Comboni Lay Missionaries

Message on the Occasion of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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To be formed is to be configured to the Heart of Jesus the Good Shepherd

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“What is your name?… Go to your home and family and announce to them what the Lord has done for you and the mercy he has shown you”.  (Mark 5,9 ff)

“In the mystery of the Heart of Christ, the missionary contemplates, in their fullest expression, Christ’s innermost attitudes and makes them his own: his unconditional giving of himself to the Father, his all-embracing love for the world and his involvement in human suffering and poverty” (RV 3.2)

“Formation must, as a priority, concern itself with interior motivations and educate towards facing, with creativity, competence and flexibility, the challenges emerging from new situations” (Ratio Fundamentalis 113)

Dear Confreres,

In communion with all humanity, this year we are celebrating the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the extraordinary context of the COVID-19 pandemic that is still causing so much that is tragic and sorrowful all over the world. With confidence in God, we address an invitation to the whole Institute to contemplate the Heart of Jesus while opening our hearts to the mystery of his love so that this mystery may touch us deeply, free us from all the forces that keep us imprisoned and isolated and may help us to be faithful to our consecration and our mission.

As missionary disciples we enter the school of the Heart of Jesus who, in his humanity, reveals to us the Heart of God – the Heart of the Good Shepherd who goes out, approaches the poor, the suffering and the marginalised, inviting them to emerge from their isolation and their incommunicability, prepared for communication and a quality encounter with God, with others and creation. It is about participating in that love that always communicates itself, and that, if it is received by the beloved, always gives life, brings about growth and educates in the sense of the Latin word educere, which means bringing out what is best in the human being.

It’s important to remember that this encounter with Christ sets in motion a process of conversion, of formation and transformation, or better still, of “Christification” that lasts a lifetime and must touch the heart. The content of our initial and ongoing formation consists of the holiness and transformation of the person into Jesus Christ according to the dual complementary orientation of the sequela and imitatio Christi. Therefore, to be converted into another Christ is for us a privilege granted us by God’s mercy and grace and, at the same time, a responsibility that commits us to the coherence of life with the pressing and incessant question: “What would Christ and Comboni have done in this same historical situation of mine?“.

It is Christ who, with his merciful heart, takes the initiative of asking each one of us What is your name?”,as he did of the possessed man referred to in the passage above.Toknow a person’s name, according to the Hebrew mind, means entering into the depths of his personal life. This question shows his interest in us as people loved by God and helps us, on the one hand, to reinterpret what is within and around us so as to discover where our hearts lie, who we really are and, on the other, shows us the Heart of Christ full of love, compassion acceptance and tenderness.

As Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus, both in our initial and ongoing formation, it remains the commitment of the person and of the Institute to cultivate, deepen and contextualise our spirituality of the Heart of Jesus so that our whole life may increasingly adhere to the “programme” contained in our name.

It is Christ who, with his welcoming heart, shows his full trust in others, no matter what their situation, values them and restores them to their communities, to their homes, symbols of places of hope, of cordiality and human warmth. Life is made up of quality communications and relations. Saint Daniel Comboni speaks of the Institute “as a Cenacle of Apostles, a centre of light sending out so many rays that shine, giving warmth and revealing together the nature of the Centre from whom they emanate” (cf. Writings: 2648). Our hope is that the Heart of Jesus may truly be a Centre of communication among all the confreres and that we may make of fraternal communication an instrument for building bridges, to unite us and share the beauty of being brothers in mission, in an epoch marked by contrasts, division and indifference.

Lastly, as we reflect this year on the theme of ministeriality in the Institute, let us pray that the contemplation of the Heart of Christ may help us to live the mission, not superficially as a role to be filled but as a service to the Kingdom of God and an expression of a process of kenosis and decentralization. We wish you all a Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart!

The General Secretary of Formation and the MCCJ General Council.

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

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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.