A Solidarity play – a source of life

Leiria Portugal

I share with you my morning scenery. It is the scenery of my city, Beautiful Leiria, which is now the background for my morning exercise where I also find God and converse with him. (…) We dialogue over what happened on March 4 in “my” parish of St. Euphemia – A solidarity Play presented by the Promotion Theater of St. Euphemia (TASE): A Comedy based on the Legend of Leiria.

I am very grateful to our Father. This Play trusted in Him. Many were the times when I felt inadequate. Many times my memory was going back to my Lenten resolution that I took up in a shemá prayer (these are prayers that take place in Leiria, where prominence is given to song and meditation prayer, following the methods of Taizé). To trust. Trust because “all I can in him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). Trust because “God never asks anything that he has not already given you.”

While I run, I relive the moments when I lost courage because things were not going as well as I expected. But may I want what God wants, and above all, that this event may bring the fruits necessary to the Lord’s work, to the mission in Arequipa (the Ayllu Project) and nothing more.

It is difficult to please everyone. I want to believe that all I did was for the Work of the Lord. After all, Jesus did not always please everyone. And how difficult it is to receive criticism (constructive or not) and accept it in silence. “I could have done a or b. Or perhaps I could have done c. Or perhaps d.” I ask for forgiveness for the less positive reactions I had towards those who, even though it was not clear to me, simply wanted to help. !And I owe them many thanks!

To take on this event in the name of the Comboni Lay Missionaries was life giving. Life was generated, not only in myself, but also through all human relationships, among the people who want to give of themselves. And through this believer’s vision I see a world where everyone (EVERYONE) is capable of love, we all have a MISSIONARY SOUL and, even though it may often be hidden, this need to love and to be loved. And this is the love that must be the engine of life!

During the weeks before the play we went around to invite people. Many said “I can’t,” some said “{ I won’t go, but I will buy a ticket,” others yet “ I don’t know if I will go,” I’ll go,” “After all, I can’t go.”

It was a mixture of highs and lows that were forming an audience. In reality, I was doubting whether the audience would have even been enough for the TASE. After all to act on a stage is much more fun and is done with more interest if the attendance is large and receptive. All things considered, I was praying that at least 50 people would fill the seats of the auditorium.

Trust Carolina. I kept on repeating it to myself.

If you could only understand the emotion of my heart when, on that Sunday afternoon that I had been waiting anxiously for so long, about 130 people showed up to see the play.

I cannot stop thanking those who were present and even those who were there in different way through prayer, spiritually, with their thoughts.

I am grateful also to TASE members who gratis and generously were making available their acting talents, making the audience roar with laughter, including myself laughing to tears.


I thank also the sponsors, some mentioned in the flyers and others who chose to remain anonymous. And above all, I thank God for the fruits of this Solidarity Play that, way beyond the financial aspect, are life-giving fruits in the relationships that were established, in the dialogue generated by doing it, in the thoughts that arose in the head of each cooperator when they decided to contribute.

Many thanks to all

Thanks from the bottom of my heart. And here many more “a thousand lives for mission” were born.

I am sure that, In all that we did, there was the hand of God and of our friend, San Daniel Comboni.

Carolina Fiúza, CLM


The last days of the conference in Arusha

LMC Africa

Sunday was day when we could pray more together and to learn more about other Christian denominations. We were assigned to different churches in Arusha – myself went to Mennonites. We were very warmly welcome by the local pastors and also the Mennonite bishop. We joined the prayer which was full of joyful songs and dances, prepared by the parish choirs (there were three of them – children’s, youths’ and adults’). There was also reading Bible & preaching and then we heard some more about the Mennonites’ activities in Arusha. And after that we shared the delicious lunch, which gave us occasion to more informal chats and getting to know each other. Very blessed time and beautiful experience of community! The last part of the program was planting the tree.

LMC Africa

The last two days of conference continued to be intensive. Full of prayers, sharing and inputs. On one of the days was focused on embracing the cross. We heard very touching speech of Orthodox Patriarch of Syria – sharing his experience of war, showing photos from his recent travel Damascus and the Eucharist they celebrated in the ruins of church and also about the support they provide for the people who are still there – mostly Muslims, but it doesn’t matter, they are suffering brothers, so as Christian is our duty to be on their side and help. There were also other testimonies from different part of the world, where people experience suffering and what “embracing the cross” means in their context. The prayers were also focused on this, some made in the orthodox way of praying.

LMC Africa

At the end of the conference the committee was preparing final message, based on what we were talking for last few days and also on what we shared in small groups. And then all the people had chance to comment on it to make this document really something that most of us could say – yes, that’s the essence of what we bring from Arusha and what we want to share with others. This document can be find here – https://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/commissions/mission-and-evangelism/the-arusha-call-to-discipleship

Those few days in Arusha were really wonderful for me, I’m thanking God for this chance to be there, to pray with all these people, to share with them, to hear so many interesting things, to experience this spirit of unity and openness.  I met many wonderful people from all over the world, from all the Christian denominations. And it was amazing that everyone was equal – it didn’t matter if you are just a student or you have a phD or are a professor, didn’t matter if you are just a member of the church or you are the bishop – in front of God we all are His beloved children. And we could really feel it there in Arusha.

LMC Africa
Madzia Plekan CLM

Visiting Rondônia in the Brazilian Amazon region

LMC Brasil

Arriving at the little airport of Jí-Paraná and being hotly welcomed by 30 plus degrees.

José was waiting for me by the exit to take me to his home. There Rose and their three children welcomed me into the family with much affection.

Rose works at the Padre Ezequiel Ramin Institute where they pursue several projects that attempt to keep alive the legacy of Fr. Ezequiel of justice for all.

We had a short time to visit the institute and learn about their activities. They are undergoing some changes, but they will soon be at 100%.

LMC Brasil

During these days I had the opportunity to visit an indigenous village of the Arara. Rose worked for over 12 years in the pastoral of the indigenous people. She knows all the families and wanted to show me some of the real situations. We spent a morning there visiting the families of the village, talking and laughing with them.

Very often in Brazil their land is invaded, access to education and health care is complicated and the lumber companies attempt to appropriate as much as they can. They say that also the arrival of television has brought about many changes in a short time.

Rose, a CLM living in the area for the past 14 years comments that the Amazons is an area where everyone come to take something away, be it from the land or from the people.

Her husband, José, works in the pastoral of the land. He as well tells me of the many problems of occupation, such as of those who are looking for the rights to their land and some who turn it into a business, the violence with the landowners and other types of violence.

He is carrying on an activity along the lines of Fr. Ezequiel Ramin, a Comboni Missionary murdered 30 years ago. He tells me about the farmers’ movements that are pushing for an agrarian reform, to obtain land for the small farmers. He speaks of the invasion and destruction of the Amazon Basin by economic interests, of the gunmen who keep on killing and on making leaders who make them uncomfortable disappear.

He tells me about some of the cases followed, documented and helped by the pastoral of the land, not all of them, because not everyone acts in a proper way. This is an activity that is not looked upon in a positive way by many and that becomes difficult.

LMC Brasil

We came close to an encampment, but, just as he suspected, it had already been abandoned because of the pressure they were under. We avoided going to other places that were in a situation of conflict. I am sending you some pictures of the abandoned camp.

I am very grateful to the entire family that has allowed me to be part of their life for a few days. I cannot forget to give thanks to God for the life of commitment and service to the most needy by our CLM in Brazil.

LMC Brasil

Today will be a long day of travel. Starting at 8:00 in the morning by road to Porto Velho and then continuing the journey at 2:00AM by plane to Imperatriz by way of Brazilia, then more night travel up to Açailândia.



Another day in the ecumenical conference

LMC AfricaThe days of conference are very intensive, since early morning till very late evening. And full of interesting topics!

The most important parts are prayers and Bible sharing. Their topics are about following Jesus and becoming His disciples who may transform the world. You can find them online https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/bible-studies-for-conference-on-world-mission-and-evangelism-are-available and I really recommend to read them as they contain very practical ideas and could be used in communities to read & reflect on them in your own contexts.

Always we have sharing after that it’s so enriching to see how the people are disciples in different realities – muslims dominated Asian countries, western secularized countries, post-colonial countries… which kind of challenges they encounter and think together how can they be overcome.

The other main part are speeches and workshops – everyday on different topic. One day we focus on the Evangelism, hearing people from all different continents. It was many times mentioned that mission is not only saving the souls, but changing the world – starting from ourselves and then going to the world, bringing there hope.

The other day – mission from the margins. There were testimonies of people who are descendants of slaves or Africans who lived under colonization. They shared how the Gospel was brought to those people in very humiliating way – the value of Christian slaves was higher on the slave market… Also on the Africans Christian faith was imposed from European who felt much superior to them. So we were discussing later how to not repeat those mistakes in mission these days. And one more thought I liked in that topic – “Evangelism from the margins begins by looking to marginalized communities as the places where Jesus lives and speaks”. As many times they can much more to offer to us than we to them, they can show us Jesus and what the faith really means.

LMC AfricaMadzia Plekan CLM

Conference on World Mission and Evangelism

Madzia LMC

I was lucky to join catholic delegation to Conference on World Mission and Evangelism which started today morning in Arusha (Tanzania). It’s ecumenical event organized by World Counsil of Churches. It is the second time when the conference like this takes place in Africa (last time it was in Ghana in 1958).

The topic of the conference is “Moving in the Spirit: called to transforming discipleship”. Over 1000 participants came from all over the world and from all the Christian denominations. There is beautiful spirit of unity and openness to other to find common ways how we can share the gospel not only in words but also how to put it into practice.

Today, as it was first day, was full of introductions – welcoming, introducing to the history of these conferences and world ecumenical movements, introducing to theme etc.

Madzia LMC

But as 8th March is also international women’s day, there were very powerful speeches about discrimination and empowering women.

But the conference are not only speeches. The very important part take prayers – when we can feel one, praying to the same God and not focusing on differences in traditions.

There is also time of sharing in small groups, which gives everyone chance to present his perspective to different challenges we face in mission, which is so enriching. And except all these serious things – there are also breaks with Tanzanian songs and danced! So much joy! This first day was full of wonderful experiences and I’m looking forward to next ones.

Madzia LMC

Madzia Plekan CLM

Time in Curitiba

LMC Brasil

The trip to Curitiba became a little heavy, traveling at night with your knees wedged into the seat in front of you is not really comfortable. But, as Cristina says, it is one of disadvantages we tall people have.

Cristina, a Brazilian CLM and member of the central committee, andAlex, a Comboni postulant, took me to the postulancy where I will stay these days.

Since Cristina was busy, I went with the Comboni community to a lecture on a thesis about the decree ad gentes and an experience with the Pokot of Uganda. As you can see, in this mission trip there is a little bit of everything.

Later in the afternoon I was able to go see Guilherma, a Brazilian CLM who did a lot of work in Mozambique. She is in poor health. We hope she will recover her strength. We spent a good afternoon together, conversing and snacking.

In the evening we attended a formation program on global violence as part of the fraternity campaign of this year in Brazil. It is part of the formation given in the Comboni parish of Curitiba. These were three days of evening formation sessions and they were attended by 110 people. I thought it was marvelous to see this expression of a Church being formed and attempting to be involved in the reality in which it lives, looking for answers. This sort of thing is not easily seen elsewhere.

But not everything is meetings and gatherings. The following morning they took me to visit the botanical gardens of Curitiba. There was time to share with the community of the postulancy and to visit the city.

In the afternoon I met with part of the CLM group of Curitiba. They took me to see the places where they want to get involved as a group. We spent time with the “catadores.” These are people who gather non-organic garbage, organize it, select it and sell it to make a living. This way they take charge of recycling for the city. They have formed an association to which they want to give a legal form in order to improve their living standards and here is where the local CLM group cooperates.

Later we also visited a community bakery, organized as a cooperative, both as work and as earnings. All this happens in a neighborhood at the periphery of the city (a rather violent one, to be sure). This is another area where our CLM are working and cooperating.

In the evening I was able to get together with the CLM group of Curitiba, and we had time to share about our CLM at the international level, to tell them about what other groups and communities are doing and to answer their questions. It was a good time where we could share the life of our CLM around the world. Let us hope that some will also feel inspired to leave for other places as the Brazilian group has been doing since forever.