Comboni Lay Missionaries

“God invites me to discover my missionary vocation”

Monica Mexico

I am Monica Cervantes Suarez, I am 18, and I was born in the city of Sahuayo, Michoacán. I am about to start my university studies majoring in integrative medicine. I wish to share with you my experience in this missionary journey. Beginning when I was denied access to the career I wanted, I started looking for something else that would fill this void I felt, because I was far removed from God, and even though my parents are active in Church family movements, I kept a distance from all that.

I must confess that, if I had any missionary inclination, it was more out of curiosity about knowing different cultures and traditions, above all for the adventure, for seeing new places, etc. I had the opportunity to attend a national mission congress for children and adolescents with the them: “WITH JOSELITO IN THE MISSIONARY HEART OF VOCATION.” I really did not know what I was doing there and at the beginning I felt out of place, but everything changed within me when I realized that I needed to discover my life’s mission.

After this experience, I decided to get in touch with the CLM Beatriz, who had spoken on the Missionary Vocation and given an account of her life at the Congress, to ask her to let me attend the mission camp. Having received a positive answer, I started with my formation to attend the Holy Week Mission Camp. I was waiting for my departure day with much enthusiasm but, when the time came, I felt both a lot of fear and at times joy, because what I had been awaiting for so many years was about to come.

We arrived at the parish of Metlatonoc, a community of Vicente Guerrero, where I stayed for a week. We faced several difficulties to get there, including a long journey, and steep uphill roads where we had to leave the car and walk to the place. But staying in the community I had the chance to discover that there is greater joy in giving than in receiving and also that a missionary learns from the community that accepted us with joy and enthusiasm. We worked as a team. We worked with the girls, forming three teams to share the themes and the eucharistic celebrations. Because we had no priests, we did not have the Eucharist, but we had the celebration of the Word in which I was chosen to lead the Easter Vigil. I felt a great responsibility and, wanting everything to turn out well, I was very nervous. Just the same, by the end I felt the peace and joy of having lived this great experience. Without a doubt, the Lord was able to seduce and trap me so that I may continue to serve. Coming back, I could look at life differently, trying to see always the positive side of things. I continued to follow the missionary activities and the meetings that have helped me to discover my vocation.

I just finished attending another National Youth Missionary Congress in July, in Villa Hermosa, Tabasco. The theme invited me to go beyond myself: CHRISTIAN YOUTH AT THE PERIPHERIES OF THE WORLD. There I could share experiences with people of my age who, just like myself, have questions as they try to discover their journey in a life of service in mission.

Now I am anxiously waiting for the formation retreat that will take place at the Comboni Seminary of San Francisco del Rincón, Gto. There I will start the process of formation as a Comboni Lay Missionary, since I feel that I identify with the missionary charism of St. Daniel Comboni.

Mónica Cervantes Suarez

Evaluation of candidates and meeting with relatives

LMC Portugal
LMC Portugal

The formation meeting of the CLM took place in Viseu (Portugal) on July 12-14.

As another year comes to an end, it is necessary to have an adequate evaluation of the progress made by the participants, so we did not follow any specific formation theme.

The candidates began to arrive in the afternoon of the 12th. Every meeting is always a great joy! The latest news bits are exchanged in between smiles and hugs! We all feel welcome in this mission house that always receives us so well!

As usual, on Saturday we started the day with the celebration of the Eucharist in the large chapel, open to the entire local community.

After breakfast, we moved to the upstairs hall where we exposed the Blessed Sacrament. This way, in front of the Lord, it was possible to pray and reflect over the progress made during the past year of formation. Many questions come up and it is necessary to find answers, my answers to ach one! Analyzing the past and taking advantage of the present by questioning ourselves before the Lord of Mission, we find answers and take decisions for the future. A future we want to live with Him, wherever and with whomever he will wish!

Renewed and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, we met individually with the Coordinating Team. Thus the day went by, the great day of evaluation, which we all hoped it would be positive.

LMC Portugal

Several Comboni Lay Missionaries with mission experience, some with their children, joined us for the afternoon prayer. How beautiful to see the children at this prayer! Above all, we prayed for the CLM members who are in mission lands ad gentes. That they never run out of protection and hope! How strong is this desire to be united in prayer! In Jesus, who sends us, and in the Holy Spirit, who accompanies us, we believe that we have nothing to fear!

On Sunday, after morning prayer and breakfast, our relatives began to arrive to spend this day with us in an atmosphere of celebration and sharing. After the welcome by Fr. Francisco Medeiros, they all introduced themselves and the CLM Vânia gave an account of all that the CLM have done during the year, highlighting the news we received from Augusta and Cristina in the Central African Republic, Paula and Neuza in Peru, Liliana and her husband Flávio in Brazil, Marisa in Mozambique and Pedro and Carolina in Ethiopia. With great emotions on the part of their relatives, we saw pictures and videos of these members, showing very explicitly what it means to be missionaries with the poor and disadvantaged.

Immediately after that, we listened to the witness of María Augusta who recently returned from the Republic of Central Africa. Simply and with empathy, she spoke of the latest events, adventures and misadventures.

The Eucharist followed, a strong moment of the day, sharing the Word and the Bread, together with our faith and the Comboni charism that unite us all.

After lunch, where the tables were loaded an nothing was missing, the gathering continued in the afternoon. With games, jokes, songs, stories and so on, we had a fabulous time in the Portuguese fashion.

Many thanks to all, especially to the formators and the coordinating team, who followed us for yet another year.

LMC Portugal

Glória Rocha

Let your heart be mission – Weekend of Comboni spirituality 2019

LMC Portugal
LMC Portugal

In June our meeting was not the usual formation meeting of Viseu, but rather a gathering of the Comboni family in Maia, which happens there annually and is prepared and organized by the Comboni Family Commission. This year we gathered on June 28-30 over the theme, “Let your heart be mission,” as this year’s topic for the Comboni Family.

It was a very beautiful meeting! First of all, only a small but diverse group attended, greatly enriching the perspectives and the sharing of the topics. Secondly, it was a gathering rich in reflection themes, but in a spirit of sharing as a Comboni family strengthening our ties of communion and friendship.

On Saturday morning, after morning prayers, Bishop António Couto of Lamego spoke on “The heart in the Bible.” We delved deeply in the biblical meaning of the heart and its significance. Then we saw what it means “to be mission” and Dom António shared some perspectives on how to be mission and do missionary work today and in today’s circumstances, giving concrete examples of groups and people who perform fruitful missionary work today.

Then the participants shared in the formative theme given by the bishop of Lamego, answering some questions he gave us.

In the afternoon, Comboni Sr. Arlete spoke to us. She spoke of the life of St. Daniel Comboni, his “passionate heart” for Africa, his “cordiality,” namely, how his heart moved for “all and how he kept everyone in his heart,” and his devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Later we shared again in groups what we had heard, trying to reflect together on how to live today, and in the same circumstances, this same passion and enthusiasm of Comboni.

LMC Portugal

At the end of the day, we celebrated Mass and then we had a sardinada where we could converse, socialize and strengthen our friendships. It was a beautiful and agreeable time!

On Sunday, after morning prayers, we gathered to share what we had reflected upon in groups the previous day. From here came new reflections as we continued to share and it was a time of joint meditation and mutual enrichment.

We ended with the Eucharist. Then we entrusted to the Lord all the life decisions we could take during this gathering, together with our missionary enthusiasm regenerated and strengthened at this meeting.

In this meeting, praying and sharing together, we animated one another as Comboni family to be mission, to be enthused by the proclamation and the witness, and to do so “immediately” with vigor and perseverance, in all circumstances!

LMC Portugal

Filipe Oliveira

Formation Meeting – Mission today: How? Why? For what? The Church in action

LMC Portugal
LMC Portugal

On the weekend of May 18-19, the CLM formation group gathered for its monthly meeting with the following theme: “Mission today: How? Why? For what? The Church in action.”

Even though the number was lower than usual, the gathering was quite rich in content. We started with the great question: Why mission? The various answers arrived to the same conclusion that it is the love of Jesus that moves us to go further out. And to help us remember that Jesus was the first missionary, the theme continued with the passage of the Road to Emmaus where the disheartened disciples recognize Jesus like the “One” who set their hearts on fire with his words.

Besides Bible passages we also reflected parts of the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio of Pope St. John Paul II over the enduring value of the Missionary Mandate, reflecting the key words about the meaning of Mission and of being a Missionary. In this encyclical, Pope St. JPII invites the Church to renew its missionary commitment, stating that “Mission is a problem of faith, the correct measure of our faith in Christ and in his love for us.”

On Saturday after lunch, we visited the house of the Comboni Sisters, who shared with us some of their experiences, and witnesses of missionary life.

After this time, we returned to our theme and moved on to the reading of the Pastoral Note of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference on the Mission Year and the Extraordinary Mission Month, inviting all Christians to live a year of constant encounter with Jesus. To be in a permanent state of mission, to live the mission and mission renewal.

That evening we saw the film “Francis and Clare,” a show that made us reflect on their lives embattled for the love of Jesus and their dedication to the emarginated.

The Sunday started with a beautiful dedication to our Mother, Mary Queen of Missions, by starting our first prayer of the day in front of an image of her outside the house. After breakfast and up to the Eucharist, we studied excerpts from the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium and we contacted by a video call Pedro Nascimiento and Carolina Fiúza who shared their experiences from their arrival in Ethiopia. Then we ended this very fruitful meeting with the Eucharist and the certainty that we were leaving with the joy of Jesus who made us and wnts us to be missionaries, every day and everywhere.

CLM Portugal.

Mónica Silva

Diversity is truly beautiful

LMC Kinshasa
LMC Kinshasa

Dear Friends,

It has been two months now since I am in Africa. My first stop was Democratic Republic of Congo. First thing that surprised me when I landed in Kinshasa was the temperature, it was very, very high. I was already in Kenia twice so far, so I supposed I would not be very surprised by African reality, and for sure not by the weather!

At the airport, there were waiting for me two persons: father Celestin, responsible for CLM movement in DRC and Tiffany – CLM Coordinator. They took me to the provincial house of the MCCJ where I was welcomed very warmly by all CLM and Comboni fathers’ community.

During these two months spent in Kinshasa, I focused mainly on learning French, but also on experiencing community life, in big international group. It showed me that diversity is truly beautiful. So many different cultures, different languages, habits, it can really work and give joy to the people who live together. We can find something that connects us: first of all – God, other people, happiness of being together, common mission and care of God’s work. Of course, life with other people is not easy, but the awareness that we share the same goal helps a lot.

As I mentioned before, time spent in Kinshasa was mainly to learn French, quite difficult experience for me, but it really taught me many things.

At the beginning, I tried to mix up French and English, but most of the time I still used simple English instead of French. The later, the harder, more and more people required from me to speak French, but that worked for the best! I was of course stressed and frustrated, but I knew that was for my own good and I am grateful for that time. Every day I tried to speak more and more in French, sometimes I felt shameful because of my spelling or grammar mistakes, but it was an additional motivation to improve my language skills.

Now I know, why it is so important to speak, even with mistakes, because someone can correct them. We need other people to help us with defeating the barrier of speaking (even with the mistakes). That is why community is so important.

In our Comboni spirit it is crucial to appreciate people we are among, their presence and support, their motivation. Alone, we do not have so much strength as we have together. Maybe you can find this as an ideal vision, so perfect that cannot be true, but that is my experience both from Cracow and Kinshasa.

This time showed me how adequate are the words: “God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called”.

LMC Kinshasa

When I had some free time on Saturdays, together with Enochi (CLM from Kinshasa) I served people on the street. It was a program called “meal from your heart”. It was prepared by one family for people who lived on the street. Kinshasa is a very big city, and people came from different parts, just to have a warm meal. During a couple of hours, we were giving around 250-300 plates. I realized how blessed I am that I have something to eat, access to drinkable water, place to sleep and clothes to wear. There is so many people in the world who cannot afford it. I have in mind pictures of young boys who “take a bath” and washed their clothes in the small moat near to the provincial house. I will remember it for the rest of my life.

Time in Kinshasa allowed me also to experience the happiness of people here, despite of difficulties, they need to go through. To see their energy and commitment.


Now, for over 3 weeks, I am in Bangui – capital of Republic of Central Africa. I will stay here also for two months to learn Sango – local language. I got to know my community – Christina and Simone, I will live and work with them in Mongoumba. On Friday 28 June, we celebrated together the Day of Holiest Heart of Jesus Christ. It was time for adoration, dinner and talk together.

I wanted to ask you all to pray for me, for the people I meet here, for all I am about to do here, my mission and my life. I will also pray for you.


Monica Jamer, CLM