I do remember that our last General Chapter held on 2015 in Rome, came out with a chapter document titled « we are missionaries” (Missionarii Sumus). It called us to be an authentic witness of the Joy of the Gospel by living out a prophetic commitment and a fraternal communion. Yes, the month of October is very special for all the baptised in the Church because we are celebrating the extraordinary missionary month named by the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis. The theme is “Baptized and sent.”
It is always a huge challenge to live out our identity as missionary disciple in this secularized part of the world. However, the Spirit of God impels us to go forward with joy and humility. We are not messiahs, rather prophets.
I hail from a beautiful coastal village called Rajakamangalam Thurai, southern part of Tamil Nadu, India. I am a Tamil-Indian. My vocational journey is a mixture of three M: Missionary, Marian & Maternal. Yes, I have been in different part of India for my initial formation, philosophy and novitiate. Later, I completed my theology in Spain. I have been journeying with the Claretian Missionaries almost twenty years. What a blessing!
After my theology I was sent Canada to live out my missionary commitments. I have been accompanying the youth and immigrants in Canada for the past years. What a joy to walk with them. Right now, I am working as pastor in a multicultural parish in Sherbrooke, Quebec. There are people from 25 different countries, French and Spanish are our main languages.
I do remember that one day a lady from my parish told me “we need foreign priest like you in order to fulfil our sacramental needs”
Another lady, once told me “Thanks for walking with us as a missionary”
I think, you can see the difference in those two interventions. Two different mindsets. The world is full of polarization and as a Missionary I would like to contribute to building bridges between cultures as Jesus did. We are not foreigners in Canada, rather we are missionaries. And wherever we go as baptized followers of Christ we go as Missionaries.
Today I thank the Lord for my vocation as Claretian Missionary as we celebrate the month of October. It is a special month dedicated to our Founder St. Anthony Mary Claret whose feast will be celebrated on 24th October. A great missionary preacher, founder, Archbishop and confessor. All of these responsibilities he carried out with great zeal and enthusiasm.
The other day one young man said to me: “Father, it is really very hard to be a Christian and missionary in Quebec.” I told him: “Welcome to the gang. We know that there is nothing impossible and with God everything is possible.”
We have a God who is a missionary in nature because he was sent by his Father to this broken world and to this mess in order to make it beautiful, fraternal and interesting. So as baptized followers of Christ we are called to continue the good work of our Master in our religious life through our particular religious charism. So that we can help build the kingdom of God without losing sight of our eternal home, which is Heaven. We are not foreigners, we are Missionaries!
Written by: Père Reegan Soosai CMF