Comboni Lay Missionaries

Manos Unidas’ 2021 Campaign

Manos Unidas LMC Sevilla

During this weekend, Manos Unidas (NGO of the Spanish Church) celebrates one more year the Campaign against Hunger. And despite the difficulties they do not back down and reinvent themselves so that Solidarity is contagious and spreads to all of us.

Manos Unidas LMC Sevilla

This Saturday morning we were fortunate to participate in a round table in Seville, the starting signal for the campaign in our province. We are always excited to hear the testimony of missionaries who have spent more than 30 years on the front line, sharing their lives with the most forgotten peoples, and how, thanks to the generosity of so many anonymous people, the construction of so many dreams, so many schools, health centers… can become a reality.

In addition to our missionary experience, we were asked to present experiences of collaboration with Manos Unidas. In this sense we talked about a small project where we collaborated during our time in Mozambique and also the project that currently support in Brazil to our community in Piquiá. It was also an opportunity to raise awareness about a current reality of the mission.

Manos Unidas LMC Sevilla

During the weekend of the campaign we also shared our experience in Mozambique with the parish of San José Obrero, in San Juan de Aznalfarache (a small town near Seville), we told them about a very small project with which Manos Unidas had collaborated with the parish of Our Lady of Peace in Namapa, where we CLM worked for four years.

It was the construction of a multipurpose room, four walls very well used, full of life and hope. And we told them how that space served as a library, where they could sit at a table and chair to write, versus the option of doing it on the floor, on a mat, inside a small hut by candlelight. Where secondary school students could find a few books where they could consult chemistry, mathematics, … in a region where not even the teachers had textbooks, and all their support material were the notebooks that they kept as a treasure from when they had done their training and that they tried to transmit to their students by slate and learn by heart.

And we would talk to them about the work of promoting women that was done there. Thanks also to anonymous generosity, sewing machines had arrived (yes, those pedal ones, to be used where there is no light), and they were taught a trade, giving them the opportunity to earn a living, in addition to creating circles of support, in which to work with them on self-esteem and empowerment in a society where equality between men and women is a utopia.

And we told them about the joy and life that was transmitted in the rehearsals of the parish choir, in that group of young people with whom we worked those values of fellowship, listening, teamwork, trying to accompany them in their growth processes as active members of their society, in their specific historical moment.

And we explained to them how once every two months, the catechists of the 86 communities that made up the parish, came for a weekend to receive Christian formation to take and share with their communities. Many came walking from long distances, eager to meet and deepen their knowledge and experience of this Jesus of Nazareth who was changing their lives. And during those days the hall became the place of meeting and welcome, dormitory and dining room. Shared bread and shared life.

And I remember those quiet afternoons, sitting on those stone benches at the entrance of the hall, from where you could see the simple people passing by, on their way to the market, on their way home, …. enjoying those beautiful African sunsets, and thanking the Father for all that shared LIFE.

Maricarmen Tomás and Alberto de la Portilla, CLM Spain

Sharing the calling of a missionary marriage

lmc mexico

On November 29th, we had the opportunity to be part of the formative sessions of the young people who will participate in the missionary work of the Archdiocese of León during the month of December (Misiones PROJUV, León, Guanajuato). We were invited to share a lecture in which we talked about the main qualities that we should have as missionaries. In it, we shared some ideas and examples on how the virtues like humbleness, coherence, purity and generosity can help us to surrender ourselves fully to the service of God and of our brothers and sisters.

For us it was a very special experience, because it was the first activity that we have had representing the Comboni Lay Missionaries. We are in our period of formation, in which we prepare ourselves spiritually and intellectually to respond to the missionary call that God has placed in our hearts. Therefore, having the opportunity to share a little of what we have received filled us with joy and hope.

The interaction with teenagers and young adults was very enriching. In addition to the content of our conference, the dialogue with them made us realize that the mere fact of presenting ourselves as a couple of lay missionaries is already an example that can inspire them to fully commit to the vocation of sharing the Gospel. Many came to share their vocational concerns, and for us it was an honour to show them how it is possible to be committed lay people, working in the world with our eyes towards the Kingdom of Heaven.

This experience helped us to confirm that the Lord calls us at any moment of our existence and from any path of life. We, as a married couple, know that this calling acquires a deep meaning in knowing that our conjugal love can and should be lived as a witnessing to make God’s love known everywhere. Let us dare to answer to this calling!

Kasia Ludwin & Adán Aguilar