Comboni Missionaries

Go to content

Monthly Report - Photos


September News from around the World ... ... ...

Flag Banner


General Secretariat for Formation

With great joy, the General Secretariat of Formation informs all the confreres that the General Assembly of Formation, a six-year event, was held at Maia, Portugal, from 9 to 30 July 2017.
The 45 participants were of 17 nationalities: a true Pentecost of Interculturality! The biblical icon that guided us during these three weeks was: "New wine in new wineskins" and our reflections were an evaluation of our Comboni Formation and a sincere quest to improve its quality. The result of our work has been compiled into a Final Document, the Conclusions of Maia 2017, which will be submitted to the General Council for its approval during the Consulta of October 2017, after which it will be officially published.
A word of thanks goes to the community of Maia and the Province of Portugal for their warm welcome and for all that they did to make our Assembly a success. Obrigado! (Fr. John Baptist Keraryo Opargiw).

Ordinations to the priesthood
Fr. Mandozi Tondi-ise Franck (CN) Kinshasa (RDC) 02/07/2017
Fr. Rutaremwa Vincent de Paul (U) Ibanda (UG) 08/07/2017
Fr. Likingi Wasato Henri (CN) Bumba (RDC) 09/07/2017
Fr. Ndungu Robert Kinena (KE) Kitale (KE) 16/07/2017
Fr. Katya Mutsopi Gervais (CN) Beni (RDC) 27/07/2017
Fr. Gbama Nsusu Boniface J. (CN) Bondo (RDC) 06/08/2017
Fr. Malata Nsofwa Maximiliano (MZ) Lusaka (Z) 26/08/2017
Fr. Ndhlovu Justin (MZ) Lusaka (Z) 26/08/2017

Prayer intentions
September - That we may be able to carry with faith and hope the cross that is given to us, wholeheartedly believing that "the works of God are born at the foot of the Cross". Lord hear us.
October - That all the missionary men and women who work in the various continents may proclaim the Gospel through the joy of their witness and so cause the desire for God to arise in every heart. Lord hear us.


Celebrating the 25th anniversary of priestly ordination
The 25th anniversary of priestly ordination of Fr. Marin Artavia Ignacio Enrique was celebrated on the 27th of August. The celebration was beautiful, joyful and effective for mission promotion.
The solemn Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Fr. Nacho who, as it was apparent to all, acted with strong emotions and feelings of gratitude to God, to his family, to the Institute, to our community and the many friends and benefactors who had been journeying with him. After Mass there was a lunch prepared by a catering group, which was followed by some entertainment.


Commenting on the visit of Father General to the Province
It seems to me that, in his dialogues with us, Fr. General touched upon the themes of our life-choices, kept the memory of our personal journeys within the Comboni Family and reminded us of our original and present motivations. Moreover, our encounters were an opportunity to review our life and the intensity of our vocation and our joy.
I believe his starting point was the regeneration that we are trying to accomplish by means of Institutional Analysis, urging us to go to the roots of things, to remember our first missionary intuition, listen to our footsteps and see if we have been faithful to the offering of our lives.
While accompanying Fr. General during his visit, I felt, together with you, a passion for what we are and what we do. I realised that we still have love for and dedication to our commitment. There was interest in and a degree of unease with the rest of the Institute (we asked questions about the confreres, the provinces, delicate situations, missionary challenges, the organisation of the Institute, etc.).
While reliving the memory of each of our visits, one realises how wonderful is the vitality of our communities, our immersion in the life of the people and the commitment that goes beyond ritualism of mere institutional administration.
To paraphrase the words of Pope Francis, "Let us sing as we walk along; may our struggles and our concern for life and the mission never lose the joy of hope!". (Fr. Dario Bossi)


Formation meeting for Comboni treasurers
Eleven provincial treasurers met in Rome from 9 to 23 July to study the General Directory for Finance and evaluate the progress of the various economies at provincial and general levels. A fair amount of time was spent in seeking a single computer accounts programme for all the provinces of the Institute: the treasurers understood how important it is to achieve this. Some provinces have already unified their accounting programmes while others still have a long way to go.
Unfortunately, the many changes of local and provincial bursars are an obstacle to reaching simultaneously the same objectives as indicated by the general treasurer's office.
The study of the General Directory for Finance showed the importance of standardising criteria, programmes and work methods.
The next step, once the bursars are back in their provinces, is to inform the local bursars as to the norms to be followed and to continue to work to unify our financial criteria.


Summer Camp 2017 - "On the way"
Taking as a their theme "On the way" from the Gospel story of the disciples on their way to Emmaus, a group of young people from Portugal, Italy, Poland and England took part in the first edition of the Summer Camp organised by the Comboni Missionaries of the London Province.
The young people were offered hospitality at the parish of Roehampton, in the southern part of London and recently entrusted to the Comboni Missionaries.
The young people experienced ten days (31 July - 9 August) filled with work, meetings, reflections and prayer.
The large city of London was chosen as the venue for the Summer Camp for its cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic environment. It is a city that presents challenges to demanding a concrete response, especially regarding the situation of poverty and marginalisation.
The group examined three aspects of this reality.
Victoria Railway Station, in the centre of London, has the largest group of homeless people in Europe. In response to this challenge, the Catholic Church, urged on by the then Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Basil Hume, in 1980 opened an area called "The Passage" where the homeless are provided with food, clothing and bathing facilities. They may also avail of the possibility of finding work and a fixed abode.
Some of the Summer Camp participants assisted in preparing and serving meals, listened to the homeless as they told their personal stories and spoke of their hopes and disappointments common to all the homeless who daily come in numbers to "The Passage".
A second group visited the Sisters of Mother Teresa at Kilburn and St. George. There, too, the young people were confronted with many personal stories. The Summer Camp participants were struck by the great patience and devotion of the Sisters as they cared for the least and most abandoned of society.
Some girls attending the Summer Camp visited Bakhita House, an organisation of the Archdiocese of Westminster, where women rescued from human trafficking are housed. The initiative is part of a project called "Bakhita", intended to be the response of the Church against human trafficking in England and Wales. The first task is to listen, without asking questions, to those women who have risked their lives to escape and live in constant fear. The most important way to help them is simply "to be there for them", just helping in the kitchen or playing cards with them, who now feel they are accepted and befriended without being judged.


On Saturday, 26 August, 2017, Justin Ndhlovu and Maximilian Malata Nsofwa were ordained to the priesthood in Lusaka Cathedral, Zambia, by Mons. Telesphor George Mpundu. The faithful of the two home parishes of the two deacons were present, together with a good number of Comboni Missionaries, Comboni Sisters, diocesan clergy and other religious.
Fr. John Baptist Keraryo Opargiw thanked the bishop in this fourth consecutive year of Comboni ordinations in his diocese. It is a meaningful sign for the country of Zambia that is celebrating this year the 125th anniversary of the coming of the faith to that country.
The two newly-ordained priests have been appointed to Chad (Fr. Justin) and Malawi (Fr. Maximilian).


The first fruits of Nampula novitiate
The 24th June, 2017, will forever be a memorable day in the Comboni history of Mozambique. In the context of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute, the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Comboni Missionaries in Mozambique and the 25th anniversary of the death of Bro. Alfredo Fiorini: at Nampula novitiate, six novices made their first profession accompanied by their formators Fr. Leandro Araya Leonardo, from Costa Rica, and Fr. José Júlio Martins Marques, from Portugal.
The celebration took place at the Comboni-run parish of Santa Cruz together with the family members of the novices, members of other religious institutes, friends and the youth of the parish who animated the event.
The principal celebrant at the Mass was the provincial superior, Fr. Manuel António Bogaio Constantino, a Mozambican, who, while emphasising the ever-increasing international and intercultural nature of the Comboni Institute, affirmed that the Comboni missionaries have a culture of their own with particular values inspired by the Gospel and by St. Daniel Comboni to which the original cultures of all Combonis must take second place.


Celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the parish of San Juan Pampa
On 25 June, 2017, we celebrated the Eucharist in thanksgiving for the first fifty years of the parish.
From its foundation, in 1967, until 2010, the Combonis served this parish dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The new bishop of Tarma, Mons. Luis Alberto Barrera Pacheco, a Comboni, presided at the Mass in the forecourt of the church, before a great number of the faithful, who took part, with joy and enthusiasm, in bright sunshine and in the cool air - as is usual at an altitude of 4,380 m. - since the church could not hold all the people attending.
Mons. Pacheco underlined in his homily the importance of "remembrance", starting from the generous dedication of the Combonis who came to the parish from the Comboni Province of Ecuador to take charge of the parish, at the request of Mons. Anton Kühner, Comboni Bishop of the Prelature of Tarma. Having run the parish for 43 years, the Comboni superiors decided that the time had come to hand over the parish to the diocesan clergy.
The community that celebrated the Jubilee festivities is a lively community with many lay ministers whose members, around fifty in number, received the blessing of the Bishop. At the end of the Mass, the Bishop asked those present to do something very important, in his estimation. The faithful responded with enthusiasm without even knowing to what he was referring: producing a book on the history of the parish.

Comboni Youth Congress
From 3 to 6 August, the Comboni Family in Peru-Chile gathered together the various groups comprising the Youth Pastoral for the V Comboni Youth Congress at Huanuco, on the theme: "Comboni Youth - joy for the world". The meeting aimed at presenting the identity of the Comboni youth Pastoral with its formative process starting from the life-journey of St. Daniel Comboni: Limone, Verona, Rome and central Africa, worked out by the National Commission of the Comboni Youth Pastoral.
The young people came from our Comboni communities: Trujillo, Lima, Chincha (Sunampe and Carmen), Arequipa, Palca, Baños Pango and the host city of Huanuco.
The groups were accompanied by their coordinators, counsellors, priests and religious men and women. We numbered about 300, all young, audacious and prepared to become missionary disciples.
The content of the work in groups was as follows: formation, emphasising inculturation, the role of the youth and making common cause with the poorest and most abandoned; spirituality as the foundation of our identity; mission, always including being and creating community; and the formative process of the Comboni youth Pastoral.
On the final day, during the farewell Eucharist, the provincial superior, Fr. José Martín, praised the cultural richness that embellished the Congress with the artistic items presented by each delegation the previous evening.


Bro. Giovanni Tomas (19.05.1933 - 19.06.2017)
Born at Imer, in Trentino, he joined the Comboni Missionaries at Gozzano where he took first vows on 7 October, 1959. Having worked for five years in several houses in Italy (Gozzano, Venegono, Milan and Verona), he was assigned for two years to Paço de Arcos (Lisbon), where he learned Portuguese.
In 1966 he was sent to Mozambique where he worked for over 47 years in different places such as Carapira, Mueria, Lunga, Corrane, Nacaroa, Alua, Anchilo and Nampula.
In 2014 he returned for health reasons to Italy. He lived first at Brescia and Verona and at Castel d'Azzano where he died on 19 June, 2017.
Testimony by Fr. Francesco Antonini.
"I lived with Bro. Tomas at different times: for a number of years at the Catechetical centre of Anchilo and for two years in the Pre-postulancy.
He was one who loved the mission and lived in fidelity to his vocation. He was always faithful to community prayer. For those six years in the Pre-postulancy, he was an example for the young people of prayer and commitment to his work. For him, his work was the concrete way he lived the mission. Despite his back problems and an operation he had, he never spared himself. He was a great builder and his works were always well finished, beautiful and sound. His masterpiece was the church of Mueria and the Nampula hospitality house. He was a perfectionist and therefore demanding with his workers; he was also sensitive and understanding. He was generous and always willing to help without delay, even if at times he grumbled a bit.
During his time at the Pre-postulancy, besides being bursar and in charge of the house, he gladly and responsibly agreed to accompany some of the young men as their spiritual director. He treated well all the workers he employed. Each day, his daily timetable included a period of formative reading.
Honest and transparent, he loved the mission and was a real Comboni Brother like those formed in Pordenone: totally dedicated men of service.
Whenever possible, he was very happy to go and visit communities and pray with them.
Bro. Tomas left his mark on the mission of Mozambique. His final years spent in Verona, where he had a leg amputated, were the confirmation of his faith, his sound spirituality and his total love for the mission.
Testimony by Sr. Maria Pedron, Comboni Sister.
The news that Bro. Tomas had "gone to Paradise" took me by surprise, even though I knew how poorly he was. I thanked God for placing him on my path, for a number of years, when we formed part of the team of the Catechetical centre at Anchilo. He was a true brother to all. He showed a particular sensitivity to us Comboni Sisters. I received a great deal from him, especially when I needed to fix some practical things at the small hospital houses for the sick. That was during the war years when there were shortages: no water, no electricity, no food, etc. He always knew how to help in resolving maintenance problems, even when no spare parts were to be found.
He worked seriously and was always full of life and happy, even if he sometimes grumbled. He was frank and sometimes suffered at the thought of having offended someone.
What I always admired in him was his spirit of sacrifice and spirit of prayer. Thank you, Bro. Thomas, for your generosity!

Fr. Rogério Artur de Sousa (29.04.1933 - 24.06.2017)
It was clear that Fr. Rogério Artur de Sousa was nearing his end. He spoke little and liked to sit in the sanctuary, close to the Blessed Sacrament, while the community prayed Lauds with the Comboni Sisters and some lay people. Even so, he had not lost his sense of humour: the last time we met, he tapped me on the head with his inseparable walking stick saying: "Provincial, you will keep on growing, won't you?!"
On 15 June he was admitted with heart failure to the hospital of Saint Theotonius in Viseu where he stayed for a week. On 24 June he could not take his supper and went to his room. The medical guard, who was called because the Father found it hard to breathe, could only confirm his death. Fr. Rogério went up to heaven on the day the Church celebrated the birth of St. John the Baptist; the Dean of the Portuguese Combonis was 84 years old.
Fr. Rogério was born on 29 April, 1933, at Sargaçais, in the parish of Souto de Aguiar, in the commune of Aguiar, Beira, of António Augusto de Sousa and Rosa de Jesus, famers by profession. Of the eight children, two girls and six boys, five entered the religious life. One of the girls became Sister Dorotea and the four boys joined the Comboni Missionaries. Two became priests: Fr. Rogério and Fr. José de Sousa; and two became Brothers: Bro. Miguel dos Santos, who died at Coimbra in 1979, and Bro. Jorge Fernandes de Sousa who left the Institute in Brazil.
Fr. Rogério entered the Major Seminary of Viseu in 1951. After the novitiate at Gozzano (Italy), he took first vows in Viseu on 9 September, 1954, together with Bro. António Martins da Costa - the first two Portuguese to be professed, seven years after the Combonis arrived in Viseu.
He studied theology first at Venegono, from 1954 to 1957, and then at Viseu, the following year. He made his final profession on 10 March, 1958 and was ordained priest on 27 July, at Viseu, where he stayed as a teacher until 1960.
That same year he left for Mozambique and the mission of Lunga. He returned to Portugal in 1962 and joined the team of the magazine Além-Mar, at Paço de Arcos. Two years later, he was assigned to Vila Nova de Famalicão as formator at the minor seminary.
In 1967, he again left for Mozambique as a military chaplain and, three years later, he returned to active missionary service in various missions of the diocese of Nampula: Carapira (1970-1971), Nacala (1971-1974), Mossuril (1974-1976) and Memba (1976-1987).
Fr. Rogério formed part of the group of eleven Combonis expelled from Mozambique on 13 April, 1974, as a result of the Obligation of Conscience written by Bishop Manuel Vieira Pinto and the Comboni Missionaries. He returned to Mozambique as soon as the political situation allowed.
In 1987 he was again in Portugal and stayed at Lisbon until 1993, editing the magazines. Besides writing (he would sign many articles with his own name and others with a pseudonym) he translated material from Italian to Portuguese.
After spending two years outside the community, he went to Vila Nova de Famalicão where he heard confessions and then, in 2013, he went to Viseu and the Hospitality Centre of the province.
Fr. Rogério was a humble missionary and full of zeal, with a great devotion to the Divine Mercy. He tried to start a lay movement - Missionaries of Divine Mercy - inspired by the writings and visions of Saint Faustina, the fruit of an old feeling of restlessness: "For many years now I have felt the need to reveal and manifest to all the Mercy of God, so that in these times of confusion and estrangement from God, both people and the world itself may rediscover with joy 'the waters of Salvation' that the Pierced Heart of Jesus never ceases to show us". He belonged to the charismatic movement and had proposed to the superiors some research on the theme of Comboni and the Holy Spirit, a theme on which he intended to write a book.
"He was always and in everything a Comboni Missionary - his brother Fr. José de Sousa affirms - and always took life and his 'yes' to Comboni very seriously. In spreading the devotion to the Divine Mercy, by means of his books, a theme fully assumed by St. John Paul II with the feast of Divine Mercy, he came in for some exaggerated and unjust criticism. He united his sufferings with those of the Cross and placed himself totally in the hands of God, setting aside all that made him suffer so much. His devotion to St. Pio da Pietrelcina was his comfort and made him docile to the will of God". (Fr. José Vieira)

Fr. De Bertolis Modesto (29.03.1929 - 16.06.2017)
Fr. Grifoni Valeriano (05.05.1921 - 29.06.2017)
Bro. Fortuna Girolamo (06.08.1928 - 05.07.2017)
Fr. Edoardo Sandron (25.05.1920 - 21.08-2017)


Home Page | Comboni | Where we are | Our Mission | Magazine | News | Province History | Site Map

Back to content | Back to main menu