Tag Archive for Europe

News of our CLM Maria Augusta from the CAR

LMC RCAI hope that all our lay people are well and that everything is moving along normally. By the grace of God, our apostolic community is doing well.

We are again in Bangui, this time to bring in a kid who has a spine problem due to bone TB, called Pott Disease, to have him undergo surgery in Dakar under Dr. Omnimus, a French orthopedist who often comes to work in Mongoumba. He will leave on the 12th accompanied by his parents. We will take him to the plane at five in the morning. We are grateful to the Lord for being able to be here accompanying Gervelais and his father.

This was a journey fraught with uncertainties. We had planned to travel on Thursday in order to do our shopping and then return to Mongoumba on the 13th, but the barge that takes us cross the river crashed on Tuesday and only started working again on Friday afternoon. At one point we thought that we would have to call some missionary in Bangui to ask them to take Gervelais and his father to the airport. Yesterday, as we were crossing the river with the barge, there was a moment when we doubted we could continue the trip because a truck could not get off and it was necessary to have it dragged off by another loaded truck. As the saying goes “man proposes and God disposes.” God does everything right! He is the one who knows what is best for us. I pray to Mary to intercede for Gervelais and ask that he may regain his health and be well!

Belvia underwent surgery, they performed a full mastectomy. Still we do not know the results of the biopsies. We hope it will not be cancer… Now she is feeling better, has finished the treatment and now she takes some medications. She is quite happy, because she had been suffering a lot… May the Lord help her.

Ana left for Poland and, according to plans, she will be back in May. May the Lord give her a good vacation.

Cristina is well and in good spirits. She started to learn Sango. She already greets people in their own language and they are very pleased. She loves the mission. May God make her be this way during her entire missionary service.

Next month, our parish will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its foundation and, God willing, we will have a great celebration.

Let us stay united in prayer.

A missionary embrace from our community to all of you.

Maria Augusta, CLM

“I am a Gem, I am the Church” – 6th CLM Formation Unit

LMC PortugalOn February 17 and 18 we held the formation unit “I Am a Gem, I am the Church” in Viseu.  On Saturday we had as presenter Divine Word Fr. José Augusto Duarte Leitão, who in the course of the day spoke to us of some principles of the Church’s doctrine: the centrality of the human person, the common good, the principle of subsidiarity and the principle of solidarity.

We spent time reflecting and sharing on moments of the life of Jesus where these principles were present and noticeable. We came to understand that these principles are almost always interconnected and how they teach us how to act and relate in the world, in the light of Christ and of the Church.

It gives me trust and hope to understand that many of the things that are meaningful to me and that I intend to hold dear on a daily basis are considered structural in the social and charitable doctrine of the Church.

I understood that what I believe in and the way I see my life and my relationships with my neighbor and with the world around me are what the Church defends and promotes.

We then had a time of prayer, a little different, with praying by steps that turned out very well. I hold the words “You are precious to my eyed,” and I do not want to forget this Love that God has for me, of the worth of my person in his eyes. Is there a greater joy than this, to know that I am loved by God? He is the only one who saves me, who knows me and he is the One who for love calls me by name and makes me run to meet him in the others, in those who cross my path. He is the one who calls me to serve, to love, to give. He call me to be Love, as he is with me. I know that often I am far from this total love, I am fragile…  But I know that I am a gem in this Church in the world, I have a place in it and day by day I try to make it a better place.

In the evening we saw the movie Germinal,   a French production that deals with the struggle for the rights of the workers in a mine. It was intense, both as a topic and as the imagery. It was hard! But it was also moving and made me think of the many inequalities and of how at times we have to put up with things that may not seem good at first sight, but in the end we do not lose our personal integrity, but we are simply fighting for a greater good.

On Sunday, we had with us Bro. José Manuel who came to talk to us of the need to unite our mind and our heart in order to reach the essence of the love of God that Jesus came to give us. And only uniting mind and heart we can look at the world and find this transforming Love.

Bro. José Manuel told us about the conditions he is facing since living in Portugal, such as the situation of the Barrio de la Torre with a gypsy community homeless and without stability, in Beja. In a special way he spoke to us of the sufferings of people in our country and to whom he cannot be indifferent. He repeated that it is important to go to the roots of a problem, to listen to people, to understand the causes of the suffering and act accordingly, always in the light of what Jesus would do. Always in the light of Love.

It was beautiful how the witness of Bro. José Manuel came to bring to life what Fr. Augusto had taught us on Saturday. It was good to see this unity between “theory” and “practice.” How the teaching of the Church are present in our daily life and especially must be made present in the world in which we live. I feel that I must be a living gem of this Church and that I cannot remain indifferent to the sufferings of the world. We must act, we must struggle, and we must do our part!

And finally, I hold dear an idea that the brother left to us, “go where God’s agenda sends you”… And this is the agenda, the one where God’s love reigns, that governs our life and our mission in the world. May I allow myself to be led where God’s agenda leads me.

En los días 17 y 18 de febrero tuvimos la formación "Soy piedrecita, soy Iglesia", en Viseu. El sábado, tuvimos como formador al P. José Augusto Duarte Leitão, del Verbo Divino, que a lo largo del día nos fue hablando de principios de la doctrina de la Iglesia: la centralidad de la persona humana, el bien común, el principio de subsidiariedad y el principio de la solidaridad.  Fuimos reflexionando y compartiendo momentos de la vida de Jesús donde estos principios se hicieron presentes y notorios. Hemos entendido que estos principios se interconectan casi siempre y que nos muestran cómo debemos actuar y relacionarnos en el mundo, a la luz de Jesucristo y de la Iglesia.  Me inspira confianza y esperanza entender que muchas de las cosas que para mí tienen sentido y que intento tener presentes en mi día a día son consideradas por la Iglesia como estructurales en la doctrina social y caritativa.  Entendí que aquello en lo que creo y la forma como veo la vida y mi relación con los demás y con el mundo que me rodea es lo que la Iglesia defiende y promueve.   Tuvimos después un momento de oración, un poco diferente, con el paso a rezar que estuvo muy bien. Guardo las palabras "Eres precioso a mis ojos", intento no olvidarme de este Amor que Dios tiene por mí, de la valía de mi persona a sus ojos. ¿Habrá mayor alegría que ésta, de saberme amada por el Señor? Sólo Él me salva, sólo Él me conoce y es Él quien me llama por mi nombre y me hace correr a su encuentro en los demás, en los que se cruzan conmigo. Es Él quien me llama a servir, a amar, a dar. Es Él quien me llama a ser Amor, como lo es conmigo. Sé que muchas veces estoy lejos de este amor pleno, soy frágil... Pero sé que soy una piedrecita en esta Iglesia del mundo, tengo mi lugar y voy intentando día tras día convertirlo en un sitio mejor.   Por la noche vimos la película Germinal, una película francesa que retrata la lucha por los derechos de unos trabajadores en una mina. Fue intenso, tanto por la historia que retrataba, como en términos de imagen. ¡Fue duro! Pero fue también emocionante, y me hizo pensar en tantas desigualdades y en cómo muchas veces tenemos que someternos a ciertas cosas que pueden no parecer bien a primera vista, pero que, en el fondo, no perdemos nuestra integridad como personas, y que sólo estamos luchando por un bien mayor.  El domingo, tuvimos con nosotros al hermano José Manuel que nos vino a hablar de la urgencia de unir la mente con el corazón, para conseguir volver a la esencia del Amor de Dios, que Jesús nos vino a traer. Y sólo uniendo la mente con el corazón podemos mirar el mundo y podemos encontrar este Amor que transforma.  El hno. José Manuel nos contó acerca de las situaciones que está viviendo desde que está en Portugal, como la situación del barrio de la Torre con una comunidad de gitanos que están sin hogar y sin condiciones, en Beja. Esencialmente nos ha hablado del sufrimiento de personas que habitan en nuestro país y con el que no puede ser indiferente. Reitera la idea de que es importante ir a la causa del problema, escuchar a las personas, entender el origen de las situaciones de sufrimiento y actuar en consecuencia, siempre a la luz de lo que Jesucristo haría. Siempre a la luz de su amor.   Fue hermosa la forma como el testimonio del hno. José Manuel vino a traer a la vida las enseñanzas que el P. José Augusto nos transmitió el sábado. Fue hermoso ver esta unicidad entre la "teoría" y la "práctica". Como las enseñanzas de la Iglesia se hacen presentes en nuestro día a día y principalmente se deben hacer presentes en el mundo en que vivimos. Siento que quiero ser una piedrecita viva de esta Iglesia y que no puedo permanecer indiferente al sufrimiento del mundo. ¡Hay que actuar, hay que luchar, hay que hacer nuestra parte!  Y para terminar, guardo una idea que el hermano nos dejó "vais a donde manda la agenda de Dios”... Y es esa agenda, aquella en que reina el Amor de Dios, que gobierna nuestra vida y nuestra misión en el mundo. Que sepa dejarme llevar a donde me lleve la agenda de Dios.   Ana Isabel Sousa

Ana Isabel Sousa

News from our CLM Cristina Sousa in the RCA

RCAHi dear friends!

I hope you are doing well. I arrived in the CAR two months ago and still I have not put away my luggage but my heart is totally taken by Mongoumba.

Emotions here reach an intensity that is beyond us.

At the very moment when I think “I’m leaving” I feel that my life is growing roots here!

It is not easy to manage the unknown, it is not easy to accept what is different, it is not easy to control impotence, the difficulties… But it is in difficulties that we stop being blind, deaf, mute…

The process of adaptation is going “yeke, yeke” which is Sango for “a little bit at the time.” I have turned this expression into an “order” for my head.

On any one day my heart beats in different ways, it cries in the morning, it laughs in the afternoon and at night at times it does both.

I have already started my Sango classes. Simone says that Mr. Dominique, the professor, has already begun to speak Portuguese quite well. In spite of all this, I will let you into a secret I have: I am totally in love with five little Pygmies – Paul, Dimanche, Albert, Pauline and François. By coming to school they also have breakfast and lunch. They are my oxygen capsule where I feed my body and my soul. We play, we pray and we converse (truly, we converse). But you will say, how do we communicate? I have lots of fun when I am the object of their study. They investigate me in detail: hands, veins, the mark of an elastic band on my arm, they have regular sessions around my head and my hair is the topics of much discussion. On this las day Pauline discover a hole in my belly – my belly button. It was a great topic of conversation! (Ha, ha)

How not to fall in love with them?

I end by wishing all of you a Happy Easter.

May Lent be a time of deep reflection and conversion, but above all of “humanitarian” action and that this action may be the fruit of our prayers.

Kisses from all of us in the CAR.

May Jesus protect and enlighten us all, in particular the CAR children who are the true diamonds of Africa.


Cristina Sousa

CLM in the Republic of Central Africa

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