Maria Augusta and Élia, Comboni lay missionaries in Camarate: “Dreaming the mission”


Tuesday, November 29, 2022
In September 2021, we arrived in Camarate, more precisely in the neighbourhood of Fetais, on the periphery of Lisbon (Portugal), full of expectations about the work we would develop with the local community. We knew there was a lot to do, but we didn’t know the needs. Not everything went as we expected, but as God wanted, and despite the difficulties encountered, we “felt” that we should continue in this mission. [Comboni Lay Missionaries]

With the departure of Pedro Nascimento new challenges are posed, since only two of us remain, Maria Augusta and Élia Gomes, and we continue to dream that it is possible to make Fetais a mission land where the CLM presence is a reality and not just a place of passage. We ask the Lord of the harvest to guide our steps so that, with humility and wisdom, we can be messengers of the Gospel to these people who come from such distant and different places, in search of a better world that they have difficulty in finding.

Maria Augusta, in Camarate.

Dreaming of more mission in the parish of Camarate passes through what has been our experience over this time, what we have received without giving anything, which encourages us to continue this path, sometimes not easy.

Élia Gomes, in Camarate.

We want to be more in this mission because:

… It warms our hearts the tight embrace of a child; the smiling good morning of an elderly person, hearing our name shouted from the playground of a school; a mother who tells her three-year-old daughter to give a kiss to her “aunt” (whom she met on the bus)…

… our hearts are warmed by the neighbors on the “slope” who already call us for two fingers of conversation; the pomegranates offered with the taste of friendship; the cat next door who lets himself be stroked, and the owner of the cat who already says good night when we cross paths on the street…

… our hearts are warmed by the people who ask about Pedro and talk about him with gratitude and affection for the moments he dedicated to them…

… and our hearts are also warmed by the small/large victories we achieve with the children who attend the Young Awakening where we have already spent “cold days”, but where there is warmth and joy and, because “the best in the world are the children”, everything we do for them and with them will always be small.

If God calls us to make a difference, to be a presence in different communities, with simplicity we can only say: “Lord we are here to serve you, light our way”.

In the certainty that we are not alone in this mission.
Embrace in Christ,
Maria Augusta and Élia Gomes
Comboni Lay Missionaries in Camarate