MANILA, May 12, 2013—Members of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ) doing missionary work in the Philippines, Macau, Taiwan and Vietnam have gathered here to celebrate their congregation’s 25 years of presence in Asia, which actually started in Manila.
The congregation’s silver anniversary celebration, themed “Journeying together on Asian Roads,” started with a Eucharistic Celebration yesterday at the St. Daniel Comboni Mission Center in Parañaque City.
At least 26 members of the Comboni Missionaries’ Delegation in Asia are in the Philippines to also celebrate the forthcoming 25th founding anniversary of their publication World Mission magazine. World Mission magazine is part of a string of some 20 publications that Comboni communities are producing worldwide.
The first batch of Comboni missionaries went to Manila in January 1988 and the members of the second batch that came later in April were the pillars of the magazine’s maiden issue, according to Delegate Superior Fr. Miguel Llamazarez, MMCJ.
Llamazares said starting the Comboni missionaries’ presence in Asia via Manila has always been a strategic decision for the congregation.
“In a way, it was a strategic decision to start in Manila even if initially our desire was to evangelize China,” he said.
“The Philippines already has the tradition of religiosity and it was a better way to start (here). From Manila, we moved to Macau, Taipei and most recently to Vietnam,” Llamazares added.
But the Comboni priest expressed optimism that their presence will be eventually established in China in the next 25 years.
“I see our presence in evangelization of China in the next 25 years. Although it is really difficult for missionaries to be permanent there (in the mainland), we are already doing some work in collaboration with the local church and the work is done from Macau,” Llamazares said.
Llamazares also expect more Asians to join the Comboni congregation.
“Eventually, the Comboni presence will be more Asian,” he said, adding that at present, there are 13 Filipinos who are perpetually professed to the congregation and another three with temporary vows.
The Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus maintain the Daniel Comboni Seminary in Quezon City as a way of forming new missionaries. (KB/CBCPNews)