Comboni Superior Lists Goals for a Congregation Blessed With a Saint

Canonization Puts Charism of Founder in Spotlight

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ROME, OCT. 6, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The canonization of Daniel Comboni encourages the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus to propose his revolutionary message again to the world, says the congregation's new superior.



Father Teresino Serra, 66, elected by the general chapter nine days before the canonization on Sunday, said that the significance of the new saint for our time is that "he was a man who was in love with a people," Africans, "and he gave his life for these people."

Daniel Comboni (1831-1881), the first bishop of Central Africa, is considered one of the greatest evangelizers in the history of Africa. He coined the motto "Save Africa through Africans." He founded in the missionary congregation in 1867.

"He was a man who allowed himself to be led by God; I would say he was a new Moses," said Father Serra. "God said to Moses: I have heard the cry of your people; I have seen their suffering, I have inclined my ear to them, help them."

Father Serra, born in Berchidda, Italy, has carried out missionary work in Kenya and Mexico. In statements on Vatican Radio, the new Comboni superior outlined his three objectives.

"The first is to return to the origins of the charism, namely, to be more faithful to what Comboni said: love, love the people, who are the people of God," he said. Second is "a new vision, a new way of evangelizing. New means, literally, to return to the Gospel." His third objective is to be "a family, in total obedience to the Church."

The congregation has 2,250 religious and novices; among them are 1,316 priests. Comboni also founded the Congregation of Comboni Sisters.