Comboni Lay Missionaries

Maria Augusta Returns to Bangui

LMC Portugal

LMC Portugal

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.

I will still remain in Bangui until Monday.

Hugs and kisses to all

María Augusta

See, feel, listen, touch, experience and announce – the announcement of the Good News by Cristina Sousa

LMC RCA

LMC RCAHello friends.  🙂 I hope everyone is well!

I am in Bangui, city of soldiers and military, where good and evil mix.

The visit to the capital is always an adventure, which starts at the exit and ends at the arrival of Mongoumba.

In the turbulence of the quest for the cheapest marche  (marketplace), from visits to the hospital to see the boys who came with us – one to operate an inguinal hernia, another malnourished – one moment made me pause to reflect on what my eyes really see … or maybe not!

While some did the shopping, others, in this case me, stayed in the car to take care of things (yes, because if we do not take it, everything that we buy may be stolen).

In the whirlwind of people passing by, a boy guides a blind old man towards the window of our car, he gives me a hand signal to give him money. I can’t resist and I give a small bundle of small coins that we always carry in the ashtray of the car! After a singila (thanks), they move away … After not even five minutes the same boy soon reappears with another old man also blind!!

At that moment I think if I give something, he will come back with another old man…!! I question the way the wraparound of coins is similar to the announcement of the Good News that brings me here!! ?? There is a proverb “the blindest is the one who sees and doesn’t want to see!”

In fact this made me reflect on the way we should see, feel, listen, touch, experience and announce…!!

(If there is another opportunity, of course that it will not miss, I’ll give him a hug and say that I’m from Cristiano Ronaldo’s country) … everyone knows me like this !!! They even call me “Cristiano”. (LOL) I’m sure that a smile I will win .. !!

Kisses to all

PS: Sorry for my writing, but writing e-mail on mobile is difficult… !!

Great hug in Jesus

I really love you …

Cristina CLM, Portugal

Mongoumba, CAR

Maria Augusta has arrived

LMC RCA

LMC RCA

The CLM Maria Augusta Pires has arrived in Janeiro de Baixo to spend part of the summer with us, like she did last year, and then return to her mission in Mongoumba.

But before getting here, she sent a message that will do us good to read:

I arrived in Bangui yesterday afternoon in order to continue my journey to you the next day. I am very grateful to Mary and to her Son Jesus who stood by my side, in the joys and sorrows of each day, and especially in the more difficult moments.

I am grateful to my entire family, to all those who prayed for me and to all the missionaries who work with me. Many thanks! I ask the Lord for peace in our country and in other countries as well that desire it so much! May Our Lady of Fatima intercede for us to bring this war to an end. May the Lord touch the hearts of those who attack the innocent and destroy everything in their path.

On Sunday, July 1, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the parish of St. George in Mongoumba and we had 249 confirmations. Thank God we had two bishops. One was Bishop Rhino of Mbaiki and the other was auxiliary Bishop Jesús of Bangassou, who earlier had been a priest in Mongoumba. The church was packed and there were many more people outside. It was a very long celebration (it lasted almost six hours), but experienced with great joy and enthusiasm. People did not leave the church until everything was over. Local authorities and members of other Christian Churches also attended. At the end of Mass, Bishop Rhino addressed the death of a nurse who had been accused of “likundu” (witchcraft) and read the articles of the Constitution in defense of life. I hope the authorities and all the Christians listened to his words and preserved in their hearts, that we may live as brothers, as true children of God. Those who were confirmed in Mongoumba marched through the neighborhoods of the town, singing hymns and, towards evening, returned to the church to pray and sing in thanksgiving for this day. I ask God to help them be proclaimers of the Gospel, to follow Jesus faithfully and not be deceived by the many sects we have here.

The school year ended on the 27th with the publication of the results. Thanks be to God, this year they were a little better than last year’s.

Cristina has started visiting the Pygmies encampments, accompanied by Bob, to promote preventive health care, hygiene… and care for the sick since many delay going to the hospital. Very often, they only go to the hospital when they are already too ill and some end up dying. On June 8, Ana returned from her vacation fully motivated, full of energy to continue her mission. Simone and Fr. Samuel are well, while Fr. Fernando arrived yesterday with resistant malaria… He will remain at Fatima parish until August, when he will go on vacation. May the Lord help him!

I am leaving tomorrow and we will arrive in Lisbon on Thursday, July 5 at 3:35 PM. Always united in prayer.

Hugs to all from CLM Maria Augusta

– in the Astrolabio

YEAR V-#124 – July 22, 2018

The Latest News from María Augusta from her Mission in the CAR

CentroafricaThe Comboni Lay Missionary María Augusta Pires, from Janeiro de Baixo, who is stationed in the mission of Mongoumba, Republic of Central Africa, took advantage of a trip to the capital city of Bangui to send us news. Let us pray for peace in that country and for all the missionaries! We relate here the text she sent to “El Astrolabio,”the paper of her parish on May 25:

I and the members of our apostolic community are in good health, thanks be to God.

We are in Bangui to do some shopping… Ana had planned her return on the 18th, but had to delay it until June 8. In any case, we had to come to the capital because our supply room was almost empty.

On June 12 Gervelais and his father are returning from Dakar. We are grateful to the Lord because the surgery was a success. I hope he will be happy and in good health.

On May 11, a patient of the hospital was shot dead. He had been accused of “likundu” (sorcery). We are all sad because of this. We hope that justice will be done and that the killers will be caught, starting with the authorities who denied him protection… We pray to the Lord that he may help us to defend people weighed down by this curse. There have already been several cases of people who were accused, but were protected by the mission or by courageous Christians. May the Lord of life stop this from happening anymore and that all Christians may find the strength to denounce this type of violence.

On May 1, in Bangui, in our parish of Our Lady of Fatima, during Mass, 16 people died and 100 were wounded because of a rebel attack. By the end 22 died, including a priest who was concelebrating. The people of this neighborhood still live in fear of being attacked again. Pray for these people who by now are tired of suffering…

God willing, I will not come back to Bangui before my departure for Portugal, because in June I will be very busy with the evaluation of the students and the conclusion of the course. On July 4 I will live CAR and will be in Lisbon by 5:00 PM. It will be like last year. God willing, I will return to my mission in early September. Cristina is energized and keeps on learning Sango, the local language.

Let us keep united in prayer, because it gives us strength and courage. A great missionary hug, as large as the world, to Fr. Juan and Fr. Orlando and to all the faithful entrusted to you. See you soon!

With great friendship

Maria Augusta

For the “Astrolabio”

ANO V – Nº 121 – 3 de Junho de 2018

Paróquias de Cabril, Dornelas do Zêzere, Fajão, Janeiro de Baixo, Machio, Pampilhosa da Serra, Portela do Fôjo, Unhais-o-Velho e Vidual

 

Logbook of Simone from the RCA

Simone Mongoumba

Hi to everyone. How are you doing? I hope you are well. Here the rainy season has begun and, to move around, we could use Noah’s ark. When it rains in Mongoumba, everything stops (I believe the same happens throughout the RCA), the children and the teachers do not come to school, you do not see anyone around and we could sleep all day long, lulled by the sound of the rain, and think of you in Portugal, Poland, Italy, all over the world. Mission has its pros and cons.

ESPERGESIA

I was born on a day
when God was sick.

Everyone knows that I live,
that I’m evil; and they don’t know
about the December of that January.
Since I was born on a day
when God was sick.

There’s a void
in my metaphysical air
that no one must feel:
the cloister of a silence
that spoke on the edge of a fire.

I was born on a day
when God was sick.

Brother, listen, listen…
Alright. And may I not go
without bringing Decembers,
without leaving Januaries.
Since I was born on a day
when God was sick.

Everyone knows that I live,
that I chew… and they don’t know
why there’s a squeal in my verse,
the dark uncertainty of a coffin,
from polished unrolled winds of the inquisitive
Desert Sphinx.

Everyone knows… And they don’t know
that the Light is consumptive,
and the Dark fat…
And they don’t know that the mystery encapsulates
that it’s the musical
and sad hunched back that denounces from a distance
the meridian step from the boundaries to the Boundaries.

I was born a day
when God was sick,
gravely sick.

(César Vallejo)

Simone Mongoumba

In this deep, thick, foreboding, sticky, penetrating, often desolated and discomforting night that envelops the entire Republic of Central Africa, there is lightning of blinding light lasting but an instant. It is the lightning of rifles, of shooting, of grenades followed by an awesome noise… and lightning of ESPERGESIA, lightning GENERATING HOPE.

In Bangui, in the neighborhood called Kilometro 5, in the parish of Our Lady of Fatima where I spent 45 days studying Sango, on May 1, feast of St. Joseph the Worker, during Mass, there was the lightning of weapons, shooting, of weapons, of grenades. It was a well-planned attack by people who want to see the night last forever. There were 16 victims.

We immediately perceived that the rumbling of the thunder of this explosion resounded around the world (someone even wrote to us from Brazil), we have felt the warmth of your nearness. We are OK. We were not direct witnesses. They tell us that slowly the situation is getting back to “normal.” In fact, that is how it is. After the lightning of weapons we have gone back to living in an even darker night.

Simone Mongoumba

In Mongoumbua there is lightning of ESPERGESIA, lightning GENERATING HOPE, infinitesimal, but of a blinding light: our visits to the Pygmies camps; Tuesday morning with the babies of the nutrition center; Sundays in the chapels for prayer with the community, sharing a bit of cassava and some small fish caught just for us; the Thursday meetings with a vocation group; the afternoons spent to draw and color; the endless hikes surrounded by cheering children; and the little newly born Pygmies, bundles looking at you with half open little eyes, who seem to tell you: “I was born on a day when God was sick, very sick,” butif I was born in this infernal night, there is still…

ESPERGESIA

Greetings, a hug and a kiss, prayers and THANKS

Simone CLM