After a great weekend, from the Community of Ervedal, Alentejo, the parish that saw the CLM Pedro Nascimento grow up and today sends him off, our CLM Rufina shares with us the emotions of this special occasion.
Today Alentejo, and more concretely Ervedal, has celebrated.
It was already expected that it would be a success, but for sure it went well beyond all expectations, especially when you take into account such a beautiful church, so well decorated, where they are already the Extraordinary Mission Year, and whose pastor succeeds, certainly as a result of the work carried out over the years, to gather all the parishes under his care to take part responsibly and joyously in the missioning of Pedro Nacimiento to Ethiopia.
Without a doubt, the most important moment was the Eucharist presided over by Archbishop Francisco Senra Coelho with the participation of other invited priests, especially Fr. Francisco Medeiros, a Comboni Missionary from the diocese of Viseu.
The ceremony included also two deacons, relatives, friends and many CLM who, together with Pedro are part of the “Thousand Lives for Mission.”
A reception followed for everyone where lunch in the good local style was served, which we enjoyed a lot.
Pedro, as a CLM and being as well from Alentejo, I cannot forget to thank God for your missioning on this Extraordinary Mission Year, certain that it will be a time of growth and enrichment that will allow you, together with your Ethiopian people, to carry out a mission abounding in love, filled with the Comboni charism and enlightened by the smile the Lord lovingly placed on your face sweetening this soul of Alentejo that is so typically yours, in difficult moments.
As Pope Francis says, “Mission is to go meet the other.”
And how it has been mentioned in the Pastoral Note of the Episcopal Conference of Portugal on both the Extraordinary Mission Year and Mission Month, “Everyone, everything and always in mission.”
Therefore, go, my friend, go.
Let us keep in touch! Happy Mission!
Rufina (October 14, 2018)Thank you, Rufina, Thank you, Pedro. Thank you for your commitment
The much awaited Mission Days of 2018 on the theme, “I am the Mission,” took place in Fatima on the weekend of September 15-16. These Mission Days were based especially on the presence of various institutes, congregations, movements and especially members of the missionary youth who came from various parts of the country and of the world.
The Days started with a welcome and a prayer prepared by the organizing committee, followed by the opening in the presence of Bishop D. Manuel Linda of Porto who gave us, as always, a few words on the meaning of mission and what it means to be in mission in today’s world, especially among the youth of this century.
A short time later we were blessed with a currently very prestigious speaker, Dr. Juan Ambrosio, theology professor at the Catholic University of Lisbon, who explained to us briefly and simply what “I am the Mission” means. According to him, “I am the Mission” is not an experience lived from the outside into the inside,, but it is I, myself and nothing more. In this case, “I am the Mission starts from within and goes out, to the “other” because, if I am the Mission, being baptized and a child of God, we were chosen by him to serve and love the others. It is from there that Christianity always holds as its foundation, goal and structure an experience of encounter principally with Jesus (his way of being and of living); with God (in the option for the kingdom) and with human beings and their history (their aspirations, their frailty, their accomplishments). This is why, according to Dr. Juan, Mission must be an experience of the encounter with Jesus which is personal (I) and in the first person plural (Us) and only in this way we will be able to be and to do mission in the world.
But to be complete and according to this idea, Mr. Ambrosio also tells us that it is not the Church that has a mission, but rather the Mission has a Church, namely, Mission is concerned with everything and is everyone’s concern because it is not reserved only to some “professionals,” but rather to all who are baptized in Christ. Thus, Mission can be described with three principles, or better, the great tripod on which the entire Christian identity is based: Charism, proclamation of the Word; Liturgy, celebration of our faith, the Eucharist; Diaconía, namely living in charity, thuds forming Koinonía as the fiber connecting these three pillars forming the Tripod. This is why the Mission of the Church must reach all the peripheries always keeping as its objective the proclamation, the celebration and the charity as the fullness of its essence in order to be considered fully Christian.
After a morning of theory, fundamentally based on “I Am the Mission,” as the theme of the Days, we continued in the afternoon with a more practical and concrete exploration through some workshops titled: 1. Church and dialogue; 2. Mission and communion; 3. Mission at the margins; 4. Everyone and everything always in mission; 5. To be Mission; 6. To share the journey.
In the evening we had with us the Mission Band to give joy and spirit to the young with its moving and heartfelt music. During this first day we also had some missionary witness. We concluded the day with night prayers before everyone returned to their nests to rest before the next day.
On Sunday, being the last day, we had a round table discussion with various contributions on the topic, “What Church do we expect? In view of a more dedicated mission.”
And to close the Mission Days, we celebrated the Eucharist presided over by Bishop Manuel Quintas of Algarve. After Mass we had the missioning of some individuals who are about to go ad gentes and the conclusions of these Mission Days. Then came the good-byes and the departure of each one to their mission and daily life.
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.
How beautiful is the wood sculpture of Africa at the feet of Christ. I allow the gaze of Comboni to penetrate me, to contemplate me. And how much of me fits into that gaze. I remember someone who once told me “it is impossible that it will not penetrate you, and question you.” And I agree every time I see this image of our tireless San Daniel Comboni.
This is the image I contemplate above the altar in the chapel of the MCCJ house in Madrid, where today I will wait until 4:00 PM, when the CLM David will come to get me to go together for the weekend at Arenas de San Pedro, about 100 miles from here. I can’t resist to enter and spend a moment with the Lord. I pray to him for the mission. Not only for my own, but for everyone’s. The mission of those who are about to go. The one of those who stay. Also in separation there is love. It means to leave what we have and earn something better: the freedom of giving ourselves to Christ. Separation is not something simply physical. It means to go out of ourselves on a daily basis. At each moment. It is what I continue to look for today, but that today is becoming more “doable.”
I leave my country looking for the wisdom and the grace I need so that, in the future, I will deposit my gifts in total surrender. So during the next few months I will be in Madrid, with the family I chose, the Comboni Family, for a missiology course. From the beginning, this program inflamed my heart and brightened my eyes, I must confess, just like it is with the anxious waiting of children the day before returning to school. This is what I am grateful for even today before this Africa at the feet of Christ: the opportunity to grow in wisdom and grace.
I know that I am fragile, but in a community that lives of and for love, I feel strong. Because “all I can in Him who comforts me” (Phil 4:13). “All I can in Him who comforts me,” I repeat. It resonates in me. Only in Him and through Him I could be able to go beyond myself, to go to meet love, to be free inasmuch as I trust in Him and in his hands, loving without measure. “God does not choose the able ones, but enables those he chooses.” Today I am understanding this quite well… and I pray to God that he may make me capable in the mission to which I have been assigned. This is for me and for those who are with me. Family. Boyfriend. Friends. People in general. Each in their own right, are part of this mission and I feel the need to bring them along.
“You become responsible forever, for those you have tamed.”
(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
And so it is… I pray for each of them, and for their mission. Pray for me as well, please. From the bottom of my heart, thanks for your trust… Not so much in me, but in God. Everything, including me, we are only possible in Him.
It has been a year since I arrived at the Mission of Carapira, in the north of Mozambique. But at times there are moments when it feels that I just arrived and that I am still taking my first steps, like a beginner. There are times when I feel that the trip from Portugal to Mozambique was not the longest journey I ever did, even though the geographical distance suggests otherwise. The longest and greatest journeys are those where I have to travel from my mind to my heart, getting out of myself and stand next to whoever is at my side and, at times, seems to be so far away. The truth is that mission is not a physical place. It is first of all a place that cannot be circumscribed and that requires a constant attitude of humility, audacity, willpower. Mission is also a school of love, a place where one learns and re-learns how to love. Here I have gotten to know a lot of missionaries and volunteers. These are people who come with a desire to do well, but who progressively also discover their vulnerability.
The deepest experience we can have consists in loving and feeling loved. But when everything around us seems unknown, this apprenticeship becomes tiring. Because to learn to love means learning to accept who I am, with my desires, my faith, but also with my difficulties, my compulsions, my need to be right. But, in the encounters and in daily life quickly we discovered the fragility of our texture. Nevertheless, I hold for myself that, as we go discovering it, perhaps we may be able to see the vulnerability of Jesus and love it.
It is also a school where we learn the different proportion of things. But we do not learn to measure things (especially not patience). The space is large, and it is easy to get lost.
Time morphs into my time. Everything, literally, happens in a rather singular rhythm with a soft, very soft, compass. Therefore, there is time for what we truly want to do, because the slow pace teaches us to go beyond our rigidity, beyond what would simply be functional and useful.
But it is in these moments that authentic experiences are born. We do not turn on your GPS to know how long it will take to go from here to there, even because the “from here to there” is so immense that it has not been captured and deciphered by satellite maps – we get into the car and come what may. If the number of flats is reasonable, and the car does not break down, we will get there faster.
And even if it may be true that Mozambique does not have gorgeous sceneries, it is also true that those within each person are the most incredible and precious. I have had the pleasure of getting to know people who teach me a lot. Simple people and able to be trustful even in poverty. They look at tomorrow with the hope that all will be well, Inshallah [God willing, as we get used to hear]. At times I ask myself: trust, in what? Why? Trust. Trust in life. These are the people who teach me faith. They trust in God’s protection and are very grateful. They have such a surplus of trust that invites me to look at life with added serenity.
This is a school where one also learn to look in the eyes of those who look at us. Because, truly, it is when we observe that we begin to see. Often, when I look around me, I may feel that I am not ready to see all that I meet. But even in this and for this, God has enabled me.
One learns also to see God in small things. I remember very well that, before coming, I had plan to write more: I wanted to have a diary or, at least, to jot down more regularly what was happening, how I felt… And also to share about our mission in order to keep close (to “feel united,” as we like to say).Often I ask myself: what should I write about? It is much easier to do it about extraordinary things. It is clear that I did not do what I had planned. Because, among other things, when I was planned it I thought that in mission there would have been a million extraordinary things to talk about. In reality, mission happens every moment and in an ordinary way. Extraordinary events may be more colorful and exotic, but it is the ordinary that more closely is the foundation of our life. These, the simple and ordinary moments, those we meet in our service and in our dealing with the people give meaning and make mission something special, without waiting for the extraordinary days, to ask for commitment and oblation.
Mission is a daily map deciphering and knowing. That is why, I constantly feel that I beginning a new time, not in the calendar, but in the opportunities of life and of salvation that can happen any time God visits us in the smallest and most insignificant things.
I arrived in Mozambique a year ago. But I keep on beginning to walk to the Lord of daily blessings.
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