Only three words: thank you, sorry and goodbye!

20 December 2016 – Fr. Daniele Moschetti, the outgoing Provincial Superior of the Comboni Missionaries in South Sudan, shares a message of gratitude and encouragement with all Comboni missionaries, other collaborators and friends in the country as he leaves his position. Fr. Moschetti has completed his six years service as Provincial and will leave South Sudan in the begging of January 2017. Fr. Louis Okot Tony, the newly elected Provincial, will take him over as from 1 January 2017.


Fr. Moschetti at the Inauguration of Good Shepherd Peace Centre, Juba, October 2016

Photo: Comboni JPIC


Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said: “God does not call us to be successful. He calls us to be faithful.” Fidelity requires patience and the most difficult person to be patient with is ourselves, especially when we want to make changes in our lives, in our Christian and religious communities, Church and the society. We want success and we want it now, like the secular world, immediately. It is hard to accept the fact that growth is a lifelong process, and that we will be called to look into our lives again and again. But if we are faithful in trying to do just that, we will begin a chain reaction… a change reaction in the world around us. Even while our efforts might be for ourselves and our relationship with God, we affect others.

And we discover that Advent, the season we are living now, is every day! Every day we are called to prepare the ground of our being so that it will become the “good soil”. So, we have carried on our Advent thirst through the hope of Christmas and beyond. The fullness of time… the coming of our Saviour… Jesus the child! He is the One   and can continues changing our lives!


The time for me to leave South Sudan has come. Rethinking and praying a little bit the past, it came to my mind and heart three words:  THANK YOU!  SORRY…!  GOOD BYE!

THANK YOU! It is what it comes from my heart and mind to thank first of all the Lord for the blessed time he has given me to serve here in South Sudan! It was an unexpected assignment and I did not understand at the beginning of my missionary life here. But now that I am going, it revealed itself after what I lived in these seven years and more of my being in this country and with the people of God here in South Sudan experiencing what I have experienced! Time of peace and great hope towards the independence and great time of distress, death, sufferings and pains during the last three years of war we have witnessed together. Time of trial and change but also moments of joy and fraternity and love! A mixture of life, growth and events that I will bring with me forever… Thank YOU LORD!

A thank you for each one of you and all the people that God has put on my path during this period of life. I have learnt a lot and discover more richness in myself and each one of you. And, of course, we discover also our limits and shortcomings. But also these are part of the rejoicing attitudes we should have as people who are privileged to live the vocation and mission we have been assigned to by the Lord. I have seen this slogan somewhere in one house: “COMING TOGETHER IS THE BEGINNING, KEEPING TOGETHER IS PROGRESS, WORKING TOGETHER IS SUCCESS”.

I can say that during these years we have tried to live what is the spirit of this slogan… and also to work together with the right spirit but not for success… only to be faithful and to serve better the Lord and his People and not for our personal ego and projects. This is a great “success” for a missionary… it is very true… in the book of the Proverbs there is a sentence that can summarize what we have done together and still we shall do:  “WE MAKE PLANS BUT GOD HAS THE LAST WORD” (PROV 16:1). It is a great wisdom attitude we need always to keep into account… for the present and especially for the future.

SORRY! I ask forgiveness to the Lord and to each one of you and other people if in my ministry I have touched and hurt somebody who felt unjust for any action, decisions or words that he received directly from me. I can assure you that has never been intentional or malicious towards anybody. I have prayed a lot for each one of you and especially for the ones who had some difficulties with me or my Council or for personal reasons. In my conscience I have always tried to confront myself with God and to be faithful and true in what was my ministry to be mediator and not just a merely official who works but without spirit, truth and enthusiasm. For sure, mistakes were there and for that reason I thank once again each one of you and the many people who have supported me through their friendship, fraternity, constant and patient prayer for this difficult and at time heavy ministry and service. May the Lord continue to reward the ones who have spent time, prayer and love for this great ministry of encouragement, patience and courage that I felt as support through my mandate as Provincial Superior.

I have always kept in my mind these words that helped me during this tough time, especially over the last three years: “PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE RELEVANT ARE NOT THOSE WHO NEVER FAIL… BUT THOSE WHO NEVER QUIT”. These words are very true if we think deeply… and each one of you and many other religious here in South Sudan and people of good will who are a direct witness to these situations. Where there is despair, suffering and death, to be hope, courage and sign of the future. Where hope seems impossible… there is always a way out! And we as Comboni Missionaries, following in the footsteps of our founder St. Daniel Comboni, need to be grateful to him who has given us an extraordinary example and the style for a meaningful mission and life!

I am leaving in a very difficult time for the history of the People of South Sudan but my prayer and solidarity spirit will be always with the People and each one of you! Keep courage and DON’ T LOSE HOPE, NO CONDITION IS PERMANENT… for the ones who continue to hope in the Lord! The Saviour has come!

GOOD BYE! Many confreres, religious, relatives, friends and others are already asking… and what about your future? Where are you going? Where will you be assigned to? I am not worried about that at all. The Lord has provided all the times I have moved from one mission to another, from a community to another, from a ministry to another. I am happy for what I have lived, done and the way I have done. Maybe things could be done better, but this is what has happened and done in the last years of my life. God knows that I have done with all my energies and strength as usual, I do wherever I am assigned to! He will provide… I am sure! I say good bye to each one of you since we are going to meet somewhere in the Comboni world and on this earth that is very small, a global village. The “golden rule” that the provincial is advised to leave the country where he has served for the last six year is a blessed “rule” and full of wisdom. I agree with it… and now I am ready to face new challenges, mission, community and country. I will take time for rest, sharing with my family and friends, confreres in Italy and later on I will go for a pilgrimage from the Pyrenees in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. A pilgrimage on foot for 1000 km to pray for peace in South Sudan, for each one of you and the people I have met here and the many people who are part of my life history! During those months I will have my discernment, prayer and request of divine wisdom to choose for the benefit of His Kingdom and not for my pleasure and desire.

It is not an ADDIO in Italian (farewell for eve), but an AD- DIO, which means given TO GOD… as an offering. He knows better than me where I should go and live in my future ministry. I have to do my part of discernment but He is always punctual when the time is ready to “intervene”.

For this, I would like to end these greetings with a reflection on the discernment that Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus did in his own time when he was put to the test and he wanted to quit Mary who was pregnant and he was not the one who did it. We are celebrating once more in these days this beautiful mystery of love of God for each one of us but the discernment and availability came from these two great and humble man and woman: Joseph and Mary!

“When Joseph awoke he did as the angel of the Lord directed him” (Mt 1:22). Sometimes, we feel quite burdened by the decisions we have to make. If we can slow ourselves down, we may come to the conclusion that we should give the problem a little more time. Give it a rest for a little while. Maybe even sleep on it. Joseph did it. He probably gave his decision about Mary more time than what we realize. He must have wrestled with his thoughts and feelings and realized there was no quick or easy solution.

As we walk on this journey of life, we’d like things to be simple and clear. But they aren’t. Yet, forcing, our problems to a quick solution only pushes against a natural rhythm and flow. What we need is an “advent attitude”… the capacity to wait for the fullness. FOR IT WILL COME BUT ONLY WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT.

Emmanuel, GOD-WITH-US, came to birth at such time. Or more surely, it was the birth of Jesus that gave time its fullness, made it the perfect moment in history. Perhaps the decisions we must make will come in the same way, for the Spirit of God continues to birth human life. We can trust time and people after all, God did it.

Again other three words are needed: OPENESS, TRUST and FAITH.

May God bless you all and let’s keep each other in our common prayers.