Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ)
The Comboni Missionaries (Mccj) go back to Comboni’s time. The first name, given by the founder in 1867, was Institute for the Missions of Nigritia.
In 1885 it became a religious Congregation under the name of Sons of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (FSCJ). After the first world war the Congregation split into two branches: the Italian group kept the name of FSCJ, the German group took the name Missionaries Sons of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (MFSC). The present name was adopted in 1979, after the reunion of the two branches. Today it numbers approximately 1700 members, present in over 30 countries.
Their identity is defined by the Rule of Life: “The Comboni Missionaries are a community of brothers called by God and consecrated to him through the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience for missionary service in the world, according to the charism of Daniel Comboni” (RL n. 10).
Areas of work and activities.
At present Comboni Missionaries are working in four Continents. At first they worked in Africa and Europe. In the late 1940's they opened communities in North America, and in the fifties increased their presence in South America. In the General Chapter of 1985 they decided to begin work in Asia too. In this year of the Canonisation of the Founder, Comboni Missionaries have 764 members in Africa (43% of total forces), 534 in Europe (30%), 403 in Latin America (23%), 42 in N. America (2.2%) and 32 in Asia (1.8%).
The Comboni Missionary Institute is exclusively missionary, dedicated to the Evangelisation of peoples. The characteristics of this missionary service are four-fold: they are missionaries "ad gentes" because they go out to peoples, areas and situations where evangelisation has not yet been completed. They are missionaries "ad pauperes", because preference is given to the poorest and most abandoned from the point of view of Faith and the social dimension. They are missionaries "ad extra", because they are men of God who go outside (exodus) their personal, family, geographical, cultural, social and religious frontiers. They are missionaries "ad vitam" because they make a life-long consecration to God for the Missions.
Most Comboni missionaries live and work outside their homeland. They are engaged in direct Evangelisation, in the missionary animation of local Churches, and in the formation of future religious and lay missionaries.
Some Provinces have organised houses for sick and aged missionaries. These men are more visibly associated with the sufferings of Christ, and as such continue their mission through the offering of their pain and prayers, and through the serene acceptance of and joyful witness to their present state.
Preferentially, Comboni Missionaries work in thoseChurches where there is First Evangelisation (telling the good news where it has never been heard). They choose the most remote and isolated areas in the interior, or the shanty towns around cities, such as Nairobi, Kinshasa, Khartoum, Lima, Mexico City, Cairo and São Paulo; nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples such as the Karimojong in Uganda and the Turkana in Kenya; minorities in danger of extinction, like the Pygmies in the Central African Republic or the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Indios in Amazonia, Peru and Mexico. They assist and support movement that are engaged in recovering the historic memory and the dignity of their race, such as the Afro-Amerindians of Brazil, Ecuador and the United States. They work in centres for the defence of human rights, and assist movements struggling to obtain land for the landless peasants.
In all the continents they foster the growth of Basic Christian Communities, an effective means of evangelisation.
Particular attention is paid to young people, to their education and professional formation, through the support and organisation of numerous schools, both in the city suburbs and in little village lost in the forests.
In line with the original inspiration of the Founder, Comboni Missionaries have set up in Africa and Latin America, and now in Asia, centres for Bible formation, catechetics, theology, professional and social training, to prepare local people who are active in the work of evangelisation and human development. In this way the missionaries collaborate in making the local Churches increasingly autonomous and able to run themselves and even go out to others in other continents, in line with the ideal of Comboni: to "Save Africa with Africa".