Comboni Lay Missionaries

Our last quarter activity in the CLMs of Ecuador

LMC Ecuador
Month of August in calendar, dedicated to the Laity.

At the end of November 2022, we received the visit of our National Advisor, Fr. Enzo Balasso, MCCJ, who was in Guayaquil to promote the Calendar 2023 of the Comboni Family in some parishes of the Archdiocese, in the month of August 2023, which is dedicated to the Laity and there is a general invitation to participate in the CLM.

It was a very pleasant opportunity for our lay community to accompany Fr. Enzo in these visits of parish groups from the periphery and priests from the north of Guayaquil, Fr. San Lucas Evangelista, from Mucho Lote; Fr. Jesús El Buen Pastor, from Vergeles; and, Fr. Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Chiquinquirá, from Vergeles, in which we took the opportunity to give small talks and reminders of the various missionary animations carried out in previous years.

Moments of Fr. Enzo’s talk to the parish community of Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá, in Vergeles – north of Guayaquil.
Photo with all the participants to this animation talk.

In the same way, since this year we have maintained a space for living together as Comboni Family among the priests, confreres and lay people who are in Guayaquil, through a monthly Mass and sharing, which is held on the last Tuesday of each month; and this time we did it with our National Advisor.

Panoramic view of the Cathedral of Guayaquil during the ceremony of renewal of ministry.

Among the pastoral activities that the CLM develop is the accompaniment and participation in the parish Immaculate Conception of Guayaquil, as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, which during this year we went to the preparation and formation for the renewal of the ministry at the Archdiocesan level, being so on Saturday, December 10, 2022, the ceremony was held in the Cathedral of Guayaquil celebrated by Bishop Gustavo Rosales, Auxiliary Bishop of Guayaquil.

We have had space for vocational promotion and awareness of our CLM movement, such as, on December 17, 2022, the participation with the group “Roots of Hope” in the Christmas sharing for children and families of the “Valdivia” sector; and, on December 18, 2022, we will celebrate the mass of thanksgiving for the CLM International Day in the Verbo Divino Parish, currently Comboni parish, both areas known as periphery of southern Guayaquil where families of low economic resources live.

Animation to the community of Valdivia for the Christmas celebration.
View of the Verbo Divino church where the CLM exposition took place.

In addition, on Friday, December 30, we will be sharing with the different missionary and pastoral groups that meet at the Afro-Ecuadorian Cultural Center of Guayaquil, in order to meet as a family and with other lay people who share our Comboni charism.

Photo of the group that participated in the talk about CLM

Happy Holidays to all!

Abg. Susana Ortega Delgado, CLM

Missionary retreat in Balsas (Brazil)

LMC Brasil

Retreat with the theme “Comboni Spirituality and the social commitment of the Church” in the diocese of Balsas/Maranhão – Brazil.

The Comboni Missionaries have left the diocese of Balsas in 2017, after 65 years of presence, marked by many achievements, both in the life of the communities, in the formation of leaders, as well as in the social part and in the infrastructure of the city itself.

Dom Valentim Meneses, the current bishop who took over the diocese in 2020, after the death of the previous bishop, invited the Comboni Missionaries to organize a retreat for the leaders of the communities, highlighting the social commitment of the church.

Thus, the Comboni family present in Piquiá/Maranhão, with the support of the Comboni spirituality groups (GEC) present in Balsas, organized the retreat in 2 different locations, to enable better participation.

On September 17, 2022 (Saturday), the first one was held in the city of Pastos Bons (280 km from Balsas), with the participation of about 25 persons. It was a very rich day of sharing and remembering the journey of the communities, and rekindling the commitment of faith, inspired by the Comboni charism.

On the following day (Sunday) the retreat was held in the city of Balsas, with the participation of more than 50 persons, with the assistance of the diocesan bishop in the reflection of the theme. He encouraged that the spirituality that we assume as Christians, regardless of what it is, should lead us, more than having faith in Jesus, to have the faith of Jesus. This makes the difference, since it prevents us from creating a logic that serves our personal interests and wills, keeping us in the logic of the Kingdom of God.

In both moments we had a video of Regimar and Valmir, sharing their first 5 months of presence in Mozambique and the challenges faced by the population with the Gombe Cyclone.

The GECs of Piquiá, Pastos Bons and Balsas shared about their meetings and invited those present to be part of the journey of deepening of faith and missionary commitment, as a concrete gesture of this retreat.

It was a rich moment of missionary animation, inspired by the charism of St. Daniel Comboni!

Did you like the idea of having a Comboni Spirituality Group (CSG) in your community or parish? Would you like to know how to organize one? Contact us through our email or by the WhatsApp of the Comboni Missionaries +551197956-8317.

CLM Brazil

Celebrating our talents and experiences as CLM II

LMC Europa

After a well-deserved lunch break, we resumed the workshops with the missionary witness of the Portuguese community of Fetais. The Portuguese CLM decided last year to open a community presence in the outskirts of Lisbon. In a neighborhood with a great diversity of nationalities, where migrants from former Portuguese colonies in Africa stand out, but where there is also the presence of Latin Americans and people of Asian origin. All this with Portuguese, many of them of gypsy ethnicity.

All this great diversity makes living there a very different experience from what is usual in the rest of the country. Undoubtedly a melting pot of cultures that brings a lot of richness, but sometimes with many difficulties linked to their condition of exclusion.

This experience also gave rise to a debate on the rights of migrants in the European Union, the common policy that does not facilitate immigration and how the unequal demands of one country or another can also cause people to be more disadvantaged depending on local legislation.

Then the CLM from Spain helped us to deepen into a very elaborate presentation of the importance of political advocacy in our missionary action in Europe. To become aware of how Pope Francis encourages us to a positioning and an ever greater political responsibility as lay people because politics, as a service to the common good, definitely marks the lives of the people. How important is the influence on the change of legislations, the sensitization of the people for the different issues that affect so much as the care of the planet, migrations, etc.

The presentation was accompanied by the external intervention of Sister Benjamine who spoke to us about the work done by Talita Kum against human trafficking at the international level. Brother Simone spoke about the work of VIVAT International and the pressure they are trying to put on the UN and Geneva to change global policies, and Father Lorenzo shared with us the struggle of the Church and Mining network against abusive mining activities in Latin America. All of them reinforced the responsibility and the need for work in this sector that we have from Europe.

The last session of the day was in charge of the CLM from Italy, who presented several of the projects they are developing in different parts of the country. From the reception of migrants in the community La Zattera in Palermo. A place to organize their lives, to rest and to integrate into the new society.

In this line, Venegono explained to us the projects that they develop from Combinazione, such as the various shelters for refugees that they run, where they act from the first reception to a last resort on the way to an independent life where they facilitate the exit from the previous resources.

They also explained the work of awareness raising in schools. Bringing the realities of the world to children and young people, with awareness-raising projects adapted to different age groups, sometimes with the testimony of African migrants. Or even with the edition of a book that helps to enter and embrace more the reality of a changing society and the protagonism of everyone in this society, especially the youngest.

Finally, Simone shared with us the experience of life as CLM in the Comboni religious community of Castel Voturno and especially his work in the Black and White association that seeks to offer educational and leisure alternatives to the children of migrants who arrived in Italy and who even being born in Italy do not have the right to Italian citizenship. Also how this resource becomes the only place of leisure or study possibilities for these boys and girls due to the poor conditions of the neighborhood where they live.

To end this intense day we were able to have a time of quiet and prayer together organized from Spain. A simple prayer in different languages, where we could place at the Lord’s feet all that we have shared, the needs of all those we serve and our willingness to continue on the path wherever He calls us.

With the Our Father in each of our languages we closed this beautiful day of sharing and dreaming together from the gifts and services that each one of us develop. Surely it will have enlightened many for new initiatives and encouraged everyone knowing that we are together in this common cause which is the Kingdom of God.

A hug to all of you and thanks to those who participated because with your contributions you made us grow.

Alberto de la Portilla. CLM Central Committee

Celebrating our talents and experiences as CLM

LMC Europa
LMC Europa

With this suggestive title, the European CLM held a workshop last Saturday.

First of all, we would like to thank the European committee for the effort of organizing this meeting for several months. It was not easy, but in the end it worked very well and the simultaneous translations made it possible for CLM from different countries to participate and take advantage of everything that was shared.

The idea of the meeting was to offer a variety of content and experience according to the interests, activities and commitments that we as CLM develop in Europe or from Europe.

LMC Europa

The meeting began with the intervention of the CLM from Germany who shared their great work on the theme of Peace. They began by supporting Comboni projects for the development of peace in Sudan and have been expanding this range to the different conflictive realities that we face on the planet and even at the local level in our immediate environment. All this with a methodology of approach that seeks to understand the conflict and promote valid solutions for all.

Following this, the CLM from Poland encouraged us to reflect on how to raise awareness of the work we do and how to raise funds for it. They emphasized the importance of including collaborators, not only as someone who can give occasional help, but to establish a link that allows us to follow up on the work we are developing and make people feel that they are part of it. Various initiatives and possibilities were presented to us. Afterwards, different initiatives were shared from other countries that are being carried out and are bearing their small fruits.

LMC Europa

Then we had a time of reflection on the mission as a family. It was a rich time where, from experience, we shared what it means to be in mission as a family. The misunderstanding sometimes on the part of some who think that being on mission means having a lot of time to do activities while from experience we realized that it is really our testimony of life, in this case as a family, which brings us closer to the people, to their day to day life.

We also reflected on the importance of choosing places where the family can be. Where the level of violence is not high and at the same time it is possible to have a minimum of education and health care for the children. Also the importance of dialogue in the family, especially when the children are reaching adolescence and youth and are making their own decisions and life choices. In general, we found that it is a great enrichment for children. Undoubtedly a very nice topic and very linked to our lay reality.

LMC Europa

In this way we finished the morning sessions and went for lunch.

Tomorrow we will finish telling you about the meeting 😉

Greetings to all and each one of you

Alberto de la Portilla. CLM Central Committee

African Memory Project: Fr. Ismael Piñón

Padre Ismael

We continue this series of testimonies with Fr. Ismael and his missionary experience in Chad.

Fr. Ismael Piñón, as a Comboni Missionary, shares with us his time of missionary service in Chad for eight years. There he was in charge of the formation of a parish that would be the backbone of such important social projects as the construction of schools in villages without access to education.