Comboni Lay Missionaries

Report on the 1st assembly of CLM Kenya

CLM Kenia

The candidates of the Comboni Lay Missionaries, Kenya met in an assembly from 10th to 12th January, 2020 at St. Daniel Comboni Parish, Utawala in Nairobi. The attendance of the members was great and the moderator of the assembly was our formator Rev. Fr. Maciek Zielinski. This was our first assembly since the group was created in 2017. It therefore meant that there was much to be discussed and evaluated.

The assembly started with the evaluation of the year 2019 to determine our progress as a group and take corrective measures where necessary.

We then embarked on selecting new leaders who will oversee the group activities during this year. The chairman of the group is Onyango Martin, an IT expert, the group secretary is Angeline Njeri, a teacher by profession and the treasurer is Beatrice Imali, a medical nurse.

Later, the group started preparing the CLM Kenya Charter to guide the group’s activities and overall involvement in the missionary work of the Comboni Family. We are still in the process of drafting the group’s charter.

Overall, the first assembly was a success. We give all the glory to God.

By Angeline Njeri

2020: Year of the Ministeriality

Trabajo en equipo
Trabajo en equipo

The magisterium of Pope Francis insists upon the vision of a ministerial Church by which is meant a fraternal Church that is steeped in the “odour of the sheep”, that is synodal, collaborative and one that witnesses to the joy of the Gospel by its proclamation, by its style of life and by service; a Church that embarks on a journey of conversion, overcoming clericalism and the pastoral criterion: “We have always done it this way” (EG 33). The XVIII General Chapter took up this directive of the universal Church and made it its own, in the hope of undertaking a journey of regeneration and requalification of our missionary commitment as regards ministeriality (CA ’15, 21-26; 44-46).


“If you read my words, you will have some idea of the depths that I see in the mystery of Christ. This mystery that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations; it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Christ Jesus, through the Gospel. I have been made the servant of that Gospel by a gift of grace from God, who gave it to me by his power” (Ep 3,4-7).

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“This is why…. He will have to think of himself as one unnoticed worker in a long line of workers, all of whom can only hope for results, not from their own personal work, but from the gathering together and continuation of efforts mysteriously guided and used by Providence” (Writings 2889).

Trabajo en equipo

Dearest confreres, we send you greetings in this time of Christmas and wish you a Happy Beginning to the New Year 2020!

As is well known to us all, the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium has drawn attention to the historical changes of our time and the need for a profound renewal in the Church, so as to live the Gospel with joy and to be faithful to our proper vocation as missionary disciples of Jesus. With this renewed vision of the Church, there continually and increasingly emerges a Church that is “going out”, in which the mission is the paradigm of its being and doing, listening to the Spirit through the cry of suffering humanity, the cry of the poor and the cry of Creation. The magisterium of Pope Francis insists upon the vision of a ministerial Church by which is meant a fraternal Church that is steeped in the “odour of the sheep”, that is synodal, collaborative and one that witnesses to the joy of the Gospel by its proclamation, by its style of life and by service; a Church that embarks on a journey of conversion, overcoming clericalism and the pastoral criterion: “We have always done it this way” (EG 33).

The XVIII General Chapter took up this directive of the universal Church and made it its own, in the hope of undertaking a journey of regeneration and requalification of our missionary commitment as regards ministeriality (CA ’15, 21-26; 44-46). The Spirit calls us to dream and to be converted, as missionaries “going out”, who live the Gospel by sharing joy and mercy, cooperating in the growth of the Kingdom, first of all by listening to God, to Comboni and to humanity; a dream that is the dream of God, that leads us to dare, despite our littleness, and aware that we are not isolated but members of a ministerial Church. We are called to evangelise as a community, in communion and in collaboration with the whole Church, to promote for the sake of the poor the globalisation of fraternity and tenderness. All of this is concretised in a reduction and requalification of our commitments, developing specific pastoral services, going out towards human groups that are marginalised or in liminal situations.

To help us to grow during this journey, the Guide to the Implementation of the XVIII General Chapter set aside the year 2020 for reflection on the theme of ministeriality. We wish to propose that we engage in action-reflection, which means taking an approach that starts from experience, and reflects on its transformative potential and its critical points, so as to discern renewed courses of action.

This is what Comboni himself did: he conceived the Plan for the regeneration of Africa on the basis of his personal experience of the mission, of in-depth study and comparison with other experiences, discovering in the ministerial style the answer to the “impossible” challenge of the evangelisation of Africa. His Plan reflects a systemic understanding of the ministerial approach: a work that is collective and “universal”, that creates networks of collaboration to gather together all ecclesial resources, recognising the specific nature and originality of each individual; a work that gives life to a variety of services, in response to human and social needs, for which he scientifically prepares ad hoc ministries, and which results in the foundation of missionary communities that are sustainable from the point of view of ministeriality, socio-economy and social significance. As both Benedict XVI and Francis remind us, the Church grows by attraction and not by proselytism.

Our reflection on ministeriality, therefore, requires we listen to the Spirit, the driving force and protagonist of ministries in the missionary-disciple Church. We commit ourselves to deepening our understanding of this theme in relation to our missionary life and our personal and community ministerial experience, mostly through sharing on these two supplements:

  1. Inserts in Familia Comboniana;

2. A flexible supplement using prepared formularies to facilitate sharing, study, reflection and discernment in our communities.

We invite you to make full use of these instruments in view of a journey of ongoing formation that is both personal and communitarian, facilitated by a guide, chosen from within each community, who will make use of the abundant material provided together with the supplement.

The recently celebrated Synod for Amazonia, too, has highlighted the urgency of the pastoral conversion of the Church: growth in ministeriality is the basic key to this journey. We have, therefore, an extraordinary opportunity for growth and renewal, and it is up to each one of us and each community to profit from it. But it is not a journey we make alone but rather in communion with the Church. Indeed, it is our hope that our commitment to set out on this journey of missionary-ministerial renewal may be a stimulus and a support – in a reciprocal maieutic dynamic – to the local Church where we live: it will not simply be a journey of ongoing formation but also of missionary mission/animation.

In 2020 we shall also have a special event, a forum involving the whole Comboni Family, on social ministeriality, which is to be held in Rome from 18 to 22 July. This forum is part of a broader journey that we, the Comboni Family, are undertaking, which includes the recording of all the experiences of social ministry of the Comboni Family. We would like to create synergy, develop a shared vision and language and create a network and movements that will evangelically transform the social reality. In the medium term this journey will help us towards a participated development of specific pastorals, as requested by the 2015 Chapter. We need your enthusiastic participation in this process which, the more inclusive it is, the more endowed and meaningful it will be.

Finally, in support of the JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation), the transverse axis of the missionary ministries, we are pleased to present to you two practical instruments that will be published in 2020:

=   Supplement for Basic and Ongoing Comboni Formation in the Values of JPIC

=   The second volume on JPIC of the Comboni Family, edited by Fr. Fernando Zolli and Fr. Daniele Moschetti, following the previous volume: Be the change you wish to see in the world.

May St. Daniel Comboni intercede for us: may he make us “holy and capable” of bringing to fruition the gift of ministeriality.

The General Council The General Secretary for the Mission

Three new polish CLM on a mission

LMC Polonia
CLM Poland

This year three girls joined our polish CLM movement and are now officially Comboni Lay Missionaries.

Agnieszka, Ewelina and Marcela are currently doing their “life in a community” experience in Comboni father’s house in Cracow.

Soon, Ewelina and Agnieszka will go to Peru for 2 years’ mission, to Arequipa where they will replace Paula and Neuza.

Marcela will join the community in Mongoumba – Central Africa, where another polish CLM – Monika is currently working on the mission too.

These three months are filled with meetings with different people and learning life all together.

They have language classes (Spanish and French), meetings where they discuss and interpret God’s words for Holy Bible.

Ewelina and Agnieszka are volunteers in the family emergency and Marcela started her voluntary work at hospital.

As they say most of their free time they are spending on perfecting the languages, they will soon use very often and on talking with Comboni fathers, brother and themselves.

Let’s pray for them so they could be true witness of God’s love and mercy every day of their mission and their life in general.

Polish CLM

What remain in us and what came in

LMC Peru
LMC Peru

Perhaps this type of living in constant arrivals and departures may be the best way God has to show us the love he has for us and the secret formula of living at the service of others.

LMC Peru

Thus, mission will always be a meeting of lives almost magically crossing one another, as if everything were already planted in our history. Mission will always be the concrete way of being living witnesses of a love that does not die. It is reborn and gives new birth.

LMC Peru

Today we speak well about you. Afterwards, there remains the certainty that we were and always will be whole when we give of ourselves without self-interest, timelessly at all hours, when we step down from everything we have been building since forever and go back to being like children among them. We are family where smiles never end and tears sprout at times. We are a home where there is always room for one more. We will always be. Mission has not ended. It will never end. Because love always conquers. Mission is waiting for you and always will.

LMC Peru

Paula and Neuza, CLM in Peru

Visiting the APAC of Santa Luzia

LMC Brasil
LMC Brasil

I have the opportunity to be visiting the Association for the Assistance of Convicts, APAC, in Santa Luzia, which is basically a prison detention center, but not just like any detention center. Does it hold privileged people? No. Does it hold investments of the rich and the powerful? No. It is a center made available by the proposal of Dr. Mario Ottoboni: no one is unredeemable. This is pure Gospel.

From the very first impression one perceives that things are different: one of the inmates is the doorkeeper of a detention center with 120 “criminals,” and holds the keys both to the main door and the doors to the closed and semi-closed sectors. Once you enter, it seems that these “criminals” have, among other things, different faces: peace, joy, goodness, repentance, charity, deep and sincere desires of redemption.

Here, no one is a criminal, but all are REDEEMABLE, a very precise word, exacted and necessary as the initial step to ensure that whoever one day made a mistake will not go back to that same state. John 8:11 “She answered, No one, Lord.” Jesus then told her: “Neither will I. Go and sin no more.”

For sure, there is a method, the APAC method, to work seriously in the re-insertion of recovered people in society.

With God’s help, together with the CLM Alejo Ramirez, for the past 20 years we have been helping in an enlightening project of interpreting Spanish texts, so that some of the inmates may take the ENEM test and with it continue their plans to attend the university after APAC. For the time being, we continue throughout the year 2020 with plans of major human and social importance.

To live among men who may have committed any type of barbarous acts, but who want to change their lives, and some of them without formal education, but each day trying to study, work, paint, and learn some trades, is a courageous thing. Actually, more than courage, it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s mercy, never merited but always unconditional, in a climate of strict rules in conjunction with the family of the inmate and local society.

I thank God for the opportunity of being able to embrace and see in the eyes of these men, who are always so grateful, the joy when once again we come to visit them. If God believes in humanity, who are we not to believe in it?”

Alejandro, CLM