Comboni Lay Missionaries

Missionary Animation in southern Spain

During the last European assembly of the Comboni Sister I coincided with Pilar Sainz, Comboni Missionary Sister in Almeria. As a result of those days working together came out the invitation to spend the week of the DOMUND in Almeria. And that is how I finished with Pilar and Fr Joaquim (Spiritan Missionary of Cape Verde) doing missionary animation in schools, colleges and parishes of Almeria.

The variety of the groups that we visited was very wide.

Colegio Los MillaresI went to the public Elementary school “Los Millares”. Elementary students are very twitchy and when I did not even introduce myself I already had several hands raised. They are curious children interested in how people live in other countries, how they study, talk, eat … approach them the Mozambican reality is not easy or that they could understand macroeconomic values, ​​but they do understand the simple things of life. The way they access to water, the houses where they live or the materials used in school depending on the country where they were born.

Something similar, because of the age, I founded in the groups of First Communion of the Parish of San Isidro Labrador. Every afternoon 2 or 3 groups to explain the World Mission Day, to clarify the theme of this year “Faith + Charity = Mission” for children is not always easy. From this experience I wanted to highlight the drawings they made in their notebook after the presentation I made with photos about the way that the missionaries live in Africa (religious, priests and laity). It catches their attention how African can carry everything on their heads or how intense in the green landscape. I also share the Sunday Eucharist with them and they assisted me very well to explain to the elderly in the homily the way they live in Africa.

IES Bahía de Almería

For several days I also went to the high school “Bahía de Almeria”. In the institutes is very noticeable the difference of age between the first and the last courses. The embarrassment when asked is notable, but it is also easier to understand the nonsense of this world. The gap between rich and poor. What unites and difference us just because we have being born in different countries. I believe that the surprises eyes of some denoted the strangeness of the possibility of moving from a country like Spain to go and live in Mozambique. I hope at least that this question remains in their heads.

And finally let me write you about the time spent in the parishes of San Jose, San Isidro Labrador and San Francisco de Asís. They were two intense weekends, sharing in every Eucharist a little time. Becoming aware that the mission is a responsibility of the community, of every Christian. That the missionary do not leave but it is sent by the community. And the community is responsable of their financial support but mostly for promoting missionary vocations among their members and pray for those who send and the peoples with whom they share their daily lives.

Parroquía San Isidro Labrador Parroquia San Francisco de Asís

Thanks to the teachers of religion and the rest of their mates, catechists and parish priests during those 10 days that made ​​my stay easier. As well as the delegate of Don Antonio Martin Acuyoa missions and the Bishop of Almería Adolfo González Montes. Also to the priests of the priestly house of Almeria and their employees that welcomed me so well.

It was time to sow, hopefully the Spirit exhale life.

Network Justice on the Rails

In defense of social and environmental justice in the lands injured by Vale.

Vale 1I’m tired of holding this mineral train passing in front of my house ten times a day. I’m tired of hearing that this train of 330 wagons carried the wealth of our land and leaves a trail of abuses and deaths: one person every month! I’m tired of the speeches of the “wearing ties” of the company: they ensure that all this will bring progress, but for us, here, everything is stopped for more than twenty years!

This is the relief of several families living in the area of influence of the Carajas corridor (900 km railway between Maranhão and Pará, in northern Brazil).

Here, mining company Vale SA dominates the economy and controls the regional policy, possessing the richest and more abundant iron mines of the world and an impressive logistics system (railways and ships).

Vale is the second largest mining company in the world, operating in 38 countries has grown 19 times since a suspicious privatization transaction gave this treasure to private interests. It paints green and yellow its image, boasting its sustainability and social responsibility with powerful means of propaganda and influence on political parties, on the contrary, towns and communities around the world bear witness of the labor disputes (3,500 people in Canada have confronted the company with a strike just over a year!), pollution, discharges, corruption of local authorities, or even the use of militias to protect their private interests. In 2012, Vale was chosen in voting internationally as “the worst company in the world” (Public Eye Award, Switzerland).

Therefore, we consider this company as a paradigmatic example of the arrogance of many mining companies in the world. Since late 2007, a network of movements in northern Brazil launched the “Justice on the rails” (, to report conflicts with the multinational and claim social and environmental justice. Since then, participation in the World Social Forum in Belém strengthened the network of alliances and daring campaigns, allowing the birth, in April 2010, of the International Joint Affected by Vale.

Vale 2Communities, social movements, workers and institutions, which in many ways are considered affected by the company, have been organized since the first meeting of the Joint International exchange of experiences and strategies of resistance and alternatives to the impacts of mining. The organization facilitates the exchange between people from ten different countries around the world.

Justice on the Rails also has close relations with the Brazilian Network for Environmental Justice and the Observatory of Mining Conflicts in Latin America. Since 2010 participates annually in the General Assembly of Shareholders of the Vale also leading to major investor the complaints and demands of communities.

Un frente específico de lucha de la red Justicia en los Raíles es el acompañamiento del caso emblemático de la comunidad Piquiá de Baixo (Açailândia-MA), víctima de la contaminación de la cadena de la minería y el acero. Allí, más de 300 familias no aguantan más convivir con cinco empresas siderúrgicas (altos hornos) que han invadido las tierras de la comunidad. Reivindican el reasentamiento en una zona libre de contaminación, para volver a vivir con dignidad y salud.

Piquiá de Baixo es uno de los casos más graves de racismo ambiental y violaciones de derechos humanos en Brasil. En 2013, una campaña internacional lanzó una acción solidaria y de denuncia, para el reasentamiento urgente de la comunidad.

A specific struggle front of the Network Justice on the Rails is to support the emblematic community of Piquiá de Baixo (Açailândia-MA), a victim of contamination from mining and steel. There, more than 300 families have had enough to live with five steel companies that have invaded the lands of the community. They claim for their resettlement in a pollution-free area, to live again with dignity and health.

Vale 3Piquiá de Baixo is one of the most serious cases of environmental racism and human rights violations in Brazil. In 2013, an international campaign launched a solidarity complaint for an urgent resettlement for the community.

World Mission Day

In the past weekend we celebrated another world mission day and nothing better than to celebrate this day with your family! Well, another missionary party in the house of Famalicão which became a time of fellowship and sharing within our Comboni family. The community life of Porto, of the Comboni Lay Missionaries, was also present.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the canonization of St. Daniel Comboni, we began to prepare our hearts for this party on Saturday night with a missionary vigil. With the participation of some persons from the parish we could be in prayer and communion with the poor, remembering this year, all the slaveries that continue to exist and those that are emerging nowadays.

On Sunday, early in the morning, started to arrive buses and cars that brought all people who wanted to participate in this missionary celebration! Despite the threat of rain and, in some cases, the age and leg pain that does not forgive; We do not want to stop sharing the gift of joy of being together, to pray for all the people who suffer and is forgotten by most of the society and to be a missionary church, leading the good news throughout the land.

Conforming the welcoming, the tombola and the meeting led by Fr Victor Dias, we experienced an environment of fellowship and joy of being together. The highlight of our missionary celebration was the Eucharist. This year was officiated by P. António Martins, recently arrived from Peru and that it will integrate the community of Famalicão in which he will continue its mission. Also the Young from Lemenhe and Mouquim as members of the JIM group wanted to be with us, encouraging the celebration with singing.

After a nice packed lunch and a soup highly praised, we had the afternoon recreational and cultural groups from Vila Nune, Santa Maria de Oliveira and other local artists who sang and charmed our afternoon! Once we were all together celebrating 10 years of the canonization of St. Daniel Comboni, we ended the day by praying the Comboni family prayer, which continues to respond to God’s call, being perseverant and never losing hope.

Participate in this missionary celebration, sharing this ideal of Daniel Comboni with all these people who collaborate and make the mission possible is to realize his words: “I die but my work will not die”.

bySandra Fagundes

CML discernment: Everything and everyone for the Mission!

The community life of Porto, of the CLM from Portugal, initiated in the past weekend the discernment regarding the subject of the economy that was launched by the Central Committee. This is a topic that will be, little by little, worked at community level and we hope to conclude as soon as possible in order to respond to this international urgency that concerns and touches everybody.


Indeed, the creation of an international common fund (subject that has been debated for at least 20 years!) Is now a necessity that needs to be addressed, not just for the sake of the movement itself, but especially for the Mission that we all are called to participate.

In this sense, our reflections at the community level of Porto, consider that the CLM in Portugal have a duty to feed its national fund to support the CLM who are on a mission across borders, to pay them their social security contributions, among other obligations.

However, we think it is also our duty to contribute to the creation of an international fund, since this also constituted a sign of our sense of belonging. In fact, this is also our fund, as it is of all and for all. We thus share, within our means that we have to give.

In Portugal, this discernment will continue until the end of the year. In fact, beyond our community life, there are two others (Viseu and Lisbon), who are also making this discernment, so that early next year we can give an answer to the Central Committee.

If it is true that the mission challenges us, it is no less true that this impels us and requires concrete gestures of generosity and community spirit, vocation and goods.

by Susana Vilas Boas

Why be a lay missionary?

AdamAdam Lewandowski comes to the NAP Comboni Lay Missionary Program from Madison, Wis.  During this time of formation in LaGrange Park, Ill., the Comboni community welcomes him and prays for his discernment. Here is a reflection from Adam.

When we encounter God our perceptions change and we are changed. How we understand our world and how we live in the world are shaped by that experience. When I was studying as a physicist I had such an encounter that transformed my perception of reality. I saw that creation was knit together fundamentally by love. Nothing at all is required of us to earn this love.

This encounter was relational and invites me to seek solidarity with all of creation. Though loved by God we are certainly no better than our poorest brother or sister. In fact, out of great compassion God chooses to take the lowest place. Therefore, he is more visible in the suffering and abandoned. He leaves the cathedrals of the wealthy and incarnates in the dung heap. And so I find myself desiring solidarity and simplicity with the poor of the world to be closer to God.

I know that nothing is required of me to earn God’s love. I also know that I am imperfect and fallible. But maybe in serving for three years as a missionary in service and solidarity with the poor I can make one small step in the right direction. And perhaps in reaching out to others in service both I and those I meet will be witnesses to God’s love and be changed and transformed.