Comboni Lay Missionaries

My road to CLM community

Bartek LMC Polonia
Bartek LMC Polonia

I grew up in a Catholic family and I believe in God since I remember. My faith started changing in high school – I have created my own morality, going to church became just a habit and prayer was no longer important.

Then I started studies in Cracow and I felt very lonely in such a big city. This led me to the academic chaplaincy. We had a wonderful priest, who trusted us and gave us responsibility. I quickly got involved – I was leading formation meetings, organizing bicycle pilgrimages, trips to the mountains. During one of the prayers the Lord came to me Himself and changed my heart. I felt the presence of the Holly Spirit and the urge to change my life according to His will.

Because of my community, I have also got to know the Noble Package, where I was a volunteer for many years, and I have found combonians. Once, someone wrote an e-mail about the Lenten retreat led by Comboni Missionaries at Skośna Street. I decided to come and I discovered the close side of the Church. Direct contact with fathers, individual adoration of the Lord during the night, songs in Swahili, prayer with the Word of God, Jesus presented as an African child, a time to share reflections during the Holy Mass… It was all new and delightful. It truly felt that I was a part of the Church.

With time, I started going to the meetings of candidates for the Combonian Lay Missionary Movement, I went on a missionary experience to Gulu in Uganda, where, during intercessory prayer, God opened my heart even more to His Love.

The Lord Jesus effectively leads me by the hand. I can see that all the breakthroughs in my life so far are the result of His tender and gentle touch, which guides a person on the right path. Now I feel He wants me to go on a two-year missionary trip. Lord Jesus, You know everything. I’m yours. Lead, I will follow!

Bartek Tumiłowicz, CLM Poland

To be missionary at all times

LMC Polonia
CLM Poland

This March Ewelina and I were supposed to go to Peru. We planned to help the poorest in Arequipa – one of the biggest cities in Peru. The day before our fly, Polish and Peruvian borders were closed due to pandemic, so we needed to stay.

At the beginning I thought it wouldn’t take more than two weeks and it would give me more time to practice Spanish and spend more time with my family. But the situation haven’t changed till now. I realized then that NOW is not a waiting time but this is my mission already. We don’t become a missionary on the day of our departure and stop being them the day we come back home. We are a missionary all the time, no matter where we are and what we do. I have always known that but in this days it became more real for me.

I think it is even harder to be a missionary in my own country, because when we go on a mission, we go to places where people don’t know our God, or just have met Him. Do our families, colleagues or friends need a missionary? Most of them know truths of faith, go to the church every Sunday and celebrate Christian holidays. But in fact, some of them have never met true God and have never experienced His Love, or they have met Him but didn’t realize that it was Him.

Our mission is always the same: here in Poland, in Africa or in Peru. We bring God everywhere we go and share His Love with everyone we meet. It is much easier to talk about Him and His Love, than being witness of faith. But before that we need to know Him and the only way to know someone is spending time and talking to them. The same way we build our relation with God: by reading His Word, adoring the Blessed Sacrament and take part in Holy Mass. True knowledge and conversion are not a matter of one retreat but of a lifetime. I hope we would never try to show to people someone we don’t know at all. We should remember that not only the person who is going on mission is a missionary, but each of us, no matter where we are and what we do. I learn how to be a missionary every day and I make some mistakes, but I believe that my power is made perfect in my weakness.

CLM Poland

Agnieszka Pydyn, CLM Poland

The epidemic of coronavirus as an impulse to act!

LMC Etiopia

I would like to tell you about how God works when Satan tries to destroy on the example of my mission.

As we know, coronavirus is slowly reaching everywhere. Some people believe that God wants to punish the world for sins or has sent a plague on us to convert us. I do not believe that. However, I believe that God can bring good out of every evil. The epidemic obviously destroys, kills and is generally bad, but I think everyone will admit that it also has many advantages – it unites us, rebuilds relationships in the family and more. We could definitely multiply the examples. And this is God’s work. Not the epidemic, but all the good that came from it.

LMC Etiopia

The coronavirus reaching Ethiopia pushed us to action. Last year, I founded “Barkot” Children of Ethiopia Foundation. Together with my husband, we have been running a children’s center in Awassa since October last year. The project assumes the gradual rehabilitation of children and the pursuit of their reintegration into family and society. From the beginning we run open activities to which we were inviting street children. We hired a few employees who were going out into the street to encourage them to participate in it. And in fact a lot of them came from the beginning. We organized recreational, sports, educational, psychological, artistic and other classes.

The next step was to choose regular participants, contact their families and extend the program especially for them, including meals. The third step was to receive the most persistent ones into the center with full accommodation, to prepare them directly for returning home and to school.

But … there was always a but. We were worried whether we would have enough funds for this. In addition, I went to Poland to give birth to our daughter. Except of working for our organization, my husband has another job and, apart from coordinating the work of the center, he could not sit there constantly. In addition, he was going to Poland for a month. So we waited until I returned to Ethiopia. Then more problems – sometimes the police catch the street children at night and place them in collective shelters. If we start the second step, it is not known if our children will disappear overnight (which unfortunately has already happened). Our budget still seemed insufficient to provide some stability for a long time. So how could we work? I noticed that even among the employees there was a certain resignation, lack of motivation, they did not work with such commitment as at the beginning …

And finally the coronavirus appeared in the country. The government closed schools and began to introduce restrictions. For us, conducting classes for children coming directly from the street, especially from the most crowded places, all our activities were put into question. Many organizations stopped working. What to do? Shall we close the center until it’s all over? Then we would have to pay the house rent and workers’ salaries. We would not avoid constant costs that are not so small.

Then we got the idea (I believe that it was from the Holy Spirit) to choose the children to whom we would give shelter during the epidemic. We started preparations, shopping, searching for funds via the Internet. We have become active on Facebook, people have started to be interested in us again and make donations. We have already received seven boys and of course we do not want to keep them only in the center, but work with them so that after some time they can return to their families and start school. Everyone has regained their willingness to work. We have set weekly program and specific plans on what to do with children. A positive change can already be seen from our boys. In total, we are preparing to have ten of them. The coronavirus was still not found in Awassa (and we hope it won’t!)

LMC Etiopia

We have overcome this transition step and I think it is better like this. We needed such an impulse as in this case coronavirus to trust God again that He will lead us and give us what we need to implement His plan. We don’t have money for a long time, but we believe in God’s action and human goodness. After all, our foundation is called “Barkot”, which in English means “He blesses it”.

Magda Soboka, CLM in Ethiopia

Missionary during the pandemic

Ewelina Polonia
Ewelina Polonia

When I am writing this text, I am in Peru with Agnieszka for a month now, we are learning Spanish in Lima and we are supporting the local Comboni Lay Missionaries Movement in their missionary work.


I would be in Lima if it wasn’t for the coronavirus pandemic, closing the borders between countries and canceling our flight.

At first I thought it was nothing big, we will wait these few days and fly. After, I realized, that waiting time for a flight should be counted in months rather than days.

Many people ask me how do I feel in this transition time, suspension, waiting. However, I look at it from a different perspective. It is true that I am looking forward to my missionary work in Peru, but I do not consider the time I got here in Poland so unexpectedly, as a waste of time, a transitional moment in which I have nothing else to do except sitting and waiting. I came back to my family house in the small village, I am unemployed, I don’t go to the cinema, to the swimming pool, if only I had to go back to my school, I would practically be my childhood again. And on the one hand, it really is, I help my parents in the household, I prepare meals, I spend time with my siblings, I go for walks with dogs and cats, which we have a lot of here.

However, I’m not 12 anymore, so my way of perceiving the world has changed. Many priests emphasize that the time of epidemic is a time of grace, we only have to take it from God. I agree with them. I try to use my free time for prayer, meditation with Holy Bible, reading valuable books, learning Spanish, to really think about myself and my relationship with God and my family.

In is a bit comforting that we are all in a similar situation, not only my plans have been changed without my participation. It helps me to notice the situation of others. Those who died in the epidemic or lost their loved ones. Those who had to give up various trips, lost their jobs or are on forced days off.

Cinemas, fitness clubs, theaters are closed, we cannot do anything personally in offices, we can only submit ready applications or send everything by post. Wherever we go, we have to put on masks covering our mouths and noses, keep appropriate distance from other people, and generally leave the house only when we really have to.

That’s a lot of restrictions for our society, for me too. But I still have food, I can contact my friends via email, Facebook or WhatsApp. Many people work from home because the specificity of their work allows them to do so. Life goes on, although maybe a little slower. Besides, looking at my parents’ life in the countryside, the epidemic did not change much in their everyday life.

Probably the biggest limitation that actually affected me was that I could not physically participate in the Holy Mass, which, fortunately, has changed a little since this week. However, for the first time in my life, I spent the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus at home, adoring the Cross in the room, singing songs with the priest on YouTube and praying the Way of the Cross, walking along a dirt road to the river. At the same time, I feel that for the first time I have deeply experienced the mystery of the Resurrection, which confirms my belief that it really is a time of grace.

Developed technology means that even alone we can still be together. Not so long ago we could all experience it while participating in a joint CLM online prayer. Our Movement in Poland seems to flourish in this difficult time. In mid-March we had an online formation meeting, a joint Holy Mass on Palm Sunday and a joint online retreat about vocation last weekend. On our WhatsApp group, we share good words, support and our thoughts during the epidemic.

The situation that should separate us seemed to connect us even more. This is unambiguous proof for me that God is unstoppable in His love and blessing people. That He could act in our lives and carry out His plan of Salvation in every conditions.

Ewelina Gwóźdź CLM

Agnieszka and Ewelina officially sent to Peru!

LMC Polonia
CLM Poland

Within a week, our CLMs – Ewelina and Agnieszka, were sent to their mission to Peru by their diocesan bishops.

Agnieszka’s Sending Mass took place on 2 February 2020 at 12:00 (still with Christmas decorations) in the parish church in Rybnik-Zamysłów, and it was done on behalf of the whole Church by bishop Grzegorz Olszowski.

CLM Poland

“Go and proclaim the Gospel to all creation,” he said, handing her a missionary cross. He also addressed to those gathered in the church: “the rite of sending to missionary paths is not only for Agnieszka, but also for all of you, so you remember about her and support her with your prayers and collections. Everywhere in Peu, where Agnieszka will be, part of your parish will be with her as well” he said.

A week later, on 9 February 2020 at 10:00am, in Krakow, in Our Lady of the Rosary parish, Ewelina was sent to the mission as well.

CLM Poland

In his homily, Bishop Jan Zając reminded us that Christ does not say to us that he wants us to become the salt of the earth and the light of the world …

– He says: the moment you joined Me, from the moment the world began to recognize you as My disciples, and since I look at you as my disciples, you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. It happens without your merit, but thanks to Me, because I decided to use you for the salvation of others.

Handing Ewelina the missionary cross, he also said that God chose her to go and bear fruit. The cross is to be her help and a sign of hope and comfort.

The girls agree that the whole ceremony was quite stressful for them from the organizational point of view, but at the same time it was very beautiful and touching experience.

The girls agree that the whole ceremony was quite stressful for them from the organizational point of view, but at the same time it was very beautiful and touching experience.

Comboni Lay Missionaries, Poland