Comboni Lay Missionaries

Missioning Mass for the CLM Carolina Fiúza

Carolina
Carolina

My dear friends,

My heart is full and grateful for all the blessings and love I received on May 12, when in my parish – St. Eufemia – my missioning was celebrated… not only the ceremony itself, but the entire day and the mission promotion were full of sharing and missionary fraternity.

My thanks to all for being together in prayer. I feel fortunate… for belonging to you as family and for the many friends who fully love me. Thank you! For those who could not be present at the Eucharist, I share what I said to all.

Animacion Misionera

My dear Heavenly Father,

This is the prayer of your much-loved daughter, Carolina de Jesus Fiúza, who with the strength of this community is sent for two years to the people of Ethiopia.

From quite sometime your invitation has resonated within me saying:

“Go deeper at sea and throw your net to fish. Do not be afraid” come with me, you will fish people! Come, follow me!”

I thank you for this invitation and with great joy, like Mary, I say YES! May it be done to me according to your word!

To you my greatest THANKS for this Yes is the fruit of a mutual relationship. To You I repeat my THANKS for not giving up on me and for trusting in me. To you I give thanks for all these people who are here physically and spiritually. To You I give thanks for the thousand lives that, very often, without knowing, are a thousand lives for mission, just like Comboni was asking: a thousand lives for mission. I thank You for the courage and the strength that give to my Yes the confidence they place in me.

To you and to these people I give thanks and promise: promise to make mistakes and fail. Such is the human condition! But, I promise to always improve, learn, listen, keep silent, accept, understand, share what I am, accept what I am… and, above all, TO LOVE. I promise to give myself totally to the Ethiopian people and do what I can, with what I have, wherever I am.

I look at myself and see how small I am. But with my limitations, with what I have in my bag, I wish to give myself to you and go to the poorest and most abandoned, inspired by St. Daniel Comboni. I trust in the fact that you do not choose the able ones, but that you enable those you choose. Thus I trust that you will give me the ability to love this marvelous people of Ethiopia, where you reside since forever.

At times many do not understand why I choose to leave for the missions. I understand and accept their lack of understanding. And I appreciate the support which, even in a conditional form, they give me. Just like my dear father says, “Good can be done anywhere!” And it is not a lie…in fact, You Heavenly Father, You who are one Body, but with many members and with each member having its function, You call us all to be missionaries, in different ways. Today and to me the call is to go, to be the grain of wheat tat dies in the ground in order to bear fruit. And this isa mystery. Just like the mystery of the most beloved Son who died on the cross. Just like him, I too give my Yes ready to have the mission be born and grow at the foot of the cross. O My Father, will we ever be able to understand this mystery of the death of Jesus on the cross. Perhaps, no. In the same way, my Yes may not be understood by others. This is a mystery as well. Even for me the mission entrusted to me is a mystery. But I say Yes anyway. I do it with confidence because I know that never, never will you abandon me.

O my God, You know the GRATITUTE I have for many people. Without mentioning all of them, I especially am grateful to my family, who has agreed, who gave me missionary genes!

I thank you for the life of my parents, Edite and Manuel Fiúza, who gave me an education the best way they knew how. Without them, my life, my values, my gifts… all that I am, it would never have been possible. Many thanks for your life and the fruit of your creation, myself, the gift I am and which I want to bear fruit. I am grateful because it gives it the capacity of supporting me and loving me unconditionally, even without understanding my decision. I ask You to protect them, to look after them always, and give them always the strength to fight for life, just as they taught me to do.

I thank you for the life of my fiancé, Hélder Neves, who has supported me from the beginning and given me strength in times of serious doubts. I thank you for the love that binds us and can only come from you. I know that this Yes is not only mine, but from both of us. He too accepts of living the mission with me. And we accept this mission in great confidence. I ask you to protect him always, keeping him in your arms. And what you have joined, our mutual love, we will never dare to separate or damage. Gives the confidence and the trust to remain forever one!

I thank you for the life of all the parishioners of my “land, my beautiful land,” this beautiful St. Eufemia. This land that saw me grow and sustained me in life and in Christian faith. To the catechists, choir members, priests I met here (already 3 of them) and many people I see today, I wish the best… I am grateful for the life of each of you. Special thanks to Fr. Nuno Gil, whose joviality and strength to reach us all does not leave me indifferent. I pray that you continue to give him strength to continue leading the Kingdom here on Earth.

And finally, knowing that I could thank many more people, I thank you for the Comboni Family. I thank you for being the lighting this journey where I search for you daily and with love more and more. I thank you for the example given by each one of a life inspired by St. Daniel Comboni making it possible to understand more and more my missionary vocation. I truly thank them because the mission in Ethiopia trusts in me, And I ask that I may always be the best as a CLM.

O my God, you know that I take you within me more than anything. You know how much it hurts to leave the love I have here. But you also know how happy I am, because even where I go, love expects me there. I go to meet love, following in the footsteps of the one who sends me.

We well know that it is never a good-bye, but always a see-you-again.

See you again, my community. Never be afraid to say Yes, because God, a merciful Father, will never abandon us. I leave you a souvenir: a typical Ethiopian cross (sent to you by a Comboni Missionary Sister in Ethiopia) to help us remember that we all part of one cross, the cross of Christ. Pray for me and for the people and mission of Ethiopia. Be assure that we, too, will pray for you.

Carolina Fiúza CLM

Ethiopia, missionary land

CLM Ethiopia
CLM Ethiopia

Dear Comboni Lay Missionaries and friends discerning the CLM vocation! We send you warm greetings from Awassa – a beautiful city in southern Ethiopia where CLM presence has continued for already 9 years. However, changes are coming and we invite you to make this change better.

In the beginning of May Madzia ends her mission in Ethiopia and in the beginning of June also Adela&Tobiasz go back to Poland. This practically means the end of CLM presence in Awassa. Hopefully it doesn’t mean the end of the CLM presence in Ethiopia. Pedro is already in Ethiopia studying Amharic language.

Throughout all these years we experienced very good cooperation with the Ethiopian Comboni Family. MCCJ are very open for CLM presence, understand our charism and are eager to help us to settle a stable, permanent and independent presence in Ethiopia. It would really be a pity not to continue our presence in Ethiopia.

CLM Ethiopia

We, as current Ethiopian CLM group, think that now came the best time to move our presence from Awassa to Gumuz, which is the region of first evangelization in north-west Ethiopia. Gumuz people were for long time discriminated by other Ethiopian tribes and until recent years excluded from society. Things started to change with arrival of Comboni missionaries less than 20 years ago, who has shared with them Good News and helped them socially, building educational and health facilities in 3 missions (Gilgel-Beles and Gublack run by Comboni Fathers and Mandura run by Comboni Sisters). Needs of missionaries, also lay missionaries, who would come to share their time and skills is huge, both in pastoral and social work. We have to admit that the work in Gumuz area may also be quite challenging, just to mention the hot climate, many cases of malaria and typhoid and Amharic language to learn… We are sure however that satisfaction would be greater than any obstacles.

Comboni Fathers would be very happy if our movement could open a community in Gumuz. But to achieve this aim, to run this mission, we need people. We are happy that Pedro is ready to go to Gumuz; also David and Carolina are about to come to Ethiopia. For sure we would need more CLMs ready to come, to live some years in Africa among the most needy. We encourage to come to Gumuz all discerning their missionary vocation and we are sure that Daniel Comboni would do the same!

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Greetings Tobiasz & Adela, Madzia

CLM Ethiopia

Twenty one years of life, and “life in abundance”

LMC Portugal

LMC PortugalThis is the day to thank the Lord for what we have accomplished as Comboni Lay Missionaries. Today we celebrate 21 years of history and mission, 21 years from that January 25, 1998 when we started this journey of discernment and formation for lay people in Maia, animated by the Holy Spirit and by St. Daniel Comboni.

It has been a very beautiful journey done at the foot of the Cross, before the Lord. And it is from this journey that mission is born – the one made of God’s works that “are born and grow at the foot of the Cross.” It consists in walking as a family, inspired by St. Daniel Comboni who leads us to “Save Africa with Africa” – this marvelous Africa that today no longer has borders and stands at our peripheries.

LMC PortugalMany journeyed with us. Some left, others continue their commitment as CLM, but all, one way or the other, left swirls and drops that today make up this ocean of love we have become and binds continents together. We are grateful from the bottom of our hearts to all those who accompanied us and who keep on doing it.

LMC PortugalDuring these 21 years, many were the CLM who lived their missionary vocation in places beyond our borders: in Mozambique, Brazil, the Central African Republic and Peru. Today, we continue to share our missionary spirit in these same countries: Marisa in Mozambique; Liliana in Brazil; Maria Augusta and Cristina in the Central African Republic; Paula y Neuza in Peru. Not to mention all those who remain committed in Portugal, in the peripheries, in their families, in daily life, attempting to live the mission God has given them, plus all the candidates trying to discern God’s call for them in Comboni’s charism.

Missionaries in Christ and through our baptism, we move forward as St. Daniel Comboni inspired us: “Keep your eyes always fixed in Christ, loving him tenderly and trying to understand always better what it means to have a God dead on the cross for the salvation of souls.” (Writings 2721)

LMC PortugalAnd this saving of souls in Comboni was going well beyond simple evangelization: the salvation of humankind through the passion and death of Christ, which is born and lives through the identification of the missionary with this paschal mystery, in this dying in order to be born and live. “If the grain of wheat falling in the ground does not die, it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces abundant fruit.” (John 12:24)

With great enthusiasm let us continue our journey, following the footsteps of St. Daniel Comboni, hand in hand so that his work will not die, a journey of a difficult and enthusing mission among the people and the countries thirsting for Christ.

LMC PortugalCLM Portugal

The Church of Christ on mission in the world

Logo EN

Logo ENThe Guide for the Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019, “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World”, promoted by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (CEP) and the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), is a subsidiary text collecting contributions from and for Christians all over the world. The drafting of the Guide was made possible also thanks to the cooperation of the PMS National Directors based in various countries of all continents.

The purpose of the Guide is to support the single dioceses in meeting their needs as to missionary formation and activities, thus preparing the faithful throughout the world to live the Extraordinary Missionary Month wanted by Pope Francis on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the promulgation of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter, Maximum Illud (November 30, 1919).

The Guide will inspire the creativity of the local Churches and of their parishioners in facing the challenges inherent to evangelization, starting from “missio ad gentes” and their own particular context, without any claim to be exhaustive or to provide a systematic theological or catechetical reflection on the mission. The sections of the Guide correspond to the spiritual dimensions outlined by the Holy Father in calling the Extraordinary Missionary Month: the personal encounter with Jesus Christ living in the Church, the witness of saints and martyrs of the mission, the catechetical formation for the mission and the missionary charity. The text is published in English, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Guia

 

 

 

 

The day has arrived… the day of missioning

LMC Guatemala

LMC Guatemala

Yesterday, Sunday, November 4, at Comboni House in Guatemala City, we lived through the much expected day… following a time of training, mission promotion, sales, celebrations, noise, joy, service, difficulties, fatigue, bureaucratic papers, after so much anxiety, insecurity, but also a lot of trust, love, prayer and commitment… the CLM of Guatemala lived through a great day, shared by the whole community, but naturally, more than most, by Alejandro, Ana Cris, Esteban, Isabel, Agustín and Lucia.

I will quote from the beautiful homily delivered by Fr. Victor Hugo Castillo, the Provincial of Central America, who started his message with these words:

“All the works of God start small. Just like a child is small and defenseless, but slowly grows. And so it has been with the Comboni Lay Missionaries of Guatemala.”

“Mission brings about transformation in the way we think, the way we live our faith, the way we approach others.” And the decision to go needs time to take shape.”

God performs miracles every day, and does not begin from what is perfect and grandiose, but from simplicity, with financial obstacles, but in truth, when God wants to accomplish his purpose… and we make ourselves available, simply… as if not knowing… not being able… only trusting… allowing ourselves to be moved… a little at the time, discovering God’s plan… walking together… stumbling and picking ourselves up… this way, as a community we reach a day like today.

The first reading chosen by Alexandro and Ana Cris spoke of this process for ourselves as a community and especially for them as a couple:

Jeremiah 1:4-9

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,

 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

and before you were born I consecrated you;

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.”

 But the Lord said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’;

for you shall go to all to whom I send you,

and you shall speak whatever I command you,

Do not be afraid of them,

for I am with you to deliver you,

says the Lord.”

Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,

“Now I have put my words in your mouth.”

I continue with words from the homily:

“We are called to something great. To receive a blessing. We become blessings for others. To do mission means to put one’s life at risk. And life is worth living when we have projects. Projects are constantly in a state of construction. A project grows as we grow. In the project of a lifetime there is trust… Sacrifice”

LMC Guatemala

These words summarize the journey done and the journey remaining. To live it in a community is wonderful. With everyone united in the same feelings, the same desire to see the mission ad gentes being carried out, to see the Comboni charism and identity grow and be the instrument to announce to all nations Jesus who died and rose again, as Scripture says. United, we will all go out of our borders, in different ways, but cooperating so that those who can do it, will do it.
I am just reflecting and I am grateful that we are a generous community, unselfish, without envy, as a family, and wish the best for each one of our brothers. Alejandro and Cris have been courageous by being available to leave… we love them… we admire then and we are proud of them. While they will be there where God placed them, we over here will work hard so that they will not be in any need.

“The type of domestic mission that turns us into navel gazers. It is not a mission that grows. The only way to grow is through experience. The journey to mission entails a process: to feel called. To dialogue. To discern. To ask for advice, in order to start moving… and go.

We carry this mission treasure in clay pots. Let us remember that there is no mission without cross.”  This is what Fr. Hugo added to his message.

Strengthened by love, we want to grow, to open to new members, new spaces… today it is Brazil, tomorrow, God already knows the place and who will go. We pray for discernment and light to keep forging ahead. Without comfortable settling down, but on the contrary moving along, with dynamism, while there is life there is mission, projects, work, meaning, a reason for living. What more can we ask from Heaven? Everything bubbles over, and so is the love of God.

Mary is an example of service:

“Only when we accept the call we are capable of moving forward in an attitude of service.”

Fr. Hugo commenting on the Gospel said that Mary went on a journey, without planning, only wanting to serve her cousin Elizabeth. She left… on her own, from her home and people… to go and serve. All baptized people are called to this, and then this beautiful charism, Comboni’s, that unites one to a bunch of “crazies,” because of the love we have received and experienced. Crazy to ensure that others will see it and experience it. Crazy with passion for mission. Crazy for Jesus. This craziness makes us go and serve, understood by few, criticized by many, but God knows the heart of the missionary and affords what is needed to live a particular vocation.

“Mission is madness. How often do we hear: why are you going so far? Isn’t there enough to do over here? The answer is, Yes, but my vocation calls me to go farther. And vocation cannot be explained or understood, it simply stands as a gift from God.”

Blessed are we, Comboni Missionaries for this inheritance of our founder, St. Daniel Comboni. It cannot be explained. Married, single, young, not so young, but this vocation lived as a gift, wherever we are, however we are, is what gives meaning to our lives and to the gift of our Baptism. It follows the theme of the infinite love of God who does not spare his generosity.

To end, Fr. Hugo encouraged all present:

“Mission also belongs to the laity. Pope Francis insists on the fact that the laity is a sleeping giant that must be awakened.”

The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are the cause of our joy

St. Daniel Comboni, pray for us

LMC GuatemalaLily Portillo