Vocation story. To bring Life

Working among the Cushite and Nilotic peoples in Kenya has been a fulfilling experience for Bro Alfredo. He shares with us his first mission assignment.

My name is Alfredo Monteiro de Sousa, hailing from Brazil’s north- eastern state called Ceara.  By profession, I am both a social worker and a teacher. Raised in a traditional Catholic family, where my grandmother, grandfather, aunt, and elder sister served as catechists, our family devoutly prayed the rosary throughout the month of May.

I am the third of six siblings – two boys and five girls. My father is a farmer and a merchant, while my mother works as a general cleaner. As a child, our family walked fourteen kilometres every Sunday to attend mass in the nearest village. This act illustrated our family’s faithfulness and commitment to instilling Christian values and traditions in the younger generation.

Following my confirmation, I became increasingly involved in church activities such as workshops, parish events, and diocesan gatherings. It was during my involvement in preparing catechumens for confirmation in my outstation that I began pondering my vocation within the Catholic Church.

Our parish priest had invited us to offer this service. The parish I originate from is under diocesan priests, and the nearest Comboni community lies 217 kilometres away. In 2005, after completing high school, I felt a profound desire to consecrate my life as a missionary, particularly in African countries. I began attending vocational workshops in my diocese, where I discovered my calling was not in the priesthood but in the brotherhood.

Brothers, I believed, were more closely connected and involved with the people. At a diocesan vocation seminar, I encountered someone who connected me with the Comboni missionaries. Subsequently, I reached out to the congregation’s vocation promoter, who guided me on beginning my formation journey. After a year of guidance, I was accepted into the formation house. This marked the realization of my dream to become a missionary. After this period of discernment. I requested to continue my formation, and the following year, I was accepted into the postulancy program in Fortaleza city, Ceara state.

There, I pursued a degree in social work while simultaneously engaging in ministry with the homeless in the Archdiocese of Fortaleza a profoundly enriching and challenging experience. Upon completing the postulancy stage in Fortaleza, I had the opportunity to continue my missionary formation

(Novitiate) in Xochilmilco, Mexico. I took my first religious profession on 12th May 2018. Thereafter, I pursued academic studies at Tangaza University College in Kenya, culminating in my appointment to work in the Kenya Comboni province.

After a brief course in Kiswahili language, I was finally sent to our mission in the northern part of Kenya, specifically to a beautiful place called Marsabit County. With great joy, I received news from my provincial superior in Kenya regarding my first assignment as a Comboni missionary.

On 15th March 2023, amidst pouring rain, I embarked on my journey to Marsabit mission. The presence and work of Comboni missionaries in Marsabit diocese date back many years. Presently, our congregation oversees the Cathedral parish. Consequently, Comboni missionaries who come here are involved in parish activities and structures such as schools.

My primary ministry involves working with youth in Our Lady Consolata Parish, the parish Cathedral run by Comboni missionaries, and with the Young Catholic Students (YCS) program in local high schools. Here, we impart teachings on human values, Bible studies, leadership skills, and more, nurturing the faith of young individuals within an environment predominantly comprised of Muslims or other denominations. Additionally, I fulfil various duties within the community as a brother.

For me, the beauty of missionary life lies in passion, dedication, personal vision, missionary strategy, community life, and the eagerness to learn and teach. It is evident in the smiles of people not because of material aid, but because of the tangible presence and shared journey. It is the realization of one’s calling and mission in the service of God.

As the Gospel states, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). This mandate has guided my vocation, as I discovered our responsibility as Christians to bring life, light, and transformation to the world in the name of God and the Church.

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