Fr. Richard John S. Kyankaaga
The Egypt-Sudan Comboni Province, though the youngest in the Congregation (created in January 2014), preserves the memory of the beginnings of Comboni missionary experience. One of the fundamental principles of bishop Comboni’s missionary strategy expressed in his Plan for the Regeneration of Africa (1864) was the creation, along the coasts of Africa, of ”centres of preparation and acclimatization“, where European personnel and young Africans could converge. The first of these centres was created in Cairo (Egypt), from where the missionary expeditions towards Central African departed. Two thousand kilometers further south. in Khartoum (Sudan). 3 second such centre was created, where missionaries could rest and organse the spreading of the mission towards south-west (Kordofan and Nuba Mountains), south (Upper Nile, Bahr el-Ghazal and Bar ei-Jebel, and towards today‘s Uganda. At that time, the entire region was crossed by saive-merchants and their Infamous caravans.
Along the years and in a long series of complex Situations (Mahdiya, Anglo-Egyptian Condominium, decolonization, the birth of National States. coups d’états, military juntas, Arabic socialism, Islamic state ruled by the shari’a, civil wars, masses of refugees, Arabic Springtime. . .), the Comboni mission has kept an active presence in this vast area with a twofold attention: human promotion and pastoral care of black African groups; Insertion in the context of a society, vastly lslamlc, through schools and medical assistance.
The Congregation runs In Cairo an institution Dar Comboni tor the study of the Arabic language and of Islam. which is unique in the ecclesial context in Africa and Middle East. Moreover, it commits itself to the care and development of the local Christian communities, many of which are made up of refugees from Southern Sudan.
in Sudan. the Combonl missionaries continue to sustain the local Church of which they are the founders, to make her more solid and self-sufficient in Egypt, their role is mainly one of missionary animation of the Coptic Church to help her open up to the universal mission.
Finally, through many education institutions (from primary schools to a University College, open to both Christians and Muslim), the 50 Comboni missionaries present In the province (1 bishop. 47 priests and 3 brothers) continue to promote human development and to foster the coming together of religious and cultural differences