“The Harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few” (Luke 10:2).
In response to this divine call, we have been invited to work in the vineyard of the Lord, as sincere and honest laborers. In carrying out this missionary mandate, we organize and animate various missionary activities.
With this missionary spirit, we, Sr. Rose Mary Michel, Sr. Namitha Louis, Sr. Chinny Gundapu, Sr. Priyanka Fatima Raj and I participated in the 3rd GGM Mission Congress at CIAL Golf Course, Nedumbassery, Ernakulam for five days (1-5 May 2019).
When we organize any significant event, it is very important to look for the right time and apt circumstances to make it successful and effective. In carrying out any of our missionary services, making use of the suitable occasions and contexts is fundamental. In this sense, we made use of the wonderful opportunity offered by “Fiat Mission” to put our Missionary stall with creative initiatives and in an attractive manner.
Before getting into the details of this Mission Congress, we would like to start with some useful information about the “Fiat Mission”. It is a Missionary movement founded by the lay people in the state of Kerala. It is spread all over India and in some parts of Africa, supporting the Catholic Church for Evangelization. Most Rev. Bishop Bosco Puthur and Most Rev. Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal SVD (Indore Diocese) are their Patrons.
1) The purpose of the Congress
The purpose of this Mission Congress was to create a missionary zeal in the hearts of the children, youth, seminarians, priests, candidates for religious life and people of all levels. We tried to make it clear to the participants that we are all called to work for mission and evangelization.
The aim of this congress was also to create more interest and enthusiasm to opt for mission, by way of prayers, apostolic services and collaboration with the missionaries present in all over the world. The command given by Jesus to his disciples to go and preach the Good News was the motivating force of our initiative.
2) Details of the 5 day Missionary Program
In these 5 days, we used to have daily Mass in Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankar and Latin rites in Malayalam, Telugu and English. Then the 60 stalls were open throughout the day for the people to visit. Anybody who is interested in the mission could participate in it. Many children, youth, and also elderly people came to us and we helped them understand the importance of mission in various ways.
The stalls were prepared by various Congregations and Diocese of North and North East India. We too had prepared a beautiful stall with the Flags of 12 countries, where we, the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate, are present. Ours was the only stall that showed the internationality representing 5 continents. The colourful flex about the extraordinary missionary month of October 2019 was exposed in our stall. We explained to the people the meaning of the 5 colours of the logo as a symbolic reference to the 5 continents. We also explained to them the theme of the logo: “Baptized and sent”. We taught them that the responsibility of all the baptized is to go out and proclaim the Good news of the Lord. In our talk, we presented to the people the Mission Rosary and taught them how to pray it. We were happy that they listened to us with attention and enthusiasm. And we gave them a leaflet of mission Rosary in vernacular language Malayalam.
The mission wheel was also decorated with 5 colours of the logo (red for America, green for Africa, white for Europe, yellow for Asia and blue for Oceania). The wheel was affixed with some biblical quotations concerning missionary theme. By rotating the wheel, they used to get a biblical verse and a name of the continent which they have to pray for. Really it was attracting everybody.
Besides these, we arranged a Mission ATM [Automated teller machine]. The password of the ATM was: “I want to be a Missionary”. By inserting this Pass Word, one could receive from the ATM a coin with one of the colours of the five continents. The person, who receives the coin, is invited to pray for that continent, and if God wills, he/she can choose to go to that continent as a missionary. This simple and interesting idea of getting a coin from the ATM was much appreciated. It was one way of symbolically creating an interest for the mission in the mind of the people.
; And also, we spoke to the Children about Childhood association infant-adolescent missionaries. Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me” (Mt 19,14) and “Unless you become like little children, you will never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt18:3). As per the Gospel teachings, Missionary service to the children is very important. The childhood association serves the world-wide Church through a distinct focus entirely on children. During these 5 days, we tried to speak to the Children and the parents that Children can also be involved in the missionary call through various ways such as: “children helping children,” by giving witness to our faith enhanced through education, prayer and support from children to children across the globe. Thus, we asked the parents to educate their children with this missionary spirit.
All those who visited our Stall went back happy with full satisfaction that they learnt something useful and interesting about Mission and Evangelization.
3) The creativity or the novelty of the Congress
The Mission Congress 2019 was carried out with some creativity and novelty. We want to highlight some of them here. First of all, the idea of collaborating with “Fiat Mission” and making use of the opportunity to spread our mission in that context was a wonderful idea. Secondly, the International Flags, Flexes, Colourful Decorations were some attractive ways of doing our Mission in an effective manner. Thirdly, the ATM technique and the missionary wheel that we used were a simple idea but it was a creative method to attract the people. Fourthly, we were happy to communicate the International characteristic of our Congregation’s Missionary animation through the 5 colours and the Universality of the Missionary Church.
At the end of the Congress, we were happy that by God’s grace we accomplished our mission with satisfaction. This wonderful experience was useful for the people and it was also a reminder for us that we should always work with new spirit and enthusiasm in carrying out our missionary mandate, so that God’s Kingdom may be built up and this world may become a better place to live in.
Sr. Geeta Manuel, Nellayi – Vijayawada Province