”Every Christian is called to be a missionary”

For the first time in history, the Diocesan directors of Missio Nordica gathered for a regional conference. The main topic of the meeting was to discuss how the Nordic Catholic Dioceses can support the Mission and the young Churches around the World. The conference took place in the Diocese of Reykjavik (Iceland) between the 21st and the 23rd of September. It was hosted by Bishop David Tencer and the national director for Missio Nordica, Ivan Sovic.

The Diocesan directors from the five Nordic countries – Mrs. Anna Sandberg Sweden, Mrs. April Frigge from Iceland, Deacon Sindre-Jakob Bostad from Norway, Fr. Nguyen Toan Tri Paolo from Finland and Fr. Minh Quang Josef Nguyen from Denmark – received extensive introduction to the goals and history of the work of the Pontifical Mission Societies and the vision of its foundress – blessed Pauline Jaricot.

The foundress, blessed Pauline Jaricot (1799-1862) was a lay woman who through her love of Jesus Christ and her deep determination to support missionaries around the globe, initiated a movement which in a short time, became a great force of faith within the Catholic Church.

The theological and formative guidance during the meeting was provided by three eminent guest speakers from the Pontifical Mission Societies:

  • Father Dinh Anh Nhue Nguyen, OFM Conv, Secretary General of the Pontifical Missionary Union
  • Father Tadeusz Jan Nowak, OMI, Secretary General of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith
  • Father Karl Wallner, National Director of Missio Austria

Father Dinh Anh Nhue Nguyen spoke about “Announcing Christ in Europe from the Apostolic Times to the third Millennium”. Topics included were: How and why are we called to be missionaries? What is the core of the missionary task? Is mission an easy thing to do? What do we do if we encounter difficulties?

Father Dinh Anh Nhue offered comments on relevant parts of the Gospel and reviewed several key documents issued by the Church’s magisterium. Among them, the apostolic exhortations Evangelii Gaudium – On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today´s World (by Pope Francis) and Ecclesia in Europa – On Jesus Christ Alive in His Church – the Source of Hope for Europe (by Pope John Paul II).

Father Tadeusz Jan Nowak spoked of “The Nature and Charism of the Pontifical Mission Societies and their place in the Universal Church”. He told the participants the stories of Missio movement´s great role models: Pauline Jaricot, Charles de Forbin-Janson (French bishop and founder of the Pontifical Society of Holy Childhood whose motto is “Children evangelizing children, children praying for the children, children helping children worldwide”) and Msgr. Jules-Alphonse Cousin, who founded what is today the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, which promotes the awareness of the need to develop the local clergy and consecrated life in recently founded missionary Churches.

He also explained the role of the National and Diocesian Directors of Missio and the relationship of the National Directions to the General Secretariats of PMS.

Finally, the National Director of Missio Austria joined the meeting via a Zoom call to speak about the work done by Missio in Austria. ”It is all about Faith” he said, quoting Pope Francis who reminds us that WE ARE THE MISSION. We have to love Jesus and believe in what He teaches us. We have to believe that He is the Son of God and the Redeemer. That our work – the work of Missio – is about bringing the Love of Jesus to people around us.

Anna Sandberg

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