The Missionary Call
“Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation”
All baptized Christians are called to be missionaries (to witness to Christ’s love) wherever they are but God calls some to a special ministry that invites them to leave their own country and culture to spread the Good News of the Gospel. These men and women are called missionaries. Missionaries can be lay people, religious sisters, brothers or priests.
Missionaries witness to the Gospel, not simply by preaching verbally, but by listening and learning from others and through their care and concern for the total needs of those with and for whom they serve. Their work is varied and may include parish and general pastoral ministry. They may serve in the fields of health care, social work, child or elder care, education, community development or environmental and sustainable agricultural development.
Commitment to Christ: It’s a radical commitment, originating in Christ’s words to his disciples, “You did not choose me. No, I chose you; to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last.” (John 15: 16) Christ is the focus and foundation of the lives of missionaries and their energy for mission.
Commitment for Life: Missionaries offer their talents, energies and in the case of missionary priests, sisters and brothers their primary religious and life vows for the reign of God, committed to the person and all creation, teaching the mission of Jesus. Living this out is an adventure for life beyond the familiar, to peoples and cultures of the world.
Commitment to Risk: Facing the Unknown: Willingness to risk and to face the unknown is part of the missionary life … in the words of the Apostle Paul, “going as by faith and not by sight – we are full of confidence.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Commitment to be Servants of God’s Word: Missionaries and especially priests in their role serve the Word of God in ways that are suited to the uniqueness of the peoples to whom they are sent and with whom they live; through teaching, dialogue, prayer, celebration and the witness of person and lifestyle.
Commitment through the Sacraments: Through the celebration of the Sacraments, especially Eucharist, missionary priests together with the community, small or large, worship and give thanks to God who nourishes, forgives, heals and renews us. Missionaries are those who have tasted the “goodness of the Lord” and are challenged to be active in sharing Christ’s mission.
Commitment to Bridge Gaps: Through dialogue and friendship, missionary priests and lay missionaries develop a deep respect for peoples of other religious traditions and cultures. Missionaries, at times, find themselves like bridges between differing cultures and religious beliefs. They learn to witness humbly to Christ among them and discover the Spirit of God, mysteriously, wonderfully at work.
Commitment to Justice and Peace: Over the years missionary priests and others have found themselves called to be advocates for justice and peace among the poor and marginalized. They witness to how the oppressed – when brought together and guided by ideals of the Gospel – are able to employ their gifts for their own common good and for the future.
Commitment to Witness to the Sacred: Missionaries see the urgency today of giving witness to the sacredness of the Earth itself. They strive toward the ideal that invites people to care for the God-given gifts of all creation, which sustain them – for in the words of the Canadian Catholic Bishops, “the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor are one”.