Comboni Lay Missionaries

CLM-Feast in the Mission Promotion House Nuremberg

CLM Germany
CLM Germany

One year after the general assembly in Rome and the greetings of Pope Francis we celebrated with the Comboni-Family the Comboni Lay Missionaries movement day together with volunteers in the global south and north, who decided to be inspired by Saint Daniel Comboni, strengthened by a movement of lay Christians and lifelong dedicated to spread the good news of the Gospel.

We started with a World-Cafe with statements from Pope Francis about mission today, mission in shrinking communities, mission in post-colonial Europe and in times of global climate change. Those arriving had the opportunity to comment on selected statements at several tables. The idea was to exchange ideas in several small groups at parallel tables.

Afterwards, a short video of the Pope’s greeting in Rome in December 2018 (compiled by Christina from Brazil) and the greeting of the Central Committee of the Comboni Lay Missionaries were read out partly as an introduction to the feast. It dealt with the reading of the third Advent and the joy with which the gospel is to be proclaimed as well as the growing together of the CLM nationally and internationally. The new international logo of the Comboni Lay Missionaries was presented. This was the result of a cooperative process last year and was selected from several proposals.

CLM Logo

The word service was initiated by a “search order”. Those present were invited to collect various objects during a walk, from which a crib should then be designed. Thus, the current times and the past were brought together as well as aspects of global integration and injustice, pollution and mission today. The two MaZ-in-service, the returning MaZler *, the CLM international and the numerous Comboni friends, who had responded to the invitation but unfortunately could not be there, were included in the prayers.

The feast continued in the dining and living room. A “shepherd’s meal” was prepared there. This again illustrated the upcoming Christmas. Thanks to many helping hands, there was a delicious, social get-together, rounded off with cake and children’s Christmas punch (as two families brought their four children as well). During the evening and the following day, congratulations and pictures came from CLM celebrations in Mexico, Kenya, Guatemala, Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Italy and from Rome were shared live via WhatsApp while the feast.

CLM Germany

CLM, Germany

Today is a joyful day!

Asamblea LMC
Logo LMC

“The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 1)

Today is a joyful day!

It’s Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is Latin word for rejoice, and on this Sunday we are called to pause our Advent in order to recall the joy and anticipation of the Promised Redemption. In the first antiphon of today’s Mass we could hear “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4, 4). These words should accompany us every moment, in every situation, even if sometimes it is not that easy.

And for us as CLM is also another reason to rejoice today. Last year on the international CLM assembly in Rome it was decided that 3rd Sunday of Advent will be our feast, when we can gather also with other members of Comboni Family and celebrate together.

Asamblea LMC

This day can be very inspiring for us as missionaries. In Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” we could read a lot about how the joy and mission are connected.

First of all we have to remember about the source of joy. The real Christian joy is different from the one which offers the world. It comes only from the personal encounter with Jesus Christ, which has to be renewed unfailingly every day. God’s presence in our lives and His unconditional love strengthens this joy. Christians has to be people filled with joy and radiating it. We cannot keep this joy just for ourselves. We are called to share it with others, that it could reach everyone, especially those poorest and most abandoned ones who might haven’t experience many good things in their lives. This is the base of the mission in every place where we are.

Asamblea LMC

In the homily for the beginning of the Extraordinary Mission Month Pope Francis said beautiful words regarding this topic. Maybe some of them heard them already, but still it’s good to read it again and think about it more: “Can we, who have discovered that we are children of the heavenly Father, keep silent about the joy of being loved, the certainty of being ever precious in God’s eyes? That is a message that so many people are waiting to hear. And it is our responsibility. Let us ask ourselves: how good a witness am I?

We sin by omission, that is, against mission, whenever, rather than spreading joy, we think of ourselves as victims, or think that no one loves us or understands us. We sin against mission when we yield to resignation: “I can’t do this: I’m not up to it”. How can that be? God has given you talents, yet you think yourself so poor that you cannot enrich a single person? We sin against mission when we complain and keep saying that everything is going from bad to worse, in the world and in the Church. We sin against mission when we become slaves to the fears that immobilize us when we let ourselves be paralyzed by thinking that “things will never change”. We sin against mission when we live life as a burden and not as a gift when we put ourselves and our concerns at the center and not our brothers and sisters who are waiting to be loved.”

Asamblea LMC

Today is a beautiful day for celebration united with all other CLM all over the world. But it is also a good day to reflect personally and share in the groups:

  • What type of person am I? One who looks like I came back from a funeral? Or one whose life glows with fervor because I received the joy of Christ?
  • How is God inviting me to return to the source of my joy?
  • How am I nurturing the source of my joy, my relationship with Jesus?
  • Am I living my day-to-day life in a way that allows the goodness of the Gospel to spread to others?

As we reflect on these questions, let us keep in mind that a sure sign that the Gospel is being proclaimed and bearing fruit is if joy is present (Evangelii Gaudium #21). May all of our ministry be full of the joy of the Gospel that is rooted in our own personal encounters with Jesus.

Asamblea LMC

Formation Extraordinary Missionary Month 2019

Tema MME

As we know Pope Francis has called for an extraordinary missionary month in October 2019, in order to further awaken the missionary consciousness of the missio ad gentes and to resume the missionary transformation of life and pastoral with a new impulse.

One of the key proposals of this month should be training. That is why we offer you this little theme that can be used in youth and adult groups, in religion classes, confirmation groups, community formation and even as a personal reflection (although always better in community).

Therefore we will start from the letter of convocation of Pope Francis, from the letter Maximun Illud that Pope Benedict XV wrote (which we recommend reading or having next to consult) and whose centenary celebration causes the convocation of this extraordinary missionary month. We will also be accompanied by the writings and life of a missionary like Saint Daniel Comboni; His life together with that of other missionaries would inspire this letter and hopefully it will also help us and inspire each of us in our communities to be missionaries today.

Lent recollection from Uganda

Retiro cuaresma Uganda
Retiro cuaresma Uganda

We send our sincere greetings to you all from Uganda. We had our Lenten recollection on last Saturday 2nd March 2019 facilitated by Fr. Anthony Kibira MCCJ the Vice Provincial Superior of Uganda. In attendance we had all the religious Communities of; MCCJ Community, Comboni Missionary Sisters, Sacred Heart Sisters International, Missionary Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church, Evangelizing Sisters of Mary, Female Focolare Community and the Host Comboni Lay Missionaries. It was a very colourful moment to sit down as an Apostolic Community of Mbuya Parish to prepare us for the Lenten Period 2019.

Fr. Anthony chose the theme of the recollection as “Growing in Love” not only during this Lenten period but throughout our lives and deeds. He said growing in love is not an easy journey but allowing God’s love to grow in us is the best way. This he said requires us to let ourselves to allow love to be sown and grow in us.

In his talk he came up with obstacles that do not allow the love of God to grow in us manifested in very many ways;

Lack of openness to God and one another in which he emphasized unless we learn to be open to God for our mistakes we have done to him and other people, it will be very hard for love to grow in us. This lack of openness can also be associated with un-repented sins that we have deliberately failed to confess.

Prejudices we practice knowingly or unknowingly in our communities with items we use daily; my chair, cup, i.e. personalize everything and I am the only one using it, my parents told me I will never make it in life which is directly seeing your own image in the view of what people say about you…this is purely Pride. He emphasized that for love of God to grow in us, we must be very humble to avoid pride by accepting ourselves as human beings bound to sin and make mistakes but not like God.

He also pointed fear of change to be another obstacle affecting the love of God to grow in us. Many people associate newness to uncertainty in life looking at it in human eyes since we have been in our comfort zones before. Change of this is interfering with our comfort zones and we resist it at all means. He advised us not to resist any change in our lives and said Love does not force to grow in any one.

He also identified another obstacle to love of as being taken up by fashions of the day which are new according to the current enthusiastic of the day and yet the world always favours superficiality which is not the root of our spirituality. We need to take time and analyze our life concerning material things which may be affecting our spiritual growth.

He also pointed out that we are always crowded with so many interests that make us to be too busy to allow the seed of Love to grow in us. He stressed that we need some space for us to grow better by letting some interests in our life to go away and let our heart to be open to allow love to grow in our heart/life. Allow the right image of God to be in your life other than viewing God as a commander who is dangerous to judge us. He also said this is brought about by sin that makes the good image of God distorted and that threatens us to go back to him with Love with repentant heart. He tasked us to always ask; who is God in my life? He said let us allow God to let to do what he deserves to be done in us. He pointed some fruits of love of God in a person;

  • Ability to give one’s life by sacrificing oneself, something to live for others
  • Willingness to bring one’s burden to the Lord at all times whenever the burdens come to one’s life to the foot of the cross

He said Jesus did not only die for our sins and so we need to participate in the process of our salvation which always comes at a cost but not free. Fr. Anthony said we need to carry our daily cross with love which will eventually let us be infected with the spirit of love for all unconditionally.

He also pointed some of our past obstacles as all that caused us a very great hurt in the past to love God and one another i.e. our past wounds. He said some apostles followed Jesus up to the time he was arrested but fled after he was tortured, thereby leaving our Lord Jesus lonely in the company of Mother Mary and some few of the apostles. Has our past wounds caused us to abandoned the will of God to be done in us thereby making Jesus to feel fresh pains up to now? He challenged us to descend to all our past wounds, address the wounds to dress the wounds with the Love of God. Fr. Anthony said these wounds are always hidden and are out great treasures to the love of God if addressed well.

How to overcome these obstacles to the love of God;

  • Journey with the Lord all the time and have someone to show your wounds in private in the spirit of fraternity life in our different communities and places of work. He said Jesus did not heal people in public but in private.
  • He said we need to create these 40 days of Lent to be like Jesus; praying, fasting and giving alms to all. This should make us come out of the 40 days of the Lent to be matured in our individual spirits and emotions.
  • He said we need to be aware of procrastination during this Lenten period of not postponing fasting but run the race with our Master Jesus in fighting our temptations.
  • He said we need to use these 40 days of lent to identify our weakness which are our areas of growth as pointed by St. Paul in 2 Cor. 12:1-10. He said let our weakness not be obstacles to the love of God but to let God enter into our hearts. This can be possible if we can boldly speak of our weakness to our Spiritual Directors, our very close friends and other people no matter what it may be. This is the first process of healing our past wounds. We need to surrender all these weaknesses to Jesus under the foot of the cross by allowing God to work in our weaknesses.

In his ending remarks he talked about the homily of a Bishop during the ordination of some priests which is currently circulated in social media with 3 very important questions which is applicable to us as Comboni Lay Missionaries and other religious communities and Lay Christians. The Bishop asked the following questions which for our case we need to answer deep in our hearts, insert yourself in the place of the Priest;

  • Are they weak enough to become Priests? It’s only a weak Priest who can make a weak person to come of his/her weakness. This requires spirit of humility
  • Are they broken enough to become Priests? It’s only a holistically broken Priest who can help a broken Christian to overcome his/her brokenness and allow the love of God to grow in his/her heart. This does not need Pride in one’s life.
  • Are they afraid enough to be Priests? It’s only a Priest who is afraid of sin that can let Christians live the life he preaches and preaches what he lives, actions speak louder than words

With these allow us to wish you all a fruitful Lenten Period as we evaluate our life in the past one year to allow God to correct our short comings so that his love grows in our life in all that we do. St. Daniel Comboni says the works of salvation are born under the foot of Calvary (Cross).

Comboni Lay Missionaries Uganda