Comboni Lay Missionaries

Celebrating World Mission Sunday with new CLM candidates


During the weekend of the World Mission Sunday we were fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with some people who have approached the CLM group in Spain to get to know each other and to make a vocational discernment.

It is always a good opportunity to share our vocation and, to the extent of our possibilities, to serve as a help in the vocational journey of new missionaries.

We believe that in this time of Pandemic many things stopped, but not so the Spirit that is always present and does not rest. If the Lord continues calling new workers to his harvest, we want to be open to accompany this journey in the measure of our possibilities.

Last year we had several online meetings with the group but finally this year, and given that the levels of contagion of the pandemic have decreased, we were encouraged to hold a face-to-face meeting where we could all meet. Always maintaining the necessary prevention measures in these times.

It was a nice weekend where we moved from all parts of the country to share our time, to share what has brought us and to start walking together.

At the beginning of the year it seems important to us to establish the proposed path, the calendar of meetings and the themes we offer. We know that it is an effort for everyone to travel, to prepare the topics, to free the different weekends of the meetings to be able to participate, but we believe that it must be a serious path. It requires an effort on the part of all, but if the Lord calls us, our response must also be serious and committed.

The weekend is dedicated to getting to know ourselves better, to begin to work on our life line, our life history with the Lord and the events that have brought us to this particular moment in our lives. Also to understand our relationship with God, for that is what discerning a vocation is all about.

We hope to have established the basis of the path to follow. This path will be made with face-to-face and online meetings, but also with the personalized accompaniment of each candidate and the possibility of participating in local meetings as well as in national meetings with the rest of the CLM in Spain.

As it was on the day of the World Mission Sunday, we could not but share our joy with the parish of St. Angela de la Cruz in Madrid that hosted us for this event. We were able to help animate the celebration, bringing something of our life in Africa and Latin America, bringing closer the reality of some of these countries and our life experiences.

We prepared the celebration between candidates and CLM together with the choir (who gave us a nice surprise gift) and the catechists of the parish. I think it was a nice and participative moment where the children as well as the rest of the community could approach in a different way to this World Mission Sunday.

We continue to pray that the Lord will continue to call new missionaries and that we will know how to accompany them in their vocational journey.

There is still a great need for missionaries, so we encourage anyone who feels this call to approach one of our groups and make a vocational journey. Let us know how to say Yes like Mary.

Greetings to all of you.

Alberto, CLM Spain

Tell what you have seen and heard

World Mission day

In this missionary month the Church encourages us again to be witnesses.

World Mission day

We, as missionaries present in various continents, are witnesses of a humanity that wants to live fully and be happy.

We are witnesses of the inequalities that are spread over all continents, of the accumulation by some who do not want to look towards their brothers and sisters, as well as the difficulties of many to have the most basic things.

But above all we are witnesses to the generosity and solidarity that exists among people. When we share the difficulties we also open ourselves to share the way out of it, to share the possibilities of improvement, to share what we have and above all what we are.

As humanity we need human warmth, one from another. This pandemic has forced us to physically separate ourselves at many times to protect ourselves, but we know that nothing is as comforting as an embrace. In an embrace we express closeness and complicity with each other’s lives, with each other’s suffering, with each other’s joys.

We witness how generosity emerges in the midst of difficulties. Of course, we are overwhelmed by the miseries to which so many people are subjected, but we cannot be paralyzed by this vision. We must not close our eyes but act.

But we cannot reduce the person to his or her difficulties and forget how much we have experienced in so many countries and with so many cultures. The generosity of those who offer everything they have, the openness of their homes to those who come from abroad, the joyful welcome of those who feel they are foreigners, the capacity for recovery and resilience that makes people go out every day to look for a better future for their families, the effort to study and learn every day….

That is why in this month when we turn our eyes to the mission we want to be witnesses of the God of Life, of how his Spirit becomes present and fills with Life the communities of the peripheries of the world. We want to be witnesses of Jesus of Nazareth who walks every day with those who need him most, even when sometimes we are not even able to perceive His presence.

We encourage all of you to take a step forward and commit ourselves to life. Life in abundance that Jesus brings to all humanity.

Let us each do our bit.

We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard. Acts 4,20. Alberto de la Portilla, CLM

African Memory Project: Aristides Holgado


We continue this series with Brother Aristides Holgado. Born in Madrid, Aristides was going to be an architect until he was assigned to Mozambique by the Comboni Missionaries. He arrived six months after their independence from Portugal and lived through the civil war that ravaged the country for 15 years. In his interview, Aristides speaks openly about issues such as the quality of democracy, communism and capitalism in the African country and the war.

(Interview in Spanish)

Economy, Land of Mission. CLM-Europe Meeting

Fr Giulio Albanese during his intervention at the meeting.

As Christians, as missionaries, we cannot watch calmly from our windows as the global economic system evolves, putting at risk food security and the effective rights of more and more populations. Faced with the complexity of this terrain, we need a minimum of training in these issues.

The Comboni Missionary Giulio Albanese, a journalist specializing in the field of economics, led the reflection on Economy: Land of Mission, at the meeting of the Comboni Lay Movement of Europe, which was attended last Saturday by participants from Poland, Germany, Portugal, Italy and Spain, as well as the CLM coordinator of Brazil, Flavio Schmidt. The anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers, which reshaped geopolitics, and the Time of Creation, in which the Christian confessions unite every year to pray, celebrate and act for the Common Home, were the framework for this initiative.

Albanese started from the recent historical process that has shaped the current landscape of the global economic system, initiated at the Breton Woods conference at the end of World War II. Along the way, the financial economy has progressively grown and distanced itself from the real economy. The latter is based on the fact that human labor creates wealth, while the financial economy is based on the fact that money itself generates wealth. The crisis that began in 2008 revealed the consequences of an economic system in which speculative financial products, such as derivatives, represent an economic flow of between 10 and 15 times the global GDP. Another worrying element is that the debt of the states, which is weighing down the economies of the southern communities in particular, is financialized and therefore subject to the uncertainties of the market. Government debt has become a financial product that is bought and sold, generating profits for other investors.

As a proposal to combat the flagrant issue of international debt, a legal document was launched from Italy at the end of the last century, within the framework of the Jubilee 2000, supported by the UN Commission on Human Rights, to argue that the international debt mechanism is contrary to human rights, so that its agreements could be denounced before the Court of the Hague.

The speaker shared from his missionary experience in Ethiopia how, while famine threatens the population, the state accumulates grain in warehouses to offer it to global agribusiness (which fixes its price on the Chicago Stock Exchange) and thus pay the interest on its debt. In another example, he denounced the risk of common goods, such as health, being controlled only by the market, which means that while in the North we are moving towards the third dose of the COVID19 vaccine, in Africa only 1% of the population has the second dose.

The Church has generated abundant reflection in the various social encyclicals, since Rerum Novarum at the end of the 19th century, and the magisterium of Pope Francis stands out for placing the poor and discarded person at the center, not as a pastoral object, but as a theological subject: God is incarnated in the poor. The concept of development, linked to technology and profit, must be replaced by that of progress, which refers to the person and his or her social aspect. In the face of a complex issue, such as the economic system, it is not possible to give a magic answer but, as Francis insists, to participate and initiate transformative processes.

In this context, Albanese proposed not to demonize the market, but to coexist with it and promote alternative economies from within, as the Vatican initiative of the Economy of Francis and Clare has been promoting. Not to promote a mystique of misery, which only promotes sharing the suffering of communities without taking another step. The Social Economy is a field with great development, in which companies arise whose objective is not to generate profits, but to solve people’s problems. The microcredits promoted by the Nobel Prize winner M. Yunus are a tool, as well as Ethical Banking (Fiare, Coop 57, Triodos…). We must also promote laws that can redirect business actions, because the deregulation promoted by liberalism leaves communities in the hands of unscrupulous companies. The European alliance of ecclesial entities CIDSE is working on this corporate regulation.

For religious congregations there is the task of responsibly reviewing in which initiatives they invest their resources. We currently have two divestment campaigns underway. The Laudato Si’ movement promotes divestment from companies that favor fossil fuels, while the Churches and Mining network, in which the CLM and the Comboni Missionaries of Brazil participate, seeks divestment from mega-mining companies, which threaten populations and the environment. And to bet on an integral evangelization in which the promotion of social transformation is present. The recent Map of Comboni social ministries presents examples of this type.

For the Comboni lay movement there would be the task of deepening how our lifestyles contribute to underpinning the global financial system or to come up with alternatives. The CLM in Italy has been working in this direction with an important prophetic component. In Spain, the platform Connected Yourself for Justice, in which the Comboni NGO AMANI participates, has also proposed to reflect in this sense. It is also necessary that we feel that we can influence the policies that can control the economic-financial system, from our closest family and parish environments, to the decision-making bodies, participating in actions together with organized platforms. In this sense, last year several CLM participated in a training on political advocacy promoted by the REDES platform.

The meeting concluded with a dialogue among the participants to advance in our formation as CLM and to strengthen ties with the rest of the Comboni Family in this area.

You can see the complete video of the meeting.

Gonzalo Violero, CLM Spain