Comboni Lay Missionaries

Angels fallen from Heaven…

Pascual Guatemala LMC

With much enthusiasm we prepared ourselves to celebrate the major week, being obedient to the call of God we set out to San Luis, Petén, Guatemala, Adrián Chacón Aspirant to CLM, Jorge Zamora Candidate to CLM and this servant José David Rojas Quesada Comboni Lay Missionary.

On Saturday March 23 we left Guatemala City together with Father Juan Diego Calderon, Provincial of the MCCJ for the Province of Central America to San Luis, carrying many expectations of not knowing what would be the task that God would have, but with much enthusiasm and love to make of this small experience a tool to make love grow among us children of God and also to be that living testimony of bringing God to all parts of the world, with the same confidence with which Jesus speaks to his disciples and tells them;

…and teach them to fulfill all that I have commanded you. I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28, 20…

When we arrived in San Luis we were welcomed by Father Aubert, Comboni Priest, coming from CAR, he invited us to have lunch and then he told us that two of us would go to a village called Cansis and another one would go to another one called Cain, the coordinators of each village were waiting for us, we said goodbye to Jorge since he was going to Cain, Adrian and myself went with Don Eliseo to the community of Cansis.

It is admirable for me to see the dedication and disposition with which the Coordinator of Lectors, Coordinator of Acolytes and Catechists met at the time of the Convocation. A very great joy was the reception with which the children who were in Formative Catechesis for their Consecration as Acolytes received us, that same Saturday we met until almost 9.30 pm, where we talked openly and extensively about a somewhat complicated situation that the population was going through, we also planned the whole Holy Week, trying to respect the way in which they do their celebrations, and with the consent of the community add some elements. In this meeting we understood why the assignment that Father Aubert (Alberto) gave us when we left the parish house, I can not deny that at some point I felt like my partner, unable to successfully accomplish that task, however with the commitment of the Catechists and Coordinators and the confidence that God would be with us, we assumed with fear but with joy that task, where we had to go to visit house to house, talk and fight for that community did not give up the service and surrender to the almighty.

Pascual Guatemala LMC

Cansís is a community that in that area of the Petén is called mixed, since they speak both Spanish or Castilian as they say and Quetchi, for us it was very striking to hear them speak in their dialect.

On Palm Sunday Consecrated Lectors held the Celebration and in it they introduced us to the whole community explaining a little of the agreements we had made the day before, after the celebration we greeted everyone, and on Monday we began to visit Lectors who were not exercising their ministry, on Tuesday we did it with the children acolytes, Wednesday with catechists and other faithful who were not congregating.

The purpose of the visit was to motivate them, encourage them and invite them to resume their dedication, their consecration, their service, and like everything in the ways of the Lord, children who said YES I want to continue YES I want to consecrate myself as others said they were sure they did not want to continue, however, they were encouraged and if they definitely did not want to continue they were invited to participate in the celebration of the Word that Monday and Holy Wednesday were held, and since Monday we began to see those people who said they did not want to serve coming to the celebrations, That day we had the Eucharistic Celebration, Father Juan Diego and for the infinite grace of God 3 of the Consecrated Acolytes, including the girl from the last house arrived, it was very gratifying to see that all the fatigue, walking, sunshine had its reward and hope in the Lord of the harvest, that this motivation would continue.

Pascual Guatemala LMC

On Holy Thursday being Eucharistic day and of great importance for us Catholic Christians since as we know we celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist, we proceeded to visit all the elderly and sick people who can not gather because of their health condition, walking through dusty trails now that it is summer, but reflecting on the work that the Ministers of Communion should do when the winter comes. Each house that we visited with Jesus Eucharist was a great joy, when we were leaving the temple the men collaborated with the construction of the provisional tabernacle to make the transfer of Our Lord, finished that task we returned to the Church at about 2 pm and to our surprise the men had already finished their work and only the women were left to make the floral arrangements and other details, then we set out to prepare the Celebration of this day, The men first washed the feet of the women and then the women washed the feet of the men, as a sign of humility, respect, fraternity and community. Once the celebration was over, we had a time of community prayer and then we moved the Blessed Sacrament to where it had been previously placed to pass and pray as a family, I must mention that they kept vigil from that moment until Holy Saturday before communion, the commitment is beautiful.

Pascual Guatemala LMC

For Friday, we were called at 8:30 AM to make the Holy Way of the Cross, in each assigned house they decorated their station, one in Castilla and another in Quetchi, with great faith meditating on what we were doing we went station by station, half way through the owner of a store gave us a glass of cool to all participants and reduce the heat a little, we kept walking meditating performing songs for the occasion, after walking another little while some brothers invited us to another cool …. Then we went on until we reached the church, where we prepared ourselves for the Celebration of the Word and the Veneration of the Holy Cross, entering into a meditative silence of that reading of the Passion in Quetchi.

Pascual Guatemala LMC

On Saturday, maintaining an atmosphere of meditation, we met with the children of the community, the meeting was very beautiful to hear them talk, but above all to see the desire with which they want to serve the Lord, we took the opportunity to tell them in the form of a story about the call of Samuel, so that they understand that each of us has a special calling, and that this call is the same God who makes it to us. In the afternoon we finished fine tuning details for the celebration of the Easter Vigil, the Solemnity of Solemnities, we began at 7 pm, with the blessing of the fire, the Easter Candle, we took the opportunity to burn some papers that in the previous Catechesis we made where in a symbolic way the participants placed those things that weigh on the heart of each one, We entered the place prepared to proclaim the Easter Proclamation, each child and each adult with great faith having in their hearts that light that reminded us that everything was paid and that through God’s mercy we can come out of the darkness of sin, Already in the Temple we presented the Paschal Candle as the Light of Christ, saving light, purifying light, the readings and psalms were made both in Castilian and Quetchi, at the end of the readings of the Old Testament we sang the Gloria with great joy, the lights of the temple were turned on, We continued with great joy the reading and psalm of the New Testament as the Gospel, Truly He is Risen Alleluia Alleluia. With our hearts more disposed, the Communion Ministers entered into the Eucharistic Jesus where we received Him again in His Temple where He is present in Flesh and Blood and as I expressed to those present, He will be waiting for them with open arms and full of love and mercy. The celebration lasted four and a half hours, at the end we shared the food brought by the attendees, so we all celebrated in community the beautiful night we shared.

Pascual Guatemala LMC

On Sunday from 8 AM the choir was singing praises that gladdened our hearts, at 9 am we began the Liturgy of the Word and also our farewell to the Community of Cansis, sharing a community lunch.

Truly the word THANK YOU, is small and encloses all the feeling that this community gave us, every house visited, every breakfast, lunch, shared dinner, every animation expressed, make the fatigue, effort and sun have a meaning and it is the Faith, a Faith that for some situations the enemy wanted to take advantage and destroy, however the Love for God and commitment, makes them continue to stand up for the fight, every sign of affection that they gave us, every shared laughter, and very special for that YES that each one delivers in their service… BANTIOX (thank you in Quetchi).

We pray to God the Father, that our little work done during the past Holy Week, will bring its fruits and hope to the Community of Cansis…

Surely you will ask yourself why the title: Fallen Angels from Heaven… that is how we were called, as angels we do not have much and we lack a lot to have such honor, what is certain is that everything, word, gesture that we gave Adrian and this servant was with the heart being obedient to the voice of God.

Pascual Guatemala LMC

José David Rojas Quesada CLM

Adrián Chacón Aspirant to CLM

… It was her third time back


Wrapped up in her mother’s lap, the cloths covered a little heartbeat!!!

Her body was thin, almost transparent, and you could see the cry coming from her tiny breasts.

Her mother, with a serene, delicate smile, was silently asking for help!

A few days earlier, hope had won the fight against a barely cured malaria and Annie had returned home.

But in this war of unequal combat, equity and inequality of completely irrational values, Annie couldn’t resist!

At her side, Jean Luca, with all the resources possible, in this remote part of Africa, is fighting the fight of his life!

There are no losers or winners here.

Heroes, yes! Many of them!

The hospital in Mongoumba in the Central African Republic is currently seeing many cases of malaria.

I suppose that perhaps because of the floods during the rainy season last year, the malaria mosquitoes have tripled in number and resistance to drugs has also increased.

My Easter was spent here:

Between the Sigh of Hope of Dying or Living!!!

My God! My belly bursts into tears at the sight of the breath evaporating from these fragile bodies!

Bodies so “Jesús”!

When will I cry these tears?

I don’t know, only He knows!

Because now what I see are the smiles of the children passing by on the street…!!!

And “He” once again makes me Believe…!!!

Cristina Souza, LMC Mongoumba

Between Palms and Songs

Domingo de Ramos

A day of faith and reflection

Still in the Easter mood, an invitation to revisit the intense days leading up to Resurrection Day, a unique week in which we tried to recreate with fervor the last steps of Christ as Man.

At the entrance to the village, under the welcoming shade of the mango trees, children and adults, men and women gathered in faith to begin the celebration of Palm Sunday. Everyone had their own palm, some of them beautifully decorated.

To the vibrant sound of the songs of “Hossana”, the community walked down the main street in procession, a sea of palms waving in the air, a unison chant that echoed the joy of faith.

In the church, the celebration went on for more than two hours.

Thus began Holy Week, paving the way for a time of reflection, a time to meditate on Christ’s sacrifice and the promise of redemption.

On this journey we are invited: to relive the footsteps of Jesus, to meditate on the meaning of his surrender and to reflect on the meaning of our own lives.

A unique opportunity to strengthen our faith and renew our hope.

Élia Gomes, CLM RCA

Celebrating Easter in the five Villas

Pascua LMC España

This Holy Week we have been fortunate to get together again to celebrate the Easter Triduum of the CLM of Spain.

This year we were hosted by the parish unit of the five Villas in the Sierra de Gredos.

We were fortunate to “premiere” the parish house of Villarejo del Valle, recently renovated.

As we have been doing in recent years, we have chosen to celebrate Easter with a community where some animation and collaboration with the local parish priest who has to attend to several distant communities would come in handy. In this sense we were in charge of animating some community and together with the same community to celebrate together both the services and some activities.

This year there were only 11 of us because for various reasons at the last minute some of us could not participate so we have experienced a more familiar atmosphere if possible.

We have felt very well received by the community with whom we have been walking these days and we have engaged in many conversations and sharing our faith, learning a lot from them.

Most of the time we have been in San Esteban del Valle. On Thursday we started with the celebration of fraternal love. A lot of participation and a very simple Eucharist where we could enter into these important days.

Then we went to the monument that was in the hermitage in the center of the village. As in all these days, the blessed rain has been accompanying us and it was not going to be less, so the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament was done as quickly as possible.

Then we returned in the evening for the prayer in the garden of Gethsemani. It was a simple moment where we were able to accompany the Lord with the different passages of the Gospel. Reviewing similar moments of our life. We were able to delve into them and even share them with each other.

Good Friday was also a very important day. Every morning we started with a moment of prayer in the church of Villarejo, in front of the house. In a simple way and with some neighbors with whom we gathered every morning.

Then we go to San Esteban for the Stations of the Cross organized by the community. It was a very simple and emotional moment, full of tradition with the carraca and a traditional song that counted each station. Accompanying the Lord on the way of the Cross….

Later in the afternoon, the celebration of the Passion and Death. Austere and simple, which helped us to enter into those moments so difficult to assume and understand.

We ended the night in Santa Cruz, where we shared the adoration of the cross with the neighbors and with the group of young people from the five Villas who were celebrating a youth Easter. A moment that they prepared very well and through songs and gestures of adoration helped us to accompany the death of the Lord.

On Saturday morning we had another time of prayer in Villarejo. It was always nice and it also allowed us to talk about the reality of the pastoral unity that is being carried out in the five Villas, the difficulties and challenges that the Church is facing, the changes and the responsibility of the laity in this journey.

We immediately went to San Esteban where we met, in addition to the people of the local community, two other groups that were celebrating Easter in the area. We shared the Path to Emmaus. We listened to the testimonies of the disciples of Emmaus, Peter, Thomas or the Magdalene in those first moments of uncertainty before the Resurrection. Of joy and almost of unbelief….

An intense moment where we learned from each other and were enriched by sharing our lives.

At the end of the day we went to Monbeltran where we were invited to a magnificent rice with chicken to finish the morning.

On Saturday afternoon we organized a missionary testimony. After several days with the people of the town, many of them wondered who we were, the Comboni Lay Missionaries. So we took advantage of the afternoon to have a sharing. Isabel and Gonzalo told us about their years in Arequipa (Peru), and then we had a nice discussion about the lay missionary vocation and its challenges.

Afterwards we rushed back to have an early dinner and leave for Monbeltran where we celebrated Easter with people from the five Villas. The parish priest wanted to make a single celebration that night so important for all together to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord.

It was a very beautiful celebration. The moment of the fire had to be quick because the rain was present as all these days, and then we went to the temple where each one had prepared a part of the celebration. We finished with a small party and sharing.

On Sunday morning some of us had to return and others ended up celebrating the Mass of Resurrection with the community of St. Stephen. This time the rain held off and we were able to bring out the Risen Lord and his Mother.

We would like to thank Don Alvaro and all the communities of the five Villas for the welcoming we received. At all times we felt very well received. Each one of us accompanied and animated different moments and together we were able to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord.

May the Risen Lord accompany us all always. May we know how to be witnesses and bring his light to all the peoples of the Earth. Alleluia, Alleluia

Alberto de la Portilla. CLM.