Missionaries and vocations

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Many are called to consider a life of giftedness and love to help God’s people.

By Father Philip Kenedy
President, Catholic Missions In Canada

In Catholic Missions in Canada, we who work with and support the “labourers in the vineyard” are continually impressed by the commitment, and by the heroic example of the missionaries.

Our missionaries are seen to witness the call to spend their lives spreading the Word of God, and helping those entrusted to their care with the tasks of coming to know God through Jesus Christ.

Daughters of Providence Sisters in their horse-drawn wagon, at Whitefish mission in Big River First Nation, Saskatchewan, ca. 1941. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Prince Albert

Our missionary sisters often give their whole lives to the sacred work of serving the communities of our various mission dioceses. True pioneers, they have been known to make immense sacrifices in isolated locales, teaching the people the faith and preparing them for the sacraments. This is part of what is meant by vocation. The call from Christ Himself to an individual in faith is taken seriously, and with the awareness that God will supply the grace to fulfill that vocation. The Grey Sisters, the Sisters of Saint Anne, the Ursulines and Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, as well as many other women’s orders have given their energy to the people, to help the spiritual life grow.

Over the past decades many priests, too, have given of themselves to sanctify the Christian Community in which they worked. Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Jesuits, diocesan priests, the Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy, and several others, have done just what the Catechism of the Catholic Church demands: handing on the faith from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer. (Prologue, Item 3)

In addition to sisters and priests, there are religious brothers who assist in the onerous tasks of building up the Church. We also count lay men and women among the many who devote themselves to the missions in Canada. These lay men and women sustain the Word of God by catechesis, sacramental preparation, and community service.

Of enormous importance is the vocation that is still proposed and held out to men and women, especially in their younger years, to consider a life of giftedness and love to help God’s people to find their way to Christ Our Lord.

It is fitting for us to pray fervently for young people to consider and commit themselves to the life to which God is calling them. The urgent need of priests, sisters, religious, deacons and lay persons in the Church needs to be answered by responding to the vocation that Jesus extends.

Reprinted from Catholic Missions In Canada magazine, Fall 2014.