Comboni Lay Missionaries

Comboni Lay Missionaries PCA, Yearly Silent Retreat

LMC Guatemala

LMC Guatemala

Last weekend, February 9-10, the CLM of the PCA in Guatemala enjoyed the gift of the annual retreat. It took place at Casa Comboni in Guatemala City.

The lay participants were 18 and it was organized by Bro. Humberto Rua, our moderator, and by Fr. Victor Hugo Castillo, who kindly prepared the topic for the meditations of the two days.

The objective of the retreat: to take a spiritual time out in order to recollect within ourselves the essentials of missionary life and gather strength to face the activities of this year.

On Saturday, scrutinizing the Word of God in the Gospel of Mark, we reflected on Jesus as the Son of God:

* The Good News is Jesus of Nazareth, man and God, crucified and resurrected, Jesus as the Lord of History. Starting from this truth, the mission of the Church consists in speaking of God, not only creating communities, but also leading people to make a profession of faith. It is to re-establish hope which is so fragile in our days, and return dignity to those who do not believe they have it.

* The Baptism of Jesus and ours, that makes us Children of God, even though it gives us the Spirit, nonetheless it does not exempt us from temptations, hence we must defend us with the Word and here the proclamation begins.

* In the temptations in the desert Jesus defeated the Devil by the strength of the Spirit. The missionary is not super-man or super-woman, but it is their human experience that makes them able to help others. Vocation is a daily struggle and conquest, a pathway between temptations and victories.

Following, we had confessions, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and a time for meditation and silence. We did not forget about a time of enjoyment which is only possible in Godly endeavors.

Sunday, “the Mission,” the great gift of God to us without our deserving it.

* Mission is born when the disciple feels called by the Father. He then goes looking for his brothers everywhere. This love is not selfish. The mission of the disciples is exactly the same as the mission of Jesus.

* Apostolic life does not consist in doing a lot of things, because Jesus already saved the world, nor by starting from what he did, but only starting from one point: the cross.

* The greatest wisdom: “Mission consists in teaching the Word of God, the Good News. Mission is not in giving things, because giving the Word is much more than anything.”

* The activity of God is to be adored in spirit and truth. The missionary is a worker, cooperator of God, and proclaiming the Gospel is the proclamation of the truth that sets us free.

These were some of the points of the retreat. I could write much more, but in general terms, for in these topics we meditate starting for the Word.

We ended with a delicious lunch.

Blessed be God who has called us and gives us the ability to “go to the world and proclaim the Good News to all of creation” (Mk 16:15)

“Holy and able making common cause with the poorest and most abandoned”

(St. Daniel Comboni)

LMC Guatemala

Lily Portillo, CLM-PCA

Formation Meeting – “Comboni: God, the Cross and the Mission”

LMC Portugal

LMC PortugalThe 5th formation meeting of this year took place in Viseu on January 18-20. Comboni Sr. Carmo Ribeiro directed this weekend so full, so rich, so intense, on the theme “Comboni: God, the Cross and the Mission.”

We started with something that I considered very relevant and that made me understand immediately that it was going to be a good weekend. Sr. Carmo started by giving us a slightly different and more complete title: “Comboni: God, the Heart of the Crucified Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, and the mission”. And from that we began to see the true greatness of Comboni and of his charism.

On Saturday we explored those that are and that have turned out to be the supporting pillars of God’s living presence in Comboni. First of all, Trust in God and the deep conviction that his life is from God. Comboni always made time for prayer, silence and, even in times of tribulation, he trusts completely and surrenders his life to the hands of God. Comboni’s vocation comes from there and he always makes recourse to him, he always lives in him and finds light for his path. This deep relationship fascinates me and shows me how far I still am from this commitment of life and this trust.

Secondly, the love of the Pierced Heart of the Good Shepherd gave identity to the Comboni charism. From this mystic experience of prayer rises this strong connection with the pierced heart of the Good Shepherd, and from this heart Comboni drank and drew strength and from here his vocation and his commitment to mission grew. This is the heart that shaped the life of Comboni and that should always shape ours. May we be capable of this trust and surrender.

Thirdly, the Love of the Cross, the cross that saves us. This conviction that the cross, suffering, difficulties, when embraced, are life-giving! Comboni experienced being insignificant, embraced the cross as his bride, and was saved by God, because of his Love.

Then comes the Cenacle of Apostles, namely, the community as the center where mission becomes reality in the context of its richness, fragility and difficulties, with what each member is and is capable of giving of oneself. It means to know that community begins with me and that our vulnerabilities cement our community more than our talents.

LMC PortugalIn the fifth place, Mary, as Mother of the Church and Mother of Africa, who prepared and then always followed her son Jesus, is also part of the cenacle. In Mary Comboni sees the mother of the Black race and the support of his missionaries. And it is in her that we, too, must look for our inspiration, help in our doubts, and place our lives in her hands.

Then comes St. Joseph, another pillar of the Comboni charism, he who protected the great treasure, the best God had: Jesus and Mary. St. Joseph always protected and administered his God given goods who were never his own, in silence, right intention and care that they lack nothing.

It is also in prayer and zeal that we find the other pillar of Comboni’s life in God, the conviction of the importance and strength of constant prayer and the determination to always watch over and protect the mission.

Finally, and not less important is the feeling of being Church, of belonging, of being one with the others. Above all, was the obedience and respect for the decisions of the Church, without ever forgetting the mission God had given him in order to achieve the Plan for the Regeneration of Africa.

Well, above all I treasure in my heart all these pillars of Comboni, and I feel that I must have them in my life as well. It was a very intense day, filled with things shared and a lot of learning. We need to lift all of this in prayer so that the journey will shine with the life of Comboni.

We closed the afternoon with a prayer, a sign over joys and crosses, a community prayer, where I felt this cenacle described by Comboni, where our frailness, joys, crosses and fears were shared with Jesus and one another. It was an incisive prayer, intense where I was able to see the reflection of the face of Jesus.

In the evening we saw “Of God and Men,” About a community of monks in Algeria, who lived through the difficult decision of leaving or of staying with the people and the mission to which they had been assigned. It is a very harsh movie, full of life, about faith, community, dedication, mission… It deals with how the love of God becomes present in each one of them and with total donation within each one’s frailty. The film, in a way, helped us to visualize the Comboni style of life we had discussed during the day.

On Sunday we heard the witness of Sr. Conceição. I treasure in my heart her intensity in speaking about mission, the marvels worked by God in her mission place and the feeling of risking it all in the name of mission. This risking at times looks like pure madness, but always with that trust in Jesus and in Comboni.

Besides all this, that was a lot and very good, we enjoyed a very fortunate weekend, when we shared coffee at the Comboni Sisters’ house where we were so kind to us. We enjoyed the presence of Fr. Luís Filipe, who stayed with us the entire weekend sharing his witness and of Sr. Conceição who shared so much about herself with us.

We also had the joy of sharing the Eucharist with Artur Valente, Fr. Luís Filipe and Sr. Conceição and so, in a way, to commemorate the beginnings of the CLM.

I could continue to write about what I experienced, felt and learned during this weekend but above all there is the certainty that Comboni’s life was intense, impacting, and that his faith led him along the most beautiful paths of life and of mission.

May I assimilate all this learning and pray to God to guide my way.

LMC Portugal
Ana Isabel Sousa

Twenty one years of life, and “life in abundance”

LMC Portugal

LMC PortugalThis is the day to thank the Lord for what we have accomplished as Comboni Lay Missionaries. Today we celebrate 21 years of history and mission, 21 years from that January 25, 1998 when we started this journey of discernment and formation for lay people in Maia, animated by the Holy Spirit and by St. Daniel Comboni.

It has been a very beautiful journey done at the foot of the Cross, before the Lord. And it is from this journey that mission is born – the one made of God’s works that “are born and grow at the foot of the Cross.” It consists in walking as a family, inspired by St. Daniel Comboni who leads us to “Save Africa with Africa” – this marvelous Africa that today no longer has borders and stands at our peripheries.

LMC PortugalMany journeyed with us. Some left, others continue their commitment as CLM, but all, one way or the other, left swirls and drops that today make up this ocean of love we have become and binds continents together. We are grateful from the bottom of our hearts to all those who accompanied us and who keep on doing it.

LMC PortugalDuring these 21 years, many were the CLM who lived their missionary vocation in places beyond our borders: in Mozambique, Brazil, the Central African Republic and Peru. Today, we continue to share our missionary spirit in these same countries: Marisa in Mozambique; Liliana in Brazil; Maria Augusta and Cristina in the Central African Republic; Paula y Neuza in Peru. Not to mention all those who remain committed in Portugal, in the peripheries, in their families, in daily life, attempting to live the mission God has given them, plus all the candidates trying to discern God’s call for them in Comboni’s charism.

Missionaries in Christ and through our baptism, we move forward as St. Daniel Comboni inspired us: “Keep your eyes always fixed in Christ, loving him tenderly and trying to understand always better what it means to have a God dead on the cross for the salvation of souls.” (Writings 2721)

LMC PortugalAnd this saving of souls in Comboni was going well beyond simple evangelization: the salvation of humankind through the passion and death of Christ, which is born and lives through the identification of the missionary with this paschal mystery, in this dying in order to be born and live. “If the grain of wheat falling in the ground does not die, it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces abundant fruit.” (John 12:24)

With great enthusiasm let us continue our journey, following the footsteps of St. Daniel Comboni, hand in hand so that his work will not die, a journey of a difficult and enthusing mission among the people and the countries thirsting for Christ.

LMC PortugalCLM Portugal

The Church of Christ on mission in the world

Logo EN

Logo ENThe Guide for the Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019, “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World”, promoted by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (CEP) and the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), is a subsidiary text collecting contributions from and for Christians all over the world. The drafting of the Guide was made possible also thanks to the cooperation of the PMS National Directors based in various countries of all continents.

The purpose of the Guide is to support the single dioceses in meeting their needs as to missionary formation and activities, thus preparing the faithful throughout the world to live the Extraordinary Missionary Month wanted by Pope Francis on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the promulgation of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter, Maximum Illud (November 30, 1919).

The Guide will inspire the creativity of the local Churches and of their parishioners in facing the challenges inherent to evangelization, starting from “missio ad gentes” and their own particular context, without any claim to be exhaustive or to provide a systematic theological or catechetical reflection on the mission. The sections of the Guide correspond to the spiritual dimensions outlined by the Holy Father in calling the Extraordinary Missionary Month: the personal encounter with Jesus Christ living in the Church, the witness of saints and martyrs of the mission, the catechetical formation for the mission and the missionary charity. The text is published in English, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese.






Obstacles to love of God as Christians



We have observed many times a truck carrying a heavy load climbing a mountain. In the sloping side of the mountain the driver has little work to and in the climbing lane, there is a lot of smoke that comes and a keen attention is needed by the driver to manage the climbing lane. The driver is determined because he knows the lane will end and he will relax and so he does not give up in his task of taking the goods to the required destination. I can confidently compare our Christian life to this scenario of a truck driver who has to engage all the gears according to the task to be accomplished. Many times in our Christian life, we meet people who tell us it is very hard to follow Christ. Once they have made up their mind to follow Jesus, they are faced with situations that make them lose heart and they feel the fire in them that burns for love of God is getting weak and weak. Our Christian life comprises of many obstacles we meet. Much as we have faith in God and promise to maintain closeness to God at all times, there are few things that will give friction to us in the way of our Christian life to love God at all times. God created us in his own image and likeness Gen. 1:27-28. And Jesus came to fulfill this in New Testament when he said …..I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full John 10:10. It may not be easy for us to feel this fullness of life in Jesus on daily basis unless we are aware of our inner and very deep self-rejection. I meet very many cases of self-rejection in my daily work in the hospital and clinics and families with all categories of people both young and old, laity and religious and those who have no faith in God. According to different sources of consultations with patients and general teachings and Catechisms of Catholic Church the writer comes across, he has come up to compile these as some of the causes of self-rejection affecting our love for God. These causes when we dig deeper to find out the details are the same regardless of who is the person presenting with these scenarios affecting all people of all walks of life.

How can I know I have self-rejection?

  • When I sense in myself lacking something, not being satisfied in what I am, my family origin, my tribe and race, colour of my skin, my social status, my work and many others. In this case God cannot find a way to use his love in me since I lack self-esteem.
  • Being unsatisfied with the way God created me being black, brown or the colour of my skin, short or tall, fat and thin. When we witness fat people wanting to become thin and vice versa and many other related issues on how we were created, then we are witnessing self-rejection in such a person and such self-rejection shall be carried to other people like children, spouse, siblings, community, work place and others.
  • Sometimes a person feels being condemned by some inmost thoughts and this makes them feel guilty and condemned and such people fear to be called upon and it is worse in cases of taking up a responsibility.
  • We also witness people who develop “I do not care” attitude with extraordinary boldness and such people are usually headache to the Community.
  • Being closed up to others and a person does not want to be open to others and want to be separated from others at all times and covering everything from others.
  • Feeling of need of total isolation/loneliness from others, feeling of peace when alone at all times and this loneliness cannot be equivalent to solitary life in any measure. Such people are glued to their phone, television, News Papers, radios, novels any other thing at their disposal all the time.

God created us so that we should enjoy the company of one another but not to be segregated or isolated from one another worse in our communities and families.

Some causes of self-rejection

This can be as a result of some other things not only limited to such as;

  • Unwanted child in the mother’s womb which extends up to later years in life, this worse happens when some girls conceives in school/University, thereby dropping out of school
  • When a child is born in unwanted place; in the family, car, open market place, on the road side a place other than the hospital and not wanted by the father in most cases taking it to be a shame to him and his family
  • Family break up commonly in divorce, domestic violence breeding self-rejection and isolation making a child to long for the love of the father/mother all the time and finds no one to give this unconditional parental love
  • Missing the love of the father who is always away for job or other social moments without the family, such rejection really enters into the children and torture them in the later years in their lives
  • Many parents and guardians tend to compare children/some adults with other people who they judge to be better or even compare them to animals both wild and domestic or people or bad characters in movies. This brings inferiority complex to children who will know they are very useless and have no place in the heart of anybody including their own biological parents
  • Child abuse-brutality to children by parents, relatives both physical and verbal abuse that drive many children to the streets commonly in the developing countries like Uganda who end up being victims of HIV/AIDS infections and disease, early child marriages.
  • False promises in the hope of marriage which brings about a deep wound of mistrust of any person since love has been betrayed or abused.
  • Experience in war seeing people being killed, women and girls being raped and being forced to abuse own parents, siblings in terms of rape and murder perpetrated by people well known to the community and some are prominent in the society including the Church.

All these will bring doubts about God and meaning of life to the victims and the family members. All these above issues in a very long time in life sometimes late into adulthood can breed the 5 Demons in our life or in the life of others called Hatred, Fear, Irrational fear, Feeling of being inferior and Persecution Complex/Self-pity

These 5 demons cause the following in our lives or lives of others;

  • Hampers us to see what is bad in ourselves and so we fail to see our own mistakes
  • They make us to see other people as being bad to us but we are the good ones always
  • Projection of problems i.e. telling your own problem in another ones name-give him/her money
  • Leads to psychological diseases such as; ulcers, Asthma, High Blood pressure, headache and many others

Unless the inner causes are removed with prayers of repentance and counselling which are normally combinations of very many factors, you will never get rid of self-rejection in life. We should never take prayers as magic like you want food and there it is which is all about testing God.

Let us look at the manifestations of these 5 demons in our life;


  • Do I have the spirit of revenge when I am offended?
  • Am I so critic of others i.e. negative criticism?
  • Do I take myself better than others?
  • Do I enjoy when other are suffering?
  • Am I impatient with the traffic lights?
  • Do I get annoyed when someone drives badly?
  • Do I oppress the weak?
  • Do I enjoy having people under me?
  • Do I enjoy humiliating others?
  • When I get problems do I get the solutions in others? When someone dies so and so is the one responsible for this….as many always say.
  • Do I have the spirit suspecting others that they talk about me, i.e. they are looked down always
  • Am I jealous of other peoples’ way of walking, dressing?
  • Am I inclined to flattering others or mocking them by saying good things without meaning it?
  • Do I have aggressive thoughts, actions, words, intolerance about opposite opinion?


  • Do I move backwards when I get a task?
  • Do I feel the temptation of letting go of something that bothers me i.e. escape from others or reality?
  • Do I feel inferior in the presence of my Superiors?
  • Do I feel suffering while keeping quite i.e. suffering in silence?
  • Do I fear to depend on others? We see forest is made of different trees, crippling plants on big trees to reach to the sunlight. It is not avoidable to depend on others.
  • Do I refuse collaboration with others?
  • Do I need my radio or television on in order to distract myself in fear of silence?
  • Do I have fear of future or am I superstitious?


  • Do I feel there is sin not forgiven?
  • Do I have something in the past that I hide from everybody and which I do not want to think about, speak about or even discuss about?
  • Do I seek to be under cover when I am alone, with others?
  • Do I always have doubts about my moral abilities?
  • Do I do or feel doing something against my nature?
  • Am I scrupulous with my moral life?


  • Do I prefer to be alone? One who builds near forest if he/she is accused of being a night dancer, no one will deny it (African saying)
  • Am I agitated to others or want to be alone all the time?
  • Am I susceptible or critical of others in all matters? First remove the plug in your eye as the Lord tells us Mathew 7:5
  • Do I get depressed easily?
  • Do I give excessive importance to others for their success?
  • Do I humble myself to others who are inferior to me, not experts in my field and in all matters seen? This is sickness!
  • Do I seek compensation in dreaming of things that are impossible to get?


  • Do I internally lament of not being understood by everyone?
  • Do I have fear of being rejected or not esteemed in the community?
  • Do I frequently speak of injustice or imagined wrongs instead of imagining to solving solutions?
  • Is it my habit to grumble about work, places, situations or negative talk?
  • Do I always speak about my own merits only i.e. I would have got this, that ……

Way forward

The first step to overcome this is to accept and believe there is a problem with you so that you can seek relevant solution accordingly.

Prayer is the only solution to overcome this problem after seeking spiritual counselling from spiritual director or otherwise.  This will energetically and profoundly influence our mind and spirit to be directed towards God.

This will call us to have very deep reflection and contemplation towards God and have a strong will and sufficient love for God. Prayer of conversation/repentance in such circumstances helps to heal/cure our lack of reflection about our activities.

God listens to our prayers and so we need the spirit of perseverance to wait for the will of God in our life as we ask in Faith convinced like a farmer who plants maize and will expect maize to germinate and give yield with good harvest at the end which will all take time and patience. We also need to remember that our prayers and answers will correspond to our actions in order to collaborate with God.

Our Spiritual Fathers give us a beautiful lesson about such challenges in life when they say: “Happy is the man,” says the dear St. Francis of Assisi, “who does not worry, nor grieve himself, about anything in this world, but leads a holy life, without any inordinate attachment, and abandons himself cheerfully to the will of God.” This is very true because we get troubles with ourselves when we are attached to material things or worldly pleasures and fame which all are pride and self-centeredness that drive us to oppress and deprive others of their due praise and recognition. St. Francis of Sales, knowing that all the accidents of life, without exception, happen by the order of Providence, reposed in Him with the greatest tranquility, like a child on the bosom of its mother. This gentle saint was filled with so great a confidence in God that in the midst of the greatest disasters nothing could disturb the peace of his soul. “I cannot but be persuaded,” he often said, “that he who believes in an infinite Providence, which extends even to the lowest worm, must expect good from all that happens to him.” In the same spirit, St. Vincent de Paul exhorts us: “Let us place our confidence in God and establish ourselves in an entire dependence on Him. Then fear not what men may say or do against us all will turn to our advantage. Yes, if all the earth should rise up against us, nothing will happen but as God pleases, in whom we have established our hopes.” Says the author of the “Spiritual Combat”: “Nothing is impossible to God, since His power is infinite. Nothing is difficult to God, since His wisdom is equally infinite. Therefore surrendering through prayers to allow his will be done in all that happen to us is the best offering we can give to him in our Comboni Lay Missionary activities we have committed to do. God desires our good with an infinite desire, since His goodness is without limit. We are told that God does not send us to carry a burden beyond our bear and he is aware of all that happens to us and we just say with our beloved Mother Mary let your will be done to me according to your will, Luke 1:38. What can be more stretched is a blessed secret this, of living by the day that is to say live each day the way it comes, one at a time. Anyone can carry his burden, however heavy, till nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, until the sun goes down. And this is all what life ever means to us — just one little day at a time “Do to-day’s duty; fight to-day’s temptations, and do not weaken or distract yourself by looking forward to things you cannot see, and could not understand if you saw them.”( Lasance, F. X. (Francis Xavier), 1860-1946. My prayer book; happiness in Goodness: Reflections, counsels, prayers and devotions. New York Benziger Bros).  God gives us nights to shut down upon our little days and we should always remember to thank him for the gift of each day regardless of what the day has for us both good and bad, all of which has a purpose for us to identify God from what is happening to us each day.

St. Daniel Comboni beautifully puts it to remind us in our Missionary journey that: All crosses and adversities will only serve to strengthen the Spirit of the members, who are faithful to this holy task and determined to put the mission on the road of certain prosperity, because the works of God have always been born and grown at the foot of Calvary (Cross) and must, like Jesus, go through the process of passion and death in order to reach the Resurrection (St. Daniel Comboni Message MDC 236). When we have this saying in front of us in all moments of our life, we shall embrace all sufferings with open arms as Comboni Lay Missionaries knowing well that there is no Easter without Good Friday. Let us be strengthened by our weakness to find God in all that we go through as his followers and imitate our most beloved Mother Mary placing ourselves to the working of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in our life under the inspiration of St. Joseph our model in family life.

May we be there for each other to hold our hands when hard moments come to us in our daily Christian journey while daily singing our beautiful Hymn…I have decided to follow Jesus… turning back, no turning back…. May we always be one in Jesus Christ our Lord…..Amen!

Ezati Eric

Comboni Lay Missionary, Uganda