Comboni Lay Missionaries

Conclusions of the 2nd Meeting of the CLM in Africa

CoordinacionThe 2nd Continental Meeting of the Comboni Lay Missionaries took place in Kinshasa, DRC on July 21-25, 2014. The participants included five priests, two sisters and 18 lay people, among them the six coordinators of the French-speaking and English-speaking African provinces. They were joined by representatives of the Central Committee.

The objective of the Assembly of Kinshasa was to establish a concrete plan of action based on the resolutions of previous gatherings – the Continental Assembly of Layibi in 2001 and the International Assembly of Maia in 2012 – having as a theme: “Beginning with what we have starting from our reality.”

Keeping in mind the current challenges of our African reality, where God calls us to live our vocation as witnesses of his love, according to the charism of St. Daniel Comboni, at the service of mission, which is a gift from God, and after having reflected together, we have come to some conclusions that will allow each province to set up a plan of action. These are the conclusions:

1. Vocation

We want to encourage each CLM to live one’s vocation as it was defined at Layibi; to overcome life’s difficulties and to keep the commitments we have as fathers, workers and Christians, thus giving witness to our vocation.

As it was said in Maia, the CLM communities need to formulate processes that will allow the full development of the personal vocation of their members during their entire lifetime. This means setting up a program of prayer, retreats, sacramental life and revision of community life.

In order to facilitate a joint journey in our vocation as an International Family of CLM, we encourage the new groups to keep in touch regularly with the Continental and Central Committees, in order to get help from those responsible for the coordination. We believe that it is necessary to follow the common lines of the international organization.

2. Relations among the CLM

The movement holds one single vision. All must cooperate and work together at living a harmonious community life.

In order to facilitate the integration of new CLM in the local CLM groups, we must strengthen communications and networking between the sending group and the receiving group, the Central and Continental Committees and the MCCJ provincials.

In order to reach full integration, we invite the new CLM to take part in the group’s activities: ongoing formation, assemblies, retreats, administrative practices and financial contributions…

We encourage CLM working in countries where we have no local members to promote our vocation and form a local group.

3. Formation

As a movement of CLM in Africa, we are committed to make our formation journey together, in order to follow Christ according to the charism of Comboni who calls us to make common cause with the people to whom we are sent.

The decisions taken in earlier Assemblies guide us on this journey of formation, where we should keep in mind the following aspects:

  1. The provinces must cooperate in the preparation of the various programs and materials for formation;
  2. We must share programs and topics of formation between the provinces and with the Central Committee;
  3. We must translate in all languages the formation documents.

4. Economy

We want to include the economy in our spiritual life, in order to live a life based on Providence. In this context, we ask the groups to include the topic of our relations with money in their formation programs, placing our stability and confidence in God.

In the process of our financial autonomy, we invite the various groups to form their members in the various aspects of finances, such as: development projects based on the local needs, the search for funds, compatibility…

Knowing that we all belong to this family of CLM, we are called to be responsible for and to support the group. In this sense, all the CLM must contribute to the fund of the local group. From this fund, the group in turn should contribute to the international common fund, managed by the Central Committee. We are also called to inspire the local Church and all people of good will to support our missionary activity.

In order to reach our financial autonomy, we invite the groups to start fund-generating activities such as in the field of agriculture, animal husbandry, pharmacies, movies, internet and photo-copying centers, production of local artifacts, talks, formation, dialogue and promotion of events…

It is not enough to engage in projects, but we are also called to give financial reports with great transparency (ledgers, bank accounts with more than one signature…).

5. Organization

5.1 Each Province must have:

  1. A Coordinating Team made up of : a coordinator, a secretary and a treasurer. This team must send its reports to the African and to the General Committees.
  2. A person in charge of communications (blog, Facebook, Twitter).
  3. A Formation Team which must: plan and prepare the topics of formation; ensure the follow-up and the evaluation of the formation given.
  4. Each group must have someone from those in charge of formation who will be networking with those responsible at the national level.

5.2 African Committee:

  1. The Central Coordinating Team is made up of: a coordinator, a secretary a treasurer.
  2. Its duties are:
  1. Ensure communications with the Central Committee.
  2. Call and organize continental meetings.
  3. Provide for communications between the provinces.
  4. Take care that the decisions taken at the various assemblies be implemented.


The Importance of the Land

Land is fundamental to the lives of the people in this region because they survive fundamentally on what they produce in the machamba (the farm, or the land where they cultivate their harvest). Sadly, megaprojects come arriving claiming large areas of land that belong to the population. I say “belong to the population” since in Moçambique, in accordance with the constitution, the land belongs to the Republic, to benefit the people, and it´s because of this that the land which pertains to the state cannot be sold to or owned by a particular person or institution. These megaprojects can obtain a certificate to the approval and right to use this land for a determined period of time (DUAT).

In spite of the possibility of this documentation, customary right is also considered valid, where every national that makes use of the determined area for more than 10 years has the right to use the land and with guaranteed approval regarding its use. It so happens that with the lack of knowledge, the larger part of the population have been retired to their respective locations and the areas where they normally cultivate, by foreign businesses that arrive – the majority of times supported by the government or local authority.

By not knowing this right of theirs to the area, and for seeing that who arrives has “papers” that concedes the right of this land to that particular person, many times the population simply abandons the area and they are left without ways in which to react and without a place to work their sustenance. It´s because of that, in the past few years, the Diocese of Nacala, through the Commission of Justice and Peace, have developed a work of consciousitizing the population about the Law of the Land of 1997. Despite the antiquity of the law, so little is known or divulged about it, since there is no interest that the population of farmers knows their rights. Besides that, the Diocese also gives support in obtaining the community DUAT of the “regulados” (form of social organization of communities, where there is a local authority, namely the régulo, considered by the community to be the traditional person of responsibility in that area). This last Sunday, we were in one more community to present and explain to the population their rights about the land, with the presence of a Moçambican attorney to accompany the processes, to explain the way in which to obtain the document, as a major security for the customary right they already have to the land.

The interest is huge. It appears as though the populations are each time around more and more worried with the situations that are coming to pass. There were close to 190 people present, amongst them Christians, Muslims, and those of traditional religions. After all, these meetings are for the whole population, since everyone has a right to the land. And so, that community was given the first steps with which to follow through with the process. We will pray for all the people who suffer from the lack of land for their sustenance, and for that reality in our Brasil, and for those experiencing the same in several other countries. We will seek work so that the land can be used to benefit the people, and not just for the interests of a particular few. We are together, united in prayer and in mission! A huge embrace since Mozambique!

By Flávio Schmidt Brasiliam CLM in Mozambique

Project KWE ZO ZO (every person is a person)


Central African Republic

Comboni Family united for a common cause


This year, the Comboni family in Portugal will have as central theme of the year the slavery. Therefore, given the circumstances of the countries in which we work as Comboni family, we have joined in support of a project for the Pygmies of Mongoumba – RCA (where we have our CLM Elia Gomes responsible for the health issues).

The village of Mongoumba is located in the equatorial forest in Lobaye, Prefecture of the Central African Republic, and is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo, in the equatorial forest.

The estimated population is 21,235 inhabitants, with over 50% of young people (under 20 years).

Here are around thirty villages located mainly on the banks of the Ubangi and Lobaye rivers. The population is ethnically diverse; the largest ethnic groups are the Mondzombo and Ngbaka, from the Bantu group. There is still a group of Pygmies Aka, according to the latest census carried out by CARITAS, in 2004, the number of people who belong to this ethnic group was 3089, being distributed in more than 80 camps disseminated in the forest.

Despite being pygmies the first inhabitants of this region, they suffer of discrimination from the rest of the population that uses them as cheap labor and excluded from social organizations.

The economic activities belong to the primary sector: coffee, bananas, cassava, hunting, fishing and gathering fruit. In this area existed logging and mining companies exploiting the natural resources causing the disruption of the balance of the ecosystem and destroying the natural habitat of the pygmies.


To support the Pygmy population at health level, the mission -and more specifically the community of Comboni Lay Missionaries (CLM) present there- intended to serve as a bridge between this population and the local public health center, as well as facilitate the access to Pygmies to medicines, nutrition programs, epilepsy, as well as vaccination campaigns and access to safe drinking water (through the construction of wells in the jungle).

The pygmy population fails to go beyond a collaboration of 2% of the total expenditure on health.


1. Donation of medicines needed for the Pygmies having a financial contribution from them.

2. Health education for individual and group during the consultations and in the pygmy camps in different topics like vaccination and the disease with greater incidence.

3. Accompaniment, medication and training in cases of epilepsy and malnutrition (very common in this region).

4. Creation of 2 wells in the jungle to meet the drinking water needs.

Budget (in Euros) for the development of the activities (for one year):


Finance needed

Drug expenses

3 700,00 €


550,00 €


630,00 €

Vaccination / sensitization campaigns

150,00 €

Construction of 2 wells

250,00 €


5 280,00 €

This project aims to ensure a minimum level of health for the Pygmies of this region (as these are the poorest of the poor).

Along with these activities, the Catholic Mission of Mongoumba does other activities in both education and in terms of Pastoral ministry. Therefore, this project is only a part of the comprehensive work done in the mission.

From now, the CLM community present in Mongoumba is grateful for the cooperation of everyone and especially the attention paid to the reality of the Pygmies. It is, in fact, in constant collaboration that we can continue the Mission and slowly, together, we believe that we can build a better world, “that many have life and have it abundantly” (Jn 10, 10).

Note: Currently, in this mission is present Elia Gomes, CLM nurse, who takes care of matters concerning to health issues.

The CLM from Portugal are available to provide any additional information, support, and answer for any questions that may arise:

You can download the project brochure KWE ZO ZO here.

You can follow the project in Facebook here.

Susana Vilas Boas: (00351) 960 145 875 (made ​​part of this community for 5 years).

Sandra Fagundes: (00351) 966 592 658 (treasurer of the CLM)

Donations can be deposited in the account:

IBAN: PT50 0036 0131 99100030116 60



Network Justice on the Rails

In defense of social and environmental justice in the lands injured by Vale.

Vale 1I’m tired of holding this mineral train passing in front of my house ten times a day. I’m tired of hearing that this train of 330 wagons carried the wealth of our land and leaves a trail of abuses and deaths: one person every month! I’m tired of the speeches of the “wearing ties” of the company: they ensure that all this will bring progress, but for us, here, everything is stopped for more than twenty years!

This is the relief of several families living in the area of influence of the Carajas corridor (900 km railway between Maranhão and Pará, in northern Brazil).

Here, mining company Vale SA dominates the economy and controls the regional policy, possessing the richest and more abundant iron mines of the world and an impressive logistics system (railways and ships).

Vale is the second largest mining company in the world, operating in 38 countries has grown 19 times since a suspicious privatization transaction gave this treasure to private interests. It paints green and yellow its image, boasting its sustainability and social responsibility with powerful means of propaganda and influence on political parties, on the contrary, towns and communities around the world bear witness of the labor disputes (3,500 people in Canada have confronted the company with a strike just over a year!), pollution, discharges, corruption of local authorities, or even the use of militias to protect their private interests. In 2012, Vale was chosen in voting internationally as “the worst company in the world” (Public Eye Award, Switzerland).

Therefore, we consider this company as a paradigmatic example of the arrogance of many mining companies in the world. Since late 2007, a network of movements in northern Brazil launched the “Justice on the rails” (, to report conflicts with the multinational and claim social and environmental justice. Since then, participation in the World Social Forum in Belém strengthened the network of alliances and daring campaigns, allowing the birth, in April 2010, of the International Joint Affected by Vale.

Vale 2Communities, social movements, workers and institutions, which in many ways are considered affected by the company, have been organized since the first meeting of the Joint International exchange of experiences and strategies of resistance and alternatives to the impacts of mining. The organization facilitates the exchange between people from ten different countries around the world.

Justice on the Rails also has close relations with the Brazilian Network for Environmental Justice and the Observatory of Mining Conflicts in Latin America. Since 2010 participates annually in the General Assembly of Shareholders of the Vale also leading to major investor the complaints and demands of communities.

Un frente específico de lucha de la red Justicia en los Raíles es el acompañamiento del caso emblemático de la comunidad Piquiá de Baixo (Açailândia-MA), víctima de la contaminación de la cadena de la minería y el acero. Allí, más de 300 familias no aguantan más convivir con cinco empresas siderúrgicas (altos hornos) que han invadido las tierras de la comunidad. Reivindican el reasentamiento en una zona libre de contaminación, para volver a vivir con dignidad y salud.

Piquiá de Baixo es uno de los casos más graves de racismo ambiental y violaciones de derechos humanos en Brasil. En 2013, una campaña internacional lanzó una acción solidaria y de denuncia, para el reasentamiento urgente de la comunidad.

A specific struggle front of the Network Justice on the Rails is to support the emblematic community of Piquiá de Baixo (Açailândia-MA), a victim of contamination from mining and steel. There, more than 300 families have had enough to live with five steel companies that have invaded the lands of the community. They claim for their resettlement in a pollution-free area, to live again with dignity and health.

Vale 3Piquiá de Baixo is one of the most serious cases of environmental racism and human rights violations in Brazil. In 2013, an international campaign launched a solidarity complaint for an urgent resettlement for the community.