Lay Missionaries FAQs

  • Where can I find more information?

    For more information about becoming a Comboni Lay Missionary, contact the directors of the Comboni Lay Missionary Program at:

    Comboni Lay Missionary Program
    Comboni Mission Center
    1615 E 31st Street
    La Grange Park, IL 60526-1319

    Paul Wheeler (Director) clmp-paul@sbcglobal.net
    CLMP Tel: (708) 588-1602
    CLMP Fax: (708) 354-2006



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  • What happens when the 3 year commitment ends?

    Upon returning to the United States or Canada after the three-year assignment, the lay missionaries are offered a program to integrate their mission experience and evaluate their commitment. If it has been a positive experi­ence, they may renew the contract.

    If the returning lay missionaries choose, the Comboni Missionaries will help them find ways to "bring home" their experiences so their mission work can have more meaning through sharing with members of the local church.



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  • How are candidates prepared for mission work?

    Candidates are offered discernment weekends to help discover their call to mission. A screening and discernment process follows which includes the completion of an application form, an autobiographical essay, a personal interview, letters of recommendation, psychological testing and a review of educational data, job experience and previous volunteer service.

    They begin preparation in their own faith community or parishes through service with the poor. Formal preparation takes place in community with other lay missionary candi­dates. They live with Comboni Missionaries so they can become acquainted with them, their lifestyle and apostolic methods.

    Candidates also take introductory theology courses such as scripture, liturgy, missiology, spirituality and social justice, and are trained in the language, culture and customs of the country to which they will go.


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  • How long do Comboni Lay Missionaries serve?

    After six months of orientation, training and formation, candidates commit themselves to three years of service by a signed renewable agreement. Usually, they are sent out in teams of two or three to mission sites. They live in a community during formation and while they are participating in overseas mission service.



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  • What is required?

    Candidates must demonstrate a strong faith commitment as Catholics and have a sincere desire for missionary service with the poor in mission countries.

    • They must be emotionally mature and in good physical and mental health.
    • They must be able to interact and cooperate with people of different religions, traditions and cultures, to live simply, to sacrifice and be flexible, and willing to learn.
    • They must be willing to work in community with the local church and the Comboni Missionaries and be open to ongoing spiritual development.


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  • Why should I become a Comboni Lay Missionary?

    Consider sharing the hope and love of the Gospel message as you walk with the poor in their struggles.

    Picture yourself living in a community with other lay people as you serve the Lord and His favorite people - the poor.
    Ponder the blessing of your own faith and how much more it will mean if you share it with others. Imagine the opportunity for spiritual and personal growth. You will share your faith, skills and educational background with people from many cultures—and you will learn from them. Your life and theirs will be changed forever!

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  • Who can join?

    Catholic lay men and women, who are older than 23 years old and younger than 54, married or single, are welcomed into the program. (Couples with dependent children will be considered on a case-by-case basis.) Candidates must be college graduates or have necessary skills for trades that are appropriate in the mission environment, and they must have at least one year of work experience.


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  • What services are provided by lay missionaries?

    Comboni Lay Missionaries witness to Christian life through ministries, including pastoral work, education, health care and rural development. They witness to the Gospel by sharing their own skills and trades with the people, encourag­ing them to become leaders in their local churches and communities. They encourage self-help and the development of local leadership. In all that they do, the lay missionaries' message addresses human dignity, freedom and salvation through Jesus Christ.


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  • Who are the Comboni Lay Missionaries?

    The Comboni Lay Missionaries are Catholic men and women who feel called to witness to the Gospel of Christ. They have a strong faith commitment and are interested in joining Comboni priests, sisters and brothers in mission service with the poor in selected countries of Africa and Latin America.


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  • Why is there a need for lay missionaries today?

    The Comboni Missionaries' vision of the church is one that includes lay and religious people working together in small Christian communities to help the poor fulfill their potential as human beings and children of God.

    Bishop Daniel Comboni, our founder, wel­comed religious and lay men and women to participate in his mission work. Lay missionaries and religious members of the congregation enjoy a special relationship in the spirit of Comboni. They share in the work, charisma, spirituality and apostolic community of the Comboni Missionaries.



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