Comboni Lay Missionaries

Letter to friends of social transformation

Transformacion Social

We let you here the letter written by Fr Pierli and Sister Teresita for all the friends of social transformation.

A peaceful Lent und happy Easter 2024

Dear Friends, dear Sisters and Brothers,

A kind-hearted missionary, good shepherd and Social Transformer in America Latina, Pedro Casaldaliga, is said to have expressed himself like that: “When at the end of my journey I will be asked: Have you lived? Have you loved? Without saying anything, I will open my heart full of names on it …

When at the end of my journey I will be asked: Have you lived? Have you loved? Without saying anything, I will open my heart full of names, features, profiles, identikits engraved on it”. “These all will be seen, because I will not be able to remember them, to list them, to itemize them.” (Father Pierli)

So now, to keep names alive, we would like to mention with deep gratitude and immense joy some names of friends, who came to visit Fr. Pierli during the last period: Fr. Selwam Sahaya with one of his Salesian confreres; Fr. Eliseo Citton, Prof. Mario Molteni, Prof. Giancarlo Volpato with his wife Maristella, Dr. Luigi Zarzon with his wife Silvana Berchioni, Parish Priest Francesco Vialetto, Fr. Emmanuel Denima, Dr. Judith Pete, Sr. Lettedenghil Ogbamicael with some Comboni sisters, Fr. Manuel Augusto Lopes Ferreira, Stefano De Togni, Fr. Giuseppe Caramazza, Bro. Alberto Parise, Stefano Domanin, Sr. Maria Vidale, Sr. Esperance Bamiriyo, Maria Pia Dal Zovo, Teresa Zenere with some other members of the SIMC; from Africa three young ladies Ruth Wanjiru, Mary Watetu and Lucy Mutola, also of the ISMC; another young lady who is a good friend of theirs from Egypt, Silvia Makram; Dr. Alice Muchiri from CAMPSSI, Kenya (accompanied by Fr. Caramazza); two African Bishops, Mirella Sattin, Bishop G. Franzelli MCCJ, and of course Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gen. Sup. and other members of the Gen. Council; Fr. Fabio Baldan Prov. Sup. and other members of the Provincial Council; together with very many names and features of plenty of friends who keep sending feedback, sharing their “Transformation Ministry” and experiences and, additionally, “get well messages” with prayer and love.

As we have told you many times before, we keep dreaming God’s dream: The world becoming His kingdom of peace, justice, fraternity. And in the night, we dream again and again about being with you. With groups of any kind: adults, men, women, youth and children. Discussing, analyzing, planning together, and of course: doing activities together = pamoja. Yes, we do actions together!

Once we were among plenty of young people, working in a big garden, sowing grain and planting trees and afterwards singing, dancing, eating, celebrating together.

By daytime we pray, meditate, reflect upon God’s current plan for the cosmos, for the world, for us human beings, for both of us who signed this letter. God is absolutely committed to this world of ours. The two of us at our age now (82 -77), we should see the possibilities and that we still have to answer to Him so that He will continue working through us according to our capacities and resources. The incredible creative fantasy of God is not decreasing. On the contrary, it is increasing! It is not that the future is empty, not at all! The future is full of energy that comes from all sides. The Lord is always ahead of us. He is risen. The Risen Lord has no limits. His vitality does not run out, it is limitless, incessant and perpetual. Thus is God’s plan: An explosion of life and love. It is everlasting and inexhaustible. His vitality is transformative! It is evolving in the cosmos, in the world and in human history. What a wonder we might welcome in us! We have the Christian hope. Our hope and our faith have infinite dimensions and go beyond our human understanding because they are bound to the vigorous, bountiful, bondless, infinite love and creative fantasy of God. Therefore, the future is open to His incommensurable “Creative Energy” and this very future is open to us, declared to be His humble co-creators, committed to the constant transformation towards a higher quality of life, already now in this world, and towards Him, in the fullness of His knowledge and of His love.

In our Christian tradition, there is a beautiful scenario with a short dialogue of Jesus with the Apostle Peter when he was in Rome and was trying to flee for dread of been crucified. Surprised about seeing the Lord Jesus coming in, Peter asked Him “Domine quo vadis?”, that is to say “Lord, where are you going?” (there is a church named like that, right at the place where this encounter is supposed to have happened), and Jesus is said to have answered: “I am coming to be crucified.” To those words, Peter did no reply but returned immediately to Rome to his martyrdom.

Is not our situation sometimes like that? At times, might we not be somehow discouraged in the face of our call to be consequent, consistent and faithful to God’s plan for us, faithful to Jesus and to our decision of having clearly in our hearts and minds our “vision and mission”? And faithful to the will to remain on the path of “Social Transformation” so as to become impact transformers and artificers of the “future”, co- creators of God and Constructors of His Kingdom of Peace, Justice, Fraternity? Should we leave Jesus alone and our committed fellow brothers and sisters, active in the field? We already have a shape to be evolving for the better and we have been given talents, gifts, not for us, but for the common good. Nothing belongs to us; it is given to us to share. Let us not go back in our journey. Let us allow God to renew ourselves and to be shaping us anew as impact transformers during this time of grace: Lent and Easter time.

Right now, that our beloved Africa is getting its important place in the concert of nations and continents!

Have we realized how decisive the visit of the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, at our Somirenec in Nairobi last March was? Have we taken for granted that the Italian-African summit last month (in accordance with the European Union) has automatically brought the social justice and fraternity that Comboni and we all together are pursuing? Automatically, no. By the way, we thank the Lord for this achievement! We may say that our own efforts are being rewarded. Yes, because many years we have committed ourselves, we have invested our lives, given our significant contribution to this process of partnership we see flourishing now. We see us as true bridges between peoples, nations and continents. The Lord gives us new courage!

One can speculate that our own circumstances are so different than during the time when we started dreaming together. Yes, “nothing remains the same”. That is the principle of “transformation”. Everything is in continual transformation. We face new challenges. Some of us face economical, health, age tribulations and other weaknesses. But we have also achieved a higher level of consciousness, of dignity, and we have been empowered to remain focused on our amazing high goals.

Our highest goal is new audacity to face the challenges. Let us compare our tribulations with the birth pangs. Saint Paolo tells us that even the whole creation, the nature undergoes birth pangs while waiting for the manifestation of God’s glory in His children. Such a transformation we are striving for! (Rom. 8, 18-25)

“Meditating that, my heart and mind goes immediately to my home land Central Italy. There, we have an original marvelous painting ‘Madonna del Parto’ (1450-1465) by the famous painter Piero Della Francesca, showing the Blessed Virgin Mary as pregnant. One of the most sublime works of the Renaissance. Now kept at the Monterchi Museum. So original that I do not know anything similar anywhere else.” (Father Pierli)

Looking at the complex architecture of the world, with a “third world war in pieces”, like Pope Francis is accustomed to say, looking at the innumerable socially, politically and economically painful situations, stating that it seems to be so terrible like birth pangs, we might pray to the Lord that from all that “a childbirth will occur” and will give us a new creature, that a new world will be born, and willingly we join hands and hearts again, to give our contribution to that.

Wishing you a peaceful Lent und happy Easter, we embrace you with plenty of prayer and love.

Yours affectionately,

Fr. Francesco Pierli MCCJ / Sr. Teresita Cortés Aguirre CMS

Comboni Missionaires.

A year that reflects the face of Christ

LMC Guatemala

Throughout 2023 we encountered many emotions and realities, full of joy, sadness, comfort, longing and cross…

The CLM of Guatemala began a year full of hope in the nutrition program Chispuditos, which grew incredibly to the point that we managed, along with professionals, to make medical and dental days, since the supplement, training and food were not helping children to get out of anemia and their illnesses. We have made great efforts to innovate and train ourselves, but it has not been enough because when the pediatrician, the nutritionist and the dentist arrived, they observed a high degree of malnutrition, psychomotor problems, useless dentures, genetic diseases, speech and growth deficiencies, often caused by the same malnutrition of the mothers and poor nutritional education. They are 6 years of an arduous road, working the mind, the heart and the stomach, without a doubt it fills us with joy to see the 6 year old children that leave the program without anemia and with an average size and weight, it is to give glory to God!

At the same time we went into JPIC knowing that St. Daniel Comboni had a special interest in justice for the marginalized and forgotten; we immersed ourselves in the formation to learn about migration in Guatemala and this led us to human trafficking, a terrible and very latent situation in our country. We discovered that Comboni fought hard against human trafficking, preventing them from taking so many blacks as slaves. We understood through talks, personal encounters and several Cineforums about human trafficking, we knew the reality and rawness of the life of women in prostitution. Our hearts bowed before such a situation and we started an awareness campaign. Guatemala suffers from human trafficking, women, children and arises from migration, which is one of the biggest problems of the country, from there these social problems arise, culminating in poor nutrition of children, dismembered families, single women and children practically orphaned.

We believe that it has been a year marked by a deep awakening to the way of Comboni. We had enriching formations, we formed new CLM candidates, we met several times with a small group of lay people in San Luis Petén who are doing their CLM formation, we broadened our vision towards new projects and we grew in the Comboni charism.

A 2024 awaits us with new and great challenges, at the community, mission ad gentes and economic levels, but we trust in the holy intercession of St. Daniel Comboni, we embrace the hearts of Jesus and Mary and we ask St. Joseph to help this small group to be light and salt wherever we go.

Happy beginning of the year 2024, may it be filled with many blessings and new paths for each CLM.

A fraternal embrace, CLM Guatemala

Christmas Proclamation 2023

Navidad 2023

Christmas Message by Bishop Jesús Ruiz, Bishop of M’baiki, Central African Republic.

Every day in Africa is Christmas… Everything in Africa speaks of an eternal Christmas!

I have been asked to make the Christmas proclamation…; I do not know how to proclaim.

What is this proclamation, I asked myself…, if not to give voice to your inner life…? So, allow me to give free expression to my heart… I am going to proclaim to you.

My proclamation today wants to be a childhood memory in the parish market of Alfonso VI around Christmas time. It was the 1970s. With our parish priest Don Miguel, we used to go up the hill of San Juan to look for moss and decorate the crib full of cork houses, silver rivers and figures walking towards the portal… My memory goes to the rooster mass with the family followed by a glass and nougat…; my memory enjoys seeing the catechists dressed as the Three Wise Men during the children’s Mass handing out gifts…; always gifts, never coal.

I grew up… and I discovered that the real nativity scene is outside… As a seminarian, in the new parish church, every Christmas, with Ester, Mamen and other young people, visiting the houses of the neighborhood for the nativity scene contest… In each house a glass of sweet liquor and a piece of nougat was always waiting for us…; every year we rehearsed in the choir non-commercial Christmas carols that were all the rage: “uri, uri, ura…” and “in the stone doorway was Mary and Joseph, Mary was crying, Joseph was nervous…” Christmas visiting the poor of the parish with gifts and food in order to accompany their loneliness….;

36 years ago I went to Africa…, but I…, I don’t know how to proclaim…

There, in Africa, I discovered that Christmas is not colored lights, nor Christmas trees…; there, without Christmas carols or advertising claims for Christmas… without marzipan or nougat… but there is Christmas; in Africa it does not snow…, no; it is hot, very hot for Christmas. In my Africa it is not customary to have a Christmas Eve dinner and even less the reveillon…, nor is there a lottery for El Niño or the Christmas jackpot…. How I remember my first Christmas in Africa in a distant chapel where, after celebrating the mystery of a Child God born on the outskirts, I had dinner alone, with great emotion, with a tin of sardines that I carried in my bag…! No…, in Africa, our way of doing Christmas is not fashionable…// The only thing I miss in Africa are the Three Wise Men who never come…, and I am afraid they will never come… What a pity that my children in Africa do not dream of Three Wise Men… for Christmas…! I ask King Balthazar every year, you who are black, why do you forget my black children…, without passing? And I pray with strength, come, Three Kings, come… thousands of black and good children, with big white eyes, are waiting for you…!

And every year I realize that Christmas is not on the twenty-fifth of December… Every day in Africa is Christmas… Everything in Africa speaks of an eternal Christmas! The people, like a living nativity scene, on roads of red earth and dust, advance day by day, despite their sorrow… Some suffer…, others rejoice…, some cry… some scream… and others can’t take it anymore…; some dance… some mourn… and others laugh without stopping… All of them without knowing it, searching… Like living figures of mud they walk without stopping… There the woman with her cassava on her head, upright as she walks…, a young man from his kiosk contemplates the children dancing… There, men of tanned skin by the sun walk towards their orchard to work…, toothless old men sitting in front of their homes, watching the motorcycles pass by like cabs…, in each concession children playing at jumping…, a girl carrying her little brother behind… All, like living mud figures, even without knowing it…, all walk towards the portal… Each one their own way, each one their own song…, but all in the same direction without knowing it, they all go to adore. And they all give you a sincere smile if you greet them as you pass by… Each one with each one, each one with each one making their way as they walk… They all go looking for…, figures of rainbow without equal, in that great Bethlehem that is humanity… And when the evening falls, tired… at the feet of the newborn, their bodies rest, that is their way of worshipping. They have no gold, no silver, no gifts to give…, but their tiredness becomes an offering difficult to match. They hunger for food and thirst for truth… hunger for justice and peace…, hunger for love and also for dignity. No…, in my Africa the people do not put nativity scenes of clay and cardboard, nor ox or donkey in the portal… That is them, my people…, that great living Bethlehem, not decorated, that every day I meet as I pass by… I, figurine of that Nativity scene, I join them in adoration.

They go looking for the one who has been born, they are hungry for bread and truth… / They grope their way, many times in the dark… / I grope my way with them, sometimes improvising a song… / The joy in their heart is the star that guides them… and tells us where to go / Joy because they go to adore the King of the heavens… / Like little shepherds…, they go with chickens, cassava, peanuts, bananas… and firewood… / They always advance because they want to adore the Child… Like the Three Wise Men they will bring their gifts; not gold, nor incense, nor myrrh… No… Their gifts are their simple and hard lives, all of them they will offer to the heavenly King. And each life is precious offering that to the Child God will please… And seeing them Mary and Joseph adore… from their lips a pleased smile will escape.

Oh, when I am out of Africa, how I miss this my other Christmas…, without lights, decorations or advertising claims of ephemeral happiness… Now I understand that Christmas is the life of my people who seek the Light in the midst of so much darkness… Today, lost in the city that saw me grow up, I also search and search for that little Child to adore, while lights, shop windows and loudspeakers insinuate me… Here there is no Child to adore!

When I was a child, every Christmas, there was always some hooligan who stole the Child from Antonio Machado’s park for Christmas… Today that I am grown up, I would like to shout: They have stolen the Child once again…! They have changed him for a colorful pine tree with artificial lights…, they have replaced him with Santa Claus… They want to sell us all kinds of products to fill our happiness… But who will give us the tenderness of the Child…, the love of the Child God, who can replace it…; his marvelous light, not artificial, who can illuminate…?

Friends, be alert, they are stealing the Child from us with this unbridled consumption where the poor -like the child of Bethlehem- are always left on the outskirts of the city… “Friends, wake up…, they are stealing the Child from us… for Christmas…” Friends, wake up, they are stealing the Child… for Christmas…

Friends, it is urgent to react because they are killing the Child…, for Christmas; they are killing thousands of them in the Gaza strip…; they let tens of thousands of them die of hunger in Africa…; they allow them to drown with their parents in the open sea… They do not know that God becomes a Child in the migrant, in the refugee, in the poor and in the one who can no more… As in old times in Bethlehem, today they say: “there is no place for you… go elsewhere for with us you cannot dwell…” Friends, brothers… what a tragedy! Like Herod in another time, today in 2023, they are…; we are… killing the Child… for Christmas.

It is as if this crazy world of ephemeral colored lights and spinning drunkenly full of itself were saying: No, do not come Child to earth for you have nothing to give…! We are so full of ourselves…, so satisfied… what can a Child give us? No, do not come for Christmas.

Friends, brothers… let us wake up, let us unite, let us save the Child… let us revive Christmas!

Saint d’Exuperi, the author of “The Little Prince”, said that “all old people were children at the beginning, although few of us remember it”. Brothers, friends, let us recover the Child within us… now that it is Christmas.

Yes, Christmas is God’s tenderness towards humanity.

Christmas is an embrace to the grandfather… Christmas is a caress to the child…

Christmas is an open smile…

Christmas is to look with love into the eyes of the stranger and of the poor…, without judging…

Christmas is to visit the sick and the lonely….

Christmas is to ask forgiveness…; and to embrace one’s brother….

Christmas is to contemplate the newborn and raise our eyes to heaven….

Christmas is to accompany a piece of the path of the one who cannot go on any longer…

Christmas is to leave the comfort of your home to accompany the family that is having a hard time…

Christmas is to denounce this unjust world and to commit oneself for a more equal one…

Christmas is to enter the temple of your heart… and there to adore God…

Christmas is a gift… ALL A GOD WHO GIVES HIMSELF.

Allow me to tell you a Christmas story to end:

“It was getting close to Christmas in our town….

One of the big toy stores had stocked up generously in order to satisfy all the requirements of its customers… On the shelves you could see everything. Plastic and tin armaments with strange flags to defend against the enemy, they said…; there were also monsters in terrible television taste. Of course, there were also many other nice and gift-worthy things in the Christmas cheer.

Among these was a beautiful, oversized teddy bear. It really was cute. It seemed to convey affection, and its beady little eyes gave it a strange life that captivated those who would look at it with interest. It was a valuable toy, and therefore not cheap. And Teddy knew it. Without delusions of grandeur, he felt he was among the best that could be obtained in that place.

That was just his drama. Because those who had enough money to buy it had no children to give it to. And those who had many children lacked money.

Being valuable was the cause of their problems. Because as Christmas Eve approached, Teddy saw how the shelves were emptying of toys, while he continued to be admired, but no one decided to buy him for the joy of a child.

The anxiety that had been growing over the hours turned into anguish when he saw the owner of the toy store slowly lowering the heavy metal curtains of the toy store. Then the lights went out and silence reigned inside. From outside, on the other hand, came all the bustling Christmas festivities.

In the darkness, Teddy felt like crying. He realized that he would spend the first Christmas of his life in the saddest way imaginable. Alone and with no one to share all the precious things he felt he possessed. What hurt him the most was knowing that he had been left alone precisely because he was valuable. If he had been cheap, he would already be in someone’s hands, sharing the party, if only for a few hours.

Suddenly he was startled. Thinking he was dreaming, he saw the room lit up with a soft, beautiful light. And his little eyes sparkled with astonishment when he saw Jesus himself, who had entered the toy store with a big bag in his hand. He had come to get toys in order to distribute them himself. Because you have to know that here, it is their parents who bring gifts to the rich kids. While to the poor ones, God sends them.

Teddy was certain that this time someone would take him with him to be the joy of a child. This Lord had many children, and he was rich enough to pay his price and buy him. He waited, therefore, anxiously, to be approached.

When he stood before him, the Lord looked at him – as no one had ever looked at him before – and addressed him quite naturally:

Teddy, will you join me this Christmas Eve to distribute gifts to the poor children of the neighborhood?

And since the word of the Lord is powerful and gives life to all to whom it is addressed, Teddy felt a strange trembling come over his whole body. He jumped off the shelf and, doing four ram turns on the floor, he began to dance full of joy. If he hadn’t been stuffed, he would have made an infernal noise. But nobody felt anything. Mostly because everyone was so busy celebrating Christmas. They were so busy that they didn’t even see Jesus with his bag over his shoulder and Teddy by the hand, walking through the streets on his way out. There were those who, upon seeing him from behind, thought he was a homeless man, accompanied by his little dog. It is so easy to mistake the Lord with a poor man… and even more so at Christmas time!

When they gained the outskirts of the village, Teddy was astonished. He saw for the first time the night of the fields. The sky was boiling with stars. In the distance, dogs and roosters were pointing out where the poor people lived.

“How beautiful the night is”, exclaimed Teddy.

“Especially if you hold my hand”, said Jesus.

And so they visited the houses on the outskirts. When they approached a poor house, the dogs met them. The dogs of the poor do not bark. They go straight for the lump. But when they discovered that it was Jesus who was coming, they would immediately jump up and down.

And while the Lord was caressing them to entertain them, Teddy would take a gift out of his bag and sneak in through the open window and leave it next to the sleeping children.

And he would still stay a little while to watch them smile in their sleep. As it happens at Christmas.

And so the night went on. When the day was about to dawn, Jesus said to Teddy:

Look, now we are still going to visit Mrs. Matilde’s house. The best of the gifts must be for her granddaughter, who is sick.

And again, while the Lord amused himself with Mrs. Matilde’s dogs, Teddy looked in the bag for the best gift. But he discovered to his surprise that there were no more gifts. It was completely empty. And perplexed, he told Jesus. But the latter, winking at him, as if he already knew the matter, told him:

“Do like me: Give yourself as a present!

Note: It was never known in the neighborhood how Mrs. Matilde managed to get her granddaughter such a beautiful gift. And there were even malicious people who suspected of her… They are such thieves, the poor… If you get close, they steal your heart.

Brother…, sister… Christmas is you… be teddy bear… give yourself as a present.

Christmas is me…

No, I’m not a herald, I don’t know how to proclaim…, just a clay and cardboard figure looking for the Child on his way to the portal…

I have found the Child; rather, I have let myself be found… This is my proclamation to give: Let’s go together to adore!

Navidad 2023


Miranda de Ebro (Spain), December 18, 2023

Essa Luta is Nossa (This is Our Fight)

LMC Brasil

PODCAST 2 – BEGINNING WITH SONG “Essa Luta è Nossa Essa Luta è do pouvo…”

Hi, we are Anna and Gabriel, and this is Ciranda, the podcast about our mission experience in Brazil. In which we try to bring you into the everyday life experiences and choices of those who live in this part of the world.

Edvar Dantas Cardeal lives in a small village, on the outskirts of Açailândia, in the hinterland of Maranhão. Unfortunately, he still does not own his history, because he lives where no one would want to live. When he arrived in Piquiá, he really liked the name of the place, an homage to one of the region’s largest trees with delicious fruit, The Piqui.

The community of Piquiá de Baixo (so called because it is located in the area lower than the next neighborhood) was created in the 1970s, when this part of the region was still called “the gates of the amazonia,” rich in vegetation. People planted and fished from the river that kissed the banks of the community. It was a little paradise in the memories of the inhabitants.

Then in the 1980s, the “development” came, which even changed the name of the village to “Pequiá,” an acronym for “PetroQuímico Açailândia.” Açailândia itself, or “Açaí City,” another tasty fruit typical of the region, has lost the meaning of its name, where progress and respect for life cannot coexist.

Next to Edvar’s house were installed 14 steel furnaces, a thermal power plant, and, to top it off, a steel mill. The people of Piquiá did not even know what a steel plant was and what this would mean for their health, their lives, and that they would become little more than gears in this industrial machine. Companies came with manifestos of jobs, jobs for all, but the intent was always and only to settle there making the most at the least possible price, deceiving the community and destroying the way of life of those families.

It is 2005, Edvar heads to the small house of the Piquiá di Baixo inhabitants’ association of which he is a member, it might seem like just another day but perhaps he does not know that from that day began the real struggle and resistance of his community! He was tired of seeing iron dust fall from the sky and settle on every surface he finds. He sees friends and relatives increasingly starting to get sick, strong respiratory complications, skin infections, constant headaches, intestinal problems, exhaustion…his much-loved village was falling apart more and more.

Edvar waited 60 days before he was able to pick up a pen and a blank sheet of paper, he does not know how to start writing this letter, how to use the best words to tell about his community, but he knows for sure to whom it will be directed: To President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva!

Soon after time, the response arrived, with directions pointing to routes and public bodies that the community should seek out. The people of Piquiá soon realized that alone, though many, they would not be able to fight against a boulder the size of a steel mill, so little by little they managed to weave around them a strong network of allies, who took the community’s grievances and demands to international institutions, such as the UN. Thus the struggle that was started by Edvar became everyone’s, the community of Comboni Fathers and the associations that over time joined in this great resistance.

Of all the mobilizations carried out by the community over the years, some were very notable, such as the one that took place in December 2011, when hundreds of residents marched and blocked the super road that connects Açailândia to São Luís. The blockade lasted longer than 4 hours in a prolonged protest with burning tires. Another noteworthy protest was the one that forced the Steel mills to pay for expropriation, when residents made a real cooperative effort and, divided into shifts, closed the entrance and exit gates of the industries for 30 hours.

“We must do the possible in the impossible” was what Edvar repeated to his people in Piquiá, and this struggle, of all people, paid off. Through all this mobilization, the approval of the urban project for the new neighborhood was obtained on December 31, 2015. Due to bureaucracy, which is one of the tools of oppression of the poor, the resources to start the work were not made available until November 2018, when work began on a new Neighborhood: “PIQUIA DA CONQUISTA!

Edvar Dantas Cardeal died on January 23, 2020, a victim of the same disease he was fighting. His lungs were contaminated with iron dust, and his struggle ended after more than a month in the intensive care unit, due to respiratory failure and other complications.

Edvar Dantas, who started this struggle, will never see its end, but his ideas and hope live on in the new people of Piquiá da Comquista!


The struggle, therefore, is still ongoing and its outcome is open to debate.

The community’s achievements have been significant, especially considering the disproportion in scale between the local community and the national/global industry. Perhaps this is why the claims of the Piquiá de Baixo Community transcend the local struggle and become a larger banner that exposes the other side of development agendas. At the same time that it reaches international levels (such as the UN), this struggle takes place on the ground of the community, in direct human relations, as so well expressed in the letter that Mr. Edvard wrote to his nephew Moisés: The beauty of this battle is that we do not get tired, and when there is a defeat we react with more enthusiasm and conviction: it is very clear that we are victims, there is an obvious injustice! The law cannot be wrong: we will be compensated! Sometimes even grandparents delude themselves and dream like an inexperienced young person…. After all, it is hope that sustains us. But I learned, Moses, that hope is a child who needs two older sisters: patience and wisdom.


This is the ciranda song; it is danced in a circle, each member hugging his or her neighbors and moving to the rhythm by stamping their feet loudly. This song is a dance related to the Brazilian folk tradition.


Anna and Gabrielle, CLM in Brazil

“Go into all the world and preach the Gospel” (Mk 16, 15)

LMC Ghana

It is driven by this call that six of our members left their houses and gathered at Immaculate Center in the Sacred Heart Parish of Bakpa-Avedo in the Volta Region, Ghana.

The gathering started this Thursday evening. Justin Nougnui, Benjamin Amekor and Gifty Aziedu joined Christian Wotormenyo at the Center. They were joined the following day by Frank Amenyo and Valentine Sewovi.

During the Eucharistic Celebration Thursday evening, commemorating the feast of the Apostle Matthew, our group was welcomed by the church and Father Senyo the parish priest. Father Senyo met us later to guide us for our evangelizing activity. The experience was in three folds.

  • Community life

We were six for this experience. It was an opportunity to live together. We prayed together, ate at the same table, participated in the Eucharistic Celebration with other faithful of the parish, thought and planned together. Living together as brothers and sister was really “sweet” (Ps. 133,1). The sweetness and happiness were enhanced with some funny stories from our elderly members Christian and mostly Benjamin and also by recalling some past experience from Cape Coast, Esse-Ana and Cotonou. Each one of us contributed in various ways for the success of our presence.

  • Formation

We gathered also to form ourselves. “Mission of CLM in the church and the society” was shared by the coordinator. After explaining the concept of “Lay person” in general and “CLM” in particular, he laid emphasis on our responsibilities as CLM. The main aspects of our mission are Evangelization, Mission Animation, Vocation promotion and Justice, Peace and Integrity of the Creation (JPIC). The JPIC supposes also our knowledge of the Social Teaching of the Church. This aspect, though part of Evangelization, is a great horizon for us CLM to explore and develop as living in the society. The Encyclical Letter, Laudato si of the Holy Father Francis will be of great help.

The second topic was shared by Christian who is the Principal of Immaculate Vocational and Technical Institute, a place we are dreaming to own one day. He shared with us on the Center, what work and training are done and the challenges the Center was facing.

  • Pastoral activities

At Avedo itself, we moved from house to house indiscriminately. We greeted our brothers and sisters, wished them well and invited those that are not Christians to join us. We met healthy and sick people, prayed for the sick and recommended in our report to the parish priest a continual visitation to all but especially to the sick.

We also did house visitation at Agortakpo an outstation. But, contrary to how it was done at Avedo, we went purposely to those that have stopped coming to church. Some promised us to re-start.

In the outstation, we interacted with the faithful. It is an old station but full of young people. With a zealous leadership of the catechist Julius Kotoku, the head-christian Foster Agbanyo and the choir leader Veronica, the station is doing well. We encouraged them to meet often not only on Sundays. We also showed them a film “Jesus of Nazareth” in Ewe (local language).

We couldn’t reach two other stations assigned to us by the parish priest for the bad state of the road during this rainy season. We tried one but return on the way.

We are grateful to the Master of the Vineyard whose call we are trying to respond generously. May He strengthen us in our CLM journey. We are also grateful to each and every one who in one way or the other facilitated this experience of ours.

Justin Nougnui, CLM.