The first Sunday of November is known as the meeting day of the Congress of the CPM. This year, the congress took place on November 4, 2018 at the Industrial Street 15/Limete-Kinshasa in the D.R. of Congo on the theme: “CPM, committed to the culture of justice and peace.” The social inequalities and injustices, the ecological dangers, the imperialism and the economic domination of the rich, wars and human migration are scourges that cannot leave anyone indifferent.
In his presentation, Fr. Boniface stressed that “the work of education to a culture of peace is extremely important, because education, the key to the sustainable development of a society, is the most powerful weapon against poverty. No country can eradicate poverty without education. To develop a culture of justice and peace is a commitment that all, at different levels, are called to embrace to make this world a better place. However, it requires sacrifice, as Jesus showed us by his example (1 Peter 2:21).”
On that same day, the new Choir called Afriquespoir was born.
The Congress started around 9:30 AM and ended around 3:00 PM with the celebration of the Eucharist and a common meal.
Message of the Intercapitular Assembly
of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus
to the Comboni Lay Missionaries
“Let us join hands together. Let the vow, the objective and the commitment of all who love Jesus Christ be one: to win unhappy Africa for him” (Writings 2182)
Dear brothers and sisters Comboni Lay Missionaries,
We greet you with the peace of Christ.
At the end of the Intercapitular Assembly, we wish to send you this message of greeting, first of all to thank you for the journey we have done together during these last years spurred by the same love and the same passion of St. Daniel Comboni, and also to wish you a good preparation for and execution of the activities of your upcoming General Assembly to be held here in Rome on December 11-18, 2018.
During the Intercapitular Assembly, that had as its objective to evaluate the work done from our last General Chapter of 2015 up to now, we reflected upon and evaluated the #35 of the Chapter Acts that states how we, the MCCJ, “acknowledge the journey travelled by the Comboni Lay Missionaries (CLM) and we intend to continue accompanying their processes of formation, structuring and self-reliance which help to consolidate their identity as a Lay Family, that is Missionary and Comboni, at the service of the Mission.” We affirm once more our commitment to walk with you and with all the other members of the Comboni Family, respecting our particular characters and autonomy, in order to achieve our common missionary ideal.
We are aware of your desire to move ahead in growing in unity among yourselves, looking at Jesus Christ and at Comboni, in order to be a cohesive movement, both at the local and at the international level. This unity will be the best way to prepare yourselves for the missionary service among the poorest and most abandoned in your own countries and beyond your borders.
We renew our wishes of all good things for the preparation and execution of your 6th General Assembly and we assure you of our closeness, friendship and prayers.
“I am the Good Shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice and there will be only one flock and one shepherd.”
Celebrating the memory of the birth of St. Daniel Comboni introduces us into the great mystery of the life of the Good Shepherd with a pierced heart who gave his life so that all may have life and life in abundance, especially those who do not yet belong to the table of Christ’s body, the poorest and most abandoned, so that all may become one flock under one shepherd.
We Comboni Missionaries, faithful to this tradition, to the charism and pastoral practice of our Founder, are invited to renew ourselves in this missionary commitment every day to be “at the margins of society as witnesses and prophets of fraternal relationships, based on forgiveness, mercy and the joy of the Gospel” (CA ’15 No. 1).
The mission at the margins of society required from Comboni the ability to remain firm in difficult times and fidelity to the price of life itself, because he had his gaze fixed on the pierced heart of the Crucified One, a vision of faith of the events and the embrace of Africa with a heart marked by divine love. An incarnate holiness that runs through the paths of poverty and human marginalisation, welcoming the other, the different, the poor, in an embrace of communion and dialogue; a holiness that is the divine passion present in a human heart.
This is what we have tried to express in the reflection and prayer of the Intercapitular that we have just concluded. We have been constantly attentive to the voice of the victims, the marginalised, and the great multitudes of human beings whose life is threatened by a heartless system that causes the predictable and violent death of the weakest.
This reality continues to prophetically question our presence and the quality of our missionary service, as it has questioned Comboni in his time. To respond, however, to these challenges, we need to approach each day, to the mystery of God’s love, revealed in Jesus Christ, with the spirit, gaze and heart of Comboni, with an open heart overflowing with love and the mercy of the Pierced One and, like Him, let us also be pierced by so many situations of poverty and neglect.
For St. Daniel Comboni it was clear that the contemplation of the mystery of God, crucified for love, had as its purpose to lead his missionaries to a definite way of doing mission: to witness a life lived in ‘spirit and truth’, fruit of a vivid and convincing prayer, to practice humility and obedience, as signs of a deeply Comboni spirituality. That is, to irradiate with one’s life the mystery of God Crucified in order to bring to Christ, the source of Life, all those who are hungry and thirsty for justice.
It is with these feelings that we wish to celebrate this solemnity of St. Daniel Comboni as a Comboni Family. Enter into this mystery of the Good Shepherd with a pierced heart and drink the lifeblood that renews us, that makes us look at reality through the eyes of faith, hope and charity, that heals and humanises us, that makes us become mission, “cenacle of apostles”, gift for others. “I make common cause with each of you, and the happiest day in my life will be the one on which I will be able to give my life for you” (W 3159).
May St. Daniel Comboni intercede with the Father for each one of us, for the whole Comboni Family and for the missions that are presently going through difficult situations: Eritrea, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic.
Happy Feast day to all. Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie; Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins; Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla; Fr. Alcides Costa; Bro. Alberto Lamana.
Having recently returned to Bangui in early September, after completing her vacation in Portugal, CLM María Augusta, as is her custom, sends us a few lines on what is going on.
Greetings to all! With God’s help I arrived well. On the plane in Casablanca I met Fr. Fratelli, an Italian Comboni Missionary.
Not all went well with the luggage, because one of my bags did not arrive, but it was not the only one. One of the father’s also did not make it, and so it was with several other people. We went to post a claim and we were told that we would get them on Saturday morning.
When I arrived, I found out that Fr. Zé Carlos had died. I am glad I visited him! He was suffering a lot because he had two types of cancer. May the Lord receive his soul in peace!
I am grateful to all the people I contacted in the parishes and for how they welcomed me. May the Lord repay you for all you do for the missionaries, both the prayers and the sharing of your goods, and may He always keep you in his grace.
Thank you all for your generosity!
United in prayer.
Hugs to all
María Augusta, CLM
PS. I just got back from the airport and gratefully all went well. They let us go without opening the luggage. It all came wrapped in plastic to be protected.
Everything was as we packed it, for which I thank the Lord. Everything I carried is something much needed here.
It has been a year since I arrived at the Mission of Carapira, in the north of Mozambique. But at times there are moments when it feels that I just arrived and that I am still taking my first steps, like a beginner. There are times when I feel that the trip from Portugal to Mozambique was not the longest journey I ever did, even though the geographical distance suggests otherwise. The longest and greatest journeys are those where I have to travel from my mind to my heart, getting out of myself and stand next to whoever is at my side and, at times, seems to be so far away. The truth is that mission is not a physical place. It is first of all a place that cannot be circumscribed and that requires a constant attitude of humility, audacity, willpower. Mission is also a school of love, a place where one learns and re-learns how to love. Here I have gotten to know a lot of missionaries and volunteers. These are people who come with a desire to do well, but who progressively also discover their vulnerability.
The deepest experience we can have consists in loving and feeling loved. But when everything around us seems unknown, this apprenticeship becomes tiring. Because to learn to love means learning to accept who I am, with my desires, my faith, but also with my difficulties, my compulsions, my need to be right. But, in the encounters and in daily life quickly we discovered the fragility of our texture. Nevertheless, I hold for myself that, as we go discovering it, perhaps we may be able to see the vulnerability of Jesus and love it.
It is also a school where we learn the different proportion of things. But we do not learn to measure things (especially not patience). The space is large, and it is easy to get lost.
Time morphs into my time. Everything, literally, happens in a rather singular rhythm with a soft, very soft, compass. Therefore, there is time for what we truly want to do, because the slow pace teaches us to go beyond our rigidity, beyond what would simply be functional and useful.
But it is in these moments that authentic experiences are born. We do not turn on your GPS to know how long it will take to go from here to there, even because the “from here to there” is so immense that it has not been captured and deciphered by satellite maps – we get into the car and come what may. If the number of flats is reasonable, and the car does not break down, we will get there faster.
And even if it may be true that Mozambique does not have gorgeous sceneries, it is also true that those within each person are the most incredible and precious. I have had the pleasure of getting to know people who teach me a lot. Simple people and able to be trustful even in poverty. They look at tomorrow with the hope that all will be well, Inshallah [God willing, as we get used to hear]. At times I ask myself: trust, in what? Why? Trust. Trust in life. These are the people who teach me faith. They trust in God’s protection and are very grateful. They have such a surplus of trust that invites me to look at life with added serenity.
This is a school where one also learn to look in the eyes of those who look at us. Because, truly, it is when we observe that we begin to see. Often, when I look around me, I may feel that I am not ready to see all that I meet. But even in this and for this, God has enabled me.
One learns also to see God in small things. I remember very well that, before coming, I had plan to write more: I wanted to have a diary or, at least, to jot down more regularly what was happening, how I felt… And also to share about our mission in order to keep close (to “feel united,” as we like to say).Often I ask myself: what should I write about? It is much easier to do it about extraordinary things. It is clear that I did not do what I had planned. Because, among other things, when I was planned it I thought that in mission there would have been a million extraordinary things to talk about. In reality, mission happens every moment and in an ordinary way. Extraordinary events may be more colorful and exotic, but it is the ordinary that more closely is the foundation of our life. These, the simple and ordinary moments, those we meet in our service and in our dealing with the people give meaning and make mission something special, without waiting for the extraordinary days, to ask for commitment and oblation.
Mission is a daily map deciphering and knowing. That is why, I constantly feel that I beginning a new time, not in the calendar, but in the opportunities of life and of salvation that can happen any time God visits us in the smallest and most insignificant things.
I arrived in Mozambique a year ago. But I keep on beginning to walk to the Lord of daily blessings.
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