Letter for the Jubilee Year of Divine Mercy: The three General Councils of the Comboni Family, in collaboration with the Comboni Lay Missionaries, have prepared a joint letter addressed to all their respective members for the Jubilee Year of Divine Mercy.
Specialisations: On 11 February, 2016, Fr. Ibarra Hernández has been awarded a Licentiate in Canon Law at the Faculty of Canon Law of the Pontifical University of Mexico.
Priestly Ordinations: An Eritrean confrere was ordained on 13.02.2016
"Missionarisches Forum": The problem of refugees is, at this moment in time, the greatest challenge facing not only Europe but the whole world. For months now, this issue has been of concern not only to our politicians and the local Church but also our Province. For this reason, from 15 to 17 February, fifteen confreres from the DSP met in Ellwangen to share their reflections on the refugee problem. The meeting was organised by the Secretary for Evangelisation. The Rule of Life, the Pope's address to the Chapter members and the indications of the Chapter Acts contain some important directives for our service towards those who need our help. Fr. Hans Maneschg spoke to us on the theme of Foreigners in the Bible. We also visited the reception centre in the large barracks of Ellwangen, where between 1000 and 3000 refugees are housed.
The confreres also spoke of the situation of Graz-Messendorf where, on 24 January, we received a group of refugees assisted by Caritas. They were composed of unaccompanied minors and some families. Part of our Josefstal house is to be used to receive refugee minors, once the work of restructuring is completed. The refugees will afterwards move from these temporary centres to more permanent housing.
Ordination to the priesthood: The priestly ordination of Fr. Russom was preceded by two weeks of missionary animation in his village, in the parish of Holy Saviour in Hamedei. Some Comboni Missionaries and Comboni Sisters, together with our postulants, in collaboration with the parish priest, took part in the celebration.
On 13 February, 2016, Eparch Kidanemariam Yebio, the Comboni Missionaries working in Eritrea and a considerable number of Comboni Sisters attended the ordination celebration. The church was filled to capacity while a good number of people followed the ceremony outside.
Many Christians living in the surrounding villages walked three hours or more to be present at the celebration. The four Eparchies of Asmara, Keren, Seganeity and Barentu were represented by numerous religious men and women and members of the clergy. Fr. Russom is the first Comboni from Hamedei. God has been kind to our Delegation, giving us four priests in the last four years.
Toniolo Foundation: The members of the Comboni Mission Centre, with the collaboration of Fr. Scattolin for the last meeting, will, from 23 February to 29 March, hold conferences on African culture in general and present some personalities seen as important in African culture. The meetings will take place at the Toniolo Foundation in Verona. The "Giuseppe Toniolo" Foundation intends to intervene in the cultural debate and local society with: Conferences ( …covering concerns such as: law, bio-ethics, politics, sociology, economics, labour and art), Courses of Cultural Study, Centre of Culture for Development, the fruit of collaboration with the Catholic University of Milan.
PIME donates books to the Nigrizia Library of Verona: Towards the end of February, the General Curia of the PIME Missionaries sent 30 crates of books to our Nigrizia Library in Verona. Most of them are about Africa and some are about Latin America. The books are enriching and interesting. They will increase the number of volumes in our Library which has about 25,000 volumes at present.
The three martyrs of Chimbote... and others: None of our Comboni Missionaries were martyred during the period of terrorism from 1980 to1992. It was the time of the Sendero Luminoso who took their inspiration from the communism of Lenin and Mao and who, as they themselves declared, wanted to destroy the Church. However, many Combonis suffered terribly during that period as did the pastoral work of our parishes, especially those in the so-called "liberated areas" where civil authorities were non-existent and where our missionaries were the only ones to remain, despite the great danger involved.
As an example, we may "recall" - and the Pope invites us not to forget - what happened to our confreres, Fr. Eduardo Falk and Fr. Hilmar Gulba, on 11 December, 1989. They drove over a hidden explosive device and, to the great surprise of the terrorists, nothing happened; they were immediately taken prisoner for 22 hours and their vehicle, transformed into a car-bomb, exploded that night behind the cathedral of Tarma. The following day, the then diocesan administrator of the prelature of Tarma, Fr. Umberto Unterberger, a Comboni Missionary, made a public appeal to the terrorists: "Violence generates violence and so, at the very moment when you began to kill, you took the road of defeat. Choose the path of true understanding". Speaking to the faithful of Tarma who were, perhaps, tempted to join the ranks of the terrorists, he said: "Christ came to bring life that you might have it in abundance. It therefore depends on you and on what you really want: to build up or tear down, death or life, progress or regression".
In the light of these words one may understand how much it meant to us Comboni Missionaries to see the beatification of three priests, assassinated by Shining Path guerrillas in the diocese of Chimbote: Miguel (30), Zbiegniew (33), both Polish Franciscans, and Alessandro Dordi of the diocese of Bergamo (Italy), a great friend of the late Fr. Angelo Ubiali mccj, a native of the same diocese. In our view, it would also have been right to include other priests, Sisters, catechists and committed laypeople, as we may read in the article in the March-April, 2016, edition of Misión Sin Fronteras, entitled "Missionary presence in times of violence", from the book "Comboni Missionaries, Symbols of Hope - Fifty years in Peru", by Fr. Romeo Ballan.
Conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life: The Religious Institutes of the Archdiocese of Juba have carried out a three-day programme to celebrate the conclusion of the year dedicated to Consecrated Life. The programme began with a pilgrimage open to Religious men and women and members of the faithful. Starting at the parish of All Saints in Rejaf, the pilgrims walked to the new Centre for human and spiritual formation, still under construction at Kit, about 10Km from the city, where the Eucharist was celebrated. The chief celebrant was Fr. Antonio La Braca who was also celebrating his Golden Jubilee of ordination. The pilgrims halted for prayer at seven different communities of religious Institutes and historical sites.
On the second day, a Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated at Gumbo by the Salesians who were celebrating the feast of their founder, St. John Bosco. The final Eucharist was presided over by Msgr. Thomas Oliha, Apostolic Administrator of the diocese of Torit and former Superior General of the Apostles of Jesus. The three days were rounded off by a convivial supper - with entertainment - that helped to create a climate of joy and unity, an important symbol for all the men and women Religious of this country torn by so many divisions.
At present there are more than 47 Religious Institutes in the ten States of South Sudan with more than 500 Religious from various countries who dedicate their lives to the service of the poorest and neediest in the Church and in South Sudanese society.
Tenth anniversary of Radio Bakhita: On 8 February, 2016, the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, the radio station personnel and the diocese of Juba celebrated the tenth anniversary of Radio Bakhita, the first transmitter opened by the Catholic Radio Network (CRN). It later added a further eight radio stations scattered throughout the dioceses of South Sudan and Sudan.
The initial decision by the GCs of the Comboni Missionaries and the Comboni Sisters was meant to be a special gift to Christians in the land of St. Daniel Comboni so that, even with the country being torn by war, they could receive up-to-date news and programmes of human and spiritual formation. Initially, only one station was planned but when the 2005 CPA agreement was reached between North and South, it became possible to have a radio station in each of the dioceses of South Sudan and one in the Nuba Mountains. It was a great enterprise, carried out by some of our Comboni confreres and Sisters amid countless obstacles requiring great patience and sacrifices to establish all those radio stations which today reach at least four million listeners throughout the country.
The celebration of the tenth anniversary was a suitable occasion for remembering the early days and the hard work done to carry on transmitting even in these times made so difficult by the war and government threats. Many guests, journalists, representatives of the media, civil organisations of society, who took part in the event, congratulated all concerned for the successes of Radio Bakhita during the past decade. The auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Juba was the guest of honour together with the President of the National Alliance Party. Both of them stressed that the country's journalists should be free to inform the citizens without hindrance or threats to their lives. This is now a historical moment when the radio and the media in general must help to bring reconciliation and forgiveness to the country, rejecting any attempts to use the media to create divisions or fuel tribal conflicts.
Conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life: On 2 February, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life in the Archdiocese of Lomé was celebrated at the Provincial House. Hundreds of men and women Religious, priests and faithful spent the afternoon of the feast in prayer, beginning with a period of adoration to thank the Lord for his gifts during the year. The Archbishop of Lomé presided at the Eucharist and, in his homily, invited those consecrated to live out the gift received from the Lord in fidelity and availability, following their charisma and witnessing with their lives to the joy of the Gospel lived each day.
The journey continues with the Jubilee Year of Mercy: the Archbishop presented his letter for the occasion with pastoral indications for the celebration of the Jubilee Year.
IN PACE CHRISTI
Fr. Alberto Dalfovo (27.11.1933 - 03.02.2016)
Fr. Albino Adot Oryem (23.11.1956 - 11.02.2016)
Bro. Linus Mischi (26.03.1924 - 21.02.2016)
Bro. Valentino Fabris (17.09.1922 - 28.02.2016)
THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Rosalia Andretto; Sr. Aurelia Poma; Sr. Mariam Cenzato; Sr. Enrica Angela Cassanmagnago; Sr. Teresenrica Binda.