Comboni Lay Missionaries

“Seeds” project assists cyclone Gombe victims in northern Mozambique

LMC Carapira

Since March when the powerful cyclone Gombe hit Carapira in northern Mozambique, destroying houses and farms. We, the CLM, have been working to alleviate the suffering of the population. Always in partnership with friends and people with good hearts.

With the help received from Brazil it was possible to carry out small projects. Among them the seeds project.

This Wednesday, November 23rd, we started the first phase of this project, which consists of delivering 5 kg of corn and 3 kg of beans to the most vulnerable families for planting.

The benefited families have the commitment to return the same amount received at harvest time, so that we can continue the project.

The Carapira Parish is composed of 94 communities divided into 5 regions with 22 zones. We chose to make the delivery in each zone to facilitate the access of the families.

The second phase will be on the 29th of this month. And the third will be at the beginning of December.

In this project there are more than 300 families contemplated.

On behalf of the families and the people of Carapira, I thank everyone who generously gave a little of what they have to help those who have even less.

God bless you all.

CLM Carapira

Education from the countryside for the countryside

LMC Brasil

It is time for another assembly of the Rural Family House, an association formed by country people, ex-students and people who believe in this proposal. The Comboni family present in Açailândia is part of this project, being directly involved Dida and Xoán, Liliana and Flávio, and Fr. Joseph.

The house offers a three-year technical course in agriculture and cattle raising, combined with high school, through the alternating cycle pedagogy.

There is a song that says: “I won’t leave the countryside to go to school. Education in the countryside is a right, not a handout.”

The goal of this space is exactly this! By enabling young people from the countryside to improve the profitability of family property, we reduce the rural exodus and promote family farming, also inserting agro-ecological techniques.

The school serves students from Açailândia, neighboring towns, and also from more distant cities, with students from three different states (Maranhão, Pará and Tocantins).

In the debate about the challenges faced by the school and that involve financial costs, one of the mothers present pointed out, “We are an association, we can collaborate and with the little of each one, we will get what is necessary.”

And so we go sowing in the collective construction the search for better conditions for farmers and peasants, and with this generate a seed of a better world.

CLM Brazil

Visit to Peru (II): Pangoa

LMC Perú

Once the meeting was over and after saying goodbye to the participants from the different countries, I left for Pangoa, a town in the Peruvian jungle where our CLM have been doing missionary support during their vacations, especially for school support in the indigenous communities.

There I was received by the Comboni community who welcomed me very well. I had the opportunity to meet again Fr. Maciek, whom we met in Poland where he was supporting the CLM, and Fr. Lorenzo, who until a few months ago accompanied the CLM in Spain. During the three days of my stay I was able to visit the different services provided by the parish, how they attend to the people coming from the different indigenous communities, the visit to the Daniel Comboni school, where I was able to share some time with the older students, the visit to the cultural center that is being built and that will undoubtedly help a lot to make known the reality of the indigenous communities and to promote meetings that will strengthen their culture.

On the other hand, we had the opportunity to visit some of the indigenous communities closest to Pangoa. The territory of the parish is immense and getting into it requires an all-terrain car with 4-wheel drive to avoid getting stuck in the mud or the use of canoes to reach the most remote communities.

Pangoa is undoubtedly a parish full of needs and opportunities for missionary service. Who knows if one day we will be able to open an CLM presence in the area?

On the occasion of my visit we took the opportunity to organize a meeting with some people interested in becoming CLM. It was a small introductory meeting that we hope will serve as a seed that will later be nurtured and watered with missionary fruits in the area.

I leave you a video of the area recorded by the program Pueblo de Dios de España.

Kind regards

Alberto de la Portilla, coordinator of the CLM Central Committee.

Visit to Peru (I): Lima

LMC Perú

Undoubtedly the continental meeting of the CLM of America held in Lima was a very special moment. Postponed for two consecutive years due to the pandemic. We were finally able to celebrate it and share how we are living our vocation in a reality that is trying to come out of the pandemic and recover from the consequences.

A meeting of this kind always serves to encourage us, to reflect together and to gather strength and new ideas for the imminent future that awaits us.

Once the meeting was over, as usual, to take advantage of the plane ticket, I had the opportunity to stay in the country and visit the places where we are present as CLM.

The first visit was to the neighborhood of Pamplona Alta where the CLM of Lima carry out a large part of their pastoral activity. This visit was made by all the participants of the continental meeting during the last Sunday. We divided into two groups and each group visited some of the communities that usually accompany our CLM brothers. The parish has a Spanish parish priest from the IEME and has the presence of the Comboni Sisters.

During the pandemic the work has been very hard, helping the communities to survive. The creation of numerous community kitchens has made possible the solidarity among all the members of the community and allowed many families to survive.

Here is a video of the area recorded by the team of the Spanish television program Pueblo de Dios. There we can see the extent of this work and the reality of these communities.

Kind regards

Alberto de la Portilla, coordinator of the CLM Central Committee.

Making a common cause with the poor and with the common home

Encuentro Amazonia

Letter from the Comboni Encounter on Integral Ecology

Encuentro Amazonia

About thirty members of the Comboni Family (Lay, Secular, Religious, men and women, including three provincials) from Africa, America and Europe, we gathered from July 27 to August 3, 2022, in Belém, capital of Pará, Brazil, on the occasion of the X Pan-Amazonian Social Forum (X FOSPA) and the Comboni Meeting on Integral Ecology.

We opened our ears, hearts and minds to the groans of Mother Earth, of the Amazonian peoples and of the communities we work with, who cry out for the complete regeneration of the daughters and sons of the God of Life (cf. Rom 8, 19-23), present throughout all of Creation.

We did this in continuity with the long journey of the Comboni Forums and the mapping of social ministries in our Comboni Family and mission.

We are inspired by the spirituality of native peoples and their strong interconnection with the primary elements of the cosmos: water, rivers, air, forests, land and all beings.

Through them, Jesus of Nazareth continues to invite us to “contemplate the birds of the sky and the lilies of the field” (Cf. Mt 6, 26-28) in order to learn and assume together the Bien Vivir (Good Living).

Through attentive, respectful and compassionate LISTENING to the reality of many peoples:

1. WE SEE that the climatic, socio-environmental and political crisis – derived from the dominant and unsustainable economic model, which separates, excludes and kills – seriously endangers human survival and the full life of all Creation, in the territories where we live our vocation and mission at the service of the Kingdom.

It is the indigenous peoples, traditional communities, women and young people who still nourish hope, in their resistance, in defense of the Amazon!

2. WE UNDERSTAND that the gravity of the situation urgently demands that the Church and our Institutes initiate processes of ecological conversion.

We feel it is necessary:

  • to review and unlearn many of our concepts and experiences in relation to God and Nature, the relationship among men and women, about inculturation, pastoral practices and liturgy;
  • to integrate in our missionary activities the defense of the bodies of those who fight for respect for the environment and of the territories where we are present;
  • to cultivate and share eco-spirituality, biblical re-readings and the link between faith and life;
  • to adopt a missionary methodology that allows us to have a greater connection and an effective immersion in the values, languages, cultures and sacredness of the peoples and territories with which we interact;
  • to review and correct, in our projects and structures, styles of life and consumption, often incompatible with ecological and evangelical sobriety;
  • to invest in basic and continuous training that integrate, in theory and in practice, the principles of Integral Ecology;
  • to inform and encourage the local Churches and our Comboni Family about events, means and processes that help us to assume and deepen the experience of synodality and social ministeriality in an ecological perspective;
  • to strengthen solidarity, participation, mutual care and networking with indigenous peoples, lay people, congregations, social movements and inter-ecclesial and extra-ecclesial bodies.

3. WE PROPOSE to the coordinators of our Institutes, to the councils of the circumscriptions of all continents, to sectorial leaders and to all the members of our Comboni Family:

  • adopting, as a common inspiration, the Comboni Pact for the Common Home and, as a transversal axis of all our missionary activity and presence, Integral Ecology;
  • promoting the permanent sharing of reflections, lessons learned and practices among the members of the Comboni Family;
  • exchanging personnel among communities and circumscriptions that operate in the same territory;
  • qualifying our training processes with research, sharing of methodologies for intervention and social transformation and the definition and the theoretical-practical integration of Integral Ecology in line with Laudato Si’ and Querida Amazonia by Pope Francis;
  • participating in the discussion and elaboration of pastoral plans in dioceses and parishes that assume the principles of Integral Ecology;
  • promoting our qualification and participation in the field of advocacy and political decision in defense of the Common Home;
  • supporting and investing in the mechanisms and practices of inclusive economy;
  • welcoming and defending people at risk or threatened because of their struggles.

4. WE ASSUME, as participants in this Comboni Family Encounter and in this rich experience of listening, the commitment to:

  • publicize and support the Pan-Amazonian Declaration of Belém, which integrates the Knowledge and Feelings shared in the X Pan-Amazonian Social Forum (X FOSPA);
  • continue the reflection and sharing of insights that emerged during these days of meetings;
  • translate and live, in the different contexts of our mission, the charismatic inspiration of Comboni (Regenerate Africa with Africa) and the slogan “Amazona-te!”, which had a strong repercussion among us in these days, always respecting and promoting the protagonism of the traditional peoples.

5. WE ENTRUST all this path that we want to travel to the intercession and protection of the Martyrs of the Amazon who encourage us to radical witness and fidelity in our following of Jesus of Nazareth and in living out our charism.

From the flow of life on the banks of the Guamá River, in Belém do Pará, August 3, 2022.

Encuentro Amazonia

The participants of the Comboni Encounter of Integral Ecology