Our Mission Newsletter Edition No 9 – South Africa

captureOctober is the month that the Church dedicates specifically to the Missions. We begin the month celebrating the feast of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1 Oct), she along with St Francis Xavier are patrons of the Missions.

During this month the faithful in all parishes should be informed about the realities of the Church’s mission activities throughout the world. It is the responsibility of each and every priest and pastoral agent to explain to their parishioners the immense needs and poverty, both physical and spiritual, of so many Catholic communities throughout the world, particularly in so called “Mission Countries”.

monja-isabel-sola-matasEvery Catholic should be well informed as to the tremendous necessity that remains for the missionary activity of the Church in so many parts of the world. Billions of people still have not received the Good News of Jesus Christ. In too many countries small Christian minorities live in situations of poverty, alienation and even persecution. This past year we have experienced the abduction and/or killing of numerous missionaries — priests, religious and laity. This past week a Spanish missionary, Sr Isabele Sola Matas was shot dead in Haiti.

There are over 7 billion people living in the world, about 2,2bn are Christians, of which, just over half are Catholics meaning that only about 16% of the world’s population are Catholic. Sadly 1,1 bn people claim to have no religion whatsoever. If we are committed Catholics then we have to be Missionary Disciples and these statistics should move us to action. A true Christian cannot be indifferent to the plight of billions who live without the liberating message of Jesus Christ.

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Our Mission Newsletter Edition No 8 – South Africa

MISSIO LogoHi dear friends of OUR MISSION!

The annual General Assembly of all the National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies (Missio) took place in Rome from 30 May to 4 June 2016 and was well attended by the majority of the 116 National Directors, (representing many more countries as some of the directors represent more than one country) unfortunately some few directors were unable to attend because of visa issues.

The Assembly grants a wonderful opportunity to share experiences, challenges and the realities of the specific countries in which we work. It is so special to meet those who represent Catholic life and mission in countries which normally receive less exposure like: East Timor, Taiwan, Indonesia, Iran, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Kazakhstan, amongst others. It opens one’s mind to the amazing universality of the Church and its particular mission activity in places where Catholics and other Christian churches are often tiny minorities.

We are thankful to the Lord that this year once again, through the generosity and sacrifices of the faithful throughout the world we were able to distribute in a just manner help for thousands of projects originating in over 1150 dioceses mostly in Asia and Africa. The challenge that we are facing over the past few years is the reality of a constant decrease in funds from donations and an ever increasing need by young Churches for help to properly train local priests, Religious and Lay leaders to evangelise the people as well as to provide much needed help in the precarious situations of the local people in these regions.

General Assembly of all the National DirectorsOur biggest challenge is to promote the Universal Missionary activity of the Church in such a way that all the faithful feel involved, enthusiastic and committed and realise the urgency of the evangelisation process throughout the whole world and the need for their active participation and collaboration.

All, without exception, are called to be involved in this missionary activity whether they are from so-called donor countries or from young churches. The Catholic Church in Africa and Asia are going to have to become ever more protagonists in the missionary activity of the Church as increasingly European and other so-called developed countries become more and more secularised and their people declare themselves as belonging to no faith.

The Church in Africa urgently needs to become ever more self-supporting and self-reliant—we need local clergy and Religious. We also need to become truly missionary by sending Priests and Religious as missionaries and by supporting financially the new mission territories of the world. The time is ripe for the Catholic Church in Southern Africa to take up the challenge and live her Missionary responsibility!

Fr. Gordon Rees mccj, National (Missio SACBC) PMS Director – South Africa, Botswana & Swaziland.

Click here to open the PDF file of the magazine.

Edition of OUR MISSION – March 2016, No 7

Capture JPEGWe are in Holy Week and the final days before the celebration of the central feast of our faith as Christians – The Resurrection of Jesus! This is an important moment for us to take time and reflect on what Jesus’ Resurrection means for us, each one personally, in particularly in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Jesus took the pilgrimage to Jerusalem aware that this was the journey of His passion and death but also trusting that He would rise from the dead after 3 days, victorious over sin and death and having fulfilled the plan of Salvation of His Father for all humankind.

Each of us is on their own specific pilgrimage of life—a journey that will not always be easy, and times maybe exceptionally difficult and death also awaits each one of us. It may be a so called ‘natural death’, it may be a death caused by sickness or a tragic accident, it might be martyrdom like experienced by 4 Sisters of Charity in Yemen (see page 3). We don’t know what this Missionary Disciple journey holds in store for us. However we do trust in the promise of Jesus as to what the final destination of our journey will be — our own resurrection and eternal life with our loving God.

Both Easter time and this Jubilee Year of Mercy are opportune moments for us to renew (or begin to take up) our responsibilities related to our Baptism and to live as Missionary Disciples of Jesus Christ our Lord whom we have promised to serve. The Universal Mission of the Church is the responsibility of each of the baptized and a calling to witness Jesus and His liberating message of Good News to all. Nobody is excluded from the New Life and mercy that Jesus offers!

Risen ChristThe Risen Christ is inviting us to be His witnesses to all those whom we encounter. We cannot be a true Christian and at the same time be indifferent to the reality of those who live without hope, joy, dignity and God in their lives. These too have the same Heavenly Father as you and me. They too have been redeemed through the Precious Blood shed by Jesus Christ our Lord and Brother.

These too have the same Heavenly Father as you and me. They too have been redeemed through the Precious Blood shed by Jesus Christ our Lord and Brother.

We need to live our Christian calling and vocation as Missionary Disciples and be instruments in the hands of Jesus. The joy, hope, peace and mercy we have received we need to pass on to those around us, those who journey with us in one way or another in this pilgrimage of life. We manifest our Missionary Discipleship by our prayers for the missions, missionaries, the suffering and needy of the world, by our daily witness through concrete actions of mercy and charity, through our presence and through kindness in word and deed to those who are most abandoned and excluded in our society.

May the Spirit of the Risen Lord set us alight with passion and joy in bringing His message of Good News to all! A very Joyful and Blessed Easter to all of you!

Fr. Gordon Rees mccj, National (Missio SACBC) PMS Director – South Africa, Botswana & Swaziland

Headlines: Attackers kill 16 people, including 4 nuns, inside Catholic facility established by Mother Teresa’s charity in Aden. Pope Francis ‘shocked’ by attack on Yemen care home.

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