We are all missionaries,irrespective of the society or association one belongs to in the Catholic Church. The Church has a big umbrella called Pontifical Mission Society which houses Christians from Childhood to old age in the mission of spreading the good news all through the earth.
The missionary represents an arm of the Christian Religion while the churches sodalities and associations represent the pastoral arm of the Church. Both are important in the growth of the Church of Christ.
Missionary is defined by Webster dictionary as a person who is sent to a foreign country to do religious work (such as to convince people to join a religion or to help people who are sick, poor etc.) For instance, missionary priests and religious people and some Catechists who travel far to preach the gospel of Christ.
Pastoral, on the other hand,is defined as the spiritual care or guidance of people who are members of a religious group. For instance, CMO, CWO,CYON, Legion of Mary, Block Rosary, etc
Today, the church is calling everybody to know that we all are missionaries and should join the Priests and Religious who have overtime , been charged with the responsibility of evangelizing people for Christ as they alone cannot carry this responsibility.
From baptism, we have been called into the missionary work. Every Christian should be able to answer the age-long question :who created you and why were you created? Our catechism taught us that God created us to know Him, love Him, serve Him and to be happy with Him forever in the next. Any other human activity, like looking for food , clothing and shelter merely keep body and soul together till God calls us.
In the course of these human activities, we tend to offend God, one way or the other, as we often step on toes while we compete for the good things of life. Since we cannot isolate ourselves from the things of the world, our relationship with our fellow beings matter a lot to God. To hate a fellow being displeases God, and to love pleases Him. Helping someone in need or teaching someone the ways of the Lord makes God to appreciate His work of creation in us. It is for the above reasons that God made man and we are expected to be missionaries to help others and bring souls to Christ. This is the mission of the Pontifical Mission Society.
The Pontifical Mission Society has four societies namely:
- Propagation of Faith(POF):a mission for young youths(Young Missionary Movement-YOMM 15-25 Years)and adultyouths(Adult Missionary Movement -ADUMM 25years and above but unmarried),Family people-married men and women (Family Mission Movement- FAMM), aged and sick people.
- Holy Childhood Association(HCA)- involves the mission of children up to 14 years of age.
- Pontifical Mission Union(PMU)- involves the mission of Priests and the Religious.
- St Peter’s Apostle (SPA)- involves the mission ofseminarians and novices in the formation houses.
PMS is the umbrella that accommodates children, youths, adults, married people, Priests and the Religious, the aged and sick people as we have explained above. So, nobody is excluded in the mission work.In an association like the CWO, for instance, all her members who are wedded belong to the FAMM society of the POF. Same is applicable to the CMO. In CYON, we have both members of YOMM and ADUMM society of the POF. Whereas a society like Legion of Mary could have members of Famm-married people, members of Yomm, young youths, members of Adumm, adult Youths, aged and sick people and of course members of the HCA who are in the Junior presidium of Legion of Mary. And so on.
However, this call to be missionaries is a volunteer work. One is expected to be enthusiastic and eager about doing the mission work or supporting the cause. To be a missionary is a call to serve people wholeheartedly and not grudgingly, and to be a fisher of men, women and children for Christ without boundaries through out the whole world. The missionary spirit in all of us should make us have the urge to evangelize, and evangelization has no boundary.
As difficult as this has been over the years, the advent of the new technology of social media has made the whole world a global village and has removed the boundarieslimiting evangelization. The most users of this technology are the young people who are born into it.
The Holy See has therefore decided that the year 2018 World Mission Sunday be dedicated to youths with the theme:WITH THE YOUTH WE PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL.The Holy Father’s speech has long since been sent to all the parishes in the Diocese.
The Youths made up of YOMM and ADUMM should boldly take up this responsibility that has been entrusted them to secure the future of our Church, the Catholic Church, and uphold all her teachings.
It is worthy of note that a member of the Holy Childhood in Benin ArchDiocese by name Vivian Ogu from Enyiogugu, AbohMbaise, has been appointed, post mortem, for recognition by the Holy See during the celebration of Extra-ordinary Mission Month coming up in October, 2019. As a block rosary member, Vivian still went the extra mile of evangelism and gave her life in practice of what she believed was right. She was murdered for refusing to be raped. May her legacy as a missionary spur our young people today.
The mission week activities which has been going on in the parishes hits her climax today, being mission Sunday. This day marks a new beginning for the Church and creates new spirit of evangelisation in the Church of Christ. People should now begin to ask questions until they find where they belong in this mission. All modalities will be made clear when theyattend the meeting and can ask any question for clarification. But, basically, when we come together, we pray the mission rosary for the five continents of the world in line with the Holy Father’s intentions.
Today, let us all be part of the world mission collections. Let us donate generously to the society that is working assiduously to help poor and developing nations. Let us donate generously to the society that has contributed and is still contributing a good percentage of money on a yearly basis to train our priests and Religious. May the spirit of this mission also enable us to remit all collected monies from our Church on this one day in a year.
God bless us all.
POF Coordinator, Ahiara Diocese and Asst. Secretary, National Joint PMS
08035631212. Sms only pls