We pray for the young volunteers who visit the missions of the Comboni Family in various parts of the world that their encounter with other peoples and cultures may strengthen their faith and Christian witness. Lord hear us.
We continue this series of testimonies with Fr. Ismael and his missionary experience in Chad.
Fr. Ismael Piñón, as a Comboni Missionary, shares with us his time of missionary service in Chad for eight years. There he was in charge of the formation of a parish that would be the backbone of such important social projects as the construction of schools in villages without access to education.
Dear Confrères, A warm greeting in the Heart of Christ, the Good Shepherd, in whom we are rooted as humble and joyful witnesses in the world of a fraternity without frontiers or borders.
Gathered together for the XIX General Chapter, we want to join each one of you and each one of our Communities in the celebration of this extraordinary ‘feast of love’, which as the Rule of Life reminds us our Founder received from the fountain of the Pierced Heart of the Good Shepherd:
“The Founder found in the mystery of the Heart of Jesus the strength for his missionary commitment. Comboni’s unconditional love for the peoples of Africa had its origin and model in the saving love of the Good Shepherd, who offered his life for humanity on the cross: “And trusting in that most Sacred Heart … I feel much more ready to suffer … and to die for Jesus Christ and for the salvation of the unhappy peoples of Central Africa” (RL, No. 3).
The contemplation of the Heart of Jesus gives us our true identity and status as Missionaries: born, nurtured, cared for, energized, inspired, supervised, and sustained by this Sacred Heart, and enables us to lead people to this Heart and to assist our placing Jesus at the heart of each person.
The authentic Comboni Mission can only be lived through a vibrant relationship with the Pierced Heart of Jesus which reaches its climax on the Cross. No wonder that our Founder invites us to keep our eyes fixed on Christ crucified, pondering on the meaning of a God who died on the Cross for the salvation of people.
This Chapter is experiencing that, despite our weaknesses, the charism given by the Spirit to St. Daniel Comboni is still very much alive and strong. This is shown in the growing number of vocations, in the passion with which many Comboni Missionaries give themselves to the Mission, in the witness of life of our sick and elderly, in the Communities that live close to the poor, in inter-culturality shared with joy and mutual enrichment, in the respect and the care for our common home, and in many other ways.
We are sure that the Heart of Christ, who has kept us faithful and united for so many years, is preparing for us a new missionary era for our Institute, full of life and vitality. If we allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit, it will be a Mission more faithful than ever to the desires of the Good Shepherd and to those of our Founder, a Mission that will not be “German, French, Italian or Spanish”, but truly a Catholic and fraternal Mission for the betterment of humanity.
So we invite you to celebrate this Feast of the Sacred Heart with an attitude of thanksgiving and with a humble but committed response to Gods´ love.
We ask for your prayers so that all of us, in the Chapter and beyond, may allow ourselves to be moved by the Spirit of God and renew our covenant in the charism of Daniel Comboni for the good of the people we work with over four Continents.
May the contemplation of the Heart of Jesus help us to renew our consecration and our missionary passion.
Cordially yours, All the Capitulars of the XIX General Chapter Rome, June 24th 2022, The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart
Yesterday it was time for the intervention of the Comboni Family at the XIX General Chapter of the MCCJ.
As the chapter is taking place with strong preventive measures because of the pandemic, this time the CLM intervention was done online.
For all of us as Comboni Family the chapter of the MCCJ is a very important moment. It is a time of reflection and listening of reality, a time of discernment and missionary intuition that enlightens everyone.
Our intervention is located in the reports that help to see the reality and in particular to see the road traveled as CLM throughout the last years.
Initially the idea was to focus the intervention as part of the Comboni family, to understand our journey as part of the journey we make as a family at the service of the mission and in a particular way to remember how we want to walk together, what we have done so far and the ways of collaboration open.
Then, during the central block, we tried to develop the challenges that we as CLM want to face. In particular, we believe that it is important to make known the agreements reached at our last international assembly, which set the course we intend to follow.
We too, in the light of the analysis of reality and the principles we share, seek to give a common response to the needs of an increasingly globalized world:
“One world, one humanity, one common response!”
Our interrelationship with the Comboni religious is very strong since we share our presence in the places where they are also present and we collaborate closely. On the other hand, we receive a lot of help and support from them and the more they know our reality, strengths and weaknesses, the better this collaboration can be for the good of the mission.
We as CLM dream of a style of collaboration as a Comboni family that we wanted to emphasize. Concrete proposals from where we understand that it is easier to move forward.
Before us is the great challenge of collaboration based on complementarity. In line with the Synodality in which Pope Francis has challenged the Church, and where we are called to be light as Comboni Family. For us it is not a novelty but rather a return to our roots, to the charismatic intuition of Comboni who conceived us as a family. Comboni understood the responsibility of the whole Church, the complementarity and necessity of all its members (priests, confreres, religious, lay missionaries and local people, catechists, artisans, families, etc.) for the accomplishment of the mission. Today it continues to enlighten us on this path of collaboration/synodality for the good of a World, of a Humanity that needs the effort of all to continue to grow, taking care of the weakest and most excluded.
I leave you with the conclusion of the report where we dare to paraphrase Comboni in this common dream.
The Work must be Catholic, no longer Spanish, French, German or Italian….
All men and women of good will must help to build a better world, a fairer world where we take special care of the neediest, of the excluded, and where we all take care of this planet that is a legacy for future generations.
Individual initiatives, be they MCCJs, SMCs, MSCs or CLMs, have undoubtedly done a lot of good, but they have not been able to put an end to so many needs. Our horizon seeks a collaboration that can start from the Comboni Family but that cannot end there, not even at the ecclesial level, but must be opened and promoted with civil organizations and other religious denominations with which to share and encourage common objectives. So far, we see that there continue to be great injustices and inequalities in the world today. There continues to be great need and thirst for God. The human heart desires an encounter with God as it aspires to a life worthy of being sons and daughters of the Father, sisters and brothers all.
For this reason, our Plan aspires to make the Kingdom of God present in the world, a more human, more divine world, reaching out in a special way to the most remote and forgotten communities, the most impoverished countries, punished by war, material and spiritual poverty, precariousness and misery… where the dignity of human life needs to be defended.
And for this, it seems to me, all the already existing works (ecclesial and civil), all the people of good will must unite, who, independently of their civil or ecclesial status, their religious confession, their culture or ideology, seek the good for all humanity, who, having unselfishly before their eyes the noble end, must put aside their particular interests.
This is what we believe in and we must be the seed that makes it possible.
Alberto de la Portilla, coordinator of the CLM Central Committee.