During this year 2018, we, the CLM community of Guatemala, have been spending mission days in the village of La Salvadora, in Santa Catarina Pinula, located about 15 Km from Guatemala City.
One Saturday a month, we visit the higher part of the village, the one called “La Salvadora 2.”
The program is always the same. We arrive at 8:00 AM, early enough to prepare with care some bread with “something” in it and a drink, to share it with all the villagers who show up. At 9:00 AM we start the program of evangelization, manual work, play, activities and then we leave around 4:00/4:30 PM.
On September 22 we had something special… something that made me feel alive, grateful and happy… a detail that revived in me the joy of being there, of sharing God through simple gestures of friendship, fraternity and generosity. These gifts that no money can buy are a sharing from God.
It turned out that, when we arrived, the children helped us unload the car. As we organized, some of us to start on the bread, which on that day held strained beans, several children offered to prepare it themselves for the first time in the whole year! Others immediately asked for the drink and offered to prepare the lemonade themselves. It was great to see them cooperate, enjoy and, in the end, be happy and satisfied. It was a gift! Just seeing their satisfied smiles for having helped to put together bread, beans and lemonade.
Mission does not consist in accomplishing great feats, but rather it is built from detail to detail, from stroke to stroke, from joy to joy.
So great, lasting, persevering and delicate is the love of God, the love we share with those who suffer discrimination, who are marginalized, those who have no opportunity to receive education and health care, those who need to receive the proclamation of the good news of Jesus who died and rose again.
It is not important if over the years these children will have forgotten these Saturdays… when some missionaries were coming to visit, and perhaps they will forget the day when they, themselves, prepared the bread, the beans and the lemonade.
I trust that in their hearts there remain a trace of each sign of love and closeness, and that in due time this memory will be transformed into a true encounter with Jesus, and they will be adults who will love him deeply throughout life. Only in this fashion will the world be transformed in a better place for all.
“I am the Good Shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice and there will be only one flock and one shepherd.”
Celebrating the memory of the birth of St. Daniel Comboni introduces us into the great mystery of the life of the Good Shepherd with a pierced heart who gave his life so that all may have life and life in abundance, especially those who do not yet belong to the table of Christ’s body, the poorest and most abandoned, so that all may become one flock under one shepherd.
We Comboni Missionaries, faithful to this tradition, to the charism and pastoral practice of our Founder, are invited to renew ourselves in this missionary commitment every day to be “at the margins of society as witnesses and prophets of fraternal relationships, based on forgiveness, mercy and the joy of the Gospel” (CA ’15 No. 1).
The mission at the margins of society required from Comboni the ability to remain firm in difficult times and fidelity to the price of life itself, because he had his gaze fixed on the pierced heart of the Crucified One, a vision of faith of the events and the embrace of Africa with a heart marked by divine love. An incarnate holiness that runs through the paths of poverty and human marginalisation, welcoming the other, the different, the poor, in an embrace of communion and dialogue; a holiness that is the divine passion present in a human heart.
This is what we have tried to express in the reflection and prayer of the Intercapitular that we have just concluded. We have been constantly attentive to the voice of the victims, the marginalised, and the great multitudes of human beings whose life is threatened by a heartless system that causes the predictable and violent death of the weakest.
This reality continues to prophetically question our presence and the quality of our missionary service, as it has questioned Comboni in his time. To respond, however, to these challenges, we need to approach each day, to the mystery of God’s love, revealed in Jesus Christ, with the spirit, gaze and heart of Comboni, with an open heart overflowing with love and the mercy of the Pierced One and, like Him, let us also be pierced by so many situations of poverty and neglect.
For St. Daniel Comboni it was clear that the contemplation of the mystery of God, crucified for love, had as its purpose to lead his missionaries to a definite way of doing mission: to witness a life lived in ‘spirit and truth’, fruit of a vivid and convincing prayer, to practice humility and obedience, as signs of a deeply Comboni spirituality. That is, to irradiate with one’s life the mystery of God Crucified in order to bring to Christ, the source of Life, all those who are hungry and thirsty for justice.
It is with these feelings that we wish to celebrate this solemnity of St. Daniel Comboni as a Comboni Family. Enter into this mystery of the Good Shepherd with a pierced heart and drink the lifeblood that renews us, that makes us look at reality through the eyes of faith, hope and charity, that heals and humanises us, that makes us become mission, “cenacle of apostles”, gift for others. “I make common cause with each of you, and the happiest day in my life will be the one on which I will be able to give my life for you” (W 3159).
May St. Daniel Comboni intercede with the Father for each one of us, for the whole Comboni Family and for the missions that are presently going through difficult situations: Eritrea, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic.
Happy Feast day to all. Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie; Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins; Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla; Fr. Alcides Costa; Bro. Alberto Lamana.
We have a new CLM taking the formation course in the NAP, preparing himself to go to mission.
Darrel J. Vandeveld is a lawyer and retired Army officer who graduated from the University of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
He comes from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he raised his four children and served as the head of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office in Erie, from which he recently retired.
After September, 2001, Darrel served in the US Army in Bosnia, Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He retired from the Army Reserve in 2015 as a Lieutenant Colonel. In his final assignment for the military, Darrel was assigned to a capital murder trial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State.
Darrel has served as an elected member of his local school board, and has served on the boards of non-profit organizations, including the Pennsylvania Artists’ Collective Alliance, an organization dedicated to providing local artists with performance spaces and other resources.
He is a member of the St Joseph Bread of Life Community in Erie.
We are the Camey Figueroa family and we are happy to share with you our first steps towards our mission in Brazil.
We have been staying at St. Thomas, San Salvador, since September 7 and will return to Guatemala on the 22nd. This is we are going through or Experience of Detachment and community life prior to our actual leaving for our mission. It has been a very needed and enriching experience.
We could certainly try to imagine many aspects of missionary life, and even think that this experience is not even necessary, because it is enough to be very cautious in figuring out what we would do, carry along, how to work, and so on. However, It is only when you experience something personally that you see and live through things as they really are, and this is what has made this experience a great source of strength for us and for the CLM community of the Central American Province, because all the work we have done here has been possible thanks to the support of the new CLM that is taking shape in El Salvador.
Perhaps the most typical reality that we have experienced is the simple fact that we are a family. By the mercy of God, as a family we have my strengths and we know each other, we know how to be complementary and move on. But it is also true that the current situation is unusual, we never lived this way and it has been the source of some difficulties.
These difficulties have made us aware that we must stick together, be more conscious of our weaknesses and of the need to be patient and persevering in facing them.
More specifically, our missionary work, and it is worth saying that it is not separate from who we are personally and as a family, is very public in the context of daily life.
For the most part, we have visited seniors, some in poor health, others very old and ill and mostly afflicted by loneliness.
These are elderly people, who had large families, like in the case of Hilda who had six children, two died early and four lived with her. Her husband left her with the four. She had to work a lot and leave the children alone for many hours. Now her children, possibly without any bad intention, but wounded and never healed, reflect this same style.
Now she lives with one son, who only had one child and then his wife left him. This grandson, the only child of her own son, has also gone, but, at least this is good news, he has been in the seminary for several years and keeps in touch with his grandmother.
Even though we are neighboring countries, when we arrived we realized that we were seeing a degree of poverty and violence worse than in Guatemala. The social inequality has gotten worse since they changed from the local currency to the dollar without a referendum and the corruption damages any attempt to development. People are seriously abused and the Church is doing its best to help the communities face this evil.
We are very happy to realize how Bishop Romero was able to leave a mark in the life of many Salvadorans, who are anxiously awaiting their canonization in October. There is no house or church that does not have a picture of him, a true symbol of justice and a sign of God’s love, since he struggled to mediate between the army and the rebels.
These realities are not abnormal, because our societies are suffering in the same way. At time for the urge to enjoy “the good life,” and other times because of the poverty of our countries of Latin America.
Today, it is very important that we live fully our being family. We must believe in the promises of God, our good Father, so as not to worry about too many things, since the flowers of the field are so well dressed and the sparrows in the sky do not toil and yet eat. And so it is that our Almighty God always remembers us.
Our first preoccupation, or better yet, our first task must be love God and to allow ourselves to be loved by him. Life came from Him, and to Him it shall return (so we say daily) and so we should not be afraid to be father, or mother, or children and even more, to be family.
We thank God who gives us the opportunity to know him in simplicity and in daily life, but above all because it allows us to be witnesses to the abundant generosity of the people who welcome us in their homes, give us everything, and give us the chance to see that this mission belongs to God and not to us, who are simply a family ready to love and do his will, namely, “what is good, perfect and pleasing to God.” (Rom 12:4)
Thankfully, we had plenty of time for other activities, such as the mission promotion visit to the parish of St. Thomas on Saturday evening, where a Neo-catechumenal community gathers, they themselves missionaries ad gentes.
There we attended Mass presided over by Fr. Santiago Piccinelli, MCCJ, who introduced us as a CLM community together with our MCCJ advisor, Bro. Humberto. He also allowed us to promote mission even by selling our products we ourselves make with recycled material.
Human Development is also part of missionary work, as Comboni insists: Holy and able! So one afternoon we held a workshop to teach the women of the “colonias” La Hermita and La Moran how they, too, can make things with recycled material. It was, as always, a great experience, and even children came around. Even Niña Betty, who had her right foot amputated two years ago and still uses a wheelchair while learning to manage her prosthesis, did not give up and came.
The much awaited Mission Days of 2018 on the theme, “I am the Mission,” took place in Fatima on the weekend of September 15-16. These Mission Days were based especially on the presence of various institutes, congregations, movements and especially members of the missionary youth who came from various parts of the country and of the world.
The Days started with a welcome and a prayer prepared by the organizing committee, followed by the opening in the presence of Bishop D. Manuel Linda of Porto who gave us, as always, a few words on the meaning of mission and what it means to be in mission in today’s world, especially among the youth of this century.
A short time later we were blessed with a currently very prestigious speaker, Dr. Juan Ambrosio, theology professor at the Catholic University of Lisbon, who explained to us briefly and simply what “I am the Mission” means. According to him, “I am the Mission” is not an experience lived from the outside into the inside,, but it is I, myself and nothing more. In this case, “I am the Mission starts from within and goes out, to the “other” because, if I am the Mission, being baptized and a child of God, we were chosen by him to serve and love the others. It is from there that Christianity always holds as its foundation, goal and structure an experience of encounter principally with Jesus (his way of being and of living); with God (in the option for the kingdom) and with human beings and their history (their aspirations, their frailty, their accomplishments). This is why, according to Dr. Juan, Mission must be an experience of the encounter with Jesus which is personal (I) and in the first person plural (Us) and only in this way we will be able to be and to do mission in the world.
But to be complete and according to this idea, Mr. Ambrosio also tells us that it is not the Church that has a mission, but rather the Mission has a Church, namely, Mission is concerned with everything and is everyone’s concern because it is not reserved only to some “professionals,” but rather to all who are baptized in Christ. Thus, Mission can be described with three principles, or better, the great tripod on which the entire Christian identity is based: Charism, proclamation of the Word; Liturgy, celebration of our faith, the Eucharist; Diaconía, namely living in charity, thuds forming Koinonía as the fiber connecting these three pillars forming the Tripod. This is why the Mission of the Church must reach all the peripheries always keeping as its objective the proclamation, the celebration and the charity as the fullness of its essence in order to be considered fully Christian.
After a morning of theory, fundamentally based on “I Am the Mission,” as the theme of the Days, we continued in the afternoon with a more practical and concrete exploration through some workshops titled: 1. Church and dialogue; 2. Mission and communion; 3. Mission at the margins; 4. Everyone and everything always in mission; 5. To be Mission; 6. To share the journey.
In the evening we had with us the Mission Band to give joy and spirit to the young with its moving and heartfelt music. During this first day we also had some missionary witness. We concluded the day with night prayers before everyone returned to their nests to rest before the next day.
On Sunday, being the last day, we had a round table discussion with various contributions on the topic, “What Church do we expect? In view of a more dedicated mission.”
And to close the Mission Days, we celebrated the Eucharist presided over by Bishop Manuel Quintas of Algarve. After Mass we had the missioning of some individuals who are about to go ad gentes and the conclusions of these Mission Days. Then came the good-byes and the departure of each one to their mission and daily life.
Este sitio web utiliza cookies para mejorar su experiencia. Si continúa navegando consideramos que acepta el uso de cookies, pero puede optar por lo contrario si lo desea.