A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Missions at Home and Abroad

Fr Bernard Carney sm

Fr Bernard Carney sm

October is traditionally a month focussed on the foreign missions. The command to spread the ‘Good News’ came from the Lord himself, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”  Matthew 28:19.

This is where the Church takes its mandate from. Many courageous men and women set out in response to this invitation. St. Augustine of Canterbury in England, St Francis Xavier to India and the Far East and Bishop Pompallier and two Marists to New Zealand, to name a few. Pope as Shepherd

The results have been encouraging in terms of membership of today’s Church. Always there have been hardships and even martyrdom in the effort. This month’s edition notes a certain irony whereby the rising numbers of Asian Catholics are exporting “the smell of the sheep” back to Europe. (Pg.27)

In another article the artistic skills of an early Marist Missionary are published and are soon to be made available. Fr Verguet sm used his sketchbook to capture the way of life he saw among the Pacific Peoples. (Pg 36)

The early Marist Missionaries were diligent in recording the customs of those they invited to join the family of the Church. By means of letters and diaries back to Europe, they captured moments of initial contact between the local people and themselves. Only recently have many of these accounts been published.

Given the declining membership of Christianity in terms of percentage in our nation, there is some work to do on the home front. The secular culture, which has Christian foundations, has been taken from its true path. The philosophy that people can solve all their problems is undermining the place of God in  our culture. The thought that science and only what we can see and measure is now becoming the only source of knowledge in  Western society. The place of God and revealed truth is under siege as a source of knowledge upon which we can base personal life choices and how society might be governed.

It is this modern market place that missionaries make their way. People like Mother Teresa and Pope Francis are among those who can bring a response from a lost people. The place for missionaries both at home and overseas is needed. It begins by listening to the small still voice deep within the hearts of each one of us.   

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