Comboni Lay Missionaries

Book: We are mission

Libros

“Creation itself awaits with eager expectation the Revelation of the Children of God” (Rom 8, 19).

Libros

Dear members of the comboni family in the name of our Lord Jesus, we greet you warmly!

As you remember well, about two years ago, the first volume was published, entitled: “Be the change you want to see in the world“, where were collected the ideas which animate us and guide us in a particular way within the paths inherent to JPIC. These paths, in turn, were also made possible by the meetings of the World Social Forums (FSM) and the Forums organized as Comboni Family in conjunction with the FSM. In 150 years of History and Life, our Institutes have been enriched by a great ministerial experience thanks mainly to the dedication of many missionaries of our comboni family who have interpreted with creativity and apostolic passion the specificity of our Charism.

This second volume entitled: “We are mission: witnesses of social ministry in the Comboni family“, presents a significant range of concrete ministerial experiences, chosen among many others. Our desire is that sharing them will help us to value what we already do, thanks to the Gift of the Holy Spirit and our personal and community responses. In addition, this plurality of shared experiences helps us to appreciate the different Comboni ministerial actions that complement and enrich each other, revealing the richness of the Charism in a growing dynamism.

We ask our Provincial Superiors to take care in distributing printed copies to all communities and also the digital copy translated in four languages, so that all and everyone can enjoy the work done together and in collaboration with more than 40 Comboni missionaries.

We thank the members of the Commission on Social Ministry of the Comboni Family who worked with passion and expertise for the publication of this second volume and also facilitated the work of mapping of our Comboni initiatives on social ministry around the world. In December 2020, Covid-19 permitting, will be held the Forum on Social Ministeriality in Rome.

These initiatives and activities are part of a great journey of synergy and collaboration of the members of the Commission and of many confreres and sisters, who will surely bring enthusiasm and openness to newness to which the Lord is guiding us. All this requires, however, on the part of the whole Comboni Family a great opening of heart, mind, creativity, and commitment that we entrust to the intercession of our great founder San Daniele Comboni.

Mary, Woman of the Gospel teach us to announce your Son Jesus in our ministerial commitment!

Sr. Luigia Coccia, smc                        Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse, mccj

You can download the book following this link

The missionary and ministerial parish

P Fernando MCCJ

“The pilgrim Church is by its nature missionary” (AG 2; cf. Mt 28, 16-20; Mc 16, 15-20), but by its nature, it is also ministerial (cf. Rom 12, 4-8). Ministeriality and mission are closely linked since the mission becomes concrete and is realised through different ministries. A ministry is a service for the common good and for the development of the mission of the Church. Therefore, we may say that the Church is missionary in that it is substantially ministerial and a servant. In the context of the year of ministeriality which we are living in the Institute, in this article, we will dwell especially on the ministerial and charismatic aspects of the evangelising mission of the Church in the parish.

P Fernando MCCJ

In light of the Second Vatican Council, we know that all baptised persons are called to be evangelisers since they participate in the three ministerial functions of Christ who is Priest, Prophet and King, and share in the mission (cf. LG 30-38). First of all, ministries may be classified as two main groups: Lay Ministries and Ministries of the Order of Priesthood. If we start from a hierarchical view of the Church and a clerical view of pastoral, lay ministries become suffocated or reduced to supporting the priest and his mission. Consequently, pastoral agents become mere collaborators, assistants, “altar boys” or, as happened in many missions, “mission boys”, even though they were adults. There are also some priests who dedicate much of their time to activities proper to the Brothers or other lay ministries, leaving little time for the ministries proper to their priesthood.

Another widespread practice is that of dividing parishes into pastoral zones, each of which is entrusted to a priest. Each one organises and administers his own zone, his own pastoral, his own team, projects, people, mission and money. The zone becomes his property where other missionaries may not intervene and concerning which, at times, they may not even express an opinion. Each one has to respect the territory of the others. The XVIII General Chapter and Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium appeal to us to begin a process of conversion, to pass from clerical and hierarchical models of mission and pastoral to models based upon ministries raised up by the Holy Spirit, to live the spirit of Vatican II. In virtue of our baptism, we are all equal: disciples of Jesus but with different vocations and gifts (cf. LG 30). Using the expression created by the Latin American bishops in Aparecida and adopted by Pope Francis, we affirm that we are all missionary disciples of Jesus Christ (cf. EG 119-121.130-131, Aparecida 184-224).

It is important that we emphasise that the baptised are, first of all, disciples of Jesus Christ and that the encounter with Christ transforms them into missionaries. Jesus, who has fascinated them, sends them out to evangelise. “Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the “peripheries” in need of the light of the Gospel” (EG 20). Each missionary disciple ought to make their own the passion of Paul for the mission and exclaim: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9,16). Evangelisation is not only the duty but also the right of every missionary disciple of Jesus Christ.

Today it is fundamentally necessary to grow in ministerial plurality. Priestly and lay ministries are gifts of the Holy Spirit, given so that they may complement a common goal: “

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done but always to the same Lord, working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same Spirit working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose” (1 Cor 12, 4-7). The mission today demands ministerial pastoral models. A ministerial missionary parish is dynamic because, through listening to the Spirit and interpreting the signs of the times, it discovers, conceives, creates and develops new ministries and pastoral strategies.

I now propose two pastoral plans based upon ministries that are already functioning in different parts of the world.

I will not refer to ordained ministries since they are part of the priestly vocation, but I will emphasise lay ministries.

  • In some Small Christian Communities. 1. Regarding the Word of God: a Biblical animator who coordinates Biblical reflection in the small communities. 2. Regarding community formation: catechists for preparation for the sacraments and accompaniment afterwards. 3. Regarding liturgical celebrations: welcoming ministers, cantors, readers, acolytes, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. 4. Regarding social solidarity: formators of political and human rights awareness, the ministry of charity and solidarity with the poor, a ministry for community organisation and mobilisation.
  • Pastoral organisation. Some parishes integrate the different ministries in three pastorals: Prophetic, Liturgical and Social. 1. Prophetic pastoral: catechists for initial formation in the sacraments, teachers to provide ongoing formation for all those who exercise a ministry, coordinators to accompany the various parish groups, a school for pastoral and a periodical publication for the formation of all leaders and parish communities. 2. Liturgical pastoral: welcoming ministers, choirs, cantors, people who proclaim the Word, acolytes, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, coordinators of liturgy groups, actors for dramatizing the Gospel in children’s Masses. 3. Social pastoral: ministers of solidarity and charity, visitors of the sick, social conscience formators in human rights and the social doctrine of the Church, hospitality.

In order for a ministerially organised parish to function well, it is fundamentally necessary to be able to count on a parish council that includes those responsible both for ordained and lay ministries, so that, in communion, they may accompany the evangelising process, discern the signs of the times so as to understand which pastoral options are suitable for the present context and time and which ministries are necessary to carry out the missionary work. It is equally important to rely on a spirituality that may help the evangelisers to know and love more their vocation as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ.
Fr. Fernando Mal GatKuoth

National reflection meeting of Comboni Lay Missionaries in Mexico

LMC Mexico

On Saturday August 1, 2020, solemnity of Saint Alfonso María de Ligorio, the Laity from different parts of the country of Mexico, we held a national meeting, to share our experience in the pandemic. Lay people from: Michoacán, Guanajuato, Guadalajara, Morelos and Mexico City participated, accompanied by our national advisor: Gustavo Covarrubias MCCJ. We started with prayers to promote the missionary spirit, starting with the prophet Naum 1, 7. Then, we share the way in which we are living our vocation as Comboni Lay Missionaries.

We were enlightened by reality, meditating on the different social, political and family scenarios that we face and the way in which we can live them just as Saint Daniel Comboni would have done. Taking three strategies: Prayer, solidarity and cooperation and being signs of Hope in the world. Subsequently, we meditate on the Word of God to translate into concrete commitments in our missionary work: Prayer, meeting the other, working little by little in different missionary days, always giving priority to health, taking as reference the valuable and worthy which is human life.

Lastly, we share the panorama of mission at the international level and close with a moment of prayer to invoke the maternal protection of Our Mother Mary of Guadalupe, committing ourselves to remain consolidated as a single Comboni missionary family.

“Without the laity the mission work is sterile” (EC 1219).

Juan José Mendoza Buenrostro

American CLM online meeting

LMC
CLM

On July 25, the day of the Apostle Santiago, we celebrated a virtual meeting of the American Committee, accompanied by Alberto de la Portilla and the presence of CLM from seven countries: the United States, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil; we had the presence, thanks be to God, of Brother Humberto Rúa and the priests Gianni Gaiga, Juan Diego Calderón Vargas and Chris Aleti. Each country shared the reality that they are living in their communities because of covid-19 and we realized that it has affected all of us in the same way because it is the same disease with its effects and consequences. In spite of this, our faces were happy to see each other and to share the experiences of the Comboni Lay Missionaries. We shared how our way of doing mission had changed, but how we had not stopped serving Christ with different ideas that fed us all.

Most groups are making use of the virtual platforms for all their activities, as well as helping with food to people in need. The economic aspect is a concern, since the four months of confinement have not allowed us to work in mission promotion. Our next meeting will be on November 28, 2020, where we hope to meet again and share how we have advanced during these months.

CLM

“THE LIFE OF A MISSIONARY IS A DAILY JOURNEY AND IN OUR HUMAN FRAGILITY WE SERVE CHRIST.”

Beatriz Maldonado and Mireya Soto