10 to 12 October.
Perpetual profession: On 10 October, the solemnity of St. Daniel Comboni, around 70 priests celebrated Mass in the Curia chapel to thank God for the gift of our holy Founder. During the solemn Mass, the scholastic, Anatole Mughendi Mwengulo, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, made his perpetual profession.
Comboni Feast: The Comboni feast took place on 12th October. The topic was "Brazil - a country with many faces" and featured inputs from a number of confreres who have direct experience of service there.
The Comboni oak-tree: Near our house in Ellwangen-Josefstal, a few days ago, a storm blew down the huge "oak of Comboni" that had been planted in 1975. Naturally the loss of this symbolic tree has caused some regrets among the confreres, though we can now count on a well rooted community.
Spiritual exercises: This year's spiritual exercises took place at Neresheim Abbey from 12th to 17th October, 2014. Almost half the members of the DSP were able to take part in it. The spiritual exercises were animated by the Bishop emeritus of Limburg diocese, a well-known and courageous person.
Provincial Assembly: The first Provincial Assembly of the newly-erected Province of Egypt-Sudan (EGSD) took place from 2- 4 October at the house of the Comboni Missionary Sisters in Mokkotam, Cairo. The new Province has 54 members of whom around half - mostly from Egypt - were able to attend. Also present were the Secretary General for Evangelisation and the Provincial Superior of the Comboni Sisters in Egypt. There were many challenges to be faced. The most pressing was that of re-defining the identity of the new Province and establishing a common vision and plan for the future. The challenges from outside included the delicate situation in Egypt, with its rapid political changes, and, in Sudan, the growing fears due to the problems related to re-entry permits to the country.
Exhibition to mark 50 years of presence: To mark 50 years of presence in Moncada, an exhibition was inaugurated on 25 September. It presents a rich collection of African arts and crafts. The aim of the exhibition is to present to visitors the situations and values of Africa that are often ignored or little known. A large group of people attended the inauguration among whom were representatives from the local authorities, other related organisations, and friends and benefactors. The exhibition will remain open for a year. Visits are conducted and are particularly addressed to students and various types of associations.
GERT and preparation for the next General Chapter: The European Group for Theological and Pastoral Reflection (GERT) gathered from 29 September to 3 October at the Comboni community of Madrid. Those who took part represented the European Provinces along with the Vicar General, a Comboni Sister attached to the Mission Ad Gentes Secretariat, and Prof. Carmelo Dotolo, a lay lecturer at the Gregoriana and Urbaniana in Rome.
Afriradio is back on air:The web radio of Nigrizia (Afriradio) is broadcasting informative programmes with a new timetable. Besides the musical playlist consisting of pieces by African composers, there is also ample space given to information from Africa with a series of programmes broadcast in Italian, English and French, thanks to the cooperation of Vatican Radio.
This is the new timetable of Afriradio
- 9:00 Gr Africa in French
- 9:30 Gr Africa in English
- 13:30 Gr Africa by Nigrizia (Italian)
- 16:30 Gr Africa by Nigrizia (Italian)
- 18:30 "Vatican Viewpoint"
- 19:00 Gr Africa in French
- 19:30 Gr Africa in English
- 20:00 "Français - Afrique"
- 20:30 "English for Africa"
- 22:15 "Magazine" (French)
Comboni's Plan today: The Missionary reflection group wanted to mark the 150th anniversary of the Plan for the Regeneration of Africa in a meaningful way. With the help of the Missionary Department of Tangaza University College, the group organised a symposium, lasting two days, on the Plan and its meaning for Africa today.
Official opening of the Mission Promotion Centre: On 12 October 2014, the Kenyan Province gathered to celebrate the feast of St. Daniel Comboni. The date was chosen to coincide with the official launch of the multi-purpose hall of St. Daniel Comboni in the newest Comboni community of the Province in Embakasi. The Centre was opened a year ago for missionary promotion and has now become a parish to cater for the growing pastoral needs of the area.
Opening of the novitiate year: The European novitiate officially opened its new year on 10 October with the reception of 4 new novices and the passage of the 4 novices of the first year to the second, during the Eucharistic celebration of the solemnity of St Daniele Comboni. Six of these novices are from Mozambique.
Centre for human, pastoral and spiritual formation: On Saturday 11 October 2014, Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro, archbishop of the diocese of Juba, and a Comboni Missionary, together with other bishops and the apostolic administrator, unveiled the project for the construction of a National Centre for Human and Spiritual Formation in the presence of special guests, among whom the EU Ambassador and many religious and Christians. The Centre is to be built by the Religious Association of Superiors of South Sudan (RSASS) in Kit, near our first mission of Rejaf (1919), in the diocese of Juba, just 15 km from the city centre. The chairperson of the association is Fr. Daniele Moschetti, the Provincial.
Comboni's Feast and the Plan for the Regeneration of Africa: The feast of St. Daniel Comboni in South Sudan and Sudan is always a great event. Besides being a solemnity for the Church in all the dioceses, it is also a holiday and so different activities are organized by the parishes and other parish groups in a number of villages and towns. Mass was celebrated in Juba, in the Cathedral of St. Theresa, in Kator.
"Servants of the Gospel": This book represented a good occasion for great mission promotion in the parishes of Juba and South Sudan at large. Two thousand copies of the English Edition have already been sold and a re-print was ordered for another 1,500 copies, which are already on sale. The book, prepared in collaboration with the four provinces of MCCJ and CMS of Sudan and South Sudan, presents the intensive and great work done by St. Daniel Comboni and 40 other missionaries who have followed in his footsteps, following the inspiration of the Plan for the Regeneration of Africa in the last 150 years in these two countries. The same book was also published in Italian, by Editrice Dissensi, with the title "Servitori del Vangelo".
TOGO, GHANA, BENIN
Publications: The Province celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the arrival of the first Comboni missionaries in Togo (1964-2014) by publishing 3 books for the occasion:
" "Témoins de l'Évangile" is the story of the past fifty years of Comboni presence in Togo and the past forty years in Ghana and Benin.
" "Si le grain de blé" presents the biography of the 27 confreres already in the glory of the Father who spent their lives in TGB.
" "Evangélisation et Parole de Dieu" is the Acts of the missionary symposium celebrated at Lome on 16 and 17 May, 2014.
A day of ongoing formation: On 9 October, the community Superiors gathered at the Provincial House for a day of ongoing formation together with the Provincial Council.
Feast of St Daniel Comboni: On 10 October, confreres, Sisters, postulants, novices and scholastics gathered at Lome Cacaveli for the solemnity of St Daniel Comboni. The provincial Superior presented the Plan for Combonians today in TGB, starting with the work of programming the six-year plan and the Jubilee Assembly of 2014, containing the broad outlines for the coming years. The preparation for the 2015 Chapter was officially launched. The renewed provincial website www.combonitgb.org has also been set up again.
Conclusion of the Jubilee: On 11 October, 2014, we met at the Comboni parish of Tabligbo (diocese of Aneho) to close the Golden Jubilee of our presence in Togo. Together with Mgr. Isaac Gaglo, Bishop of Aneho, there were diocesan and Comboni priest concelebrants. After his homily, the Bishop blessed a crucifix carved by the sculptor Felix di Afanya, of the school of Bro. Santi, which had been placed in the apse of the church to mark the Jubilee. After Mass, the Bishop presented the crucifix to seven Comboni missionaries departing for the mission.
Ordinations to the priesthood: On 18 October, at Cotonou, in the Comboni parish of Fidjrosse, 2 confreres were ordained to the priesthood at the hands of Mgr. Antoine Ganye, Archbishop of Cotonou. On the eve of World Missions day, the ordinations were a powerful testimony for the many young people who attended the celebration which also forms part of the Silver Jubilee of Comboni presence in Cotonou.
IN PACE CHRISTI
Fr. Paolo Berteotti (10.10.2014)
Sr. Alma Domenica Melzani
Sr. M. Ada Bosco
Sr. Maria Carla Lui.