Comboni Lay Missionaries

Missionary experience in the CAR


Enlarge the space of your tent, extend the ropes, strengthen the stakes.” Is 52:2

I have completed my first month in the Central African Republic (CAR), which is located in the heart of Africa! So I can only share my first impressions!

I’m in the capital, Bangui, to improve my French and learn Sango, as these are the official languages of the country. The whole country has approximately 6 million inhabitants! It is facing serious economic problems, in education, health and especially a lack of work and prospects for young people. It’s a period of reconstruction and peace remains very fragile here.

In the first few days I had the opportunity to travel to Mongoumba, where the International CLM Community is located. It’s 160 km away from the capital and we traveled this stretch in about 6 hours due to the rain and the road conditions.

View of the CLM House in Mongoumba – RCA

It was a great gift to be able to take part in the ordination to the diaconate of Ezra, who made his perpetual vows in the Congregation of the Comboni Missionaries and was ordained as a deacon. It was a beautiful, joyful Mass with an offertory that I will never forget. When the community came in dancing and offering gifts to the newly ordained deacon, everything from a goat to a handful of peanuts or some bananas, it was very meaningful. I think it was my first four-hour Mass and I didn’t even notice the time passing.

We haven’t yet defined what we’re going to do, because the community has just come together with the arrival of Elia. The work of the CLM has been in health, as we are responsible for the Da ti Ndoye Center – House of Love, which is a small rehabilitation center and a dispensary; in the area of education, with the accompaniment and coordination of the parish schools, and in pastoral care and support for the Aká people.

Rehabilitation center and care for the Aka people

Cristina Sousa – Portuguese CLM with the Aká children in Mongoumba/RCA

While in Bangui, I would like to highlight two important experiences among many:

– The visit to the Comboni parish of Our Lady of Fatima, located in a very conflictive area. During the intense period of the war, many people were refugees and some died in a clash, including a diocesan priest. People suffered a lot and the consequences are still present. Today there is a Formation Center in Memory of the Martyrs and there is a lot of training in religious tolerance, non-violent communication, accompanying people with war traumas, … The chapel of Casa Comboni keeps a chalice that was in the sacristy at Fatima and was hit by a bullet.

Another highlight is the testimony of the life and donation of Fr Gianantonio Berti, an Italian who arrived here in 1967. It was a gift from God to spend these days with Father Berti – an 86-year-old MCCJ with 46 years of presence in the Central African Republic. He is a very generous person, whom people love and respect. He communicates very well with the people, knows the language very well and is very close to the people of the region.

Cristina and pe Berti who traveled to Italy,

It hasn’t been easy, at this point in my life, to learn another language, in this case two other languages, and the most important thing would be to learn the third, which is Aka. But I’m very inspired by Cristina Souza – CLM who is here and she manages to connect with people. I’m working hard to improve my communication skills and to be with these people who are so welcoming. Despite the difficulties, I’m very happy to be here.

May we have the grace of the disciples on the way to Emmaus to meet the Risen Lord in the sharing of life and bread! Hearts burning and feet on the road! United in prayer!

CLM Community with Monsignor Jesus – Bishop of M’Baiki – Diocese where we are present.

Cristina Paulek, CLM

WYD Portugal 2023 and CONAJUM Morelia Mexico 2023

LMC Beatriz

Two congresses with the same objective.

I am referring to the World Youth Day (WYD) Portugal 2023, an experience lived with members of my family and friends that I met along the way; as well as the National Missionary Congress in Morelia Mexico CONAJUM. There I had the opportunity to meet again with friends, bishops from different parts of the world and the country, lay missionaries from other institutes and young people eager to discover their vocation. Not to mention the sharing and teamwork with my Comboni Family where priests, sisters, seculars and lay people were able to listen to each other and support each other. That is why I thank Pope Francis and the Pontifical Mission Societies for inviting us to continue to be part of this project that Jesus Christ inherited from us, the building of his Kingdom.

These events are spaces where our Catholic Church allows young people to meet Jesus Christ through a number of activities where prayer helps them to have a personal encounter with Him; common themes for their growth, pilgrimages that create bonds of friendship, sharing to reach agreements, knowledge of other cultures, forums, concerts, marches, as well as being able to tour the City of Joy in the vocational fair where the encounter with the variety of missionary charisms of the church allow them to know different realities that sensitize them to the needs of others.

It is inexplicable the common experience of praying, listening to stories, laughing, suffering, singing, dancing, crying, struggling, communicating, sleeping, dreaming, admiring, breathing, in the same place embracing the LOVE OF GOD.

All this diminishes any problem or worry because we know that God loves us and protects us by giving us that time to heal any wound and choose what is good for our life, just as we are and where we are. These words fill us with hope to continue walking our path with the confidence that in the falls GOD will help us to get up and in the achievements he will teach us to share them, the communion that these encounters generate gives us the strength to return to our reality and look for the way to give life where there is death.

The central message of Pope Francis to the youth gives us as missionaries the courage to take the Gospel to all the realities that this world presents to us in communion with the bishops. These words that help us to know how to continue in our reality, are the key to make the Gospel come alive. To open our arms and welcome with Love our brothers and sisters who need us is the legacy that Jesus Christ has bequeathed to us. Let us leave indifference behind and act with coherence; because we can all do something to change our reality of death that haunts us today.

I invite you dear brothers and sisters to discover God’s plan in our lives so that leaving behind our fears we can embark on the journey of the mission betting on Justice Peace Integrity of Creation JPIC and the Values of the Kingdom of God.

previous arrow
next arrow

Beatriz Maldonado Sanchez, CLM

Seminar “Trafficking in Persons and Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean”.

LMC Guatemala

Guatemala City, Guatemala, August 18-20, 2023

The Comboni Lay Missionaries of Guatemala this year are committed to Formation and Awareness in our commitments for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. We are beginning this journey trusting in Our Lord Jesus Christ under the intercession of St. Daniel Comboni and Our Mother the Virgin Mary to enlighten us to be able to see, hear and feel the cry of the Living Christ in the streets, in the peripheries, at the borders, in the bus terminals, in the shelters, in our communities and in all those places where there is always a cry for help.

We share with you the Final Message of the Seminar on Human Trafficking and Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean “I have seen the oppression of my people, I have looked upon their suffering and I have come down to deliver them” (Ex 3:7-8). (Ex 3:7-8)”

Miriam Herrador, CLM Guatemala

Missionary sharing from the first month in the Central African Republic

Cristina RCA

I am Cristina Paulek and I have belonged to the Comboni Lay Missionaries Association of Brazil since 1998. In this missionary journey, I want to highlight the importance of the LOCAL CHURCH: “Hearts burning, feet on the road!”

I was born in Curitiba/PR and grew up in Santa Amélia Parish, where the MCCJ are present. It was there that I took my first steps in the Church and in living the missionary spirit. It was in the parish that we received a solid formation to be laypeople and protagonists of history, in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council and in the experience of small basic ecclesial communities. It was in this reality that I worked pastorally in the parish and in the Archdiocese of Curitiba, in Prison Pastoral, in Missionary Animation in COMIDI, in CEBI, among others.

Above all, it was in the community that I discovered that the Church is missionary by nature, that every baptized person is a missionary. This is not the privilege of a few who go a little further away, we are all missionaries.

The motto of this year’s National Missionary Congress, inspired by the experience of the Disciples of Emmaus, helps us a lot, because it is in community, in the sharing of bread and life that we discover that Jesus walks with us. When we experience a burning heart, we set out on a journey.

Sending-off Mass in the Santa Amélia Community with the parents and the parish priest Fr Walter.

Cristina Paulek, CLM

Sowing on the African continent.

Tito Mozambique


Hello, I’m Tito, a Comboni Lay Missionary from Brazil, on mission in Carapira, northern Mozambique.

Here I work at the Carapira Industrial Technical Institute (ITIC), where I am responsible for agricultural production, producing vegetables so that the students can eat healthier.

I also work in the parish in the various pastoral and ministry roles.

In my spare time, when I’m at home, I grow a small vegetable garden to contribute to our diet.

As you can see, here in the mission I am sowing and reaping good fruit.

But God also calls us, through our Baptism, to be sowers of his word of the Gospel.

As missionaries, we must sow love, peace, justice, sharing, fraternity and hope, etc.

Wherever I go, I always try to sow, sow, sow. One day these seeds will germinate and bear good fruit.

Be a sower yourself, but sow with your neighbor in mind.

Tito, Comboni Lay Missionary.