Insufficient funds is another challenge members of the Institute face. Because of this challenge, Fr. Elias says, the leadership of the Religious Institute are forced to “adapt the formation structures to the growing numbers, invest in quality studies and have the necessary financial means to support the candidates and formators in the houses of formation.”
“For the moment this challenge is being addressed thanks to the solidarity of the circumscriptions of Europe and the USA and Canada. But there are also self-sustaining initiatives that are growing in the big cities where we work,” he says.
According to the Comboni Missionary, the Institute is also grappling with interculturality, which he notes “has always been the most important challenge of our Institute because since its foundation it has been called to give witness to the Church's catholicity by forming international and intercultural communities in mission.”
The leadership of the Institute is addressing this challenge by structuring formation in Novitiates, Scholasticates, and Formation Centers for Brothers with internationality, Fr. Elias says in the interview report.
He adds, “The formation projects are conceived with the aim of helping candidates to move from multiculturalism to interculturality, from a national or continental to a Catholic mentality, which embraces the fact that in Jesus Christ we are all brothers.”
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At ACI Africa, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news from Africa, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church - so that you can grow in your Catholic faith.
When you subscribe to the ACI Africa Updates, we will send you a daily email with links to the news you need.
Use the form below to stay informed, and to tell us where we can send the ACI Africa Updates!
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
“To form for mission today” is another challenge experienced by the Comboni missionaries according to Fr. Elias who explains, “Living in a ‘liquid’ society, one can fall into the temptation to think that mission is everywhere and forget the specifics of the Comboni mission, which is the mission ad gentes, ad vitam, ad pauperes.”
He explains, “Young people can find it hard to live what the Comboni Missionaries call the difficult mission, the mission of the periphery. For this reason, preparation for the mission is always on the horizon of the entire formation process.”
In the report, the Secretary General for the Formation of the Comboni Missionaries notes that Africans comprise the majority of the Institute’s Novices set to make their first profession in May, as well as of the candidates in their formative year.
“8.1% come from Asia, almost 19% from America, and 72.9% are African,” he says referencing those in Comboni Novitiates, and continues, “Theology students and brothers in the final stage of basic formation are 147 in this formative year 2020-2021. 86.39% are African, 2.04% are Asian, 10.88% are American and 0.68% European.”
In Africa, the Comboni circumscriptions that record the highest number of candidates are DRC, Togo-Ghana-Benin, Mozambique, Malawi-Zambia, and Uganda, Fr. Elias says in the report, adding, “Lately the numbers have been growing in South Sudan and Kenya.”
"Africa is a continent of hope as regards to vocations to the consecrated Comboni missionary life. It is a moment of blessing as it was for Europe after the Second World War,” Fr. Elias says in the April 24 interview report.