Mission Focus: Comboni Missionary priests and brothers believe God’s call to mission is as strong today as it was 2000 years ago when Jesus told His apostles, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). We live a vowed life and dedicate ourselves to taking the Gospel to the poorest and most abandoned wherever they are, no matter how dire their circumstances. Jesus advocated for the poor, blessed them, listened to them, and loved them “even unto death.” We, as Comboni Missionaries strive to do the same.
Roots: With our founder, St. Daniel Comboni, as inspiration since our beginning 150 years ago, we work for the full development of the human person. We do this through evangelization, education, and advocacy until those we minister to can take over those roles, not just for themselves but for others in need.
The Comboni Missionaries were born from the heart of a man named Daniel Comboni. Born in Italy in 1831, he felt a strong call to the priesthood at an early age, and just as strong a call to be a missionary to Africa. Since he was the only child of eight to survive, it was hard on him and his parents when he left as a missionary priest for Africa in 1857.
While Fr. Daniel and his companions were full of energy and committed to bringing the Gospel to Africans, climate and disease got the better of them. The extreme hardships of day-to-day survival demanded that Daniel go back to Italy, but his love for Africa only grew stronger. He had witnessed firsthand the inhumane treatment of African men, women and children as they were herded through the desert in chains to be sold into slavery. He saw the people of Africa as being made in the image and likeness of God while his church contemporaries were still trying to decide if Africans had souls or not. Daniel Comboni wanted desperately to let the African people know about their kinship with God, but how?
A Plan to Save Africa: One day in 1864, a new plan for the Christianizing of Africa came together for him and he wrote non-stop for days. It became a blueprint detailing how to make the people of Africa the main players struggle for their own freedom and in the proclamation of the Gospel.
Ministry in North America: We have been carrying out ministries among the poor in North America for morethan 70 years. Our focus has been on pastoral work among African Americans, Appalachians, Native Americans and Hispanics, adapting our ministries to the needs of the times.
Together with our Comboni sisters, lay missionaries, supporters and collaborators, we form the Comboni Family. Our gifts and talents – and limitations – vary greatly, but we remain united in the common goal to bring compassion and love to God’s people. (Mark 16:15)
The Beat Goes on: The Plan worked and is still working. Today in Africa, the Comboni Missionaries have schools at every level, including seminaries, that prepare students of both sexes to be their own protagonists, their own evangelizers. African priests and sisters serve in African parishes. So successful was Comboni’s Plan that priests, “born and bred” in Africa, are now missionaries in other countries, including the United States.
This Plan didn’t stay just with Africa. Its universality has been cause for its implementation in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Close to 3,000 Comboni priests, brothers, sisters, and lay missionaries carry out the spirit and charism of Saint Daniel Comboni in 44 countries.