Bringing the Good News to the challenges of our time
AS highlighted in Faith matters last week, a 'Baptised and Sent' conference was among the events marking the Extraordinary Month of Mission in the Diocese of Down and Connor.
It was held last Saturday and followed on Mission Sunday by the annual Mass to celebrate the diocese's Apostolic Work, which does so much to support mission.
Mass was celebrated in St Patrick's Church in Lisburn and in his homily, Bishop Noel Treanor paid tribute to the volunteers who "for three years short of a century... have offered that vital support to missionaries and the communities they served in far flung places".
"The work and support of our 55 branches and some 300 members has continued to sustain the work of so many missionaries," said Dr Treanor.
"It has provided a lifeline for them as they struggled to find support for their pioneering work.
"And no doubt that precious link has kept up the heart of many a missionary in moments when isolation and other trials may have pulled on their personal reserves of determination and resilience."
Dr Treanor said the core challenge of the Extraordinary Month of Mission for each believer was "our mission as Christians in response to the Good News of the gospel for the issues and challenges facing humanity in our times".
These challenges, he said, included "the inviolability of human life, the phenomenon of migration, the plight of migrants and refugees, homelessness, addictions, the loss of meaning for life and living, the search for such meaning by so many, climate change and its impact on the environment and future generations, the governance of the world economy and its financial systems and the values with which they are governed, inter-faith understanding and dialogue, the legitimacy of democracy, the development of our international institutions of governance" and represented "mission terrain for Christians and for civic Christian action".
The bishop reminded Apostolic Work how its work had, over decades, "enabled missionaries to unleash and realise talents, through the inspiration of the Good News of the gospel, which they might never have unleashed at home, for the development of peoples in all kinds of sectors of life and in all kinds of predicaments".
"It is our task... to imagine and devise ways in which we can play our part in addressing those contemporary needs which characterise our context and setting," he said.