Bro. José Manuel Salvador Duarte MCCJ

“Human beings are so made that they cannot live, develop and find fulfilment except “in the sincere gift of self to others” (FT 87)

Pope Francis, in Chapter 3 of Fratelli Tutti, reminds us that by nature we are made to transcend into authentic love in the free giving of self in the service of our neighbour. First and foremost is love, love should never be put at risk, the greatest danger is not to love (1 Cor 13:1-13).

The experience of this love leads us to live as brothers and sisters, a single family united by the bonds of universal fraternity. Borders no longer exist, but we welcome each other in our cultural, social, religious, economic diversity, and in caring for each other. All human life has the same value. We live in the same common home where everyone can have a dignified life.

The most fragile brothers and sisters, the dispossessed, the impoverished, must have our special attention. The Comboni Project of Human Promotion in Camarate was born from the encounter with such human realities.

The last five years of missionary experience in Camarate have been transforming and challenging for me. I had to start living a new form of community life, a new way of praying, of feeling, of thinking, of living more to the rhythm of God’s agenda, of living the time of my brothers and sisters in need and entering more into the mysterious sacrament of Jesus’ presence in the poor. Jesus teaches me that it is I who need my poor brother. It is my brother, my poor sister, who helps me to rediscover the meaning of my vocation as a missionary Brother. If we approach our poor brothers and sisters to be in communion with them, then we are closer to the mystery of God, to the mystery of humanity.

Coming close to the reality of our dispossessed brothers and sisters, of those who live by God’s grace, has produced such a transformation in me that I am compelled to live and feel my vocation and my ministry as a Comboni missionary Brother with a more awakened conscience to perceive God’s presence and action today.

With the COVID pandemic, the decadence of the entire political, economic and social system of our country has become more visible. There have been no responses to humanitarian emergencies, the entire system has come to a standstill, unable to respond to the numerous needs of the most affected families. Once again we realised the importance of networking with other NGOs: everyone shared what they had, and the miracle of the multiplication of bread happened every day. Solidarity is a universal value that we must take care of with greater commitment and courage and not be afraid to continue developing new ways of exercising it.

“I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt and I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know about their sufferings” (Exodus 3:7).

“We cannot possibly refrain from speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

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