Mission animation

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.



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.



Francis: a message of love

Papa en PerúThe coming of the Pope to Peru did not leave the Peruvians indifferent.  His closeness to the people touched their hearts. Many were the reports of those who accompanied him personally and on TV. Joy reigned in Peru just as we still live it in these days under the banner of hope left to us by the Pope of the people. It was a Pope who embraced the great open wounds of Peru by asking for a change that can only happen if we know to hold hands like brothers as we search for a truly common home.

In this journey of preparation for the Youth Synod, the Pope did not depart without leaving a challenging message of love and joy. With his words he reminded us that young people are not the future, as it is often said, but rather the present in a world to which they must not and cannot remain indifferent.

Papa en Perú

“Dear young people, I am pleased to be here with you. These meetings are very important for me, especially in this year of preparation for the Synod on young people. Your faces, your questions and your lives are important for the Church and we need to give them the importance they deserve. We must also have the courage of the many young people of this land who were not afraid to love and risk everything for Jesus.

Dear friends, how many examples you have! I think of Saint Martin de Porres. Nothing prevented that young man from achieving his dreams, nothing prevented him from spending his life for others, nothing prevented him from loving, and he did so because he had realized that the Lord loved him first. Just as he was: a mulato. He had to face many hardships. In the eyes of others, even his friends, it seemed that he had everything to lose, but he knew how to do one thing that would be the secret of his life: he knew how to trust. He trusted in the Lord who loved him. Do you know why? Because the Lord had trusted him first; just as he trusts each of you and will never tire of trusting you.

You may say that sometimes this is very difficult. I understand that. In those moments, we can think negative thoughts, we can feel overwhelmed by different situations, and it can seem that we are left on the sidelines, while they have the upper hand. But it’s not like that, is it?

There are moments when you can feel powerless to achieve your desires and dreams. We have all experienced situations like that. Dear friends, in those moments when our faith seems to fade, remember that Jesus is by your side. Do not give up! Do not lose hope! Remember the saints who accompany us from heaven. Go to them, pray and never tire of asking for their intercession. Not only the saints of the past, but also those of the present: this land has many of them, because it is a land of saints. Ask for help and advice from people you know can give good advice because their faces radiate joy and peace. Let them accompany you as you journey along the path of life.

Jesus wants to see you on the move. He wants to see you achieve your ideals and to be enthusiastic in following his instructions. He will take you along the path of the beatitudes, a path that is not easy but exciting, a path that cannot be traveled alone, but only as a team, where each member offers the best of his or her self. Jesus is counting on you as he counted long ago on Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Turibius, Saint Juan Macías, Saint Francisco Solano and so many others. Today he asks if, like them, you are ready to follow him. Are you willing to follow him? To be guided by his Spirit in making present his Kingdom of justice and love?

Dear friends, the Lord looks on you with hope. He never grows discouraged with us. Perhaps we are the ones who grow discouraged, about ourselves or about others.

I know that we all like to see digitally enhanced photographs, but that only works for pictures; we cannot “photoshop” others, the world, or ourselves. Color filtering and high definition only function well in video; we can never apply them to our friends. There are pictures that are very nice, but completely fake. Let me assure you that the heart can’t be “photoshopped,” because that’s where authentic love and genuine happiness have to be found.

Papa en PerúJesus does not want you to have a “cosmetic” heart. He loves you as you are, and he has a dream for every one of you. Do not forget, he does not get discouraged with us. But if you get discouraged, I invite you to take a look at the Bible and remember the kind of friends God chose.

Moses, he was not articulate; Abraham, an old man; Jeremiah, very young; Zacchaeus, small of stature; the disciples, who fell asleep when Jesus told them they should pray; Paul, a persecutor of Christians; Peter, who denied him… and we could go on with this list. So what excuse can we offer?


When Jesus looks at us, he does not think about how perfect we are, but about all the love we have in our hearts to give in serving others. That is the important thing for him, and he will always be concerned about that. He does not worry about your height, or whether you speak well or badly, whether you fall asleep when you pray, or whether you are very young or very old. His only question is this: Do you want to follow me and be my disciple? Don’t waste time disguising your heart, but instead fill your life with the Spirit!

Jesus is constantly waiting to give us his Spirit, who is the Love that God wants to pour into our hearts, to make us his missionary disciples.

In following Jesus, we never, ever, remain shut out. Even if we make mistakes, the Lord always gives us a new opportunity to keep walking with him.

Dear young people, in my prayers, I entrust you to the care of the Virgin Mary. Be assured that she will accompany you at every moment of your life, at all the crossroads of your journey, especially at those times when you have to make important decisions. She will always be there, like a good Mother, encouraging and supporting you, lest you grow discouraged. And if you get discouraged by anything, do not worry, for she will tell Jesus. Just don’t stop praying, don’t stop asking, don’t stop trusting in her maternal protection.

Pope Francis to the young people in Peru

On Sunday, as we usually do it, we gathered with the youth group after the Eucharist. We had all experienced this grace of knowing we were far away, but at the same time so close to the representative of God on earth. We had nothing planned, actually we gathered at our house with the idea of having a short prayer and share what each one of us felt about the presence of the Pope. However, we were surprised when on getting the TV connection, we listened to one of the most challenges talks of the Pope to young people. We were silent. We listened to each word pronounced by such a wise person. Almost by surprise we prayed together. We experienced a piece of heaven on Peruvian soil.

Papa en Perú

Villa Ecológica (Arequipa), January 21, 2018

Paula and Neuza, CLM in Peru


With Mary and Joseph on the way to the Nativity

LMC PeruTrue joy is born out of love. Only when we dare to live by love we allow God to be born in us turning our heart into his crib. Only when we believe in the mystery of Jesus we are truly happy. Happiness comes out of a heart that, a little at the time, has gone and has been falling in love with God. To acknowledge that God exists is to be certain that we never walk alone and the joy to know that he walks with us and daily transforms our lives. The journey is not as simple as the words we use, it is demanding. It demands an effort on our part, that we start walking, that we move out of ourselves and, like Mary and Joseph, we walk to the Galilee of our hearts looking for the best place to be reborn with Jesus. Because Jesus is alive and comes to us.

Like Mary, we harbor many fears, anxieties and uncertainties but, inspired by her example we repeat our Yes each day. Accepting to be a mother, Mary gave up all her plans in order to do the will of God. Even though it was not part of her plan to be the one chosen by God, she accepted. Like Mary, let us entrust our lives to God’s hands.

St. Joseph inspires us to accept God’s project for us despite the difficulties and challenges. It was not easy for Joseph to understand that Mary was pregnant with the Son of God. He reached the point of wanting to leave her secretly, but after hearing the angel he gave himself completely. The family of Nazareth teaches us to live in community. Mary and Joseph, as community, knew how to live the incarnation in their own lives. It is not easy to follow God’s will in community, but they understood that, when God calls, touching our hearts, our life will never be the same. Our Yes opens the door to many more marvels, not only in our own lives but also in the lives of others. In prayer they found the courage they needed to accomplish their mission joyfully and confidently. In moments of prayer we open the doors of our hearts and homes so that God may come and daily he may tell us which path we must follow. Prayer is the basis of community and through it we consecrate our lives to the Lord. Let us live this Christmas, remembering what José Tolentino Mendonça said: “We are the crib, it is within us that Jesus is born.” Let us prepare our hearts and lives to be the home where Jesus will be born.

Paula and Neuza, CLM in Peru.

Changing the world with New Styles of Life

Nuovi Stili di Vita LMCWe, the members of the Comboni Lay Missionaries group of Bologna, have decided on “Outings” to meet the parish communities, to reflect and share on the New Styles of Life.

To share the Head: in order to understand the phenomena that engulf us.

To share the Heart: in order to support the necessity of change both internally and externally.

To share Hands: in order to stimulate activities that any local or parish group can enact.

We feel it is important to start a missionary journey that will help to question a life style which is increasingly consumeristic and individualistic, which fosters more and more social, local and worldwide inequities, besides brutally damaging our common home: the Earth.

The dramatic situation of our planet, mistreated and wounded, and the tragic life conditions of its inhabitants cannot leave us indifferent. This is a cry echoing with increasing strength in our ears and that is present here and now.

It is futile to deny that our current styles of life have produced, and continue to produce, a series of wounds in the environment, in increasing poverty, in miserable situations the world over.

Nuovi Stili di Vita LMCOur choices, our simple daily activities, have planetary repercussions, from what we use and consume, from what we buy, from what we utilize and waste. The world has become one single home where we are all interdependent and responsible for its care. Laudato sii itself encourages us to go beyond individualism and look for alternate styles of life.

Basing ourselves on these premises that guide our will, our faith and our commitment, on Sunday, November 19, on the occasion of the World Day for the Poor, we met at the parish of Christ the King in Bologna to share with the parishioners both a community meal with the “poor” of the city and a time of reflection and sharing on the themes of the New Styles of Life. It was our first “Outing.”

Together with the parishioners we joined Head, Heart, Hands, emotions, reflections and, above all, the desire to commit ourselves and build something “good.”

This shows how important it is to get together to weave relationships that will lead away from the loneliness of impotence, from urban loneliness evermore deprived of gestures of conviviality and “humanity.” One little step at the time, we want to start this missionary journey, without any concern for quantity (Many people? Only a few?), but rather for quality and, above all, for every single person who wants to walk with us, because together we grow, we walk, we share, we create and change. Mission invites us to “Go out,” to be witnesses, but never alone, with Others.

We will keep it up in 2018, trying to meet with other parishes, to build alternative ways born out of solidarity, of getting together, of conviviality that will help the networking of ideas, activities, and groups in a commitment to justice.

As Gandhi used to say: “You be the change you want to see in the world.”

Nuovi Stili di Vita LMCEmma, CLM Bologna