09/20/2014, 00.00
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Mission congress: nine missionaries to follow PIME founder Angelo Ramazzotti

by Bernardo Cervellera
PIME's superior general launches a year dedicated to the society's founder. Bishop of Pavia and then Patriarch of Venice, he corresponds to Pope Francis' role mode for a pastor. The missionary men and women leaving for Cameroon, Mexico, Brazil, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Bangladesh, including two Colombian priests associated with the PIME, will receive a crucifix as a "companion" for their apostolic activity.

Milan (AsiaNews) - Tomorrow at 10 am, the 83rd congress of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) will open at the society's headquarters, in via Mosè Bianchi, 94, Milan. Mgr Patrizio Garascia, episcopal vicar for Monza and an Oblate from Rho, will preside the Mass. During the same event, nine missionaries will receive a crucifix, in accordance with a long-established PIME ritual, before leave for their various mission countries.

PIME Superior General Fr Ferruccio Brambillasca will also inaugurate a special year dedicated to Mgr Angelo Ramazzotti, the society's founder, an Oblate Father from the northern Italian town of Rho who in 1850 brought together the first group of missionaries - including Giovanni Mazzucconi, its first martyr - that eventually led to the creation of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

Mgr Ramazzotti eventually became bishop of Pavia and then Patriarch of Venice, and as such, he was a driving force behind the Church's universal mission. He was equally known for his kindness, his balanced views at a time of turmoil in Italy, but especially his love for the poor. Although from a wealthy family, he died in poverty, having given everything to the poor.

The congress this year will focus on 'PIME, a living charism," to stress Ramazzotti's relevance today. Indeed, PIME's founder could be one of the role models Pope Francis constantly highlights, a bishop who would rather go "out" to live among his flock than lead a life of spiritual worldliness.

To help the poor, Mgr Ramazzotti sold his family's silver. He also helped Canossian sisters provide education opportunities for poor girls at a time when schooling was still a rare thing. Above all, he exhibited a missionary zeal for evangelising the world to enable other nations to learn the joy that comes from the encounter with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

PIME's living charism can also be seen in the group of missionaries who tomorrow will receive the crucifix as a "companion of their apostolic peregrinations" and as a "model" for their life and apostolate, which could entail martyrdom as well.  

This group includes Sisters Daniela Migotto and Lucy Cavallo, two nuns from the Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception (an order linked to PIME), who are bound for Cameroon.

The men include PIME missionaries Fr John Tulino, bound for Cambodia; Fr Paul Ceruti, bound for Hong Kong (China); Fr Tchuda Domingos (from Guinea Bissau), bound for Mexico; Fr Sobin Mathew Joseph Kaniyamparambil (India), bound for Cameroon; Fr Vijaya Chandar Chigurupati (India), bound for Amapá (Brazil); and Fr Orremuchhu Suresh Kumar (India), bound for Papua New Guinea.

Two Colombian priests, Fathers Danilo Gomes Nelson Giraldo and Belisario de Jesús Montoya Cyrus, both associated with the PIME, will also receive their crucifix before setting off for the mission in Bangladesh.

The two clergymen are from the Diocese of Sonson Rionegro, in Colombia. Their departure is a sign of the increasing openness of Latin American Churches to the universal mission, to Asia in this case.

During the day, there will be meetings with departing missionaries, initiatives with young people and visits to exhibitions and museums.

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