Comboni Lay Missionaries

… It was her third time back


Wrapped up in her mother’s lap, the cloths covered a little heartbeat!!!

Her body was thin, almost transparent, and you could see the cry coming from her tiny breasts.

Her mother, with a serene, delicate smile, was silently asking for help!

A few days earlier, hope had won the fight against a barely cured malaria and Annie had returned home.

But in this war of unequal combat, equity and inequality of completely irrational values, Annie couldn’t resist!

At her side, Jean Luca, with all the resources possible, in this remote part of Africa, is fighting the fight of his life!

There are no losers or winners here.

Heroes, yes! Many of them!

The hospital in Mongoumba in the Central African Republic is currently seeing many cases of malaria.

I suppose that perhaps because of the floods during the rainy season last year, the malaria mosquitoes have tripled in number and resistance to drugs has also increased.

My Easter was spent here:

Between the Sigh of Hope of Dying or Living!!!

My God! My belly bursts into tears at the sight of the breath evaporating from these fragile bodies!

Bodies so “Jesús”!

When will I cry these tears?

I don’t know, only He knows!

Because now what I see are the smiles of the children passing by on the street…!!!

And “He” once again makes me Believe…!!!

Cristina Souza, LMC Mongoumba

Between Palms and Songs

Domingo de Ramos

A day of faith and reflection

Still in the Easter mood, an invitation to revisit the intense days leading up to Resurrection Day, a unique week in which we tried to recreate with fervor the last steps of Christ as Man.

At the entrance to the village, under the welcoming shade of the mango trees, children and adults, men and women gathered in faith to begin the celebration of Palm Sunday. Everyone had their own palm, some of them beautifully decorated.

To the vibrant sound of the songs of “Hossana”, the community walked down the main street in procession, a sea of palms waving in the air, a unison chant that echoed the joy of faith.

In the church, the celebration went on for more than two hours.

Thus began Holy Week, paving the way for a time of reflection, a time to meditate on Christ’s sacrifice and the promise of redemption.

On this journey we are invited: to relive the footsteps of Jesus, to meditate on the meaning of his surrender and to reflect on the meaning of our own lives.

A unique opportunity to strengthen our faith and renew our hope.

Élia Gomes, CLM RCA

Be Afrique = Heart of Africa

Élia Gomes

“Where I once left my heart”

Élia Gomes

After seven years in Portugal, five of which were spent supporting the family and working in elderly people’s homes (at the Missionary Sisters of Charity in Faro and at the Parish Center in Paderne) and another two years on mission in the parish of Camarate, I’m leaving to return to the CAR, where I’ve already been for five years.

It won’t be easy, but I know that this is the path God has for me.

The Central African Republic (CAR) is the place where I feel I have been called to serve God and people with joy, in the hope of bringing the message of the Gospel and helping to build a better and fairer world, together with the poorest and most abandoned according to Comboni’s missionary style.

I will face new challenges and difficulties, but I am confident that, with God’s help and the protection of Our Lady of Hope, I will be able to overcome them.

I thank my family and friends for supporting me in this decision.

I thank my parish of Paderne and the Parish Center for always welcoming me with affection despite my long absences.

I thank my community in Fetais and all those who helped me during my time in Camarate.

Finally, I thank the CLM Movement and the Comboni Family for transmitting to me the essence that inspires me to go.

“If I had a thousand lives, I would give a thousand lives for Africa”

Elia LMC

Élia Gomes CLM – Portugal

André the boy who likes to dream…!!!


His eyes shine crystal clear with desire.

Eyes that seek the horizon in the dense forest.

With the same intensity as yesterday, his smile is full of hope and joy.

Today school days are part of a near but long past.

He plays at survival with his family

He dreams of one day being a passenger, a driver or simply an observer of the beautiful car that passes by his house.

He dreams of clean clothes, whenever the white man shines.

He dreams of the simple touch of his hand, of the lingering greeting

This barefoot boy with his easy smile wants one day to be like “You”.

Inside his house made of green paper and red glue is the small fire that insists on warming the cold that is felt.

The red mantle of this land consumed by the sun, is now painted with the incandescent heat of the bodies that curl up with each other forming a large canvas, made of human paint

This boy wants one day to be like “You”.

He dreams of one day being able to have a tree all to himself full of fruits to eat and share

He dreams of being able to understand what books say.

The sun is peeking through the morning mist, it’s time to get up and listen to what the wind says.

The day is marked by the laziness of the daily and repetitive routine.

Today little André is leaving for the deep forest

He is going to meet the majestic and ancient trees, they are the masters of his world.

At this time of year, they are dressed in their most beautiful and delicious butterflies.


The family is happy, the scent of the flowers speaks of abundance.

In a little act everything is ready for the journey

Mama with a baby tied to her chest, with a basket on her back and on her head whatever was forgotten, winds her way along the path already traced by time.

Papa, machete in hand, makes way, for the trees insist on covering what is theirs.

André imitates his father with the small knife without a handle, tears the dense leaves like a true boy of the forest, makes life with his joy, he can dream of things that are not his, but his sweaty skin shines with pride and honor of being pygmy.

Cristina Sousa, Comboni Lay Missionary

Bangui, Central African Republic

A Piece of Heart

Cristina Mongoumba
Cristina Mongoumba

“Love is fire that burns without being seen…”

I have in me this fire that suffocates but gives life!

Fire that in lava flows and sprouts in the most hidden place of my being.

He gave us to eat His Bread and drink His Wine …!

And in this simplicity He made us His most loved and desired Sons by All those who seek Him to Live…!

To live of, with and for His Love…

He is in me, and I in Him.

My heart is the Tabernacle, the Temple of Resurrection.

He is reborn in the deepest wounds of this Brother People.

People who suffer from a Tabernacle open to All.

People who silently scream to ears sickened by ambition.

People with bare feet, feet cracked by the dry and muddy earth.

Thin, dry, strong, well-defined bodies, covered by throbbing veins charged with the same lava that sustains me.

The difference between us is none, the tears, the smiles, the pains, the sighs muffled in hands filled with hope and desire for Love. They are equal, the same, authentically the same.

There are many times that I see you in the red and warm flesh of the wounds that I try to care for with the touch of my hands.

With tenderness and delicacy I tuck your pain in my breast and let my heart cry, for it is You who present yourself to me in the faces of the daddy, mama, children…

Inequality, indifference, selfishness, mutilated human rights leave me completely disintegrated…!!!

The weight of my reality increases my capacity for discernment and resilience.

With much affection I wrap with white cloth impregnated with your balm of love, your wounds that are also mine…!

There are many times that in my consciousness I have present the “No” to your call.

But here I am, Lord, at your disposal, give me the tools to work in the harvest of your vast and great Love…”.

The mission is done in “All” the Places where “You” are…!!!

Cristina Sousa, Comboni Lay Missionary in Mongoumba