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Comboni Feast Day Online Event

Talks & Mass

Some of you might still recall last year’s exciting Comboni Friends Day celebrated here at the Comboni Centre, in Chiswick. A few months later, we were all overwhelmed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then we understand better the need to make time for friendship and for celebrating the little things that life gives us. It is a biblical principle that God wants us to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Rom 12:12).

The Comboni Sisters therefore were delighted to invite you to celebrate with us the Comboni Feast Day and 4 years of the Comboni Centre. The event took place ONLINE via ZOOM.

The event included two stories from Comboni Sisters: Sr Joana Carneiro from the frontline in South Sudan and Sr Gabriella Bottani on a mission to fight human trafficking. It was followed by Mass celebrated by Fr Julio Ocaña. The music was provided by young volunteers: Patrick Rafter, violinist and Pedro Gomes, Pianist, Charlotte Lamont and Sofia Sulas, singers. There was also a taste of African Congolese music by a group of young candidates to missionary life.

The Comboni Sisters’ Great International Zoom Quiz Night

A fund raising event to cover exceptional costs caring for retired Sisters who were ill due to Covid 19

In Bergamo in Northern Italy there is a community for retired Sisters, who have spent their lives serving others throughout the world. This community was badly affected by Coronavirus. There were many cases, of whom 9 died. The care costs increased tenfold due to:

  • extra nursing and care staff
  • safety and protection for the Sisters and lay helpers
  • extra sanitation and disinfection
  • funeral expenses

The online quiz was a great success and a total of £12,000 was raised in the campaign. 

Thanksgiving Concert.

The success of the Appeal Covid – 19 was celebrated with a Thanksgiving event on 25th of July that gathered about 40 people on Zoom. This was organised by Sr Graça and Sr Natalia with the invaluable collaboration of Anthony Clarkstone and Peter Cobbold to express our sincere gratitude for the support we received towards assuring the care of our elderly sisters. 

The two elderly Comboni sisters who gave their testimony about the experience of surviving from coronavirus (one 85 and the other 89 years old) was very moving. With light shining on their eyes they stressed they were very grateful to God for the gift of everyone who helped them to live and be well again. They added they are still active with the mission of prayer. As we read in St Paul to Philippians 1:3-11: “And I always pray for all of you with joy. I thank God for the help you gave me while I told people the Good News”.

A Year to Remember – Poem written by Nell Preston

Twenty-twenty , this pandemic year
When Covid-19 made us quake with fear
Rapid contagion brought panic and stress
Thousands of deaths caused untold distress…

To read the rest of the poem click here

Article by Sr. Graca published in the Comboni Magazine - August 2019

The Comboni Sisters in the United Kingdom Creating bridges of solidarity between worlds By Sr Graça Almeida, CMS

To read the full article please click here

Barn Dance in aid of Schooling in Sri Lanka - June 2019

In June 2019, The Comboni Missionary Prayer Group organised a Barn Dance to raise money for the Comboni Sisters to help young Tamil tea pickers reach higher education and widen their skills for a better future. The Comboni Missionary Sisters teaching at St Patricks College in Talawakelle want to help these young people to fulfil Christ's call for them: "I have come so that they may have life, life to the full".

Music Festival Supporting Schooling for Children in Sri Lanka - May 2019

Every year the Comboni Missionary Sisters in UK adopt a worthy cause to help. This year’s projectwas to help with education of pupils in St. Patrick’s college in Talawakelle where the Comboni Sisters have been teaching since 2012.
The funds raised will go towards the purchase of essencial school equipment: computers (for accounting and commerce); refrigerators and ovens (for home economics); and science equipment (for science laboratory). This essencial “tools” aim at encouraging the children of the hard-working tea pickers of the region to stay at school and to enable the pupils to progress not only during their time of school, but also help prepare them for prospective jobs and personal initiatives in the future. (NP)

Young Couples Retreats - 2019

The first retreat in March 2019 was led by the Verbum Dei community. The topic was: Standing on Holy Ground. Growing together through listening to Scriptures.

The Couple retreat on 18th of May 2019 was an opportunity for a beautiful, insightful and sharp reflections on the family, its challenges, and the nature of love, which draw on this process of dialogue. 

There was a Creche available for young children

Marriage Course

Retreat on our experience of God - Facilitator Sr Natalia - March 2019

God speaks to each person in different ways. For Moses, the voice of God came from a burning bush, for Job from and hurricane, for St Daniel Comboni God was experienced as a flash of lightening that revealed Christ’s passion for humanity. This retreat provided a space where the participants reflected on their unique experiences when trying to make sense of God.

Retreat Mar 2019

Retreat on Modern Slavery - Facilitator Fr. Alberto Pelucchi - February 2019

No More Slaves. God has set us free for freedom .
How can we find time for God and ourselves? How can I find meaning in the many situations of the world and in my daily life?
The feast of Saint Bakhita that is celebrated in February, offers us an opportunity to become more aware of new forms of modern slavery that is affecting millions of children, men and women alike. In this retreat we will ponder on how God created us in love and sent Jesus to set us free.
Come and experience God’s gift of love and freedom within you.

Retreat on Modern Slavery

Spitafields Market event for support for Tamil Children - December 2018

A project to help young Tamil tea pickers reach higher education and widen their skills for a better future. The Comboni Missionary Sisters teaching at St Patricks College in Talawakelle want to help these young people to fulfil Christ’s call for them: “I have come so that they may have life, life to the full”.

St Bakhita Vigil Prayer for Human Trafficking Victims - March 2018

“They are just children! Not slaves!”

We prayed through the painful journey of Jesus to Calvary and the joy of the Resurrection, for present day victims through the intercession of St Josephine Bakhita who experienced the trauma of slavery and the grace of freedom. This hour of prayer was prepared and guided by the members of the Comboni Cenacles of Missionary Prayer who meet fortnightly locally.

St Bakhita poster

Young Couple Retreats 2018

The theme for 2018 was Five Love Languages as put forward
by Gary Chapman.

The focus of our retreats was “understanding our differences”
We have learned safe ways of communicating our own needs and feelings, slowly becoming more aware of what is going on within ourselves.

We have also learned how to listen more attentively to our loved ones as they try to identify and express their own needs and feelings.

Marriage Course

Barn Dance in aid of South Sudanese refugees - May 2018

On 26th May 2018, The Comboni Missionary Prayer Group organised a Barn Dance to raise money for the Comboni Sisters to help look after South Sudanese refugees in Northern Uganda. So far over £13,000 has been raised.

Dear Sr. Natalia, Sr. Graça and members of the Cenacle Missionary Group,

Peace and Joy in the Lord.

I want to start my Writing by apologizing for the delay in making myself present to each one of you by a felt word of gratitude.

Sr. Natalia has been informing me about your activities and in a particular way about the success of the Barn Dance. I was really touched! I thank God for the strength and the passion that God gives to you all. I thank each one of you for your closeness to the Lord and for allowing your hearts to beat as one with the Heart of Jesus, feeling and hearing the cry of the poor. Thank you very much for your wonderful support and your prayer.

We, as Comboni Sisters, together with you and other friends have been successful in building a small house and starting a ministry in Palorinya, North of Uganda among the refugees of South Sudan, we are very happy for all that we have been able to accomplish in God’s name. Now, we as Comboni Sisters are looking forward to pass the mission already settled to an African, local Congregation called “the Sacred Heart Sisters” to give continuity to the work we started in this refugee camp. This in order to allow us to return to South Sudan to continue our mission in this country so much torn apart by a situation of war of which we cannot foresee its end. We are aiming, by God’s will, towards the middle of next year 2019 to be able to have the local congregation settled in Palorinya Refugee Camp. This will enable us to offer a reliable continuity in the service to the refugees and at the same time the possibility of returning to South Sudan where there is a great need of personnel and support in order to carry on with the different ministries we are involved in; education, health and pastoral…

My superiors have already assigned me to Upper Nile Region, Renk, where we have a community left with only two Sisters with the whole responsibility of the schools, nursery, primary and secondary, and the pastoral work in the parish. By God’s grace we will do our best.

You can look for Upper Nile State, Renk province in the Internet, is one of hottest regions affected by the conflict.

I ask the Lord to bless each one of you and to continue to give you His strength and love.

With gratitude

Sr. Dorinda Lopes da Cunha
Comboni Missionary Sister”

South Sudan Refugees Barn Dance

Young Couples Retreats 2017

The focus of our retreats has been “understanding our differences” We have learned safe ways of communicating our own needs and feelings, slowly becoming more aware of what is going on within ourselves. We have also learned how to listen more attentively to our loved ones as they try to identify and express their own needs and feelings.

We have used as background material the work of Marshal Rosenberg on non violent communication and also the painting of The Light of the World by William Hunt.

On this painting Christ is knocking on a door which does not have any handle, just a knocker. It signifies that it is up to us to open our door to the light that He carries, radiates and offers.

In a similar way it is up to us individually to open the door of our heart to other and this is is what we are trying to do gently and gradually as we progress on our journey of discovery of ourselves and others.

The Comboni centre offers a safe, comfortable and friendly space for couples to meet and reflect while their children are looked after by CRB checked helpers.

Lenten programme for young adults 2017

'GOD IS AWESOME'..... Whether you're in your teens, twenties or thirties, God inspires wonder, respect and love. Prayer is our path to Him. He is already waiting for us.
In the six week lead-up to Easter we at the Comboni Centre, offer young people a taste of the different types of prayer that can help them come closer to God, building a new, loving friendship with Him.

March 5th: ‘Knowing God, Knowing Yourself: spiritual wisdom through Christian meditation. Led by:  Henriëtte Hollaar, from World Christian meditation community

March 12th: ‘Lighting the inner light’ with Taizè chanting. Led by: Brother Paolo,from Taizé Community in France.

March 19th: ‘Into the depths of heart and mind.’ Imaginative prayer in the Ignation tradition. Led by:  Nicole Paice, counsellor and spiritual Director in the Ignation Tradition

 March 26th: ‘Lectio Divina: A Password to God’. Led by: Fr. Robin Burgess, the Clergy Coordinator for the UK living in Ealing Abbey community

April 2nd: ‘God the Artist: expressing Prayer through Art. Led by: Nicole Paice, counsellor and spiritual Director in the Ignation Tradition

 April 9th: ‘The Passion of Jesus: An Awesome God. Led by: Fr Michael Dunne, parish priest at Our Lady of Grace and St Edward Church

Make time to experience the beauty of prayer.

From 4 pm to 6 pm each Sunday of Lent.

Enjoy the hospitality offered at the Comboni Centre, 2 Chiswick Lane, London W4 2JF. For further information email Sr. Graça or Sr Natalia at combonicentre16@gmail.com. Or call 0208 9941220.

Novena & Prayer Vigil for Child Victims of Human Trafficking

The Catholic Church in England and Wales observes the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, 8th February, as a Day of Prayer for Victims of Trafficking and for those who work to combat it.

The Cenacle of Missionary Prayer Group that meets every Thursday with Sr. Natalia at the Comboni Spirituality Centre asks the Parish to join them in the praying of a Novena from the 30th January each day leading up to a prayer vigil on the 8th February at Our Lady of Grace and St. Edward Chiswick, 7:30 – 9:00pm. All are encouraged to pray the Novena and come to the Vigil. For the Novena please click on this link Vigil on Human Trafficking.

Retreat for Young Adults

The Young Adults Group weekend retreat held in Douai Abbey, in Berkshire, 21st - 23rd October was an experience of faith and prayer and community living. We stayed in a cottage and organised our own programme of prayer, silence and contemplation, cooking, sharing in the group and the entertainment all together. The group was more united and energised after this experience.

Catechists Meeting

On the 22nd October the confirmation Catechists from Our Lady of Grace and St. Edward Chiswick, led by Fr. Andrew Chamiec were warmly welcomed by the Comboni Sisters in the newly open Comboni Centre.
Many thanks for your very kind hospitality at the Comboni Centre last weekend.

I found the atmosphere of the Comboni Centre to be very peaceful, welcoming and conducive to prayer and reflection. As a group of catechists meeting to discuss our upcoming programme to prepare candidates for the sacrament of Confirmation, the Comboni Centre provided the perfect environment to discuss and pray together without distractions. Celebrating Mass in the beautiful chapel you have just finished renovating was particularly special.

Thank you again for hosting us. I look forward to visiting again soon.


Opening of the Spirituality Centre

The Spirituality Centre was opened on 8th October 2016 by Fr. Michael Dunne, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Grace and St. Edward Chiswick, and was blessed by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor in the presence of Canon Peter Gilbert and the Community of the Comboni Sisters and around 50 friends of the Comboni Centre.

World Youth Day

A youth group organised by Sr. Graça went to Krakow, Poland for the World Youth Day where they met Pope Francis and were among 2 million young catholics.

Trips to Calais - the 'Jungle'

The Cenacle Missionary Prayer group has been making visits to Calais since December 2014

March against Human Trafficking

The second march organised by the Cenacle Group on 18th October UK Anti-Slavery Day. The march was met by Fiona Mactaggart MP at the Houses of Parliament and Maurice Wren, CEO of the Refugee Council. This was part of an anti campaign that we started called Stop Sinai Torture inspired by the witness of Sr. Azezet.

Reconciliation Events

The Spirituality Centre's Cenacle group has been organising and supporting various events to promote reconciliation within the Eritrean Diaspora including a coming together on St. Bakhita Day, supporting an Initiatives of Change and IOC event on reconciliation.
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