This is the day to thank the Lord for what we have accomplished as Comboni Lay Missionaries. Today we celebrate 21 years of history and mission, 21 years from that January 25, 1998 when we started this journey of discernment and formation for lay people in Maia, animated by the Holy Spirit and by St. Daniel Comboni.
It has been a very beautiful journey done at the foot of the Cross, before the Lord. And it is from this journey that mission is born – the one made of God’s works that “are born and grow at the foot of the Cross.” It consists in walking as a family, inspired by St. Daniel Comboni who leads us to “Save Africa with Africa” – this marvelous Africa that today no longer has borders and stands at our peripheries.
Many journeyed with us. Some left, others continue their commitment as CLM, but all, one way or the other, left swirls and drops that today make up this ocean of love we have become and binds continents together. We are grateful from the bottom of our hearts to all those who accompanied us and who keep on doing it.
During these 21 years, many were the CLM who lived their missionary vocation in places beyond our borders: in Mozambique, Brazil, the Central African Republic and Peru. Today, we continue to share our missionary spirit in these same countries: Marisa in Mozambique; Liliana in Brazil; Maria Augusta and Cristina in the Central African Republic; Paula y Neuza in Peru. Not to mention all those who remain committed in Portugal, in the peripheries, in their families, in daily life, attempting to live the mission God has given them, plus all the candidates trying to discern God’s call for them in Comboni’s charism.
Missionaries in Christ and through our baptism, we move forward as St. Daniel Comboni inspired us: “Keep your eyes always fixed in Christ, loving him tenderly and trying to understand always better what it means to have a God dead on the cross for the salvation of souls.” (Writings 2721)
And this saving of souls in Comboni was going well beyond simple evangelization: the salvation of humankind through the passion and death of Christ, which is born and lives through the identification of the missionary with this paschal mystery, in this dying in order to be born and live. “If the grain of wheat falling in the ground does not die, it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces abundant fruit.” (John 12:24)
With great enthusiasm let us continue our journey, following the footsteps of St. Daniel Comboni, hand in hand so that his work will not die, a journey of a difficult and enthusing mission among the people and the countries thirsting for Christ.