Newsletter from Pisai

Newsletter from PISAI

We have received from Diego Sarrió, “Preside” at PISAI (Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies) the newsletter of 7th October 2019 and translated the editorial, originally in Italian. We refer you to the Website of Pisai for further information.

Dearest Friends,

Pope Francis offered us a wonderful surprise on Sunday 1 September when, after the Angelus prayer, he announced the names of the 13 new cardinals elected, including Mgr Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and Mgr Michael L. Fitzgerald, M.Afr., former President of the same Pontifical Council. This announcement filled us with joy not only because it highlights once again how dear inter-religious dialogue is to the Holy Father, but at the same time because the two future cardinals have long ties with our Institute. To both the sincere congratulations of the entire academic community of the PISAI.

The new academic year was also an opportunity to rethink the format of the newsletter we send to the Alumni. As you may recall, in recent years the PAA has sent subscribers a PDF newsletter with news and other information on the life of the Institute. Whenever possible, we have tried hard to translate all the news into Italian, English and French. Starting with this newsletter, we are trying out a new, simpler format: a single newsletter for alumni and other visitors interested in our activities. For now we will limit ourselves to Italian, which is the language shared by all of us. We count on your reactions and advice to help us improve the newsletter. We would be happy to have your contribution of news about your experiences to enrich each other and stay in touch. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Manuela Galaverni, alumna of PISAI, who has been in charge of the implementation of the PAA project since the beginning.

I wish you all a good start to the academic year.

Father Diego

Grace upon grace…

Grace upon grace...

The beginning of the month of October was very intense in Rome. Launching of the extraordinary missionary month on the 1st of October , commemorating and reviving the very strong missionary appeal made by Benedict XV in his Apostolic Letter “Maximum Illud” a hundred years ago. 

“Baptised and sent: the Church of Christ on mission in the world.” To speak today of the ones baptised and sent means that each baptised person, at his or her level, can be a missionary, can be the instrument of the proposal that God wants to make to Man, through his or her personal witness, prayer and offering.

Three days later, on the feast of St. Francis, the Pope took part, in the Vatican gardens, in a cultural event to celebrate the end of the Season of Creation 2019 and to consecrate the forthcoming Synod on Amazonia. 

But even nearer to our heart and identity was certainly the creation of 13 new Cardinals taken for a great part from missionary institutes, among whom our confrere Michael Fitzgerald. A lot has been written about the event. The General House was full of guests, between the 25 family members and friends of Michael Fitzgerald and a few of the Congolese Bishops who had come to celebrate the creation of Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of Kinshasa. 

The Pope had called a Constistory for Saturday the 5th of October at 16 hours to elevate the 13 new Cardinals. For that occasion, all the Cardinals of Rome were present to welcome their new brothers. A few minutes before 3 in the afternoon, “Cardinal Fitzgerald to be” appeared in his scarlet cassock but without the scarlet zuchetta and biretta, both of which he would receive from the hands of the Pope himself during the ceremony. You will recognize on the left side of the photo our confreres, Bishop Willy Ngumbi, and Martin Wullobayi, professor at the Pisai, chose by the new Cardinal as his personal secretary for the ceremony.

The following video is the part of the consistory when the Pope is inviting the “Cardinals to be” to profess their faith, when he wears them with the scarlet zuchetta and biretta and when the new Cardinals are welcomed and congratulated by the College of Cardinals present. This extract of the ceremony just lasts 24 minutes. If you want to see the full video (1h15), follow this link.

After the ceremony, each of the new Cardinals were given a space where they could be met and congratulated by their family members and friends. Back to the house around supper time, Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald still founds the energy to come and share a bit of the evening time with the confrères of the Services and a few others. This shows how simple and fraternal Michael is with his “family”. 

On Sunday, the new Cardinals were concelebrating with the Pope the morning mass on St. Peter’s Square for the big celebration inaugurating the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region.

At one o’clock in the afternoon, all the ceremonies and liturgies were finished. It was then time for celebration. In his congratulating speech, Father Stan Lubungo, superior general, commented on the “Coincidence” of this honour given to Michael but also to all of us and remembering the beatification of our 4 confreres martyred in Algeria and the proclamation of an extraordinary missionary month this October, all occurring within our Jubilee Year, he preferred speaking of a “wink” of God… as we are harvesting “Grace Upon Grace”!

Message from the GC to all confreres

Message from the General Council on the occasion of the Extraordinary Missionary Month
and our 150th Anniversary

We, your brothers of the General Council, take the opportunity of addressing this message to you on the occasion of the extraordinary missionary month convoked by Pope Francis on the theme: “Baptized and sent: The Church of Christ in mission in the world”. This extraordinary missionary month celebrates the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s apostolic letter “Maximum Illud”, written in its time to awaken awareness and the importance of the Church’s missionary activity with special emphasis on mission ‘ad gentes’. Coincidentally this comes at the same time with the celebration of our 150,h Jubilee year which is drawing to a close. The coming together of these two events enables us as a Society to pause and reflect in order to find the ways and means to keep alive the flame of our missionary ardour and to renew our missionary momentum and dynamism. This is the approach to which Cardinal Filoni invited us when, during his homily on the occasion of the opening of the Jubilee Year in Rome, he put to us the following question: “What does it mean to celebrate the 150th anniversary of a religious family, if not to reflect fundamentally and understand why it was created and what role it still has today? »

Message du Conseil Général à tous les confrères

Message du Conseil Général dans le cadre du mois missionnaire extraordinaire et de notre jubilé de 150 ans

Vos frères du Conseil général s’adressent à vous à l’occasion du mois missionnaire extraordinaire convoqué par le pape François sur le thème « Baptisés et envoyés : L’Église du Christ en mission dans le monde ». Ce mois missionnaire extraordinaire qui célèbre les 100 ans de la lettre apostolique « Maximum Illud » du pape Benoit XV, écrite en son temps pour réveiller la conscience du devoir missionnaire et donner un élan spécial à la mission ad gentes coïncide providentiellement avec la célébration de notre année jubilaire qui tire à sa fin. La concomitance de ces deux évènements nous engage en tant que Société missionnaire à faire une halte pour rechercher les voies et moyens pour maintenir allumées la flamme et l’ardeur missionnaire et renouveler notre élan et notre dynamisme missionnaire.

A word of thanks from Mgr Michael Fitzgerald

We have received this Word of thanks for the many who congratulated Mgr. Michael Fitzgerald after the announcement of his inclusion in the College of Cardinals.

Thank you for your congratulations on my inclusion in the College of Cardinals, and I would ask you to join me in thanking Pope Francis for this honour. I would like to include in this expression of gratitude all those Catholics and other Christians and people of all different religions who have helped me to serve in the field of interreligious relations. I would ask you to pray for me so that I may continue to give this service generously and joyfully.

+ Michael Fitzgerald

Mgr Fitzgerald Cardinal

At the Angelus Pope Francis reads the names of those prelates who will receive the red hat on October 5th, the vigil of the Amazon Synod.

After reciting the Angelus in St Peter’s Square on Sunday, Pope Francis announced a consistory to be held on 5 October for the nomination of 10 new Cardinals. He said that the places where these new Cardinals come from express the missionary vocation of the Church as she continues to announce the merciful love of God to every person on earth.

[The names of the ten new Cardinals are proclaimed… Then, comes the big piece of news]

Along with these new Cardinals, the Pope is adding two Archbishops and a Bishop who have served the Church in a distinguished way:

      1. Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald – Archbishop Emeritus of Nepte
      2. Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius, sj – Archbishop Emeritus of Kaunas
      3. Bishop Eugenio Dal Corso, psdp – Bishop Emeritus of Benguela

Let us pray for the new Cardinals so that, confirming their adhesion to Christ, they might help in my ministry as Bishop of Rome for the good of all the faithful Holy People of God.

From all of us, in Rome and elsewhere, heartfelt congratulations to you, Michael.

Bishop Willy Ngumbi becomes bishop of Goma

Rome, 23rd April 2019

Resignation of the Bishop of Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo) and appointment of his successor

The Holy Father Francis accepted the resignation from the pastoral government of the diocese of Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo), presented by H.E. Mons. Théophile Kaboy Ruboneka.

The Pope appointed Bishop Willy Ngumbi Ngengele, M. Afr., until now Bishop of Kindu, Bishop of the same diocese.

Official Bulletin of the Vatican

To know more, visit the website of Zenit.  The article is in French. Please accept this rough translation:

Strengthen youth movements and work with schools


In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pope Francis appointed Most Reverend Willy Ngumbi Ngengele, 54, Missionary of Africa (White Fathers), as Bishop of Goma. Since 2007, he had been bishop of Kindu, in the east of the DRC.

He succeeds Bishop Théophile Kaboy Ruboneka, 78, whose resignation has been accepted by the Pope as having reached the canonical age limit: at 75, the Bishops submit their resignation to the Pope.

Bishop Willy Ngumbi Ngengele participated in the Youth Synod in October 2018 in Rome: in his former diocese of Kindu 51% of the population is made up of young people. He then spoke about his concern for young people on Vatican Radio.

In particular, he said he wanted to “strengthen and revitalize” youth movements and work with schools. “We will work on education and return to Christian values, ethics, in order to enable the young people of the diocese to become artisans of their future, actors in the Church, and missionaries to other young people. We will also encourage exchanges between young people in the city and those in the villages.”

He also wanted young people to be trained in “discernment” with regard to everything they can find on social networks.

He also hoped for new priestly vocations “for the future of the Church”.

From Rome … Emmanuel Ngona

This excerpt from the letter of Emmanuel Ngona, provincial of the PAC, written from Rome during the meeting of the provincials, and published in the last Info-PAC, gives us a small idea of the debates that took place during the week of the meeting between the provincials and the General Council.

Hello to each of you from Rome, Eternal City! And may the Peace of Christ dwell in your hearts in this Jubilee Year! I hope that each of you is well where the Lord has planted him to blossom.

I am writing to you today to share some of the elements that struck me during our meeting between the provincials and the General Council from February 10 to 16, 2019.

1) During a private audience on February 8 between Pope Francis and the Mafr and MSOLA on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of our Foundation, the Pope recalled our mission today where we are:

“The mission ad extra is in your DNA… I encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, so that you never forget that the true Missionary is first and foremost a disciple and that the proclamation of the Gospel can only be lived at the cost of a true missionary communion. May the Spirit make you build bridges between people. Where the Lord has sent you, contribute to the growth of a culture of encounter; continue to be the servants of a dialogue that, while respecting differences, knows how to be enriched by the difference of others. And I thank you in particular for the work you have already done in the service of dialogue with our Muslim brothers and sisters. Through the style and simplicity of your lifestyle, you also demonstrate the need to take care of our common home. Finally, in the wake of Cardinal Lavigerie, be sowers of Hope, fighting against current forms of slavery. Always seek to be close to the small and the poor, to those who wait at the periphery of our societies, to be recognized in their dignity, to be welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated…”.

2) In the context of our Jubilee and the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict 15’s “Maximum” Apostolic Letter (a letter that served to awaken missionary awareness, give new impetus to the mission ad gentes and recall the raison d’être of the Mission), which will be celebrated in October 2019, we want to give a new impetus to our Mission at the personal, community, sectoral or provincial level in line with Cardinal Filoni’s challenge to us: “What does the centenary (150th anniversary, ndlr) of a religious family mean, if not to reflect fundamentally and understand why it was created and what role it still has today?”

3) Great attention must be paid to all our Institutions where we work with children and vulnerable adults so that these places become safe and evangelical spaces for them.

4) Everywhere the opening of our Jubilee went well. But let us not only focus on external manifestations, we want to take advantage of this opportunity and this time of grace for a new missionary impulse to make a difference thanks to our charism and the Holy Spirit who leads us on the roads of the world.

Let us continue to pray in community that this Jubilee Year will be a time of grace for our Society and the local Churches with whom we collaborate fraternally and that the next Plenary Council to be held in Kampala from mid-November 2019 will renew our enthusiasm and missionary strength that no power can take from us.

Emmanuel Ngona
Info-PAC n°79