Comboni Lay Missionaries

Report on the 1st assembly of CLM Kenya

CLM Kenia

The candidates of the Comboni Lay Missionaries, Kenya met in an assembly from 10th to 12th January, 2020 at St. Daniel Comboni Parish, Utawala in Nairobi. The attendance of the members was great and the moderator of the assembly was our formator Rev. Fr. Maciek Zielinski. This was our first assembly since the group was created in 2017. It therefore meant that there was much to be discussed and evaluated.

The assembly started with the evaluation of the year 2019 to determine our progress as a group and take corrective measures where necessary.

We then embarked on selecting new leaders who will oversee the group activities during this year. The chairman of the group is Onyango Martin, an IT expert, the group secretary is Angeline Njeri, a teacher by profession and the treasurer is Beatrice Imali, a medical nurse.

Later, the group started preparing the CLM Kenya Charter to guide the group’s activities and overall involvement in the missionary work of the Comboni Family. We are still in the process of drafting the group’s charter.

Overall, the first assembly was a success. We give all the glory to God.

By Angeline Njeri

2020: Year of the Ministeriality

Trabajo en equipo
Trabajo en equipo

The magisterium of Pope Francis insists upon the vision of a ministerial Church by which is meant a fraternal Church that is steeped in the “odour of the sheep”, that is synodal, collaborative and one that witnesses to the joy of the Gospel by its proclamation, by its style of life and by service; a Church that embarks on a journey of conversion, overcoming clericalism and the pastoral criterion: “We have always done it this way” (EG 33). The XVIII General Chapter took up this directive of the universal Church and made it its own, in the hope of undertaking a journey of regeneration and requalification of our missionary commitment as regards ministeriality (CA ’15, 21-26; 44-46).


“If you read my words, you will have some idea of the depths that I see in the mystery of Christ. This mystery that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations; it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Christ Jesus, through the Gospel. I have been made the servant of that Gospel by a gift of grace from God, who gave it to me by his power” (Ep 3,4-7).

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“This is why…. He will have to think of himself as one unnoticed worker in a long line of workers, all of whom can only hope for results, not from their own personal work, but from the gathering together and continuation of efforts mysteriously guided and used by Providence” (Writings 2889).

Trabajo en equipo

Dearest confreres, we send you greetings in this time of Christmas and wish you a Happy Beginning to the New Year 2020!

As is well known to us all, the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium has drawn attention to the historical changes of our time and the need for a profound renewal in the Church, so as to live the Gospel with joy and to be faithful to our proper vocation as missionary disciples of Jesus. With this renewed vision of the Church, there continually and increasingly emerges a Church that is “going out”, in which the mission is the paradigm of its being and doing, listening to the Spirit through the cry of suffering humanity, the cry of the poor and the cry of Creation. The magisterium of Pope Francis insists upon the vision of a ministerial Church by which is meant a fraternal Church that is steeped in the “odour of the sheep”, that is synodal, collaborative and one that witnesses to the joy of the Gospel by its proclamation, by its style of life and by service; a Church that embarks on a journey of conversion, overcoming clericalism and the pastoral criterion: “We have always done it this way” (EG 33).

The XVIII General Chapter took up this directive of the universal Church and made it its own, in the hope of undertaking a journey of regeneration and requalification of our missionary commitment as regards ministeriality (CA ’15, 21-26; 44-46). The Spirit calls us to dream and to be converted, as missionaries “going out”, who live the Gospel by sharing joy and mercy, cooperating in the growth of the Kingdom, first of all by listening to God, to Comboni and to humanity; a dream that is the dream of God, that leads us to dare, despite our littleness, and aware that we are not isolated but members of a ministerial Church. We are called to evangelise as a community, in communion and in collaboration with the whole Church, to promote for the sake of the poor the globalisation of fraternity and tenderness. All of this is concretised in a reduction and requalification of our commitments, developing specific pastoral services, going out towards human groups that are marginalised or in liminal situations.

To help us to grow during this journey, the Guide to the Implementation of the XVIII General Chapter set aside the year 2020 for reflection on the theme of ministeriality. We wish to propose that we engage in action-reflection, which means taking an approach that starts from experience, and reflects on its transformative potential and its critical points, so as to discern renewed courses of action.

This is what Comboni himself did: he conceived the Plan for the regeneration of Africa on the basis of his personal experience of the mission, of in-depth study and comparison with other experiences, discovering in the ministerial style the answer to the “impossible” challenge of the evangelisation of Africa. His Plan reflects a systemic understanding of the ministerial approach: a work that is collective and “universal”, that creates networks of collaboration to gather together all ecclesial resources, recognising the specific nature and originality of each individual; a work that gives life to a variety of services, in response to human and social needs, for which he scientifically prepares ad hoc ministries, and which results in the foundation of missionary communities that are sustainable from the point of view of ministeriality, socio-economy and social significance. As both Benedict XVI and Francis remind us, the Church grows by attraction and not by proselytism.

Our reflection on ministeriality, therefore, requires we listen to the Spirit, the driving force and protagonist of ministries in the missionary-disciple Church. We commit ourselves to deepening our understanding of this theme in relation to our missionary life and our personal and community ministerial experience, mostly through sharing on these two supplements:

  1. Inserts in Familia Comboniana;

2. A flexible supplement using prepared formularies to facilitate sharing, study, reflection and discernment in our communities.

We invite you to make full use of these instruments in view of a journey of ongoing formation that is both personal and communitarian, facilitated by a guide, chosen from within each community, who will make use of the abundant material provided together with the supplement.

The recently celebrated Synod for Amazonia, too, has highlighted the urgency of the pastoral conversion of the Church: growth in ministeriality is the basic key to this journey. We have, therefore, an extraordinary opportunity for growth and renewal, and it is up to each one of us and each community to profit from it. But it is not a journey we make alone but rather in communion with the Church. Indeed, it is our hope that our commitment to set out on this journey of missionary-ministerial renewal may be a stimulus and a support – in a reciprocal maieutic dynamic – to the local Church where we live: it will not simply be a journey of ongoing formation but also of missionary mission/animation.

In 2020 we shall also have a special event, a forum involving the whole Comboni Family, on social ministeriality, which is to be held in Rome from 18 to 22 July. This forum is part of a broader journey that we, the Comboni Family, are undertaking, which includes the recording of all the experiences of social ministry of the Comboni Family. We would like to create synergy, develop a shared vision and language and create a network and movements that will evangelically transform the social reality. In the medium term this journey will help us towards a participated development of specific pastorals, as requested by the 2015 Chapter. We need your enthusiastic participation in this process which, the more inclusive it is, the more endowed and meaningful it will be.

Finally, in support of the JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation), the transverse axis of the missionary ministries, we are pleased to present to you two practical instruments that will be published in 2020:

=   Supplement for Basic and Ongoing Comboni Formation in the Values of JPIC

=   The second volume on JPIC of the Comboni Family, edited by Fr. Fernando Zolli and Fr. Daniele Moschetti, following the previous volume: Be the change you wish to see in the world.

May St. Daniel Comboni intercede for us: may he make us “holy and capable” of bringing to fruition the gift of ministeriality.

The General Council The General Secretary for the Mission

Three new polish CLM on a mission

LMC Polonia
CLM Poland

This year three girls joined our polish CLM movement and are now officially Comboni Lay Missionaries.

Agnieszka, Ewelina and Marcela are currently doing their “life in a community” experience in Comboni father’s house in Cracow.

Soon, Ewelina and Agnieszka will go to Peru for 2 years’ mission, to Arequipa where they will replace Paula and Neuza.

Marcela will join the community in Mongoumba – Central Africa, where another polish CLM – Monika is currently working on the mission too.

These three months are filled with meetings with different people and learning life all together.

They have language classes (Spanish and French), meetings where they discuss and interpret God’s words for Holy Bible.

Ewelina and Agnieszka are volunteers in the family emergency and Marcela started her voluntary work at hospital.

As they say most of their free time they are spending on perfecting the languages, they will soon use very often and on talking with Comboni fathers, brother and themselves.

Let’s pray for them so they could be true witness of God’s love and mercy every day of their mission and their life in general.

Polish CLM

West Pokot Missionary Experience

CLM Kenya

It is said that experience is the best teacher and for us as candidates undergoing formation to become Comboni Lay Missionaries, this was and is part of our learning process. The experience had been planned months prior with the selection of two candidates (Beatrice Imali, a nurse, and Angeline Njeri, a teacher) as the first of the group to experience missionary life and work in mission territories. The experience was to be led by our formator, Fr. Maciek Zielinski. The journey from Nairobi to Amakuriat Mission in West Pokot County started on the night of 2nd December 2019 with a slight detour to Kacheliba Parish for breakfast and little rest the next morning. We arrived at the Mission at around 1:30pm to a warm welcome from the entire community (both MCCJ and CMS) and the Provincial Superior of the MCCJ in the Kenyan Province, Fr. Austin Radol.

CLM Kenya
With Rev. Fr. Austin on our first night in the mission

After a goodnight’s rest, we embarked on our duties the following day as scheduled in the MCCJ Amakuriat Community’s calendar prior to our arrival. Beatrice started work at the dispensary in the mission ran by an amazing and hardworking Sr. Gabriella. Angeline embarked on a journey of youth formation and pastoral work in Amakuriat and other outstations within the Parish. The missionary experience meant to last for about three weeks had already began. This was later followed by the sharing of meals and hearty laughter with the community later in the day. Even on our first days there, we knew that the experience would be a wonderful one.

CLM Kenya
Angeline conducting youth formation at Chelopoy, an outstation

Josephine (joined us later) conducting youth formation at Kaakow, an outstation of Amakuriat Parish

It was important to not only be fully engaged in the work of the Comboni Family in Amakuriat Parish but to also observe and interact with the people and try to learn as much as we could about them. The intricate workings of a society and it’s culture serve as a great teacher to an aspiring missionary. In our engagements with them, we not only were able to pick few words here and there, but also got to experience their enriching faith and community as a people. The Mass was celebrated with joyful singing and it felt like everybody knew everybody.

Nevertheless, there never lacks challenges that one observes even on a day to day basis. Due to limited health facilities, the dispensary is always having patients streaming in. Some patients so sick that Sr. Gabriella has to rush them to Moroto, Uganda. The heaviness of the workload could be seen in the face of Beatrice, who though tired always expresses the joy she feels in serving the sick.

Youth formation not only enables you to engage with the youth, but also opens one’s eyes to the need for youth sensitization on personal growth and development, especially through education and spirituality. However, the society has still yielded great young men and women who have and are still working towards the betterment of themselves as individuals and as a community. This can be clearly seen by the youthful young men and women working in the dispensary, the youth and young children in schools and the various professionals within the schools and churches. The work of the Comboni Missionaries in this area can be clearly seen and continues to grow daily. But even then, a lot remains to be done. It is as the Lord put it, “The harvest is great but the laborers are few”. This puts into perspective the need for Comboni Lay Missionaries in not only Amakuriat Parish but in other missionary territories here in Kenya and the world as a whole.

CLM Kenya
Beatrice, Sr. Gabriella and the staff at the dispensary

Our formator, Fr. Maciek, has always insisted that it is important to also experience community life, albeit even for short periods at a time before basic formation is completed. In our short stay, we were able to see the beauty of harmonious living among community members, and the joy it brings to the mission. We felt at home and social interactions between us and the MCCJ and CMS community in Amakuriat were something we will live to treasure. We even got to celebrate Fr. Maciek’s and Beatrice’s birthdays, and our first international CLM Feast Day with the community!

CLM Kenya
Celebrating CLM feast day with the MCCJ community in Amakuriat

With the end of the experience drawing near, we knew that this was an experience we would relate to our colleagues once back in Nairobi. There is guaranteed nostalgia, and the desire to serve as Comboni Lay Missionaries has only been strengthened by this experience. We hope that our experience also inspires other CLM candidates to keep discerning and aspiring to engage in such rewarding and blessed work. We hope to be back someday. Until then, to the amazing West Pokot community, Keriama! (See you again).

By Angeline Njeri

Comboni Lay Missionaries, Kenya

CLM-Feast in the Mission Promotion House Nuremberg

CLM Germany
CLM Germany

One year after the general assembly in Rome and the greetings of Pope Francis we celebrated with the Comboni-Family the Comboni Lay Missionaries movement day together with volunteers in the global south and north, who decided to be inspired by Saint Daniel Comboni, strengthened by a movement of lay Christians and lifelong dedicated to spread the good news of the Gospel.

We started with a World-Cafe with statements from Pope Francis about mission today, mission in shrinking communities, mission in post-colonial Europe and in times of global climate change. Those arriving had the opportunity to comment on selected statements at several tables. The idea was to exchange ideas in several small groups at parallel tables.

Afterwards, a short video of the Pope’s greeting in Rome in December 2018 (compiled by Christina from Brazil) and the greeting of the Central Committee of the Comboni Lay Missionaries were read out partly as an introduction to the feast. It dealt with the reading of the third Advent and the joy with which the gospel is to be proclaimed as well as the growing together of the CLM nationally and internationally. The new international logo of the Comboni Lay Missionaries was presented. This was the result of a cooperative process last year and was selected from several proposals.

CLM Logo

The word service was initiated by a “search order”. Those present were invited to collect various objects during a walk, from which a crib should then be designed. Thus, the current times and the past were brought together as well as aspects of global integration and injustice, pollution and mission today. The two MaZ-in-service, the returning MaZler *, the CLM international and the numerous Comboni friends, who had responded to the invitation but unfortunately could not be there, were included in the prayers.

The feast continued in the dining and living room. A “shepherd’s meal” was prepared there. This again illustrated the upcoming Christmas. Thanks to many helping hands, there was a delicious, social get-together, rounded off with cake and children’s Christmas punch (as two families brought their four children as well). During the evening and the following day, congratulations and pictures came from CLM celebrations in Mexico, Kenya, Guatemala, Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Italy and from Rome were shared live via WhatsApp while the feast.

CLM Germany

CLM, Germany