That we may learn to promote and live a more human economy, which places at its centre the most fragile people and those in need of a welcome and assistance, and progressively eliminates the wide and growing inequalities that exist in the world. Let us pray.
Today our economy is threatened by the constant changes in the world, in fact, I can not explain what people think when they hear the phrase, THE NEW WORLD ORDER, all this makes people sometimes stop to help the disadvantaged in our present, others continue their lives as usual.
I am Beatriz Maldonado Sanchez, a Mexican who works in a school in Sahuayo, my city, where the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus arrived 70 years ago; at the moment I have a year that I am following the accounts of the international economy of the Comboni Lay Missionaries (CLM) movement, we have already been able to have a formation that helps us to have tools to generate the economic resources that we need in the CLM missionary project; but I still realize that nowadays the challenge is great, so I see that it is necessary to leave indifference to the situation and do simple things that make a difference in our economic reality.
As it was the case of the child Angel SUPPORTED me in the proposal to run a “CANDY STORE” for a month in the school where I work, to collect money and send it to the mission where the laity work; this is how we got 100 euros that we sent to the Central Committee so they can send to the group of Comboni Lay Missionaries who are in Mozambique and thus be able to support the activity of bringing food to the most disadvantaged.
Fortunately we also have people like Carmita Espinoza an Ecuadorian friend who knows our movement and she DONATED 20 euros for the international expenses that are generated, this is how we can join efforts when they are the work of different hands that contribute and their collaboration make that TODAY WE CAN BE COMMUNICATED, because they were placed in the international box that today is in crisis. So if you want to help in this project we invite you to get in touch from our official website or send a WhatsApp message to your servant at +52 5515 052 960, be part of this great construction for the Kingdom of God.
We can all give something that makes a difference and make history continue to be constructive in the face of challenging scenarios, all this is possible when you let yourself be conquered by the Love of God that can do anything.
Beatriz Maldonado, CLM Mexico
The hospitality and arrival in Kenya started on the 19th November’ 2022 welcomed by Fr. Maciej and Linda and CLM Kenya members. As a new international CLM from Uganda I was introduced to so many people and places in Nairobi…. Karibu Kenya.
Touring the Peace Center where many lives were lost due to terrorism…. Was a moment of reflection and meditation, finding grace and peace and God’s divine mercy. As we reflect on the world of today in war Ukraine vs Russia, war in Sudan, pandemics and our daily struggles with each other and our own selves.
I would like to start with gratitude to my CLM Uganda community and MCCJ Uganda for all the financial, spiritual and moral support accorded to me to be able to travel, survive the challenging environment of missionary experience… They sacrifice a little from their hard earnings to contribute to my up keep in Kitelakapel. They gather in the community house of Bugolobi Mbuya to share and assemble for meetings and prayers and recollections and formation of new members. They also meet in Luwero for seminars and workshops to refresh their faith and missionary work.
Gratitude also to Alberto and the Central and African committee and coordinating team for the trainings and formation programs and all the moral support given in the one year and encouragement in tough moments of fear and anxiety.
You have not chosen me; I have chosen you to go out and bear fruit that will last… Jn 15:16
My community in Kitelakapel…
We live three people in the community: Linda Micheletti from Italy, Marzena Gibek from Poland and Pius Oyoma from Uganda. We care and look up to each other. We are the first team to start the international community in Kitelakapel- Kenya. We often receive visitors from within and out of Kenya. We share together good moments of prayer and laughter. Our community organizes games for kids. We also do various training like Kiswahili langue, enneagram, formation programs, assemblies ad attend Mass and other festivals in the church. We travel to train and do youth retreats.
The Lord is loving and merciful, slow to anger and full of constant love…
We are teaching Life Skills in secondary schools of St. Paul’s Boys and St. Bakita Girls boarding school. Gratitude to our sponsors who have financially supported to meet the cost of reach out to the distant schools to train more than 800 students in 2022-2023 academic year as we seek to open doors to other schools in need of our services.
My work and mission… transforming lives…. touching lives…. inspiring… sowing practical talent… and skills
Let the children come to me…
Pastoral Activities with the small Christian communities… Jumuiya.
Another of our main activities consist in visiting families, praying for the sick and troubled families and connecting… being there… being with people, we do also meetings with YSC, Sunday School, Catechism, Bakhita Group, choir, TTI Group.
Kitelakapel is an outstation of Kacheliba Parish. It is still an area of first evangelization. There is a small church, built by the MCCJ, and a fathers’ house with a farming project. Not far from it, the MCCJ built a new house that has been allocated to us, in a large compound. Within the compound, on the left side of the CLM house, there’s a plan to build, in the future, a hospital, and on the right side a hall and pitches for the youth to play. The idea is to prepare for the possibility that one day this may become a parish on its own. It’s a very marginalized area, very dry, where people lack access to water and live mainly out of pastoralism. The Pokot in this area remain quite attached to their traditions, with low rates of school attendance and low school performances. As soon as we got here, we could immediately identify some basic needs, in terms of pastoral work, as there seems to be little involvement of the faithful into the running of church activities. The same catechist in charge is too busy to dedicate time to the Jumuiyas and teach catechism. Only recently have some women organized themselves into a small choir, while there are still gaps in the organization of church cleaning and provision of essential elements like candles and other accessories for the celebration of the Mass.
In terms of social aspects, there is an evident problem of alcohol addiction in the area, as well as drugs, disaggregated families, early pregnancies and early marriages (with consequent school droppings), but we are still in the process of understanding and discovering more about the social needs in this area.
Supporting the communities with ideas and programs to survive the tough economic times after the COVID pandemic and ongoing world wars is also part of my duties… SACCO it is a system to encourage savings and product development to create jobs and increase revenues and earnings of the group… I was appointed project coordinator for CLM Kenya.
I will bless the fruits of your hard work and multiply you… I will uphold you with my victorious right hand… nothing will ever separate you from my love.
Meeting our Bishop HENRY JUMA was the most exciting moment of my life and this feeling of faith and passion made enjoy every moment of his presence… Our parish priest, father Charles, a friendly and fatherly man and fathers from Kacheliba Parish and Amakuriat Parish… Comboni sisters and brothers and our lay missionaries of Kenya. Our provincial superior Fr. Andrew so welcoming and warm hearted and fatherly to everyone.
Fr. Philippe and Fr. Thomas our legends of west Pokot share with us good moments of the 50 years of Comboni in Kacheliba. Golden jubilee…
The moment I met you, my value increased and that’s how much valuable you are to me…
The youth… young …the energy and the magic.
Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God so that he will lift you up in his own time. Leave all your worries with him for he cares for you…
God is my creator and my redeemer and he loves me dearly… Shukurani…
Pius Oyoma, CLM in Kenya
PODCAST 2 – BEGINNING WITH SONG “Essa Luta è Nossa Essa Luta è do pouvo…”
Hi, we are Anna and Gabriel, and this is Ciranda, the podcast about our mission experience in Brazil. In which we try to bring you into the everyday life experiences and choices of those who live in this part of the world.
Edvar Dantas Cardeal lives in a small village, on the outskirts of Açailândia, in the hinterland of Maranhão. Unfortunately, he still does not own his history, because he lives where no one would want to live. When he arrived in Piquiá, he really liked the name of the place, an homage to one of the region’s largest trees with delicious fruit, The Piqui.
The community of Piquiá de Baixo (so called because it is located in the area lower than the next neighborhood) was created in the 1970s, when this part of the region was still called “the gates of the amazonia,” rich in vegetation. People planted and fished from the river that kissed the banks of the community. It was a little paradise in the memories of the inhabitants.
Then in the 1980s, the “development” came, which even changed the name of the village to “Pequiá,” an acronym for “PetroQuímico Açailândia.” Açailândia itself, or “Açaí City,” another tasty fruit typical of the region, has lost the meaning of its name, where progress and respect for life cannot coexist.
Next to Edvar’s house were installed 14 steel furnaces, a thermal power plant, and, to top it off, a steel mill. The people of Piquiá did not even know what a steel plant was and what this would mean for their health, their lives, and that they would become little more than gears in this industrial machine. Companies came with manifestos of jobs, jobs for all, but the intent was always and only to settle there making the most at the least possible price, deceiving the community and destroying the way of life of those families.
It is 2005, Edvar heads to the small house of the Piquiá di Baixo inhabitants’ association of which he is a member, it might seem like just another day but perhaps he does not know that from that day began the real struggle and resistance of his community! He was tired of seeing iron dust fall from the sky and settle on every surface he finds. He sees friends and relatives increasingly starting to get sick, strong respiratory complications, skin infections, constant headaches, intestinal problems, exhaustion…his much-loved village was falling apart more and more.
Edvar waited 60 days before he was able to pick up a pen and a blank sheet of paper, he does not know how to start writing this letter, how to use the best words to tell about his community, but he knows for sure to whom it will be directed: To President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva!
Soon after time, the response arrived, with directions pointing to routes and public bodies that the community should seek out. The people of Piquiá soon realized that alone, though many, they would not be able to fight against a boulder the size of a steel mill, so little by little they managed to weave around them a strong network of allies, who took the community’s grievances and demands to international institutions, such as the UN. Thus the struggle that was started by Edvar became everyone’s, the community of Comboni Fathers and the associations that over time joined in this great resistance.
Of all the mobilizations carried out by the community over the years, some were very notable, such as the one that took place in December 2011, when hundreds of residents marched and blocked the super road that connects Açailândia to São Luís. The blockade lasted longer than 4 hours in a prolonged protest with burning tires. Another noteworthy protest was the one that forced the Steel mills to pay for expropriation, when residents made a real cooperative effort and, divided into shifts, closed the entrance and exit gates of the industries for 30 hours.
“We must do the possible in the impossible” was what Edvar repeated to his people in Piquiá, and this struggle, of all people, paid off. Through all this mobilization, the approval of the urban project for the new neighborhood was obtained on December 31, 2015. Due to bureaucracy, which is one of the tools of oppression of the poor, the resources to start the work were not made available until November 2018, when work began on a new Neighborhood: “PIQUIA DA CONQUISTA!
Edvar Dantas Cardeal died on January 23, 2020, a victim of the same disease he was fighting. His lungs were contaminated with iron dust, and his struggle ended after more than a month in the intensive care unit, due to respiratory failure and other complications.
Edvar Dantas, who started this struggle, will never see its end, but his ideas and hope live on in the new people of Piquiá da Comquista!
The struggle, therefore, is still ongoing and its outcome is open to debate.
The community’s achievements have been significant, especially considering the disproportion in scale between the local community and the national/global industry. Perhaps this is why the claims of the Piquiá de Baixo Community transcend the local struggle and become a larger banner that exposes the other side of development agendas. At the same time that it reaches international levels (such as the UN), this struggle takes place on the ground of the community, in direct human relations, as so well expressed in the letter that Mr. Edvard wrote to his nephew Moisés: The beauty of this battle is that we do not get tired, and when there is a defeat we react with more enthusiasm and conviction: it is very clear that we are victims, there is an obvious injustice! The law cannot be wrong: we will be compensated! Sometimes even grandparents delude themselves and dream like an inexperienced young person…. After all, it is hope that sustains us. But I learned, Moses, that hope is a child who needs two older sisters: patience and wisdom.
“ONE DAY, YOU NEW GENERATIONS, WILL TELL THIS STORY IN THE NEW NEIGHBORHOOD: PIQUIA DA CONQUISTA!”
This is the ciranda song; it is danced in a circle, each member hugging his or her neighbors and moving to the rhythm by stamping their feet loudly. This song is a dance related to the Brazilian folk tradition.
YOURS EDVAR DANTAS, PRESENT!
Anna and Gabrielle, CLM in Brazil
Last Saturday we were able to enjoy a formation on Comboni Missionary Spirituality given by the Comboni Missionary, Fr. Vittorio Moretto.
A formation that goes through the central aspects of this missionary spirituality and gives us clues on how to live our missionary vocation as Comboni Lay Missionaries.
We encourage you to watch it in community.
The session is recorded in Spanish.