Comboni Lay Missionaries

After One Year among the Gumuz of Ethiopia

LMC Etiopia
LMC Etiopia

Dear family, friends and all,

I hope this e-mail will find you well. I hope the entire family is in good health.

Gratefully to God, I am well.

I am beginning to feel the intense heat we have, almost always around 40 degrees over here. A heat that does not even begin to compare with the warmth I feel when I visit the families, play with the children or work with these wonderful people. Like St. Peter said, “how good it is to be here!” (Mt 17:4)

Here I am still involved with the library. By God’s grace and the generosity of some people, it was possible to buy some books for the library. This way, the students who come over have access to some basic textbooks. Two Portuguese ladies who visited here brought us calculators and other material. Often, I try to have school books and ball point pens to give to anyone who cannot afford them, but is interested in them. Always, if they are looking for a specific book, we try to buy it. Their time availability is not like mine. So, I find days with two or three people and others with 20. But, I understand. They are young and working in the fields, but also study, they have family and some with two or three children. Well, how can they find the time for the library. They truth is that they do and, when they come to study, there is silence. It makes me happy.

LMC Etiopia

I keep up with a faithful group in English and computer classes. They like it. They want to learn and, even though I am not an expert, I am happy to teach them.

I also have a Bible study group in English, with four catechists. We read the Bible, then I explain the texts in English, meditate on them and sometime we watch religious videos in English. I am very happy with them.

I keep playing in the school which still hosts a refugee family. We bought a ball and this is enough to get the young together and enjoy some good times.

At least twice a week we go to the villages with the catechists, visiting families, playing with the children. These moments fill our hearts. To be with people is essential to our missionary vocation.

With the Comboni Missionaries we live with, we share Mass at 6:30 in the morning and an hour of Eucharistic adoration on Saturday. On Thursdays we go to the Comboni Sisters community and also with them we have Eucharistic adoration before supper. On Wednesdays, David and I have a community prayer.

Despite the work we have, it is the desire of the CLM, myself and David, my partner in the community, to start a new type of presence among the Gumuz. We are not the first CLM in Ethiopia, but we are the first to live among the Gumuz.

LMC Etiopia

For this reason, we are visiting the communities, speaking with the people, analyzing the concrete situation of each village and family.

Unfortunately, the car we have does not allow for constant work. The roads are horrible and require a car in reasonable shape. After a month, we stopped running games for the children in the villages because our car was at the mechanic, and this happens often. On top of that, we keep on paying for these repairs. We will need to buy a new car that will allow us to continue our work.

We also intend to build a house in one of the villages, near the people, and live there. Together with the house we will start working on projects. We are continuing with the project of setting up a children home for those who remain alone during the day, without adult supervision, plus a student residence to allow children to attend school who cannot go or need to cover over 30 km to get there. These are the projects we consider the most viable, if we take into account what we have analyzed and heard from the young ones and the adults.

Unfortunately, we need money to do all this. For this I ask for your prayers that we may do the will of God with these people. If you know of any NGO that finances this type of project, please tell us. Everything help, even a little bit, and is valued by God. And since I know that I am not here alone, I am sure you are with me!

At time we face adversities, like typhus or typhoid fever, but I am happy to have been sent to this place where God already is with the people.

I have been in this beautiful place for almost a year! I have no doubt, It is a beautiful place! I am happy! I live a happy life! It does not mean that there is no suffering. It means that, despite all the obstacles, it is worth being here. It means that God gives us strength and gives us the means to do his will!

I keep you in my prayers, I feel your friendship around me, and I keep on learning that distance does not cut the ties, but makes them stronger, reminding me of the importance of your friendship and your love for me.

Hugs and kisses from this friend who loves you a lot,

Pedro Nascimento, CLM Ethiopia

Agnieszka and Ewelina officially sent to Peru!

LMC Polonia
CLM Poland

Within a week, our CLMs – Ewelina and Agnieszka, were sent to their mission to Peru by their diocesan bishops.

Agnieszka’s Sending Mass took place on 2 February 2020 at 12:00 (still with Christmas decorations) in the parish church in Rybnik-Zamysłów, and it was done on behalf of the whole Church by bishop Grzegorz Olszowski.

CLM Poland

“Go and proclaim the Gospel to all creation,” he said, handing her a missionary cross. He also addressed to those gathered in the church: “the rite of sending to missionary paths is not only for Agnieszka, but also for all of you, so you remember about her and support her with your prayers and collections. Everywhere in Peu, where Agnieszka will be, part of your parish will be with her as well” he said.

A week later, on 9 February 2020 at 10:00am, in Krakow, in Our Lady of the Rosary parish, Ewelina was sent to the mission as well.

CLM Poland

In his homily, Bishop Jan Zając reminded us that Christ does not say to us that he wants us to become the salt of the earth and the light of the world …

– He says: the moment you joined Me, from the moment the world began to recognize you as My disciples, and since I look at you as my disciples, you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. It happens without your merit, but thanks to Me, because I decided to use you for the salvation of others.

Handing Ewelina the missionary cross, he also said that God chose her to go and bear fruit. The cross is to be her help and a sign of hope and comfort.

The girls agree that the whole ceremony was quite stressful for them from the organizational point of view, but at the same time it was very beautiful and touching experience.

The girls agree that the whole ceremony was quite stressful for them from the organizational point of view, but at the same time it was very beautiful and touching experience.

Comboni Lay Missionaries, Poland

Mission Sending of Mr. Enoch Malumalu

LMC Congo
LMC Congo

On Sunday, February 2, 2020, the Comboni Lay Missionaries of the Congolese province, represented by the communities of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa, sent Mr. Enoch Malumalu, coordinator of the COLAMICA St. Mary Goretti, to the mission of Mongoumba, in the region of Lobaye, Central African Republic.

The Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated in Kinshasa in the parish of St. John Paul II, in the presence of about one hundred local faithful, family members, Enoch’s friends and acquaintances attending the Mass of the Presentation of the Lord at the Temple. The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Simplice Mbassi, a Josephite priest and concelebrated by Fr. John Paul Etumba, a Comboni Missionary and pastor of St. John Paul II, and with the participation of Deacon André Mbala, mccj, and the Comboni Sisters. In his homily, Father remembered the importance of the feast and of the event: “On this day, Jesus is consecrated to God in the Temple of Jerusalem and this day has become the feast of all consecrated men and women who have given their lives to Christ. But this day is also the celebration of the messengers.” Commenting on the liturgical texts, he emphasized the importance of prayer – that must be regular and perseverant – in mission and in the use of material means. This was followed by the imposition of hands, the blessing and the missionary send-off.

In his intervention, Enoch invited the African youth in general and the Congolese youth in particular to discover their missionary vocation, to commit themselves to serve our poorest brothers and sisters and persevere so that “to save Africa with Africa” be a concrete reality. The faithful present at the Mass as well supported the sending off of their brother Enoch with a special collection picked up during the celebration.

This event took place after a period of specific formation, which included a time of community living experience, and one of mission formation (inculturation) lasting six months each. Mr. Enoch Malumalu, Comboni Lay Missionary of the Province of Congo, will leave Kinshasa in early March to take up his mission in Mongoumba, in the region of Lobaye, Central African Republic.

It will be the first time when for some years there will be a CLM of African origin in this international community, and it is an opportunity to thank God and hope for a greater African presence in our common responsibility to continue our mission. This continuity includes the analysis of the reality in which we live as a CLM community, together with the Comboni family and the Comboni pastoral community, as we discern our present and our future.

LMC Congo

CLM of the Province of Congo

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