Comboni Lay Missionaries

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.

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Hugs

Alberto de la Portilla, CLM

Meeting of the CLM in Nuremberg, May 3-5

CLM Germany
CLM Germany

At this meeting we enjoyed the presence of Thomas Mecha, who up to 2018 worked as an AGEH agent in Burundi in the diocese of Bururi in the field of Peace Development. There are over 2,000 basic committees who work in mediation and arbitration of land and family conflicts – an enormous potential! The report by Thomas and the debate that followed were very interesting and inspirational for us and for our activities in building bridges of peace.

We also worked on the CLM logotype at the international level, we received information from other CLM groups and we agreed on some monthly activities to improve communications.

Also very pleasant was meeting again with the coordinating team of the Province (that was also meeting) and with Fr. Juan Goicochea of Peru.

Thanks to Thomas, Bro. Hans, Father Günther and the community of Nuremberg!

CLM, Germany

Easter Retreat of the CLM of Portugal

LMC Portugal

On April 6-7 we held our Lenten retreat in Viseu, directed by Fr. José Vieira. We started in the morning by listening to a song by Aline Barros called, Renew me, Lord Jesus, in order to enter into the spirit of the retreat. It is a time to stop, to create empty spaces in order to listen to Jesus and make him live in the intimacy of our being.   The morning had as a theme, “mission: holy and capable,” as Comboni wants us. There was a brief introduction by Fr. José Vieira as general outlines for a later time of individual reflection and prayer. We followed some of the points of Exult and be Glad by Pope Francis to help us see our mission in Christ and how we must be holy and missionaries in all the facets of our lives.  “Be holy because God is Holy.” Namely, to feel in our hearts a life united to God, where we allow ourselves to be molded by Him and so walk towards holiness. Later, we prayed the Way of the Cross, guided by the Gospel and by St. Daniel Comboni, that took us to relive the last hour of Jesus, keeping in mind how he keeps on suffering in Mozambique, Malawi, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and many other places.

In the afternoon we reflected on the theme of “a missionary heart,” again with a short introduction by Fr. José Vieira before our individual reflection and prayer. The theme comes from the fact that the heart is the true home of mission. In this sense, we cannot run away from our heart, and that is why it is so important to understand what makes it beat. To help us in the reflection, we were able to meditate on various parts of Comboni’s Writings where the word heart is mentioned. It is interesting to know that the word comes up more than a thousand times in the writings of Comboni, to show the importance of the heart in the mission and in the missionary.

I give you three quotes that shaped my reflection:

  • “The four of us make up one heart, one soul. Each one making an effort to please the others” (SS1507). I see here the meaning of community, united in one heart.
  • “The heart of Jesus is our communication center” (SS4764) I saw this sentence as being very connected to this morning’s reflection, namely this union with Jesus who becomes the center of our communications, one with the others, and puts us on the road to holiness.
  • “When one has the full certainty of being following God’s will, any sacrifice, all the crosses and one’s own death are the sweetest comfort of our hearts” (SS3683). It resonates with the search I have done to find this will of God in my own life, this full certainty of the path to be followed. It gave rise to doubts and uncertainties that I could raise in prayer to the Lord during this retreat.

At the end of the afternoon we had a penance service that helped us renovate our repentant hearts and take a look at what keeps us away from God and his love. In the evening, we had a Lectio Divina and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, using as a base the Sunday Gospel, the one of the adulterous woman. It was an occasion to open our hearts fully before Jesus present there and meditate on the Word and what it was telling each one of us in our lives and our difficulties. For me it was a beautiful sharing and a true encounter with Christ.

On Sunday morning we meditated, based on Pope Francis’ Lenten message, on listening to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth. We looked even into these environmental problems and this Lent as a way of full conversion, not only in our actions towards our neighbors, but also in our attitudes towards the work of Creation “that waits with eager longing, awaiting the revelation of the children of God” (Rms 8:19).

We ended our gathering with the Eucharist and a time of fraternal relaxation.

LMC Portugal

For me it was very important and very good to experience this retreat. It helped me to stop, slow down and break the routine of this life so full of worries and work. It helped me to have an encounter with Jesus, look at the cross, listen to what was in my heart. It helped me to allay the fears and doubts that often bother my heart, with the certainty that, when I walk with him, everything makes sense. Ana Sousa

First Impressions on Ethiopia

LMC Etiopia

Dear friends: I left Portugal on March 6, 2019 and arrived in Ethiopia on March 6, 2011. I am now younger.

Thanks to everyone for your expressions of affection and friendship. In my prayers I keep myself in the heart of God, because He, who loves us all and each one of us in particular, knows what is best for each of us.

This is why I am in Ethiopia. Because he, who loves me, knows what is best for me. I do not know for how long. I only know that I am here and each day is a new adventure, a sincere desire to live my mission where he sent me. I am fine! Even better, I am happy!

I am at the provincial house of the MCCJ of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. This will be my home over the next few months while studying Amharic. Amharic is a difficult language. But, by the grace of God, up to now I have not yet fallen into the temptation of discouragement. I am strengthened by the desire to stay close to people, speak with them, be in communion.  And, unless you know Amharic, this is almost impossible or totally impossible.

LMC Etiopia

I love Ethiopia. I know that I will find difficult and hard moments of doubt and despair. But right now I am in love. And I want to live this moment intensely, because it is unique. I live in community with the MCCJ in Addis Ababa and I feel part of it. From the beginning they welcomed me in a wonderful way. Our days begin with the Eucharist and Lauds at 6:30. After breakfast, I go to school, which starts at 8:30 and ends at 12:00 noon. After lunch, I start studying. At 6:45 PM we pray Vespers and, after supper, we usually have some time together. The house is almost always full, since many missionaries traveling in Africa come through here. I was already able to meet some priests and even some bishops. I have already heard some beautiful and frightening stories. How hard is the mission sometimes… But always beautiful. Our lives are in the hands of God.

I already had the opportunity to be in Hawassa for a few days with the CLM stationed there. How nice it was. We even had a cake to celebrate my visit. In formation we learn that we must always have a good reception of the new CLM. And truly, to receive this warm reception and affection is in fact, extraordinary. For this, I am very grateful to the CLM in Ethiopia. In Hawassa, during a bicycle ride, I pinched both tires. It was a good baptism. This weekend I attended a retreat of Comboni Friends. It was very good. Here the celebration of Easter will take place a week after the celebration of Easter in Portugal. Taking advantage of a week’s vacation, I will go visit the mission among the Gumuz, the people with whom, God willing, I will work. I am enthused. Later I will let you know how it went. To all of you and your families I wish a holy Easter and o not forget that God loves us. Let us keep united in the love of God.

LMC Etiopia

Pedro Nacimiento, CLM