Comboni Lay Missionaries

News from the Central African Republic –Astrolabio Newspaper

LMC RCA

LMC RCA

The CLM María Augusta writes from Mongoumba, CAR, for her parish paper – The Astrolabio.

Dear Fr. Orlando,

How are you? I hope the new year started very well and so it will be to the end. A happy 2019 to all the parishioners and to your family.

Last week I had malaria, but, by God’s help, I already recovered. The rest of the community is well.

Fr. Samuel left today for his vacation. We ask God that it be a good one and that he may return full of pep and courage to continue the mission entrusted to him.

On December 17 and 18 the Cardinal came to visit. The people of the parish were delighted! A large crowd gathered when he arrived… many people of other denominations also came. For the Eucharist the church was full, and lots of people were gathered outside as well. It lasted five hours! He spoke very eloquently on the problem of likundu* (witchcraft) and other problems.

Ana and Cristina were in Bangui and Simone was in Italy, and I was with the priests to receive him. With God’s help all went well! I hope people will put into practice what they heard. He visited the 10 parishes of the diocese. Ours was the one before the last. He ended his visitation in the cathedral of St. Jeanne of Arc, in Mbaiki.  I know that he ended up being very tired, but happy with the participation he saw.

Last time we were in Bangui, at the supermarket we met a policeman from Janeiro da Cima (a place in Portugal). He said that he had already heard that there was around a missionary woman from Janeiro de Baixo (a neighboring place). It was great! He told us that there were soldiers stationed around the airport and yesterday we went to visit. They gave us a great and happy reception! They also gave us medical supplies and invited us to lunch. God willing, we will go tomorrow.

The results of our students are not encouraging and we hope they will improve during this quarter.

I know that you have seen and listened to many reports, none of them pleasant, about our poor country. By God’s grace, here we are at peace, but we mourn with our brothers who are being massacred!

We don’t know yet when we will return to Mongoumba…

Let us continue united in prayer.

A great missionary hug from all of us, to you and to all the readers of Astrolabio.

CLM Maria Augusta in Astrolabio

Year 5 – #139 – February 3, 2019

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

 

* The problem of likundu is that people are falsely accused of witchcraft and then they are brutally murdered.

In the world but NOT of the world!

LMC-Centroafrica

LMC-Centroafrica

Hi everyone!

I am André, a pygmy youngster, and I don’t know my age, perhaps between 7 and 9 years old, and I live in Ndobo, a camp in the forest of the Republic of Central Africa, near Mongoumba. My house, if you want to call it that, is like an igloo made of branches and dry leaves, with some boards as a bed. It has no bathroom, no kitchen, no TV or electricity, but fortunately it is close to a well a missionary dug some time ago, so I can drink and wash without having to walk for an hour through the forest.

Monday through Friday, together with my friends in the camp, I get up and go to school, walking about 4 km without shoes. Some days we get there a little late but, not having a watch, we do not know when it’s time to get up. Everything becomes more difficult during the rainy season, because the road turns into a swamp.

When we reach the parish of Mongoumba, we enter a room Cristina has prepared for us, where we all have a place with our name on it to wash up, put on our school uniform and, after having greeted Anna, Maria Augusta, Cristina and Simone, off we run to school. Often Maria Augusta comes to our class to help the teacher to “keep us under control,” since there are more than 50 of us, and to teach us French, even though we like to speak Sango, our language.

School ends around 12:30 noon, and we return to the St. Daniel Comboni room to change back into our tattered clothes and go to eat  at the “DA TI NDOYE” (House of Charity/Love), where on any given day they give us rice and beans, manioc mush and fish, or Makongo (worms) and ngungia! We eat fast, then we go wait for Simone and Cristina at the payotte near the church to return together to the camp where we play ball, we color or watch movies until almost dark. Then Simone and Cristina say good-bye and remind us that tomorrow we need to be on time!

My day ends in the darkness of the camp, without lights and perhaps with some strange little creature trying to get inside, lulled to sleep by the Central African sky, with its tapestry of stars looking like precious jewels. Oh, I almost forgot… I do not exist! I am in the world… made of flesh and blood, I can run, jump, play… but I am not of the world!

In the CAR there are many other children like me! We are not only exploited, because the resources found in our land are exported to places we do not even know to produce, TV sets, phones, computers, weapons, bombs… but we are out of the world… I am excluded, without documents, without a birth certificate, without a public record… that is…

…IN THE WORLD but NOT OF THE WORLD! (John 17:15)

A warm good-bye

Kisses all around

A large hug

A small prayer

André with

Paul, Pierre, Marie, Albert Dimanche, Pierre, François Albert, Philippe, Guy, Marie, Terese, Marcel, Gabriel…
(with Anna, Maria Augusta, Cristina e Simone)

Christmas in the Central African Republic

LMC en RCA

LMC en RCA

From Bangui, the capital of uneasiness, where interests and their cohorts mix with the daily life of men and women, boys and girls, who constantly brighten with a smile and their sweet disposition the unpaved, potholed streets shaped by the disorganized traffic of cars, trucks, tanks, jeeps, motorbikes, etc.

I know that this is a time for speaking of love, even if there is no time to love, or to lose, or to count, or to register.

The truth is that – and I am not the only one – I am beginning to feel saturated with words! There is an urgency to live by this Love we so much talk about, to allow us to be transformed by Him, to breathe him in! We cannot continue to filter what our hearts do not want to see! I am currently experiencing a Love which is upside down, because it turns my innards upside down!

I am in mission, or better, we are all in mission, living is mission, called to be responsible for ourselves, for others, for all that surrounds us. We are the chosen people to carry the Breath of God. We cannot snuff the Breath that makes us live, because without it we die, or better yet, we are not even born!

This is a country shining like a gem because of its greed, and where children are the most precious wealth. They scream at us with their precious breath: “Allow us to live.”

LMC en RCA

With much love

Merry Christmas

CAR

Cristina Sousa, CLM

 

Logbook of Simone Parimbelli

LMC RCA

LMC RCA

Hi to everyone. How are you? I have not written in 6 months and it is six months that I have not moved from Mongoumba. What can I tell you? I am well, as the Italian song says, it is difficult to find very serious words to pass on the emotion lived with the suffering humanity of the Central African Republic. I will try to reach your hearts on the strength of images from our pigmy children of Mongoumba…

Looking without speaking… to remain in your thoughts and prayers in this time of Advent.

Light blue like you, like the sky and like the sea

Golden like the light of the sun,

Red like the way you make me feel.

LMC RCA

…I draw grass, green like HOPE… like unripen fruit

…and now some blue, like the night

…white like its stars, with shades of yellow

…the air of MONGOUMBA can only be breathed…

…I do not have a color for storms

and with what is left I draw a flower non that it is CHRISTMAS, now that it a time of love…

Paul, Pierre, Marie, Albert
Dimanche, Pierre, François
Albert, Andre, Philippe, Guy
Marie, Terese, Marcel, Gabriel
Simone Anna Cristina Augusta…

…Merry Christmas to all!

LMC RCA

Simone Parimbelli, CLM in CAR

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