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March News from around the World ... ... ...

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CURIA

The youth and the social media: influences on life choices

On 15 February, as planned, the series of conferences on “Youth seeking happiness” was begun in the Chapter Hall of the Comboni Missionaries. The first conference entitled “Youth and social media: influences on life choices”, was held by Sr. Caterina Cangià, a Salesian and teacher of Pedagogy and Media Communication at the Salesian University, Rome.

Clearly and brilliantly, Sr. Caterina began by affirming that the youth have moved from the real to the virtual, from visible friends to the “invisible”, with negative results for the quality of relationships and feeding a tendency to isolation, individualism and subjectivism. In fact, while the underlying need in using the net is to communicate, excessive use of social media gives rise to the difficulty many young people have to communicate.

In conclusion, the social media also have positive influences but only when, fundamentally, there is an interpersonal relationship and it is necessary to recognise the “vertex of truth in the person, ‘the place’ in which an inexhaustible source of value and meaning is manifest”.

News on the official website of the Institute

In the course of the month of March, the official website of our Institute (comboni.org) will take on a new face. On this occasion it has been more widely revised to make it more modern, more flexible and more easily used by the different means used to access it. It will therefore take into account the screen dimensions of computers, tablets and smartphones.

The newest changes are visible on the opening page; it is more dynamic and carries more information. The indications for the three sections (Daniel Comboni, Comboni Missionaries and the Constitutional Area) and the respective categories that appeared on the left of the Home Page will now be located at the foot of the page being viewed.

The readership and purposes of the site remain unchanged: to inform the Combonis, the friends of the Comboni Missionaries, researchers and others about the life of the Comboni Institute and especially and more broadly, about events and situations in the countries where we are present. The revised website will continue to have the same content – for example: the Writings of Comboni, “In Pace Christi”, “Photo gallery”, Agenda –, even if these have a different appearance. All the information will still be available to all surfers without reserve and, where possible, in seven languages.

We shall continue to appreciate the collaboration of all the Comboni circumscriptions and we take this occasion to encourage the provincial superiors and their delegates to continue to send information and news to the Communications Service and to the General Secretary in Rome. Your comments and suggestions will help us in the daily running of the website. Happy surfing!

ITALY

Venegono: from the Christmas Crib to Anti-nuclear signatures

This has been the 65th edition of the Venegono crib. On the occasion of the Christmas Crib on the theme of "Christmas, the birth of a new humanity ", visitors were asked to make a concrete gesture: to add their signatures to a petition that asks the Italian government to sign and then for the parliament to ratify the treaty against the use of nuclear arms, approved with a large majority at the United Nations Assembly in July 2017. During his recent visit to Peru and Chile and many times in recent months, Pope Francis also declared publicly his opposition to the use of nuclear arms and has repeatedly mentioned the incumbent danger of nuclear war that could lead to the destruction of the entire planet. The collecting of signatures was proposed by the Comboni Missionary community of Venegono Superiore together with Pax Christi, Tradate and the Youth Pastoral of the area of Varese in the diocese of Milan. To date, more than 1600 people have signed the petition, among them the Archbishop Mario Delpini of Milan, Bishop Beschl of Bergamo and Monsignor Bettazzi, Bishop Emeritus of Ivrea and former president of Pax Christi, Italy and Pax Christi International.

Spiritual exercises in Limone 2018

13 - 21 June
Fr. Pierpaolo Monella, mccj
Guided exercises (max. 8 places)

15 - 21 July
Fr. Danilo Castello, mccj
Preached exercises,
Theme: At the school of liberty with Jesus of Nazareth as a classmate

29 August - 6 September
Fr. Pierpaolo Monella, mccj
Guided exercises (max. 8 places)

KENYA

Meeting of Provincials and Delegates of Africa

The Comboni Francophone, Anglophone and Mozambican Provincials and Delegates met in Nairobi from 16 to 26 February. Also attending were Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins, Vicar General, Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla, General Assistant, and Fr. Mariano Tibaldo, General Secretary for the Mission. This was the first time the Provincials and Delegates of all Africa met. Their aim was to find common lines of action in various fields, from the mission to formation.

The formation of the Continental Councils for the Mission and other questions connected to the continental priorities explained the presence of General Secretary for the Mission. In fact, the continental priorities – the urban pastoral, pastoralists, questions related to justice and peace and interreligious dialogue – require a common vision of the continental pastoral challenges on the part of the leadership of the provinces and delegations and that shared and effective solutions are considered.

PCA

Handing over the parish of Santa Cruz de Casares

After 18 years of pastoral and social work at Casares (Nicaragua), on Sunday, 28 January 2018, the parish was handed over to the diocesan clergy. Casares is located on the Pacific coast and has eleven communities: three fishing villages and eight in the countryside.

Many people said emotional goodbyes to the Combonis who shared many years of pastoral experience and friendship with them, especially Fr. Carlos Luis Romero Arrieta, who spent twelve years in Nicaragua, four in Managua and eight in Casares. His great and discreet goodness was known to all.

“Silently we came and silently we go away”, said the Provincial Superior, Fr. Víctor Hugo Castillo, as he thanked Cardinal Obando y Bravo, who welcomed the Combonis eighteen years ago, and the present Cardinal José Leopoldo Brenes Solórzano, from whom the Combonis always received help and understanding. Fr. Carlos thanked God for the pastoral experience lived among simple and poor people and all those who collaborated with him during these years. Fr. Victor Paruñgao has been appointed to the mission of El Salvador while Fr. Carlos left immediately for Manaus, in Amazonia, Brazil.

PERU

The Pope’s Visit

The three areas chosen by Pope Francis for his visit to Peru from 18 to 21 January are areas where serious problems are to be found. The first was Puerto Maldonado, in the Amazonian forest. The Pope named, one by one, all the any Amazonian peoples (both original and from other areas) and showed them to the world as “authentic interlocutors”. All of them felt accepted and understood by the Pope in his concern for the natural habitat which is today being destroyed and abused by “neo-extractionism and the strong pressure by large economic interests who direct their greed towards oil, gas, timber, gold and the agro-industrial monocultures”. These themes also affect Combonis directly in the parish of Pangoa where they are threatened when, in radio broadcasts or during celebrations, they condemn the illegal felling of trees.

The Pope again spoke in Lima of the seriousness and urgency of the problems of Amazonia, in a meeting with the authorities, civil society and the diplomatic corps in the Cortile of honour at the Government Palace, and everyone was filled with joy when the Pope said: Allow me to tell you that, simply seeing this land is itself a reason for hope”.

At Trujillo, in the north of Peru, the Pope was able to see with his own eyes the effects of the floods. The Eucharistic celebration, at which he himself presided, was a grandiose manifestation of popular religiosity. On the morning of his last day in Lima, Pope Francis met the Sisters of an enclosed order at the famous sanctuary of Our Lord of Miracles and venerated in the cathedral the relics of the Peruvian saints: Rose of Lima and Martín de Porres (born in Lima), Francisco Solano, Juan Macías and Turibius of Mogrovejo (born in Spain). “Peru is a land of saints”, Pope Francis said in the Plaza de Armas, encouraging the youth to pray to them, and inviting the bishops to imitate the audacity and sanctity of San Toribio, Archbishop of Lima, by learning a completely new language, that of our time. A million and a half of the faithful took part in the concluding Eucharist.

CHAD

Bursars Assembly and meeting of the Secretariat for Finance

The bursars of the delegation of Chad met at N’Djamena from 5 to 8 February, 2018 for their annual assembly. They were ten in all. The work of the day included an analysis of the reports of 2017 and the budgets for 2018 of each community and of Abraham’s tent. Fr. Fidèle Katsan, Superior of the Delegation opened the meeting by thanking the bursars for their service to the mission and inviting them, in their budgets, to bear in mind especially the category of “food”, seeing the socio-political crisis the country is experiencing and because of which the people are unable to obtain even the basic things such as food. He added that, if we are faithful to the mission, Divine Providence, in the person of St Joseph, will always provide us with what is necessary. The Assembly took place in a fraternal atmosphere, even if discussions were sometimes heated.

Following the Assembly, on 9 and 10 February, the meeting of the Financial Secretariat was held. The reports and budgets were studied as well as the financial report of the Delegation Economate for 2017. The projects presented by the communities were examined and a reflection and evaluation of our financial praxis were made in the light of the Six-Year Plan.

UGANDA

Centenary of the parish of Angal

A great number of the faithful gathered in the courtyard of St Daniel Comboni Technical School, Angal, to celebrate the hundred years of their journey of faith. Sunday, 4 February 2018 was the day chosen to mark the centenary of the parish of Saint Anthony in the diocese of Nebbi, north-east Uganda. The celebration was presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Michael August Blume, and concelebrated by five bishops and more than fifty priests. Also present were abundant representatives of the religious of the diocese and illustrious politicians including the Vice-President of the Republic.

The Combonis first arrived in Uganda in February 1910 and began to found the missions in the north of the country. Things were difficult in the beginning. The British Protectorate did not allow the missionaries to cross over to the western part of the Nile due to differences with the Belgian government. At last, invited by local chiefs, they could begin their work of evangelisation. Sleeping sickness, carried by the tsetse fly, was decimating the population, especially the children, but the tenacity of the Combonis proved stronger. They continued to open new missions and, at Christmas 1917, the first solemn Mass was celebrated inaugurating our presence in Angal.

During the centenary celebrations, Mons. Blume showed how evangelisation transformed the life of many people and that this encounter with the faith makes us missionaries. The Archbishop of Gulu, Mons. Odama mentioned the work of the Combonis who dedicated their lives to sharing the Gospel and how despite the difficulties, they never abandoned their duty. The present Parish Priest, Fr. Elio Zanei, thanked the catechists for their work and their collaboration in the pastoral activities of the parish.

Let us pray for our beloved dead

THE FATHER: Victor Manuel, of Fr. Victor Aguilar (C).

THE MOTHERS: Antonia Maria, of Fr. Luciano Verdoscia (EGSD); Faustina, of Fr. Luis Filiberto Lopez Pastor (CN).

THE BROTHERS: Adan, of Fr. Ángel Camorlinga (EC); Adelino Modi Thomas, of Fr. George Duku (EGSD); Ubaldo, of Fr. Euro Casale (†); Mons. Innocenzo Di Lella, of Fr. Antonio Di Lella (I).

THE SISTERS: Sr. Lorenza Tomasoni, of Fr. Alfredo Paolucci (†); Anita, of Fr. Romano Nardo (I); Evelina, of Fr. Antonio La Braca (SS), Amelia, of Fr. Ángel Camorlinga (EC); Rosalia, of Fr. Lino Zucco (†); Mina, of Fr. Aldo Balzi (incardinato).

THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. M. Stefania Viggiano, Sr. M. Bartolomea Pedretti, Sr. Martina M. Bianchi, Sr. Agnese Oltolina, Sr. M. Olga Pignatelli.

Don Giovanni Radaelli, a former Comboni who was a member of the first group of Combonis who went to Togo in January 1964. In 1970 he was in charge of the scholasticate in Paris.

Towards the end of the nineties he left the Institute and was incardinated in the diocese of Cremona. He returned to Togo and the diocese of Aneho as a fidei donum priest where he stayed until May, 2017, when he returned home for health reasons. During the years he spent in Aneho, he worked on the translation of the Bible into Mina: he completed the task but it has not yet been published.

Don Marco Franceschini, was ordained a Comboni priest in 1956, and was incardinated in 1995; he died on 1 February, 2018.

Don Romualdo Poli, a former Comboni priest, died in Ecuador at the end of January 2018 and was buried at the cathedral of Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas (EC).

Giovanni Salvadori, a former Comboni priest, died on 19 February 2018 at Castellaro (Imperia). He was active in missionary animation up to his final years.

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