The 19th General Chapter expressed a missionary dream, outlining the vision of a horizon towards which the Comboni Missionaries are called to land (CA ’22, 28):

We dream of a missionary style more inserted into the reality of the peoples we accompany towards the Kingdom, capable of responding to the cry of the Earth and of the impoverished. A missionary style that is also characterized by simpler lifestyles and structures within intercultural communities where we witness fraternity, communion, social friendship and service to local Churches through specific pastoral care, ministerial collaboration and shared pathways.

From the point of view of the Comboni charism, this dream reflects making common cause with excluded and marginalised peoples and, in today’s awareness – in which we perceive that everything is connected – of the suffering Earth. Although in today’s world the geographical criterion of mission is no longer as decisive as in the past, the ad gentes dimension remains central to the mission of the Institute, taking on a more markedly anthropological emphasis. Here comes the invitation to an ever greater insertion in the life and reality of peoples, animated by a profound sense of compassion that manifests the heart of Jesus.

It is precisely the Comboni charism, therefore, that calls us to respond to the cry of peoples and of the Earth, along paths of ecological conversion. In particular, the Chapter has given a guideline (CA ’22, 30) for the next six years, which points us towards the path of Integral Ecology:

In response to the challenges of the epochal change we are experiencing, in the light of the Word of God, we take Integral Ecology as a fundamental axis of our mission that connects the pastoral, liturgical, formative, social, economic, political and environmental dimensions.

Two aspects of ecological conversion are emphasised here: the spiritual and the ministerial ones. First of all, ecological conversion is the fruit of an evangelical discernment, guided by the Word of God. We do not see it as a human project and, above all, reduced to the environmental dimension of reality. But it is the journey of faith, in response to the invitations of the Spirit, of those who listen to the Word of God and put it into practice.

Secondly, it is a pastoral conversion towards a ministerial approach that starts from the awareness that everything is connected. It invites us to overcome the fragmentation of our commitments and services, arriving at specific pastoral approaches, dedicated to particular human groups – especially according to continental priorities (AC ’22, 31) – that connect the pastoral, liturgical, formation, social, economic, political and environmental dimensions.

In his apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Africa, John Paul II stated:

The purpose of evangelization is “transforming humanity from within and making it new”. In and through the Only Son the relations of people with God, one another and all creation will be renewed. For this reason the proclamation of the Gospel can contribute to the interior transformation of all people of good will whose hearts are open to the Holy Spirit’s action. (EiA 55)

This statement underscores that evangelisation is the fundamental dynamic, from our point of view, of ecological conversion, a response to the epochal challenges we experience today. A Trinitarian initiative, evangelisation also calls us to constant conversion and to proceed with the Church on a path of ecological conversion.

That is why the Chapter has committed to Join the Laudato Si’ initiative platform promoted by the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (Laudato Si’ Action Platform – LSAP) at various levels (community, Circumscription, Institute). (CA ‘22, 30.1)