Comboni Lay Missionaries

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.

LMC RCA

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.

Monika

Monica Jamer, CLM

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

Mozambique: A Missionary informs us on the situation in the central part of the country

Mozambique
Mozambique

April 2, 2019 Fr. Constantino Bogaio, Provincial of the Comboni Missionaries in Mozambique, tells us about the current situation after the destruction caused by the Cyclone Idai. The arrival of Cyclone Idai, with winds reaching 120 to 220 kmph and vry heavy rain, left in the city of Beira and its surroundings a trail of destruction never seehn or experienced before in the history of Mozambique.

In a short time the city was left deserted, ghostly, in a desolate situation. Walking through the avenues, the streets, the roadways one could see the houses destroyed, hospitals torn apart, the ruins of the churches, fallen trees, light and telephone poles thrown here and there. The city of Chiveve had a blackout that affected 95% of its buildings, except for the airport that was turned into a shelter for the locals and for the foreigners arriving to help. In neighborhoods such as Munhava, Muchatazine, Vaz, Chota, Ndunda and others, besides the destruction of homes, there was extended flooding.   While the second city of the country was beginning to estimate the damage done by the cyclone and raise from its wounded pride, it started to receive bad news reaching one bit at the time, because the only land connection was cut off by the fury of the waters of the rivers Pungue, Búzi and Muda and their tributaries that flooded over their banks in the district of Dondo, Búzi, Nhamatanda, and Chibabava in the province of Sofala.

Mozambique

This is the only land connection between Beira and the other cities. Thus the suffering of the people became even worse. For almost a week they were almost totally isolated on the ground. Basic products were getting scarce and the constat rain made people’s lives very miserable.   The international community, arrived to give help, chose as its top priority to save lives in the surrounding districts, moving people to Beira. Thus a number of shelters were set up around the city.

  1. Some preliminary general data from the affected areas
We must emphasize that no one knows the exact numbers: Classrooms destroyed: 3140 Students affected: 90,756 Homes destroyed: 19,730 Dead: The dad in these areas are more than 500, but the numbers of missing people is not yet known.

Mozambique

  1. The Comboni Missionaries
In the city of Beira we work in the suburb of Chota where more than 70 thousand people live. At the moment, 270 families had their homes destroyed and we have 170 families in immediate need of support, food and other necessities. So, in this first phase, our job will be to support these people. The second phase will be to rebuild the homes, build a school as well as a youth center in the parish so that children and young people will have activities, because what was there before was built of wood and clay and the cyclone destroyed it completely. We want to build this youth center to give hope to the children, adolescents and young people who survived, but it must be a solid and resistant structure. We also want to create a support group for the mothers for health and nutritional education.
  1. Health situation
The area of Chota is the continuation of the largest neighborhood of Beira which is currently already being attacked by cholera. There are rumors of 200 people already ill, but this number can increase. A vaccination campaign is already under way. The neighborhood of Chota is in a high state of alert. It is hoped that it will not reach this part, because it would add another disaster since the river waters that flooded it have not yet receded. Malaria is also an immediate concern. Fifteen days after the cyclone, the stagnant water and the puddles are a great source of incubation for the mosquitos that bring this disease.

Mozambique

  1. The situation in Muxúngue
The parish of Muxúngue is about 350 km from Beira. The areas worst hit were Nhahápua, Goonda Madjaka and Gurudja crossed by the Rivers Muda and Búzi. The missionaries think that about 120 home have been destroyed. On the average, each family has about six children. In this area, our intervention will be complete after all the people will have returned. We will help them rebuild their homes. Currently the local authorities are giving support at other levels. Our missionary experience tells us that, after this avalanche of support, it will be necessary to put together a support program of reconstruction of all that was lost and help people to get back to a normal life. We need your solidarity and support in order to give people hope. Your support in this immediate phase will be to buy food and our basic products. In the next phase we will support the reconstruction of the infrastructures to bring the life of our brothers and sisters back to normal. Already now we wish to thank those who already sent their donations to support these brothers and sisters and we hope you will continue to help in the next and more painful phase. (you may join the solidarity campaign of the Comboni Missionaries in Mozambique). May God bless each one of you, through the intercession of St. Daniel Comboni. Fr. Constantino Bogaio, mccj

Fuente: Boletin misionero Portugal

New Location: Santa Cruz Chinautla, Guatemala

LMC Guatemala
Guatemala

In Guatemala we, the local CLM, started this year 2019 asking God to enlighten us on where we were going to serve this year. In Santa Caratina Pinula we are continuing with the program of child nutrition of Chispuditos. However, we are temporarily leaving behind the monthly day of mission experience there and we are ready for a new location… to bring joy… faith, hope… peace… consolation, in solidarity with the injustice and deficiencies suffered by other Guatemalan brothers.

Now the Lord is bringing us to the municipality of Chinautla, in the Guatemala department.

Its center is Santa Cruz. It is located in the northern part of the department of Guatemala, only about 12 km from the capital. They are famous for their hand-made pottery. The entire population is indigenous and they are ethnic Pocomam.

They have been suffering under a lot of political abuse and corruption, because the mayor’s office has been monopolized by the same mayor since 1985. He has always supported whatever government has been in power, until he was arrested for corruption in 2015. In spite of the arrest, this individual was able to have his own niece elected mayor for the 2016-2020 term and got out of prison a few months after his capture, the gravity of the accusations facing him notwithstanding.

The people are poor and abandoned… the municipality of Chinautla does not allow the garbage trucks to drive over there, because they want to discourage the people so they will leave and then they will be able to exploit the village construction material. So the locals throw the garbage here and there, especially in the river that crosses the village, because they do not know where to put it, or how to take it to the main dump. They live in extreme poverty, have no place to go… nor will they want to… it is their land… all of them are owners.

That is where Jesus has guided our steps… all for his honor and glory. Fr. Roberto Gómez Palma is the pastor of Chinautla, people are mostly Catholics and the evangelical sects have not done much of anything. We have been there a couple of times, on February 23 and March 16, and we already see that the people are friendly and trusting. They send their children to our activities. Both the older and the younger ones come on their own, very independent and sure of themselves.

We ask the Lord to give us all we need to proclaim the Kingdom and share the joy of the Gospel. Also that he give us light to identify the needs where we can cooperate as Comboni Lay Missionaries. We place ourselves in the hands of Providence and trust in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, in the style of Comboni.

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

(St. Daniel Comboni)

Lily Portillo

CLM-PCA, Guatemala

We cry with Mother Earth tears of mud and blood

Iglesia y Mineria

No to impunity!

Iglesia y Mineria

The Churches and Mining Network cries with the victims of the socio-environmental crime of Brumadinho, Minas Gerais (Brazil)

We are writing today from this violated community, which we know well and which we visit again today, after having celebrated with it several times in the walk, life and resistance to the expansion of mining.

We also write from the many Latin American communities affected by the arrogant violence of extractivism, today silently embraced the little Brumadinho, in tears.

We are in solidarity with the families of the victims and the communities of faith, who will have the hard challenge of rebuilding hope. We also join the Archdiocese of Belo Horizonte, which with the words of the Gospel defined the tragedy as “abomination of desolation”, referring to the “absurdities born of the gains and contempt for the other, the truth and the good of all ”

We continue accompanying and advising the churches involved in the territories injured by mining and in all open conflicts between extractive companies and communities (Only in Brazil there are more than 70 Dioceses where these conflicts were mapped).

Impunity consolidates crime

Iglesia y Mineria

The company VALE SA, together with BHP Billiton, is responsible for 19 deaths and pollution of the entire Doce River basin, on November 5, 2015. The same damage was repeated three years later, with a trace of much more serious deaths, is the confirmation of the incapacity of management and prevention of damages, disinterest and criminal behavior.

This responsibility also involves the State, which grants licenses to extractive projects and should monitor them to guarantee the safety and dignified life of the communities and the environment.

The State’s responsibility is twofold, because impunity and the lack of complete and enough reparations for the victims of the Navy crime was one of the main conditions that allowed the new crime of Brumadinho.

Revolving doors

Iglesia y Mineria

Embraced, the capital of mining companies and political power, facilitate the installation or expansion of large extractive projects, minimizing the conditions and licensing rules thereof. The “Córrego do Feijão” itself, whose deposit of toxic waste was broken, obtained in December 2018 an environmental license for the expansion of 88% of its activities. In the Council of Environmental Policies of the State of Minas. Only the National Civil Society Forum on the Management of Hydrographic Basins (FONASC) voted against the expansion, denouncing “insane” mechanisms to reduce the demands in the licensing of large mining projects.

Disasters caused by irresponsible behavior of companies allied to the public power can not be called “environmental accidents”.

Organized civil society but not listened

Since 2011, the population of Brumadinho and the region are demonstrating in an organized way against the mine, its impacts and threats. The FONASC, in December 2018, wrote an official communication to the State Secretary of the Environment, requesting the suspension of the licensing of the “Córrego do Feijão” mine. The International articulation of those Affected by the Vale denounced in the Shareholders’ General Assembly of the Vale, in April 2018, “the     dangers of the repeated process of reducing expenses and costs in its operations”, making explicit mention of the various waste deposits.

Those responsible for these crimes cannot claim justifications for ignorance. On the contrary, in the name of progress and the profit of the few, there is a systematic disqualification of different voices.

With energy, we echo the words of Pope Francis in the Encyclical Laudato Si ‘: “in the debate, local inhabitants must have a privileged place, those who question themselves as to what they want for themselves and their children and can take into consideration the purposes that transcend the immediate economic interest “(LS 183).

Make it flexible until it breaks

Iglesia y Mineria

The newly elected President of Brazil, in response to the pressure of the person who financed his campaign, expressed the plan to make environmental control and licensing as flexible as possible. He criticized the alleged “environmental fine industry”; his government stripped powers from the Environment portfolio, suspended contracts with NGOs committed to defending the environment, extinguished secretariats that worked for public policies against global warming.

Also the previous governments facilitated the uncontrolled expansion of mining in the country, promoting the National Mining Plan and reformulating, by decree, the Legal Framework of Mining.

Recent events demonstrate, violently, that these policies are a collective suicide and a threat to the lives of future generations.

This growth model is unsustainable and lethal; You cannot blackmail people who need jobs to survive in regions controlled by mining, without guaranteeing safety, health and social welfare at the same time. The problems are not solved “only with the growth of the profits of the companies and of the individuals”. “It is not enough to conciliate, in a medium term, the care of nature with financial income, or the preservation of the environment with progress. In this issue the average terms are only a small delay in the collapse. It’s simply about redefining  progress. ” (LS190,194)

False Dialogues

Frequently, companies and governments appeal to the mediation of conflicts with communities through “dialogue”. They seek, even, the intermediation of the churches, to offer these processes greater credibility.

Also, institutionally they have invested in extrajudicial mediations and terms of behavior adjustments to make more effective and quicker the repair of damages and environmental violations.

The lack of implementation of mitigations and reparations, the neglect to prevent new disasters and the repetition of irresponsible and criminal practices confirm that: this type of proposal is not a true dialogue. It is a strategy of companies to seduce public opinion, guaranteeing a kind of social license to pollute, reduce popular resistance and avoid big capital can be converted to the values of sustainability and the common good.

More than this “dialogue”, asymmetric and disrespectful, we trust in the democratic rules of environmental protection and the rights of the populations, as well as in authorities that effectively monitor their respect and punish those who violate them. We support a Binding Treaty for Business and Human Rights, at the international level, and a responsible, effective and prompt judicial response for those who bet on impunity or, at the most, a slight financial incidence of rare fines applied.

Socio-environmental crime is not an accident!

Iglesia y Mineria

From Brumadinho and from Latin America, January 26, 2019