COMBONI MISSIONARY PUBLISHES A BOOK ON ‘THE KAIROS OF MISSION AND COMBONI MISSIONARY SPIRITUALITY’
Fr. Guido Oliana is a Comboni missionary priest and Professor at St. Paul Major Seminary in Juba. With nearly 30 years of missionary experience in Africa, Fr. Oliana has just written a book entitled “The Transforming Power of the Gospel. The Kairos of Mission. Explorations in Comboni Missionary Perspective”.
The book is a collection of articles that have been written during the last fifteen years about mission in general and Comboni missionary spirituality in particular. It may be utilized in Comboni formation houses or by anybody who would like to reflect on mission.
The work is divided in four parts. In the Introduction, the author offers some autobiographical memories to set up the context. In the Conclusion, he presents ten characteristics of the Comboni Missionary of the Third Millennium.
In a presentation text, Fr. Guido Oliana explained that Part I (Historical Explorations) of his book offers three articles from the historical perspective: 1) The pioneering missionary in Gondokoro (Juba) and fascinating figure of Fr. Angelo Vinco, the inspirer of St. Daniel Comboni’s missionary vocation for Africa; 2) The historical aspects of the Plan for the Regeneration of Africa by Comboni; 3) An overview of the changes in the understanding of mission in the spirit of Vatican Council II: from spiritual conquest to evangelical persuasion in the Spirit.
He further detailed that Part II (Theological Explorations) presents five theological reflections: 1) The theology of kairos of the suffering God in the crucified Christ as the foundation for a Comboni Missionary Systematic Theology; 2) A theological interpretation of the Plan of Comboni in the light of the dialectical categories of kairos and chronos and the triumph of the kairos of the Paschal Mystery; 3) Jesus’ preaching and St. Thomas’ teaching, models for Seminary formators and missionaries in the field; 4) Considerations on the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of Pope Francis, with particular attention to the importance of the homily and dialogue at all levels; 5) A reflection of the “missionary ecology” of Daniel Comboni in dialogue with the Encyclical Laudato si’ of Pope Francis.
The author added that Part III (Spiritual Explorations) of his book offers five studies concerning missionary spirituality, with particular reference to the Comboni Missionary Spirituality: 1) Spirituality as the foundation of religious missionary life; 2) Word of God and discernment in the Comboni formation process: 3) The Comboni missionary spirituality in the light of the Rule of Life; 4) The unconventional holiness of Daniel Comboni in his way of assessing and relating to his close collaborators; 5) The missionary spirituality of one significant Comboni Missionary, who worked in Uganda for about 50 years: the servant Fr. Bernardo Sartori, who is in the process of beatification.
Finally, Fr. Guido Oliana said that Part IV (Pastoral Explorations) of his writing presents six pieces dealing with practical applications of some of the theological and spiritual considerations discussed in the previous parts. Two deal with: 1) Lines of applied missionary spirituality according to the initials of the Italian adjective speciale; 2) The relevance of Comboni in the present South Sudan: the centrality of Christ; the human person; the Church as “family of God”; the proper use of human and material resources; and cordial pastoral attitudes. The other four pieces are homilies on themes of Comboni Missionary Spirituality delivered on various occasions.
In the Conclusion of his book, Fr. Oliana elaborates ten propositions highlighting a possible profile of the Comboni Missionary of the III Millennium: 1) passion for Jesus Christ; 2) concern for the people; 3) love for Scripture; 4) love for the Liturgy; 5) attachment to the Church; 6) sensitivity to the joys and hopes of humanity; 7) the importance of personal relationships in mission; 8) living responsibly the evangelical counsels; 9) fostering ecumenical openness and inter-religious dialogue; 10) promoting “ecological conversion” and “ecological spirituality.”
The Transforming Power of the Gospel has just been printed by the Paulines Publications Africa and will be soon presented to the public in a ceremony at the Catholic University of South Sudan within the context of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the Foundation of the Comboni Institute, which was founded on 1st June 1867 in Verona, Italy.
The book is available at St. Paul Bookshop in Juba or may be obtained directly from the author.
GUIDO OLIANA, MCCJ