Mission animation

Mission Promotion Weekend in the Parish of Vergada

LMC PortugalAnother activity of mission promotion was held on the weekend of April 20-22, this time in the parish of Vergada to which Sofía Coelho, who is going through her formation with us, belongs.

It was a very joyous weekend, as we were very much welcomed by the community and by the pastor, Fr. Antonio Machado.

We started our activities on Friday with the youth groups and the altar servers, then on Saturday we moved on with the catechesis of Saturday and the Eucharist on Saturday and Sunday where we had the participation of Fr. Francisco Medeiros, a Comboni Missionary in charge of the CLM in Portugal.

The weekends of mission promotion are always times of great enrichment, we enter into the life of the parish community where  we speak of our experiences and try to share a little about mission, namely what we lived and felt in the places where we served.

LMC PortugalThey are times of sharing, that enrich us incredibly and make us feel that the love of Christ, the Good Shepherd, always lives in us and in those around us (even when we do not believe it is there).

We had the chance to perceive how this is a missionary parish open to others, to those who need it most, and it is not a closed in parish at all. And this is a great gift! These moments remind me that I, too, am a missionary in Portugal and, even though in a different way, this mission is as valid as the foreign mission.

During this weekend we also celebrated a vocation day and I am happy to be able to share my vocation as a CLM with the people I meet!

I also want to share with you how we were spoiled! Mrs. Rosa and Mrs. Sofía together with the pastor made sure we did not lack anything, we had good accommodations and the meals were luscious. I cannot forget the “crazy for Jesus (a youth group) and the catechists, who always supported us in everything we needed. Thanks from our hearts!

LMC Portugal
Sandra Fagundes, CLM

Mission on the way

This road with the youth already has half a year and the truth is that every day we feel that it goes further. From the first days, their lives crossed with ours and from that moment, we decided that somehow we had to walk together.

The group was born and, although without a name, it has grown with the testimony of everyone’s life.

Now they take the helm. We plant a little of the seed that we bring inside and together we will see how it will bear fruit.

Paula and Neuza. CLM Arequipa

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

 

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.

Greetings,

Alberto

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.

Greetings,

Alberto