After a great weekend, from the Community of Ervedal, Alentejo, the parish that saw the CLM Pedro Nascimento grow up and today sends him off, our CLM Rufina shares with us the emotions of this special occasion.
Today Alentejo, and more concretely Ervedal, has celebrated.
It was already expected that it would be a success, but for sure it went well beyond all expectations, especially when you take into account such a beautiful church, so well decorated, where they are already the Extraordinary Mission Year, and whose pastor succeeds, certainly as a result of the work carried out over the years, to gather all the parishes under his care to take part responsibly and joyously in the missioning of Pedro Nacimiento to Ethiopia.
Without a doubt, the most important moment was the Eucharist presided over by Archbishop Francisco Senra Coelho with the participation of other invited priests, especially Fr. Francisco Medeiros, a Comboni Missionary from the diocese of Viseu.
The ceremony included also two deacons, relatives, friends and many CLM who, together with Pedro are part of the “Thousand Lives for Mission.”
A reception followed for everyone where lunch in the good local style was served, which we enjoyed a lot.
Pedro, as a CLM and being as well from Alentejo, I cannot forget to thank God for your missioning on this Extraordinary Mission Year, certain that it will be a time of growth and enrichment that will allow you, together with your Ethiopian people, to carry out a mission abounding in love, filled with the Comboni charism and enlightened by the smile the Lord lovingly placed on your face sweetening this soul of Alentejo that is so typically yours, in difficult moments.
As Pope Francis says, “Mission is to go meet the other.”
And how it has been mentioned in the Pastoral Note of the Episcopal Conference of Portugal on both the Extraordinary Mission Year and Mission Month, “Everyone, everything and always in mission.”
Therefore, go, my friend, go.
Let us keep in touch! Happy Mission!
Rufina (October 14, 2018)Thank you, Rufina, Thank you, Pedro. Thank you for your commitment
“I am the Good Shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice and there will be only one flock and one shepherd.”
Celebrating the memory of the birth of St. Daniel Comboni introduces us into the great mystery of the life of the Good Shepherd with a pierced heart who gave his life so that all may have life and life in abundance, especially those who do not yet belong to the table of Christ’s body, the poorest and most abandoned, so that all may become one flock under one shepherd.
We Comboni Missionaries, faithful to this tradition, to the charism and pastoral practice of our Founder, are invited to renew ourselves in this missionary commitment every day to be “at the margins of society as witnesses and prophets of fraternal relationships, based on forgiveness, mercy and the joy of the Gospel” (CA ’15 No. 1).
The mission at the margins of society required from Comboni the ability to remain firm in difficult times and fidelity to the price of life itself, because he had his gaze fixed on the pierced heart of the Crucified One, a vision of faith of the events and the embrace of Africa with a heart marked by divine love. An incarnate holiness that runs through the paths of poverty and human marginalisation, welcoming the other, the different, the poor, in an embrace of communion and dialogue; a holiness that is the divine passion present in a human heart.
This is what we have tried to express in the reflection and prayer of the Intercapitular that we have just concluded. We have been constantly attentive to the voice of the victims, the marginalised, and the great multitudes of human beings whose life is threatened by a heartless system that causes the predictable and violent death of the weakest.
This reality continues to prophetically question our presence and the quality of our missionary service, as it has questioned Comboni in his time. To respond, however, to these challenges, we need to approach each day, to the mystery of God’s love, revealed in Jesus Christ, with the spirit, gaze and heart of Comboni, with an open heart overflowing with love and the mercy of the Pierced One and, like Him, let us also be pierced by so many situations of poverty and neglect.
For St. Daniel Comboni it was clear that the contemplation of the mystery of God, crucified for love, had as its purpose to lead his missionaries to a definite way of doing mission: to witness a life lived in ‘spirit and truth’, fruit of a vivid and convincing prayer, to practice humility and obedience, as signs of a deeply Comboni spirituality. That is, to irradiate with one’s life the mystery of God Crucified in order to bring to Christ, the source of Life, all those who are hungry and thirsty for justice.
It is with these feelings that we wish to celebrate this solemnity of St. Daniel Comboni as a Comboni Family. Enter into this mystery of the Good Shepherd with a pierced heart and drink the lifeblood that renews us, that makes us look at reality through the eyes of faith, hope and charity, that heals and humanises us, that makes us become mission, “cenacle of apostles”, gift for others. “I make common cause with each of you, and the happiest day in my life will be the one on which I will be able to give my life for you” (W 3159).
May St. Daniel Comboni intercede with the Father for each one of us, for the whole Comboni Family and for the missions that are presently going through difficult situations: Eritrea, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic.
Happy Feast day to all. Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie; Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins; Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla; Fr. Alcides Costa; Bro. Alberto Lamana.
We are the Camey Figueroa family and we are happy to share with you our first steps towards our mission in Brazil.
We have been staying at St. Thomas, San Salvador, since September 7 and will return to Guatemala on the 22nd. This is we are going through or Experience of Detachment and community life prior to our actual leaving for our mission. It has been a very needed and enriching experience.
We could certainly try to imagine many aspects of missionary life, and even think that this experience is not even necessary, because it is enough to be very cautious in figuring out what we would do, carry along, how to work, and so on. However, It is only when you experience something personally that you see and live through things as they really are, and this is what has made this experience a great source of strength for us and for the CLM community of the Central American Province, because all the work we have done here has been possible thanks to the support of the new CLM that is taking shape in El Salvador.
Perhaps the most typical reality that we have experienced is the simple fact that we are a family. By the mercy of God, as a family we have my strengths and we know each other, we know how to be complementary and move on. But it is also true that the current situation is unusual, we never lived this way and it has been the source of some difficulties.
These difficulties have made us aware that we must stick together, be more conscious of our weaknesses and of the need to be patient and persevering in facing them.
More specifically, our missionary work, and it is worth saying that it is not separate from who we are personally and as a family, is very public in the context of daily life.
For the most part, we have visited seniors, some in poor health, others very old and ill and mostly afflicted by loneliness.
These are elderly people, who had large families, like in the case of Hilda who had six children, two died early and four lived with her. Her husband left her with the four. She had to work a lot and leave the children alone for many hours. Now her children, possibly without any bad intention, but wounded and never healed, reflect this same style.
Now she lives with one son, who only had one child and then his wife left him. This grandson, the only child of her own son, has also gone, but, at least this is good news, he has been in the seminary for several years and keeps in touch with his grandmother.
Even though we are neighboring countries, when we arrived we realized that we were seeing a degree of poverty and violence worse than in Guatemala. The social inequality has gotten worse since they changed from the local currency to the dollar without a referendum and the corruption damages any attempt to development. People are seriously abused and the Church is doing its best to help the communities face this evil.
We are very happy to realize how Bishop Romero was able to leave a mark in the life of many Salvadorans, who are anxiously awaiting their canonization in October. There is no house or church that does not have a picture of him, a true symbol of justice and a sign of God’s love, since he struggled to mediate between the army and the rebels.
These realities are not abnormal, because our societies are suffering in the same way. At time for the urge to enjoy “the good life,” and other times because of the poverty of our countries of Latin America.
Today, it is very important that we live fully our being family. We must believe in the promises of God, our good Father, so as not to worry about too many things, since the flowers of the field are so well dressed and the sparrows in the sky do not toil and yet eat. And so it is that our Almighty God always remembers us.
Our first preoccupation, or better yet, our first task must be love God and to allow ourselves to be loved by him. Life came from Him, and to Him it shall return (so we say daily) and so we should not be afraid to be father, or mother, or children and even more, to be family.
We thank God who gives us the opportunity to know him in simplicity and in daily life, but above all because it allows us to be witnesses to the abundant generosity of the people who welcome us in their homes, give us everything, and give us the chance to see that this mission belongs to God and not to us, who are simply a family ready to love and do his will, namely, “what is good, perfect and pleasing to God.” (Rom 12:4)
Thankfully, we had plenty of time for other activities, such as the mission promotion visit to the parish of St. Thomas on Saturday evening, where a Neo-catechumenal community gathers, they themselves missionaries ad gentes.
There we attended Mass presided over by Fr. Santiago Piccinelli, MCCJ, who introduced us as a CLM community together with our MCCJ advisor, Bro. Humberto. He also allowed us to promote mission even by selling our products we ourselves make with recycled material.
Human Development is also part of missionary work, as Comboni insists: Holy and able! So one afternoon we held a workshop to teach the women of the “colonias” La Hermita and La Moran how they, too, can make things with recycled material. It was, as always, a great experience, and even children came around. Even Niña Betty, who had her right foot amputated two years ago and still uses a wheelchair while learning to manage her prosthesis, did not give up and came.
We are fine and quite happy, because yesterday was a very special day. Piquiá de Baixo scored another victory, because we finally signed the contract of the second phase of the project of resettlement that makes it possible to begin the building of the new neighborhood. The joy of the moment was contagious and with laughter, hugs and tears hope was revived.
September 17 will remain impressed in our hearts as the day when a dream came closer to becoming reality and, while the journey is still long, people will continue to fight for their rights.
It was a very symbolic day for us, because it coincided with the memorial of Bishop Franco Masserdotti, a Comboni Missionary who was very active in Balsas, a city in the south of Maranhão. He witnessed with his life marked by the defense of human rights and of indigenous people, protecting the family and social justice. He always insisted that, besides giving the poor a fish and teaching them how to fish, it was necessary “to clean the river” contaminated by social injustice.
We thank you for your prayers. Let’s keep in touch.
Liliana and Flávio, CLM Brazil
We let you here a video to contextualize the reality of this people
Having recently returned to Bangui in early September, after completing her vacation in Portugal, CLM María Augusta, as is her custom, sends us a few lines on what is going on.
Greetings to all! With God’s help I arrived well. On the plane in Casablanca I met Fr. Fratelli, an Italian Comboni Missionary.
Not all went well with the luggage, because one of my bags did not arrive, but it was not the only one. One of the father’s also did not make it, and so it was with several other people. We went to post a claim and we were told that we would get them on Saturday morning.
When I arrived, I found out that Fr. Zé Carlos had died. I am glad I visited him! He was suffering a lot because he had two types of cancer. May the Lord receive his soul in peace!
I am grateful to all the people I contacted in the parishes and for how they welcomed me. May the Lord repay you for all you do for the missionaries, both the prayers and the sharing of your goods, and may He always keep you in his grace.
Thank you all for your generosity!
United in prayer.
Hugs to all
María Augusta, CLM
PS. I just got back from the airport and gratefully all went well. They let us go without opening the luggage. It all came wrapped in plastic to be protected.
Everything was as we packed it, for which I thank the Lord. Everything I carried is something much needed here.
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