Comboni Lay Missionary Program

Goal of Program

We are a Catholic community of lay men and women who live out our faith by walking with the poor of other lands, sharing our talents, learning from one another, and working together for a more just and compassionate world. We value cross-cultural sensitivity, learning the language of the local people, working in pastoral teams, and living a simple lifestyle. We work for greater justice and solidarity among all peoples of the world.

Type of Placement

We work in Comboni mission sites of Africa and Latin America where there is sickness, hunger and injustice. We serve as teachers, health care workers, community organizers, social workers, journalists, and pastoral workers. We minister to people in the city slums, refugees, street children, and those suffering from AIDS.

Service Area

Peru, Malawi, Zambia and Ethiopia

Service Length

Three years (renewable)

Program Size

Five to twelve lay missionaries.


Catholic men and women who are strong in their Catholic faith and identity. CLMs are people who regularly practice their faith, and have an interest in growing in their spirituality. U.S. or Canadian citizen, ages 24-54, personal maturity, adaptability, good physical and psychological health, college degree or needed skill with a minimum of one year's work experience, commitment to live and work with the poor of different religions, traditions, and cultures, commitment to learn a foreign language if necessary, willingness to live a simple lifestyle, and work with the local church and Comboni religious. Because the Comboni Fathers, Sisters and Brothers are very diverse, it is essential that we have candidates with good cross-cultural skills, or a willingness to learn.

Financial Arrangements

Room and board, stipend, medical insurance, transportation to and from mission site, retreat and re-entry allowance.

Living Arrangements

When possible, lay missionaries live in community with other lay missionaries and are part of the larger Comboni community. Families typically live in their own housing separate from other lay missionaries. When possible, we place single people in housing together.


The 14-week lay mission formation program takes place each Fall at our center in La Grange Park, IL. Lay Missionaries participate in community service once per week, spiritual direction every two weeks, possibly audit a course at Catholic Theological Union on mission theology, and have many other workshops at the mission center itself in the areas of peace and justice, scripture, cross-cultural adaptation, relationships, intimacy and sexuality, the Comboni charism, and collaborative leadership. The formation program closes with a silent retreat and commissioning ceremony. Our formation program is not a rigid experience that is identical from one year to the next. We are very flexible in terms of the content, emphasizing different areas each year based on the experience and background of the candidates. We also schedule in time for quiet and reflection so that the experience may truly be one of formation, rather than just a training or orientation program.

Application Deadline

We accept applications on a rolling basis. However, as a general guideline, preliminary forms should be submitted by March 1 in order to be considered for the training program beginning in September. Check our website for the preliminary form.


Paul Wheeler


1615 East 31st Street
LaGrange Park, 60526
Phone: 708 588-1602


[email protected]


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Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus

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