BY Ian Dunn | October 20 2017 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Scottish Catholics urged to be smiling, joyful missionaries

Missio Scotland’s message of joy and hope ahead of Mission Sunday

Catholics have been urged to be smiling, joyful missionaries here in Scotland.

Ahead of Mission Sunday on October 15, Sr Stacey Cameron from Missio Scotland urged Catholics to ‘always have a reason for the hope that is in you.’

And the Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh has echoed the comments, urging Catholics to be missionaries here in Scotland and welcome priests from former missionary lands.

“By divine mandate, the Church is always missionary, is always seeking to bring the love and the peace of Christ to the four corners of the globe—that is why the work of Missio Scotland is as important in 2017 as ever it was in the past,” Archbishop Leo Cushley said. “Such is the economy of salvation, that we in Scotland are also now being blessed by the presence of priests from missionary lands and formerly missionary lands in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Indeed, only last week I entrusted our parish in Craigmillar, Edinburgh, to a Capuchin order that hails from Kerala in India.”

Bishop John Keenan of Paisley used a radio interview this week to also call on ordinary Catholics to start being more evangelical.

“The Church exists to evangelise; it’s our raison d’etre,” he said. “It’s a contradiction in terms to be a Christian and not want to pass on that Good News to others. I think Catholics have felt that is something for the professionals, it’s something for priests [and] religious Sisters—and not realised it’s something for every single Baptised Christians to do.”


Good News

Sr Stacey Cameron of Missio Scotland said the missionary vocation is ‘part of our Christian identity—with no exceptions.’

“All of us who are Baptised in Christ are called to share the Good News with others,” she said. “This missionary vocation is always relevant but especially today in our secularised society where so many with whom we live side-by-side don’t know Jesus and the joy and hope and love that knowing Him brings.”

She said that though ‘church attendance here seems to be in decline,’ in many parts of the world ‘it is growing and that could happen here too.’

“Smile!” she said. “Pope Francis is always calling us to be joyful witnesses to the Lord. And as in the first letter of St Peter, always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that is in you.

“Take time to be formed in Faith, to know the Lord personally, and the longing to share Him with others will come on its own.”

“The seeds sown by many missionaries from our own land in the past are bearing fruit and they in turn are sowing seeds of Faith by their service here,” she added. “That is part of the beauty of being a Universal Church—a Church that spans far beyond our own parish, our own diocese and our own country.”


Missionary nature

In Pope Francis’ message for World Mission Sunday he said that the Church is missionary by nature, otherwise she ‘would no longer be the Church of Christ, but one group among many others that soon end up serving their purpose and passing away.’

“We are challenged to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the peripheries in need of the light of the Gospel,” the Pope said. “The Church’s mission impels us to undertake a constant pilgrimage across the various deserts of life, through the different experiences of hunger and thirst for truth and justice.”

The Pope also praised the Pontifical Mission Societies, including Missio Scotland, as a ‘precious means of awakening in every Christian community a desire to reach beyond its own confines and security in order to proclaim the Gospel to all.’

“In them, thanks to a profound missionary spirituality, nurtured daily, and a constant commitment to raising missionary awareness and enthusiasm, young people, adults, families, priests, bishops, and men and women Religious, work to develop a missionary heart in everyone,” he said. “World Mission Day, promoted by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, is a good opportunity for enabling the missionary heart of Christian communities to join in prayer, testimony of life and communion of goods, in responding to the vast and pressing needs of evangelisation.”


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