Comboni Lay Missionaries

My road to CLM community

Bartek LMC Polonia
Bartek LMC Polonia

I grew up in a Catholic family and I believe in God since I remember. My faith started changing in high school – I have created my own morality, going to church became just a habit and prayer was no longer important.

Then I started studies in Cracow and I felt very lonely in such a big city. This led me to the academic chaplaincy. We had a wonderful priest, who trusted us and gave us responsibility. I quickly got involved – I was leading formation meetings, organizing bicycle pilgrimages, trips to the mountains. During one of the prayers the Lord came to me Himself and changed my heart. I felt the presence of the Holly Spirit and the urge to change my life according to His will.

Because of my community, I have also got to know the Noble Package, where I was a volunteer for many years, and I have found combonians. Once, someone wrote an e-mail about the Lenten retreat led by Comboni Missionaries at Skośna Street. I decided to come and I discovered the close side of the Church. Direct contact with fathers, individual adoration of the Lord during the night, songs in Swahili, prayer with the Word of God, Jesus presented as an African child, a time to share reflections during the Holy Mass… It was all new and delightful. It truly felt that I was a part of the Church.

With time, I started going to the meetings of candidates for the Combonian Lay Missionary Movement, I went on a missionary experience to Gulu in Uganda, where, during intercessory prayer, God opened my heart even more to His Love.

The Lord Jesus effectively leads me by the hand. I can see that all the breakthroughs in my life so far are the result of His tender and gentle touch, which guides a person on the right path. Now I feel He wants me to go on a two-year missionary trip. Lord Jesus, You know everything. I’m yours. Lead, I will follow!

Bartek Tumiłowicz, CLM Poland

Research Report: Carajás Dossier, Corruption and carelessness

tren

Divided into four chapters, the first episode shows some of the impacts that one of the largest freight trains in the world leaves in the 28 cities and more than 100 towns it passes through. The large research report reveals how the wealth of mining contrasts with the misery and suffering of the residents of the Carajás railroad, how the lack of pedestrian bridges exposes residents to routine accidents at crossings, and how corruption scandals drain the public coffers of municipalities cut off by the CFE.

train

In this report we can see the reality of the communities affected by the problems of mining in the northeast of Brazil where the Comboni Family accompanies the communities. Our CLM community has been present for more than 25 years.

We leave this video (in Portuguese) from the Justice of the Roads channel of JnT*

* Justiça nos Trilhos works to strengthen communities in the Carajás Corridor in North Eastern Amazonian Brazil and denounce violations of human and environmental rights, holding the state and corporations accountable and preventing new human rights violations.

1300 days of…

LMC RCA

…FRAGILITY

LMC RCA

The parish of Saint George in Mongoumba runs a small dispensary to help the structural deficiencies of the Central African health system and the non-existence of the welfare state. Here the Comboni Lay Missionaries carry out the service of welcoming life, “to make common cause with the most abandoned”, “to embrace the whole human family…, to hold in our arms and give the kiss of peace and love to our unhappy brothers and sisters”, would say St. Daniel Comboni. Newborns, children of all ages, young people, mothers, fathers, elderly people, find in the small dispensary a point of reference, a home more than a hospital, where they can be recognized as human beings, listened to in their pain, cared for in their suffering. Every day, day and night, at all hours, we met the mystery of our human fragility, we experienced human limitations and we returned to the great existential question: “Where is God in suffering and pain, when we need Him most??”. Even doing the best of our abilities and possibilities, sometimes, not to say often, we lost the battle with life, we had to surrender to the awareness that we were not omnipotent. There is a human limit that we cannot overcome, we are fragile, however… faith remains… in other, Other with a capital O, and when we touch the bitterness of defeat only tears and prayers to God, Father of all humanity, remain…

…BROTHERHOOD

LMC RCA

St. George’s Parish in Mongoumba runs a school to support the Central African educational system, which is cancelled every time war breaks out, in order to guarantee a minimum of education for the new generations. St. Daniel Comboni writes: “…I think it is more useful to invoke the action of the missionaries for the education of the young blacks of both sexes in various institutes… this education must aim to prepare in the pupils to become the future apostles…”. As a Comboni Lay Missionary, I have tried to transform the school into a small oratory, especially the one in Ndobo, 5 km from the center, near the pygmy camps. The oratory is a house of regeneration, a space of brotherhood, even without having mega-structures, and mixing school lessons with dances, manual workshops, games, music, the school of Ndobo, a small red brick building surrounded by forest, had become a place of social promotion, human growth and evangelization. The transformation in oratory style worked, “…the Plan works…”, being present every day, and almost all day long, working on time and not on space, created relationships and bonds, we became a big family, we all became brothers and sisters, and we were able to talk about Jesus, our Brother, and to witness God, Father of all humanity: “an infinite myriad of brothers and sisters belonging to our same family, having a common Father up in heaven” …

…FRAGRANCE

LMC RCA

The day began early: 5.30 am wake up, just enough time to wash my face, have breakfast and then I leave, at 6.30 am already out of the house on the road to Ndobo, on foot, with the backpack, the radio for dancing, the football bag, frequently with the computer to watch movies, on Monday with the box of clean aprons to start the week. While people were having breakfast on the side of the road, before going to work in their fields, I walked through the village and after about 50 minutes, I arrived at the school and we started the day by playing ball, dancing and jumping with the music blaring, blasting through the forest. If during the week I went to see the children, on Sunday they would take the opposite route, they would come to the parish; and if it rained, they would arrive all muddy, soaking wet and shivering with cold. We had time to wash our hands, faces and feet, to put on clean shirts and shorts, to receive from Cristina (CLM from Portugal) talcum powder and a splash of perfume, and off we ran to church, leaving behind us a trail that spread through the air. After Mass, we had breakfast together with hot milk, cocoa and cookies, the place was filled with the sweet aroma of chocolate, then we continued with music, dancing and games: “it was an attempt to find a probable way in order to begin a measure of regeneration” would say St. Daniel Comboni, it was our look of closeness and proximity to make present the joyful and tasty fragrance of Jesus, our Brother, and of God, the Father of all humanity…

Simone Parimbelli, CLM Mongoumba (CAR)