Comboni Lay Missionaries

Missioning Mass for the CLM Carolina Fiúza

Carolina
Carolina

My dear friends,

My heart is full and grateful for all the blessings and love I received on May 12, when in my parish – St. Eufemia – my missioning was celebrated… not only the ceremony itself, but the entire day and the mission promotion were full of sharing and missionary fraternity.

My thanks to all for being together in prayer. I feel fortunate… for belonging to you as family and for the many friends who fully love me. Thank you! For those who could not be present at the Eucharist, I share what I said to all.

Animacion Misionera

My dear Heavenly Father,

This is the prayer of your much-loved daughter, Carolina de Jesus Fiúza, who with the strength of this community is sent for two years to the people of Ethiopia.

From quite sometime your invitation has resonated within me saying:

“Go deeper at sea and throw your net to fish. Do not be afraid” come with me, you will fish people! Come, follow me!”

I thank you for this invitation and with great joy, like Mary, I say YES! May it be done to me according to your word!

To you my greatest THANKS for this Yes is the fruit of a mutual relationship. To You I repeat my THANKS for not giving up on me and for trusting in me. To you I give thanks for all these people who are here physically and spiritually. To You I give thanks for the thousand lives that, very often, without knowing, are a thousand lives for mission, just like Comboni was asking: a thousand lives for mission. I thank You for the courage and the strength that give to my Yes the confidence they place in me.

To you and to these people I give thanks and promise: promise to make mistakes and fail. Such is the human condition! But, I promise to always improve, learn, listen, keep silent, accept, understand, share what I am, accept what I am… and, above all, TO LOVE. I promise to give myself totally to the Ethiopian people and do what I can, with what I have, wherever I am.

I look at myself and see how small I am. But with my limitations, with what I have in my bag, I wish to give myself to you and go to the poorest and most abandoned, inspired by St. Daniel Comboni. I trust in the fact that you do not choose the able ones, but that you enable those you choose. Thus I trust that you will give me the ability to love this marvelous people of Ethiopia, where you reside since forever.

At times many do not understand why I choose to leave for the missions. I understand and accept their lack of understanding. And I appreciate the support which, even in a conditional form, they give me. Just like my dear father says, “Good can be done anywhere!” And it is not a lie…in fact, You Heavenly Father, You who are one Body, but with many members and with each member having its function, You call us all to be missionaries, in different ways. Today and to me the call is to go, to be the grain of wheat tat dies in the ground in order to bear fruit. And this isa mystery. Just like the mystery of the most beloved Son who died on the cross. Just like him, I too give my Yes ready to have the mission be born and grow at the foot of the cross. O My Father, will we ever be able to understand this mystery of the death of Jesus on the cross. Perhaps, no. In the same way, my Yes may not be understood by others. This is a mystery as well. Even for me the mission entrusted to me is a mystery. But I say Yes anyway. I do it with confidence because I know that never, never will you abandon me.

O my God, You know the GRATITUTE I have for many people. Without mentioning all of them, I especially am grateful to my family, who has agreed, who gave me missionary genes!

I thank you for the life of my parents, Edite and Manuel Fiúza, who gave me an education the best way they knew how. Without them, my life, my values, my gifts… all that I am, it would never have been possible. Many thanks for your life and the fruit of your creation, myself, the gift I am and which I want to bear fruit. I am grateful because it gives it the capacity of supporting me and loving me unconditionally, even without understanding my decision. I ask You to protect them, to look after them always, and give them always the strength to fight for life, just as they taught me to do.

I thank you for the life of my fiancé, Hélder Neves, who has supported me from the beginning and given me strength in times of serious doubts. I thank you for the love that binds us and can only come from you. I know that this Yes is not only mine, but from both of us. He too accepts of living the mission with me. And we accept this mission in great confidence. I ask you to protect him always, keeping him in your arms. And what you have joined, our mutual love, we will never dare to separate or damage. Gives the confidence and the trust to remain forever one!

I thank you for the life of all the parishioners of my “land, my beautiful land,” this beautiful St. Eufemia. This land that saw me grow and sustained me in life and in Christian faith. To the catechists, choir members, priests I met here (already 3 of them) and many people I see today, I wish the best… I am grateful for the life of each of you. Special thanks to Fr. Nuno Gil, whose joviality and strength to reach us all does not leave me indifferent. I pray that you continue to give him strength to continue leading the Kingdom here on Earth.

And finally, knowing that I could thank many more people, I thank you for the Comboni Family. I thank you for being the lighting this journey where I search for you daily and with love more and more. I thank you for the example given by each one of a life inspired by St. Daniel Comboni making it possible to understand more and more my missionary vocation. I truly thank them because the mission in Ethiopia trusts in me, And I ask that I may always be the best as a CLM.

O my God, you know that I take you within me more than anything. You know how much it hurts to leave the love I have here. But you also know how happy I am, because even where I go, love expects me there. I go to meet love, following in the footsteps of the one who sends me.

We well know that it is never a good-bye, but always a see-you-again.

See you again, my community. Never be afraid to say Yes, because God, a merciful Father, will never abandon us. I leave you a souvenir: a typical Ethiopian cross (sent to you by a Comboni Missionary Sister in Ethiopia) to help us remember that we all part of one cross, the cross of Christ. Pray for me and for the people and mission of Ethiopia. Be assure that we, too, will pray for you.

Carolina Fiúza CLM

PRAYER

Jesús

Yesterday our brother Eric Ezati (Ugandan CLM) pass away. We leave here the last post he sent us from Uganda with a single “Check of this can help anyone”.

Jesús

Greetings to you all from Uganda the pearl of Africa. Hopefully all is going on well. As you all know currently we are coming to the final stages of our Formation of the three Candidates who God willingly will take place on 12th May 2019.

We had an input about prayer from Fr. Sylvester MCCJ the former Provincial Superior of Uganda who took us through this topic about prayers that I feel we need to share with you all. A lot has been said about prayer and every day we hear about prayer and we are still continue to read about prayers including reading the Spiritual books, prayer books, consulting our Spiritual Directors, we have spiritual retreats and many other sources of spiritual nourishment to improve on our prayer life. Despite all these we feel dry and we imagine that we do not pray well and ask our friends, colleagues and many other people to pray for us. Here we shall share with you what Fr. Sylvester took us through. Hope this information can help us to improve in our prayer life.

He said that prayer is our greatest encounter with God. This encounter can be challenging to understand as the different encounters we meet daily may reflect otherwise of what we intent to do. He brought out this well when he said in life, being religious does not mean you do not follow life in the normal way like any other ordinary people. This is exactly what we hear in the book of Ecclesiastes 3: 1-12 that very clearly explains this in our routine scriptural readings from the Holy Bible. All this should make us to know and understand that our different Apostolate we are involved in is possible because of God but not our own personal and human effort like many times we believe. Our Apostolate depends on what moves in our mind in the whole day, he challenged us that the first person you have in your mind when you wake up in the morning and the last person you will think about before sleeping at night can be a source of your joy or pain. This means if God is not the first person in your mind in the morning and the last in your mind in the evening, it means we still need a lot to work in our daily prayer life. At the end of all these daily routine activities that we do fail, prayer should be the answer and therefore prayer should be our daily vitamin to supplement us in our life activities to be in the right direction towards the Divine being we all want to see face to face one day at the end of our life on this world. We should therefore thirst for God through all our life as Psalm 62(63) says it all. He challenged us to digest this wonderful prayer in our life and achieve this longing for God through prayer in our daily life. He said God can never put our calls on hold, or put them busy no matter what time of the day or night we call to God, he said there is direct phone line to God that does not need Airtime, or phone battery or network congestion like we experience in all our days. He said God is so direct with us unlike human beings whose positive response will depend on the relationship we have with the person who calls us for help. We need to know that God comes to us and talks to us in every way of our life, which can be direct or indirect many times.

Fr. Sylvester challenges us by asking what legacy we are going to leave as an individual when we will die? He also asks us that what our first priority as an individual when we start and end our day? And where does prayer stand in our life? He said that many activities we do including prayer are mostly routine with no deep attachment from our heart and soul which is not good for a good prayerful life. We need a very deep relation like Psalm 62(63) for God to easily take root in our life. There should be new things brought to our life by prayer life and what are these new things that can daily come to our life as a result of prayer life? This point he made us to understand better by asking us to explain the relationship between our two eyes; they blink together, move together, cry together, see together but they never see each other. He said this should be the type of prayer with God in our daily hour but not to leave God in the Church or by the bed side and go back to him when we retire to bed. He said our relationship with God should be like the relationship between a blind wife and a deaf Husband. Above all Fr. Sylvester said that there can be no good prayer life without faith and this prayer life develops through experience we go through with the faith we have in God, which can be either positive or negative in our daily life. He said faith is very central in our experience of prayer and he said if we cannot prove, then we should believe like our Father in Faith Abraham Genesis Chapter 12 and the following. Abraham believed against hope as he had no child but accepted to be the Father of very many descendants.

Therefore, prayer means many things to many people. Allow me to share with you the exact words from his power point presentations which we should endevour to live in our daily lives as CLM, (start of slides):

Varied methods comprise the content of prayer: reciting the psalms alone or with others,

Pondering on the Scripture passages or other sacred texts,

Using repetition such as a word or phrase in centering meditation,

Praying the rosary,

Carrying on a conversation with God,

Walking meditatively,

Enjoying the beauty and wonder of nature,

Using the written prayers of others,

Journaling one’s own reflection and prayer,

Sitting in solitude and contemplation

Joining others for Eucharistic liturgy or participating in other sacramental celebrations,

Reading spiritually oriented books that help one pause to ponder and draw inspiration for communion with God.

And emergency prayer which consists of just one loudly spoken word” HELP”.

Body prayer

Breath prayer, etc.

To pray is to enter into a relationship with God and to have that relationship makes a difference in my life.

A bond is created with someone and that someone is God. Our Source of life continually binds each of us into a loving union. This process of prayer unfolds in a way similar to Jesus inviting his disciples to follow him into deeper friendship, a closeness that did not develop instantly. Prayer is a kind of companionship that develops step by step, as we are drawn into an expanding oneness of love.

Prayer is not only about entering into a relationship with God; it is also about being changed

Healthy prayer strengthens our bond with the Creator and also transforms us.

Where do you stay?

This was the way the disciples expressed their desire to know more about who Jesus was. He answered “come and see” Jn 1: 35 – 42. How often do we ask and come to seek Jesus where he stays in our daily endevours or we look for him on Sundays only?

Prayer is a realization that God has found us. It is allowing God to reach into us, to come alive in us. It respects God’s desire for intimacy and closeness.

Prayer is a realization that God has found us. It is allowing God to reach into us, to come alive in us. It respects God’s desire for intimacy and closeness.

Prayer is a realization that God has found us. It is allowing God to reach into us, to come alive in us. It respects God’s desire for intimacy and closeness.

Francis literally, could go out of his mind for God in a wonderful manner…”IIC 178. II C 95 capsulizes Francis’ entire purpose in life” “All his attention and affection he directed with his whole being to the one thing which he was asking of the Lord, not so much praying as becoming himself a prayer.” This is something we can learn to put prayer in our life all the days we are living and breathing in this world.

                     Prayer above all is falling in Love with God

In human love the following happens:

In everyday life, “falling in love” doesn’t need much “practical help for getting started.” It seems to just happen. Falling in love seems easy.

Sustaining a loving relationship that leads to self-sacrificing love, takes a lot of fidelity.

What do we do in the earliest stages of falling in love? Doesn’t it begin with something we call a connection? Perhaps it’s a connection with total stranger. Something happens in our hearts that lifts our spirits.

At the center of the attraction is a discovery of togetherness in some way. We connect. From then on, the growing attraction is fed by a growing, sometimes insatiable, desire to be with the one we love. Growing love feeds the desire for growing union – a desire for ways to be with the other in deeper and deeper ways. In the very beginning this may be quite unconscious, but before very long, we know we are in love. We start acting on that love. We think about, or daydream about, the other while doing all kinds of things. We call the other person more frequently, and arrange to spend time together.

We remember and replay our conversations. In the beginning, we talk about everything and anything. Nothing about the other person is boring. We want to know about all the other’s life experiences and choices, the other’s likes and dislikes, and what makes the other the person he or she is. And at each new discovery, there is a deeper bonding.

We look for ways to express our love, through tender words, through acts of caring, going out of our way to help the other. Each expression deepens the love. We always remember the very first gestures of love. And the more the love grows, the more it will lead to some level of commitment – some need to guarantee that the loved one will always be in my life and some commitment to a self-giving offering of myself to the relationship.

Falling in love with God

Is not a lovey-dovey feeling.

It is growth toward dedication and devotion. The emotional tone strong yearning and desire expressed and desire expressed in Psalm 63:2 In which the psalmist parallels life without divine communion to that of a dry; parched land seeking the moisture needed for survival: O God you are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.’

The German mystic Mechtild Magdeburg depicted this acute longing for communion with God as that of a magnet being drawn to the divine. While this inner movement is dynamic and powerful, it may be marked by a quiet persistence rather than unrestrained or obvious passion. This yearning for God is sometimes indicated by an unnamable restlessness or perpetual searching. Falling in love with God: The foundation of true prayer is a friendship based on affection, a relationship developed with genuine appreciation for God.

As in human relationships with an intense longing for the other, the affective piece usually begins to wane and slip into the background while the quality of enduring, faithful love moves to the foreground.

Not everyone who has a well-developed prayer life” falls in love” with God. Sometimes there is a profound drawing toward the other, but not all prayerful relationships have this emotional dimension binding them together. What people do need is a conviction that relationship with God is an essential part of their existence.

Cruz

A BIG GOD MOMENT

Who is this One with whom I relate?

What names or metaphors do we use in our prayers to address a God of mystery, one who is accessible and touches our hearts in both formal prayer and in unexpected moments? Does it make any difference what words I use?

What does grace mean to you? Have you experienced Grace “in prayer”?

In prayer we bring ourselves to the entryway to our relationship with the Holy One, but it is God “who is able to accomplish far more than all we can ask or imagine.” Divine power at work in us gives us what we need in order for our prayer to be catalyst for union and transformation (Eph. 3:20)

Divine vigor stirring within us is grace, the loving energy of God’s movement. This gift enables us to grow into the person we are meant to be. The marvelous thing about grace is that is freely distributed. We cannot force it to be given to us.

Always divine grace draws us into relationship and encourages us into fuller life. Grace leads us into prayer and moves us out again, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout all Judea and Samaria, to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

Lk 4:1, Mk. 1:12 whether led or driven by the Spirit, we know that the loving movement of the Holy One was with Jesus, leading him into a place where he discovered more of his deeper self. He became increasingly sure of how God was active and alive in his being.

Prayer is not a competition or being competent, not an experience of winning or of accumulating good feelings and great insights. Prayer is about “showing up” with an open mind and heart, being willing and ready to grow and change.

How would you describe your relationship with God at present?

What people, events, circumstances and resources have helped you most in learning how to pray?

You are under God’s care in this journey through falling in Love with His Son and He loves you…

There is no beauty as striking as His, no power as potent as His, no feelings as stimulating as His, no words as truthful as His, no stability as sturdy as His, no strength as reliable as His, no protection as dependable as His, no gifts as precious as His, no love as enduring as His. (End of slides)

Fr. Sylvester continuous to tell us that God wants us to come to him in the way we are in our brokenness, even if we have no emotions in prayer like other people, we must know that he touches us differently not uniformly. What can we learn from our beloved Saints in the Catholic Church? It is very clear that the shoulder of Jesus to lean on is sometimes thorny, very rough for people differently and it depends on what suffering means to you as an individual. We need at least one hour with God and two hours of spiritual reading in our daily Christian life to have a very good relationship with Jesus. We must be aware of everything that happens to us on daily basis, sometimes God wants to talk to us something but we are too busy to listen to him. We all need moments of quite time in our lives to listen to the voice of God speaking to us.

Many times we are distracted in a prayer which is very normal but we need to be aware of this distraction other than denying it. Just offer such a distraction to God in prayer and in such distraction God may be revealing to you what you may need to focus most in your life and offer this to God in prayer so that He may take care of the situation. He also said that sometimes you may not be in the mood of praying which may be a sign your body is tired and exhausted and instead of forcing yourself to pray, give yourself time to rest and start to pray later after you have rested. He also stated that we should be aware of consolation and dissolutions which may not necessarily mean you are in prayer.

Fr. Sylvester also said that unnecessary feelings or lack of disgusting feelings or lack of interest in our mind when praying is a sign of the devil trying to discourage us from prayer life sometimes telling in our mind that we have another alternative to prayer. When such moments come to our life, we need to seek the help of our Spiritual Directors at all cost so that they can help us to overcome such feelings in order to allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in our life. When we have a good Spiritual life in us, the feelings are obvious; joy, serenity, inner peace which are a fruit of good prayer life experienced in a person. He also pointed out that God responds differently in our life in his own unique divine ways as he is in control of our lives. Therefore when we witness many people being blessed in their prayers more than ourselves, it should not make us give up in prayer life. We need to know that even though human beings can fail professionally, we should leave the rest to God who knows why certain things happen to us, and just use words of Mother Mary by saying; let your will be done in us, Luke 1:38. This directly means our relationship with God should not depend on any conditions we put in order to love him but we must love him because he is our father who loves us unconditionally. During prayer, sometimes we have human voices in our mind that distract us, let us try to ignore them from our spiritual journey. Let us know that in Spiritual life, there are no accidents but there are only opportunities that we must endevour to concentrate on, no matter how such negative thoughts affect us in our prayer life. This should also make us to find God in every situation of our life at all times. This is so because prayer and meditation life are very tricky as we see when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac to him. Such situations call us to have inner discipline in our heart in order to be comfortable at peace with God. This therefore needs us to have time to reconnect with God at every moment knowing well that our time of dying is sooner than later, as we don’t know when we individually shall die but we must be ready to die at any time and face God’s judgement on the last day* Mathew 25:31-46. This scripture should be our daily guide in life to prepare us for final judgement at the time of our death. Therefore we need to welcome God into whatever situations we face in our life and be totally surrendering to his will to whatever situation we are going through in our life.

Therefore we are called to live prayerful lives from daybreak up to sun set and not only reserve praying on Sundays and put God at rest during the week days when we don’t go for Sunday Mass.

Ezati Eric CLM Uganda and Fr. Sylvester MCCJ, Uganda Province

* We are sure that he prepared himself and the Lord welcomes him in his lap as a beloved Father. We pray for his eternal rest.

News from Nairobi Kenya

Escuela
Escuela

A meeting of the AEFJN ANTENA KENYA, took place at the premises of the RSCK (Men Religious Conference of Kenya).

After seeing some questions of interest about the World today, Europe´s relationship to Africa, the coming European Elections, some Social Movements, and the way to organize the participation in the next Meeting with a representative of the AEFJN at Brussels, (may be asking from them economical support), in Uganda; on the motto „think globally, act locally“; some reflections were then done regarding the Kenya Situation.

The urgency of not only to meet but to act was felt by all participants.

An interesting proposal was to ask the Episcopal Conference to raise its voice about salaries for the workers (decreasing) and good allowances for parliamentarians (increasing).

The importance of higher Education for Religious both men and women was a relevant point.

That was the time to introduce properly the “INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL MINISTRY IN MISSION” (ISMM) of THE “CATHOLIC TANGAZA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE” (TUC). THE TANGAZA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE is jointly owned by members of Religious Congregations. Currently the College offers certificate, diploma, undergraduate and master‘s degrees in its Institutes.

But the “institute of social ministry in mission” (ISMM) is the one run by the Comboni missionaries, MCCJ, together with the Comboni missionary sisters, CMS, as Comboni-family. It is an institute of higher learning, founded in 1994, to train agents of “social transformation” for the society, the church, the states and institutions. It offers diploma, b.a, m.a, and doctorate programs. Not only for Kenyan but also for citizens of the neighboring countries. Especially right now, that Europe seems to close the doors to students from Africa it is the fundamental importance that all Religious Congregations here and there, know about these GREAT POSSIBILITIES in this Institute.

The institute, now even with the PhD program on “social transformation” celebrates this year its silver jubilee!

It is really a wonderful Comboni-family achievement.

ISMM MISSION

The mission of “ISMM” is to offer high standards of education that unlock the noble potentials of every learner to become a “transformer” agent in the society.

“ISMM” programs offer learners opportunity for growth, and spiritual guidance that contribute towards their welfare, acquiring knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary for social transformation in the society. Programs focus on human dignity, social justice, advocacy, research and development, providing the learners with the methodology competences, and operational tools for facilitating them. In fact, many of the graduated people are already active in “social movements” aiming to transform society in many different areas from politics and legislations to entrepreneurships, from environment to peace building, health, etc.

“ISMM” is a center of excellence and innovation for transformative ministerial learning and “social transformation”. “ISMM” educates and train agents to discover their personal, communitarian and „world transformations” calling. They contribute with enthusiasm, creativity, initiative, integrity, and professional competence, to a society where human dignity is cherished, and development is understood as a process to realize the full potential of human life and social justice.

Nevertheless my emphasis is necessary, why?

Because it is well known, that plenty of Europeans come to make „practical experiences in Africa“, while the rich nations (?) Do not want to give visas to African students!!! And African students should also have „practical experience“ abroad!!! According to justice we should do strong advocacy for them…; for that….!!! It is a very combonian issue. We may try our best to raise awareness even among e.u. parliamentarians about this!! And to do an effective campaign on it.

It is for Africa! It is for the Africans! It is for the world! It is for the Kingdom of God!

Right now, directly from Kenya,

Sr. Teresita Cortés Aguirre CMS

Meeting of the Comboni Family in Spain

Familia Comboniana
Familia Comboniana

For another year the Comboni Family of Spain gathered in Madrid for a weekend together. Religious, seculars and lay members together dreaming of how to be family and sharing times of prayer, food and formation.

This year we were accompanied by a team of CONFER working on the theme of Shared Mission in various charismatic families.

Through their proposed dynamics and time spent in group work they helped us to understand the challenges of shared mission, the duties we have as a family, our strengths, our weaknesses, etc.

All of this emphasizing the importance of the process and without skipping steps. The importance to understand that it is not only a matter of performing concrete actions or facing concrete challenges, but the importance that they start from a comm life sharing, entertaining common ties and relationships, loving and understanding one another. To understand the importance of complement each other, which does not consist in abandoning what each branch is, its identifying traits, but rather putting at the service of mission our particular traits as a richness that makes us complementary.

It is always good to meet, to feel how each time we recognize each other better and understand being a Comboni Family through something transversal of our being Missionaries and Comboni missionaries. It is not something extra that the group needs to take into account, but a transversal entity that makes up out being and doing as missionaries.

We also recognized that, at the ecclesial level, we live in privileged time when many other charismatic families question themselves on how to be Church, in our case this is something that Comboni himself had in mind from the beginning. It is up to us now to pick up this charismatic and ecclesial intuition he had.

The attendance at the meeting was lower for a number of circumstances, including having it while having decided last year not to. But all those present at the end were happy to be there. We are convinced that we must journey as a family. We know that we have many challenges to face, including perhaps the resistance of those ho are not yet convinced, but still convinced that this is the journey Comboni wants from us.

Now it remains to us to carry out the commitments we set for ourselves, the lines to follow in our work,… To strengthen the participation in this yearly meeting coming from all over Spain, at times trying to meet in different areas where we have various branches. All this without forgetting the history and the journeys we have had as a Comboni Family, the work of mission and vocation promotion done together, the joint meetings of prayer and formation and the joing celebration we had as a family.

May the Lord accompany us in this journey and may Christ inspire us.

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider

Hugs

Alberto de la Portilla, CLM

News from the Central Africa Republic mission

RCA
RCA

The CLM María Augusta writes for her parish paper, the Astrolabio.

I came to Bangui, the capital of the Central Africa Republic, because Fr. Fernando had an accident and is here in the hospital. The accident happened when he was returning from Mbaiki after attending the Chrismal Mass. Mongoumba belongs to the diocese of Mbaiki. The CLM Cristina and Fr. Maurice were with him and behind them there were seven people. Luckily, Cristina and Fr. Maurice were not hurt and had no great physical pains, but it is always difficult to absorb the accident emotionally. However, they were able to stay by Fr. Fernando, which was the important and necessary part.

The people following behind were hurt a bit, but fortunately there was nothing serious and only one was taken to the hospital, but with nothing major, by God’s grace. Fr. Fernando was thrown out though the glass on the door side and suffered a double trauma, one in the face including the eyes and one in the back. He underwent surgery on Easter Sunday and all went well.

Ana and I arrived in Bangui on Tuesday and stayed at the postulancy, because they were having the Comboni Assembly. We spent Easter worrying a lot, because we did not know how they were doing. When we saw Fr. Fernando he was still in a bad shape. Only today he came briefly to Comboni House, the Comboni residence in Bangui, because we have been very busy with him. By God’s grace, he is improving every day. Just the same, he must eat everything pureed because his upper jaw does not meet his lower jaw and so he cannot chew. We are hopeful that at the level of his head everything is working, because he speaks well and all his senses work… We thank God who protected all the travelers. God’s Providence was with them, because the accident happened 1 km from the Mbata mission and also because a vehicle went by that took them to the town hospital, where Fr. Fernando was sutured, and then all the way to Bangui.

Fr. Fernando will be moved to Benin for a CAT-scan of his head, to make sure he is well, and then to rest and get his energy back to continue the mission the Lord has chosen for him. I am confident that, by God’s grace, all will be well!

Cristina underwent some tests and all is well. She helped Fr. Fernando a lot! She will remain in Bangui to rest until she recovers enough to go back to Mongoumba.

Fr. Maurice is well, but very tired… up until Wednesday he spent night and day taking care of the wounded. Thanks be to God that on Thursday and Friday he could rest and begin to feel better…

Fr. Samuel returned on Wednesday, fully animated for the mission waiting for him. In July and August he will do mission promotion in the United States.

We hope that by then Fr. Fernando will be back in good health.

The assembly went well. A brother from Togo, a friend of Fr. Maurice, came to take part in it.

The twin girl I talked to you about in my last message, eventually died… The Lord welcomed her in his arms, because she suffered a lot.

Always united in prayer.

I wish all of you a Happy Easter!

A worldwide embrace to you all! Thanks for your prayers.

María Augusta, CLM

For Astrolabio

Year 5 – No. 147 – May 5, 2019

The parishes of Cabril, Dornelas do Zêzese, Fajão, Janeiro de Baixo, Machio, Pampilhosa da Serra, Portela do Fôjo,Unhais-o-Velho and Vidual