Comboni Lay Missionaries

Letter to friends of social transformation

We let you here the letter written by Fr Pierli and Sister Teresita for all the friends of social transformation.

A peaceful Lent und happy Easter 2024

Dear Friends, dear Sisters and Brothers,

A kind-hearted missionary, good shepherd and Social Transformer in America Latina, Pedro Casaldaliga, is said to have expressed himself like that: “When at the end of my journey I will be asked: Have you lived? Have you loved? Without saying anything, I will open my heart full of names on it …

When at the end of my journey I will be asked: Have you lived? Have you loved? Without saying anything, I will open my heart full of names, features, profiles, identikits engraved on it”. “These all will be seen, because I will not be able to remember them, to list them, to itemize them.” (Father Pierli)

So now, to keep names alive, we would like to mention with deep gratitude and immense joy some names of friends, who came to visit Fr. Pierli during the last period: Fr. Selwam Sahaya with one of his Salesian confreres; Fr. Eliseo Citton, Prof. Mario Molteni, Prof. Giancarlo Volpato with his wife Maristella, Dr. Luigi Zarzon with his wife Silvana Berchioni, Parish Priest Francesco Vialetto, Fr. Emmanuel Denima, Dr. Judith Pete, Sr. Lettedenghil Ogbamicael with some Comboni sisters, Fr. Manuel Augusto Lopes Ferreira, Stefano De Togni, Fr. Giuseppe Caramazza, Bro. Alberto Parise, Stefano Domanin, Sr. Maria Vidale, Sr. Esperance Bamiriyo, Maria Pia Dal Zovo, Teresa Zenere with some other members of the SIMC; from Africa three young ladies Ruth Wanjiru, Mary Watetu and Lucy Mutola, also of the ISMC; another young lady who is a good friend of theirs from Egypt, Silvia Makram; Dr. Alice Muchiri from CAMPSSI, Kenya (accompanied by Fr. Caramazza); two African Bishops, Mirella Sattin, Bishop G. Franzelli MCCJ, and of course Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gen. Sup. and other members of the Gen. Council; Fr. Fabio Baldan Prov. Sup. and other members of the Provincial Council; together with very many names and features of plenty of friends who keep sending feedback, sharing their “Transformation Ministry” and experiences and, additionally, “get well messages” with prayer and love.

As we have told you many times before, we keep dreaming God’s dream: The world becoming His kingdom of peace, justice, fraternity. And in the night, we dream again and again about being with you. With groups of any kind: adults, men, women, youth and children. Discussing, analyzing, planning together, and of course: doing activities together = pamoja. Yes, we do actions together!

Once we were among plenty of young people, working in a big garden, sowing grain and planting trees and afterwards singing, dancing, eating, celebrating together.

By daytime we pray, meditate, reflect upon God’s current plan for the cosmos, for the world, for us human beings, for both of us who signed this letter. God is absolutely committed to this world of ours. The two of us at our age now (82 -77), we should see the possibilities and that we still have to answer to Him so that He will continue working through us according to our capacities and resources. The incredible creative fantasy of God is not decreasing. On the contrary, it is increasing! It is not that the future is empty, not at all! The future is full of energy that comes from all sides. The Lord is always ahead of us. He is risen. The Risen Lord has no limits. His vitality does not run out, it is limitless, incessant and perpetual. Thus is God’s plan: An explosion of life and love. It is everlasting and inexhaustible. His vitality is transformative! It is evolving in the cosmos, in the world and in human history. What a wonder we might welcome in us! We have the Christian hope. Our hope and our faith have infinite dimensions and go beyond our human understanding because they are bound to the vigorous, bountiful, bondless, infinite love and creative fantasy of God. Therefore, the future is open to His incommensurable “Creative Energy” and this very future is open to us, declared to be His humble co-creators, committed to the constant transformation towards a higher quality of life, already now in this world, and towards Him, in the fullness of His knowledge and of His love.

In our Christian tradition, there is a beautiful scenario with a short dialogue of Jesus with the Apostle Peter when he was in Rome and was trying to flee for dread of been crucified. Surprised about seeing the Lord Jesus coming in, Peter asked Him “Domine quo vadis?”, that is to say “Lord, where are you going?” (there is a church named like that, right at the place where this encounter is supposed to have happened), and Jesus is said to have answered: “I am coming to be crucified.” To those words, Peter did no reply but returned immediately to Rome to his martyrdom.

Is not our situation sometimes like that? At times, might we not be somehow discouraged in the face of our call to be consequent, consistent and faithful to God’s plan for us, faithful to Jesus and to our decision of having clearly in our hearts and minds our “vision and mission”? And faithful to the will to remain on the path of “Social Transformation” so as to become impact transformers and artificers of the “future”, co- creators of God and Constructors of His Kingdom of Peace, Justice, Fraternity? Should we leave Jesus alone and our committed fellow brothers and sisters, active in the field? We already have a shape to be evolving for the better and we have been given talents, gifts, not for us, but for the common good. Nothing belongs to us; it is given to us to share. Let us not go back in our journey. Let us allow God to renew ourselves and to be shaping us anew as impact transformers during this time of grace: Lent and Easter time.

Right now, that our beloved Africa is getting its important place in the concert of nations and continents!

Have we realized how decisive the visit of the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, at our Somirenec in Nairobi last March was? Have we taken for granted that the Italian-African summit last month (in accordance with the European Union) has automatically brought the social justice and fraternity that Comboni and we all together are pursuing? Automatically, no. By the way, we thank the Lord for this achievement! We may say that our own efforts are being rewarded. Yes, because many years we have committed ourselves, we have invested our lives, given our significant contribution to this process of partnership we see flourishing now. We see us as true bridges between peoples, nations and continents. The Lord gives us new courage!

One can speculate that our own circumstances are so different than during the time when we started dreaming together. Yes, “nothing remains the same”. That is the principle of “transformation”. Everything is in continual transformation. We face new challenges. Some of us face economical, health, age tribulations and other weaknesses. But we have also achieved a higher level of consciousness, of dignity, and we have been empowered to remain focused on our amazing high goals.

Our highest goal is new audacity to face the challenges. Let us compare our tribulations with the birth pangs. Saint Paolo tells us that even the whole creation, the nature undergoes birth pangs while waiting for the manifestation of God’s glory in His children. Such a transformation we are striving for! (Rom. 8, 18-25)

“Meditating that, my heart and mind goes immediately to my home land Central Italy. There, we have an original marvelous painting ‘Madonna del Parto’ (1450-1465) by the famous painter Piero Della Francesca, showing the Blessed Virgin Mary as pregnant. One of the most sublime works of the Renaissance. Now kept at the Monterchi Museum. So original that I do not know anything similar anywhere else.” (Father Pierli)

Looking at the complex architecture of the world, with a “third world war in pieces”, like Pope Francis is accustomed to say, looking at the innumerable socially, politically and economically painful situations, stating that it seems to be so terrible like birth pangs, we might pray to the Lord that from all that “a childbirth will occur” and will give us a new creature, that a new world will be born, and willingly we join hands and hearts again, to give our contribution to that.

Wishing you a peaceful Lent und happy Easter, we embrace you with plenty of prayer and love.

Yours affectionately,

Fr. Francesco Pierli MCCJ / Sr. Teresita Cortés Aguirre CMS

Comboni Missionaires.

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