Comboni Lay Missionaries

WE ARE MISSION: witnesses of social ministry in the Comboni family


“We would wish to share with you the following remarks. Our Comboni Family (MCCJ-CLM-CMS-SCM) has a long and valuable tradition of engagement in various pastoral activities with a strong social dimension. We also have a well-established history of 12 years of participation in the World Social Forum and the Comboni Forum “

“… In the 2018 Comboni Forum, held in Salvador de Bahia (Brazil) on the occasion of the World Social Forum, the participants suggested that all members of the Comboni Family engaged in social ministry could reflect on their activities. To look at this ministry from the light of the Gospel and of our specific Charism, the participants proposed an analysis and evaluation all the activities in which we are engaged. At our recent meeting of the two General Councils in April 2019 and of the General Administrations of the four branches of the Comboni Family in June 2019, we welcomed this proposal and we decided to create a commission that could draw up a roadmap and coordinate the various activities to implement the proposal… “

The nominated commission consists of:

Daniele Moschetti, (, mccj

Sr. Hélèn Israel Soloumta Kamkol (, smc

Marco Piccione (Venegono): (, lmc

Sr. Maria Teresa Ratti (, smc

Fernando Zolli (, mccj

What is reported is an extract from the letter with which the general superior of the MCCJ (P. Tesfaye Tadesse) and the general superior of the Comboni Sisters (Sr. Luigia Coccia) communicated at the same time the birth of the commission for the ministry and the purposes of this commission.

Over the months, some people have added to the commission who have made an indispensable contribution in terms of experience and knowledge in order to achieve the most complete and exhaustive possible work.

The three concrete activities that the commission had undertaken to achieve its objectives are:

  • Map all the social ministerial activities of the Comboni Family
  • Publish the 2nd volume, which follows the 1st from the title: “Be the change you want to see in the world”
  • Organize participation in the World Social Forum (FSM) 2020

For the first activity many of you have already been involved and we take this opportunity to thank you for your valuable contribution. From the collection of all the files received by the commission, a database will be drawn up thanks to which it will be possible to have a photograph of all the social and JPIC activities in which the Comboni family is engaged in the world.

But this post wants, above all, to give you the good news that has been completed and that is now available, the 2nd volume of the book on social ministry of the Comboni family entitled “WE ARE MISSION: witnesses of social ministry in the Comboni family“, which presents with more detailed informations, some projects in which fathers, brothers, sisters, seculars or lay people are engaged and which have been considered particularly significant to illustrate the methods and style to live the aspect of the Comboni charism which provides for a concrete social commitment. Alongside the presentation of these projects, there are some reflections from witnesses who will certainly be able to help in reflection and discernment on these issues that are so important and, I would say, characterizing our being Combonians.

The book is available in four languages ​​ (Italian, English, French and Spanish). It will be distributed in the Comboni houses but some copies will be reserved for the laity.

Unfortunately, the last activity foreseen for the commission, namely the participation in the WSF initially scheduled for 2020, is currently pending. In fact, due to the sad health situation that is affecting the whole world, the forum has been postponed to 2021.

Instead, the forum of the Comboni family usually scheduled immediately after the WSF, it was decided to do it in another period. At this time, it has been set from 12 to 16 December 2020.

Hoping that the tool of the book will help us in our daily mission and in feeling even more family united by the gift we have received of the Comboni charism, we greet you and send you our best wishes and prayers so that even from this difficult moment we can get out more fortified in faith and in the certainty of being accompanied by a God who walks with us.

Marco Piccione, CLM

Ministeriality in the Magisterium of the Church

P Steffano
P Steffano

We can tentatively define ministeriality as the Church’s transformative presence at all levels and of all dimensions of society. Hence, ministeriality indicates a service of the Church to the contemporary world, through a diffuse presence in society, like the yeast in the dough, transforming it towards the ideal of the Kingdom of God. Ministeriality goes beyond the Church boarders to the society at large where Christian live and express their faith in the daily work.

We know how this presence in society has changed through the centuries, as well as its conceptualisation in the Church’s magisterium. We have moved from separatist models, attempting to create an alternative, holy society, to more recent understanding of a Church immersed and incarnated in the world, yet not of the world. The concept and practice of ministeriality have also followed the same journey of transformation. We are shifting from power to service; from almost exclusively Church-focused ministries to accepting that pastoral action for social change is broader than the Church, beyond the borders of the formal Christian communities.

No need to say that, in this process of revival of ministeriality, Vatican II represented a milestone. The Church radically changed the understanding she had of herself, passing from being a fortress under siege or a ark in troubled waters to being a community of disciples, a ‘people of God’ in the contemporary world (see Gaudium et Spes). The vision of Vatican II had an enormous impact on all ministries in the Church. Membership in the Church was not measured anymore on priestly ordination and submission to ordained ministers but on baptism. All forms of lay apostolate, across all aspects of the life of the Church, by any member of the Church –whether lay or ordained– stem from baptism, and they are direct participation in the saving mission of the Church (Lumen Gentium 33).

It should not be a surprise, therefore, that the event of Vatican II and its aftermath has seen the emergence of new movements in the Church, all linked to potentially new ministries: the liturgical movement, the biblical movement, the peace and human rights movement, the ecumenical movement. To this, we add the emergence of an entirely new consciousness and competence of lay people in society. Paul VI extended the central ministries of the Word (office of Reader) and the Altar (office of Acolyte) to all lay people, now conferred not by ordination, but by institution so to distinguish them very clearly from the sacrament of priesthood (Ministeria Quædam, 1972).

In the troubled years after Vatican II, ecclesial lay movements grew in importance, especially during the pontificate of John Paul II. They embodied the spirit of the Council, i.e. the presence of the lay in the society, underlying a certain independence from the traditional, territorial Church. Lay gathered not any more, or not only, according to a territory (the traditional parish), but more according to other criteria like profession, religious culture, spirituality. These movements were the direct transformative presence of the Church in society, founded on the spirit of Vatican II. However, some of them were progressive, open to newness, in honest dialogue with the contemporary world, ready to a mutual exchange for the collective growth. Others, on the other hand, were nostalgic of a past when there was a more visible presence of the Church in society as a clear point of reference and moral guide. Post-Vatican II theology and pastoral practice did not succeed in eliminating or reducing, the historical tension concerning the different modalities of the presence of the Church in the world.

The advent of Pope Francis and his pontificate can be considered another milestone in the development of a new Christian awareness and the Church’s presence to today’s world. Some scholars define Francis as the first truly post-Vatican II Pope, in the sense that he totally incarnates the spirit and the theology of the Council. It was clear at the word ‘go’ of his pontificate, in that evening of his election, when from the Loggia of St Peter, he asked the people to pray for him and to bless him. It was a bright “Vatican II moment”, a moment of magisterium not in written form, but in life (M. Faggioli).

Several aspects of Francis’ life and teaching mark a new consciousness of the Church about herself and her role in society. For reason of space, I will mention only a few.

The first is a call for the creation of a new mindset: from a unique experience of God as Love to a new vision of the Church as the place where this Love becomes visible, inclusive, unconditional, and efficacious mercy. In such a Church, we begin thinking “in terms of community and the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few” (Evangelii Gaudium, 188). Such an attitude necessarily leads to “a new political and economic mindset, which would help to break down the wall of separation between the economy and the common good of society” (Evangelii Gaudium, 205).

The methodology, which Francis proposes is “initiating processes rather than occupying spaces” (Evangelii Gaudium, 223): vision and service are more important than self-assertion and power. Hence, ministeriality (Church’s service to humanity) is nothing more than the implementation of the vision: a Church with a ministerial system focused not on power flowing from a role (priesthood) but on a common being (baptismal vocation) and a common path (determined by the Church’s prophetic imagination).

Ministeriality calls for complementarity and collaboration. This is well expressed in the word synodality. Journeying together, “synodality”, is the other fundamental characteristic of the Church envisioned by Francis. Synods existed already before Francis, but he has given them new power and role, making them events of true communion and ecclesial discernment (Episcopalis Communio, 2018). Some say that synodality is the real paradigm shift in his pontificate; undoubtedly, it is a constitutive element of the Church. It appeals to conversion and reform within the Church herself, so to become a more listening Church. It also offers new insights for the society as a whole, “the dream that a rediscovery of the inviolable dignity of peoples and of the function of authority as service will also be able to help civil society to be built up in justice and fraternity, and thus bring about a more beautiful and humane world for coming generations” (Francis, Address at the ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, 2015).

Openness to the dream for a new society involves not only each baptised, but each person of goodwill longing and acting for justice, peace, and the care for creation. The sharing of such a thirst for righteousness and the recognition of what social activists are already doing was the leitmotif of the messages of Pope Francis to the representatives of popular movements, during their World Meetings (2014-2017). Once again, Francis recalled the idea of walking together (synod), supporting the struggle of the popular movements. It is the image of a synodal and ministerial Church, at the service of humanity, which recognises the ministry of many people of different religions, trades, ideas, cultures, countries, continents, and respects the diversity of each one. Francis used the image of the polyhedron (an image used also in Querida Amazonia, 2020): it “reflects the confluence of all the partialities that in it keep their originality. Nothing is dissolved, nothing is destroyed, nothing is dominated, everything is integrated” (Message to the popular movements, 2014). It is the same shift initiated by Vatican II, from a pyramidal structure of the Church to a communal one, in which every richness is recognised and appreciated in its diversity. In summary, the idea of ministeriality is founded on a clear understanding of Church and an identifiable praxis in, for, and with the world, characterised by dialogue, openness, readiness to recognise, to learn from, and to walk together with any person of goodwill engaged for the transformation of the society.
Fr. Stefano Giudici, mccj

Presentation of the Workbook for the Year of the Ministeriality


The General Mission Secretariat (GMS) has proposed for the Circumscriptions a programme of community reflection on the theme of ministeriality. The General Council is fully aware of the times we are living in, so marked by COVID-19 which conditions us psychologically and spiritually. Since our pastoral activities may have been suspended out of civil responsibilities, this may now provide us with an opportunity to dedicate our time to the suggested process. For this reason we invite all Circumscriptions to make an effort to adapt the material and try to relate the proposed themes to the situation each country is going through. [Workbook]

Presentation of the themes for the Year of Ministeriality

Theme 1: The ministerial role of the presbyter

SCHEDA 1.1 EN = Worksheet 1 proposes a case study to introduce and familiarize oneself with the theme.

SCHEDA 1.2 EN = Worksheet 2 presents an in-depth analysis, for a more analytical reading of the experience.

SCHEDA 1.3 EN = Worksheet 3 introduces the step of personal prayer and theological reflection.

SCHEDA 1.4 EN = Worksheet 4 provides a space for sharing and community discernment.

Theme 2: Ministerial collaboration

SCHEDA 2.1 EN = Worksheet 1, a case study.

SCHEDA 2.2 EN = Worksheet 2, in-depth analysis.

SCHEDA 2.3 EN = Worksheet 3, personal prayer.

SCHEDA 2.4 EN = Worksheet 4, sharing and community discernment.

Theme 3: Evangelization and Ministries

SCHEDA 3.1 EN = Worksheet 1, a case study.

SCHEDA 3.2 EN = Worksheet 2, in-depth analysis.

SCHEDA 3.3 EN = Worksheet 3, personal prayer.

SCHEDA 3.4 EN = Worksheet 4, sharing and community discernment.

Theme 4: The ministerial contribution of the laity

SCHEDA 4.1 EN = Worksheet 1, a case study.

SCHEDA 4.2 EN = Worksheet 2, in-depth analysis.

SCHEDA 4.3 EN = Worksheet 3, personal prayer.

SCHEDA 4.4 EN = Worksheet 4, sharing and community discernment.

Theme 5: Social and ecological ministry

SCHEDA 5.1 EN = Worksheet 1, a case study.

SCHEDA 5.2 EN = Worksheet 2, in-depth analysis.

SCHEDA 5.3 EN = Worksheet 3, personal prayer.

SCHEDA 5.4 EN = Worksheet 4, sharing and community discernment.

Theme 6 = Synodality

SCHEDA 6.1 EN = Worksheet 1, a case study.

SCHEDA 6.2 EN = Worksheet 2, in-depth analysis.

SCHEDA 6.3 EN = Worksheet 3, personal prayer.

SCHEDA 6.4 EN = Worksheet 4, sharing and community discernment.

Sharing life and mission

LMC Brasil
LMC Brasil

Dear friends, peace and good!

We wish to share with you a little of what we, Regimar and Valmir, Comboni Lay Missionaries, are living during this time of preparation for the mission. As you all know, we should already be in the mission of Mozambique, in Africa, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the governments have closed the borders and we have not yet been able to leave for the mission. We are still in the house of formation and mission of the Comboni Lay Missionaries in Contagem/MG.

Before the coronavirus crisis, besides the formation we received here in the formation house of Ipê Amarelo in Contagem, we also went to Brasilia to do a course for missionaries going to other countries, mission beyond our borders. After that we went to São Paulo where we did another course. These two courses offered us the dimension of what it means to be a missionary in another country.

The Ad Gentes course at the Missionary Cultural Center in Brasilia took 26 days and helped us to interiorize, to look inside ourselves. It also helped us to get to know a little of the place where we were assigned as missionaries. We say with certainty that the course makes us think and rethink if that is what we want, if we want to continue on the path of mission in another country or stay where we are, because the formators of the course make it very clear the difficulties we will undoubtedly face and other difficulties that may arise.

In the second course in São Paulo on spirituality in the cities, which lasted eight days, we were transported to a world beyond our own already known world where we were taken to meet people with a very different faith and way of being: from other religions, sects, atheists, of different sexual orientation, people who never go to church, but who dedicate themselves to love their neighbour to the point of giving themselves to the other, of spending nights on the streets to defend the most needy and persecuted (homeless people).

It was a meeting in which more than just listening to something, we had contact with many concrete realities, in which we made friends that we will carry in our hearts wherever we go. These courses were very important for us, of immense richness. After the courses we went to Paraná and Santa Catarina. There we took part in the community councils, in the meetings with the lay Salvatorians, in the meetings with the GEC (Comboni Spirituality Group) of Curitiba, with the Comboni Fathers and we participated in the celebrations and Masses, always doing missionary animation and speaking of the Comboni charism.

LMC Brasil

On our return to the community of Ipê Amarelo, Contagem/MG, we continued our formation, always helping out in the community and in the work groups. Valmir, also known as Tito, started the training course for agents of APAC (Association for the Protection and Assistance of Convicts) and I formed a children’s choir in the community. Now everything has stopped because of the pandemic and the quarantine.

For the time being, with the pastoral work stopped, we have created a new routine. Here we are five adults and four children of the Comboni Lay Missionaries couple from Guatemala who came to Brazil as a missionary family and live here in the Comboni Lay Missionaries’ house of formation and mission. We have morning prayer, as always, and then continue formation. In the afternoon there is free time for rest, then reading and a little physical exercise. We leave Thursdays free for recreation; it is the day we play most with the children, they love it. That’s a bit of what we do here in the house.

There are also times to help people, either by talking on the phone or on WhatsApp, or by donating some food or other ways that are possible, because people come to us and we can’t stop taking care of them, taking the necessary care. And so we are living these days of quarantine, asking God that this crisis will soon pass and we can return to normalcy and finally go on mission.

We would like, in addition to sharing, to thank you for your affection and your prayers. Be assured that this will strengthen us greatly and encourage us to continue. Thank you very much also for the financial help sent by the GEC of São Luís and Timón. It is very valuable for us to count on your contribution. Thank you very much, may Jesus the Missionary and St. Daniel Comboni continue to bless you all.

Finally, we wish to say that we are united in prayer and love. Let us pray to God that this crisis of the coronavirus may soon pass and we may continue our lives in another normality. Let us pray for the families who have lost their loved ones, for all the sick and for each one of us.

Hugs to all and light in our hearts.

LMC Brasil

Regimar and Tito (Valmir), Comboni Lay Missionaries

To be missionary at all times

LMC Polonia
CLM Poland

This March Ewelina and I were supposed to go to Peru. We planned to help the poorest in Arequipa – one of the biggest cities in Peru. The day before our fly, Polish and Peruvian borders were closed due to pandemic, so we needed to stay.

At the beginning I thought it wouldn’t take more than two weeks and it would give me more time to practice Spanish and spend more time with my family. But the situation haven’t changed till now. I realized then that NOW is not a waiting time but this is my mission already. We don’t become a missionary on the day of our departure and stop being them the day we come back home. We are a missionary all the time, no matter where we are and what we do. I have always known that but in this days it became more real for me.

I think it is even harder to be a missionary in my own country, because when we go on a mission, we go to places where people don’t know our God, or just have met Him. Do our families, colleagues or friends need a missionary? Most of them know truths of faith, go to the church every Sunday and celebrate Christian holidays. But in fact, some of them have never met true God and have never experienced His Love, or they have met Him but didn’t realize that it was Him.

Our mission is always the same: here in Poland, in Africa or in Peru. We bring God everywhere we go and share His Love with everyone we meet. It is much easier to talk about Him and His Love, than being witness of faith. But before that we need to know Him and the only way to know someone is spending time and talking to them. The same way we build our relation with God: by reading His Word, adoring the Blessed Sacrament and take part in Holy Mass. True knowledge and conversion are not a matter of one retreat but of a lifetime. I hope we would never try to show to people someone we don’t know at all. We should remember that not only the person who is going on mission is a missionary, but each of us, no matter where we are and what we do. I learn how to be a missionary every day and I make some mistakes, but I believe that my power is made perfect in my weakness.

CLM Poland

Agnieszka Pydyn, CLM Poland