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

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Prayer intentions

April – That the celebration of the passion and resurrection of Jesus may heal and reunite the peoples of all cultures and give them the strength to overcome the barriers that prevent their peaceful co-existence. Lord hear us.

Publications

Fr. Guido Oliana, ‘The Lover of People’. Fr. Joseph Ukelo Yala. Comboni Missionary, Nairobi, Paulines Publications Africa 2019.

A biography of Fr. Joseph Ukelo, a Comboni missionary of South Sudan; a sort of memorial of the action of grace in his life and how Fr. Joseph was courageously faithful to his religious and missionary vocation by means of all the events and situations he experienced in Sudan, South Sudan and South Africa; reasons why he may become a role model for many young people and not only those of Sudan.

Fr. Romeo Ballan, Passi di Testimoni, Universal Missionary Calendar, € 5. This calendar is “a memorial of men and women evangelisers, martyrs, saints, blesseds, founders, patrons and other Christian and non-Christian personalities, men and women of good will who left their mark on history; meaningful dates, days and events pertaining to the life and history of the Missions the world over”, as the introduction to the booklet says.

Reading this calendar day after day is like making a journey through the five continents, meeting men and women, seeing the faces and hearing the stories of both well-known and newly encountered people who left humanity better than they found it. The result is that “it improves our missionary culture and opens up new horizons”.

BRASIL

Comboni Missionaries support the process of the Amazon Synod

The Amazon Synod is already involving hundreds of Christian communities, various indigenous peoples, fishermen, people of African descent, quilombolas and traditional communities, organisations, companies and study and research groups.

To date, in Pan Amazonia, there have been 45 large assemblies for hearing the people of God, as well as parish round tables and thematic forums.

The Combonis are actively participating in this process of listening to the Spirit who speaks through the people, due to their “faith instinct” as Pope Francis frequently emphasises.

In February, they participated in the important work of synthesising all that had been heard in the territory, together with the Pan Amazon Ecclesial Network (REPAM). This synthesis will be one of the most important contributions for the drafting of the Instrumentum laboris, which will guide the discernment of Synod Fathers in October 2019.

CONGO

Provincial Assembly

On 8 February the Provincial Assembly was opened at Simisimi, Kisangani, with the participation of Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse, Superior General, and Bro. Alberto Lamana, Assistant General, who were visiting the province.

After the opening prayer by Bishop. Marcel Utembi, Archbishop of Kisangani, Fr. Joseph Mumbere, the provincial superior, presented the missionaries and the various dioceses: Bondo, Butembo-Beni, Kinsantu, Isiro, Kinshasa, Kisangani and Wamba. He then thanked Bishop Utembi for his presence and officially opened the Assembly, welcoming Fr. Tesfaye and Bro. Lamana.

Bishop Utembi, in turn, remarked that the Combonis work in three of the five ecclesiastical provinces of the Congo, Kinshasa, Kisangani and Bukavu, praised their efforts in the pastoral field and encouraged them to continue while emphasising the need for such work. He also asked that they continue to increase the awareness of the faithful while introducing them to the culture of looking after their own priests, knowing that they are a gift for the good of the Church.

Lastly, having invited the Combonis to continue to work in the pastoral of the sick and the family, he presided at the Eucharistic celebration.

CURIA

Comboni Renewal Course 2019

The Comboni Renewal Course (CRC) is a Sabbatical period which the Comboni Institute offers to confreres aged between 45 and 65; it is held from January to May at the Generalate in Rome. It is coordinated by Fr. Siro Stocchetti, Bro. Guillermo Casas Rosell and Fr. Elias Sindjalim Essognimam, a team with many years of experience in the sector of ongoing formation and the accompaniment of confreres in this phase of life.

This year there are 17 participants aged from 48 to 68 and from 13 different countries and ministries.

During the Course, great importance is given to community life, to reflection and to prayer in small groups, so that each one may freely and easily share his personal and missionary experiences. An entire week is devoted to this sharing which helps the participants to get to know one another.

The CRC also includes some visits for the purpose of study and life-sharing. The group have already been to Assisi and also took part in various celebrations in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican and in the area of “Tre Fontane”, where the Generalate is located. Two longer and very special trips are planned to which all are eagerly looking forward: first to Limone sul Garda and, for the final three weeks, to the Holy Land to see the places mentioned in the Bible and the very roads Jesus walked as he accomplished his mission.

“People in Movement” series of conferences in Rome

This year, 2019, is, for the Institute, a year dedicated to reflection on interculturality. For this reason, the Lenten Conferences, held regularly since 2015, have as their specific theme the co-existence and integration of peoples of different religions and culture. The title of the series is “Peoples in Movement” and its purpose is to reflect on the challenge of living together as well as presenting experiences of success in the educational and parish environments.

The first conference will be held on 14 March and is entitled Emigration and the challenges of living together. It will be presented by the President of the Astalli Centre in Rom, Fr. Camillo Ripamonti S.J.

The challenge of living with people of different cultures and religions in the educational environment is the theme of the second meeting on 28 March; the relator will be Professor Pierluigi Bartolomeo, Director of the Elis professional school in Rome. On 14 April, Rev. Claudio Santoro, curate of the church of St. Barnabas, Rome, will speak on the theme of the challenge of living together in the parish environment.

It seems important to us, living in Italy, a country permeated with feelings of racism and rejection “towards those who are different from us”, that we present positive experiences of real coexistence and integration. Faced with people in movement, the challenge for the future will, in fact, be that of welcoming, promoting and integrating the migrant – as Pope Francis stresses – without forgetting the fears of those who receive them. It is the task of politics and many organisations in civil society to mediate between these two realities.

SPAIN

XXXI Encounter Africa

We belong to the Earth. Ecology in Africa and in the world

From 1 to 3 February 2019, organised by Mundo Negro magazine, the XXXI edition of Encounter Africa, was held in Madrid entitled “We belong to the Earth. Ecology in Africa and in the world”, during which the Mundo Negro Prize for Fraternity 2018 was awarded to the Liberian activist Silas Kpanan Ayoung Siakor, for his defence of the environment and reporting of the abusive exploitation of timber and diamonds by the government of Liberia.

Encounter Africa was seen not only as denouncing situations like this, which afflict and impoverish local populations stricken by reckless plundering, but also as an opportunity to bring into the open what is being done to check these abuses and name the person who is dedicating his life to this with such great courage. It resolved to recognise the work of Silas Siakor which he has continued since 2002, through the Institute for Sustainable Development which he founded and which, among other things, is fighting to have the community receive a just share of the benefits of such exploitation.

Following the Encounter in Madrid, Silas Siakor held conferences and meetings with the media in Granada and Barcelona. On 24 April 2006, in San Francisco, he received the Goldman Award for the Environment, a prize also known as the Nobel Prize for Ecology which is conferred every year to highlight those who are fighting for the defence of the natural world.

During the meetings, a film was screened describing the life and activities of the Liberian leader who, together with the Mundo Negro Award, also received 10,000 Euro for the work of his NGO.

Mundo Negro had already presented this theme in former editions because of the many people throughout the world who gaze at the African continent with questionable intentions. During the Encounter, the words of the Encyclical Laudato Si’, which Pope Francis gave us four years ago, were borne in mind: “There cannot be a new relationship with nature without a new human being. There can be no ecology without an adequate anthropology”.

ITALY

Missionari Comboniani Mondo Aperto Onlus

New email addresses

We wish to make it known that, following the new European Privacy Regulations, new email addresses have been created for communication with Missionari Comboniani Mondo Aperto Onlus:

amministrazione@mondoaperto.it and info@mondoaperto.it

These two addresses are already active and take the place of onlusmccj@comboniani.org which will be discontinued.

Assembly on Mission

The Assembly on Mission of the Italian province was held in Pesaro from 29 to 31 January on the theme “Listening to the young and the mission”.

The first day was given over to sharing experiences in the youth ministry sector, so as to understand the expectations and desires of the youth of today and possible areas of commitment, while bearing in mind the final Document of the Synod on Young People.

The contribution of Rev. Armando Matteo, on the first day, was found to be very interesting. In it he underlined how reference adults no longer manage to express the connection between ‘adulthood’ and faith. Today, Rev. Matteo added, “most young people are learning how to live without God, without an experience of Church and without reference to Jesus Christ and the reason for all this is the generational break in the transmission of the faith caused by the adult universe giving up its own testimony of faith, having decided that their own happiness no longer depends on the foundational structure of being an adult but on one’s ability to remain young. It is time to redefine youth pastoral and catechesis, making them, for the Christian community, a place of generation and education for the youth”. The final part of the day was dedicated to Comboni youth pastoral with the presentation of GIM activities.

On the second day, after the reports by the various commissions of the Italian Province (Mission Secretariat, Migrants Commission, JPIC, Communications and Media, the Laity), Fr. Giovanni Munari, the Provincial, recalled the five important challenges for the Comboni communities: globalisation and the understanding of the mechanisms that govern the world of today so as to face them in an effective and prophetic way; the credibility of the Comboni presence in our society; multiculturality; the reform of the Church and, consequently, the reform of our life-style; and lastly, the importance of communication/proclamation in the world of today.

The third day was employed in proposing lines of action and concrete indications for work to be done in 2019.

KENYA

Visit to the province

Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins, Vicar General, is making an official visit to the Province of Kenya starting on 15 January. On 1 February, he was joined by Fr. Alcides Costa, Assistant General and they continued the visit in the area around Nairobi, the capital of the country.

Fr. Jeremias spent the first two weeks in the north of Kenya where the Combonis are present in six communities: two each among the Turkana and the Pokot and two in Marsabit where various pastoralist people live such as the Borana, the Gabra, the Rendile and so forth.

On the first weekend in February, Fr. Jeremias and Fr. Alcides visited the community of Kariobangi, a large parish in the outskirts of Nairobi where Comboni missionaries have been present since 1974. In fact, it was the first Comboni presence after the provincial house.

At 6am the parish church opens its doors to the faithful who are starting to come from all parts of Kariobangi, a crowded quarter populated mostly by young people from the various regions and tribes of Kenya. Young people often move to Nairobi in search of work or to continue their studies begun in their places of origin. This is why two thirds of the population is young with a great desire to work and to pursue their life’s dream. Besides the parish centre, dedicated to the Blessed Trinity, the Combonis also provide pastoral care to two other prayer centres called after St. Daniel Comboni and St. John, which may, in the future, themselves become parishes, given the rapid increase in the number of people wishing to frequent the Catholic Christian community.

From 4 to 9 February the Provincial Assembly was held with times for prayer, revision, evaluation and the planning of activities.

Provincial Superiors of Africa gather in Nairobi

The superiors of the Comboni circumscriptions of English-speaking Africa and Mozambique (APDESAM) and of Francophone Africa (ASCAF) gathered in Nairobi from 18 to 25 February for their annual meeting for the evaluation and planning of activities at continental level. Present were all the circumscription superiors and two representatives of the Brothers at continental level, one from APDESAM and the other from ASCAF.

The agenda of the meeting included various important themes. A political, social and ecclesial analysis of each country was made and there were discussions on some common proposals, taking care to give concrete answers and to approach the real situations in the life of the populations with whom we Combonis work. Besides the themes proper to each sub-continent (Francophone Africa and Anglophone Africa and Mozambique), other common and urgent themes were dealt with such as JPIC in Africa, social and economic opportunities for the youth, interreligious dialogue, especially with Islam, the formation and academic preparation of candidates for the Institute and of young confreres, the economic self-sufficiency of the various circumscriptions, interculturality and the social media, including the Comboni magazines published in Africa.

Among the original items of the meeting, there was a proposal to create a “Centre” to coordinate activities of social entrepreneurship in the various circumscriptions of Africa. The proposal was backed by the participants, convinced that the project could have good results and make an impact on African society, especially among the very young who are the majority of the population. The name proposed for this Centre is Comboni Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship (CASE).

The meeting ended on 25 February with a meeting between the APDESAM superiors and the coordinating team of the Communications Centre in Nairobi (New People Media Centre). Among other things, the promotion of New People magazine and the enhancement of the Communications Centre in Nairobi and in Africa were discussed.

LET US PRAY FOR OUR BELOVED DEAD
THE BROTHERS: Carlos Alberto, of Fr. António Marques Martins (P); Joaquim, of Bro. Matias Martins dos Santos (P).

THE SISTERS: Rosemarie, of Fr. Anton Schneider (DSP); Johanna, of Bro. Bernhard Hengl.

THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS: Sr. Alma Pia Targa, Sr. Maria Santina Pelizzari, Sr. Imeldina Muraro, Sr. Maria Carmen Martínez Morales.

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