MISSION SENDING CEREMONY: 27 NOVEMBER 2010

Today seventeen people, lay, religious and ordained, hailing from different countries of Asia and the Pacific, received their Mission Crosses and their Diploma attesting to their having successfully completed their Mission Formation and Spirituality course at Euntes Mission Center in Zamboanga City.

The course had started last July 1st. In the next few days the participants will leave the Center to return to resume their former assignments or to take on new ones.

The Euntes Program, run by the PIME Missionaries in cooperation with the OND Sisters (Oblates of Notre Dame), is intended for all people who seek to be at the service of God’s mission especially in the local Churches of Asia and Pacific. It aims at a renewed mission formation and spirituality that reflects the freshness of life in the Spirit of Jesus, the model missioner and evangelizer. This Program seeks to invite adult participants to be engaged in a process of learning the ways of discipleship of our time and context.

The Sending Ceremony took place during a solemn Eucharistic Celebration presided by Father Giulio F. Mariani, PIME, Director of the Center and concelebrated by Fr. Gianni Re, PIME Regional Superior in the Philippines, Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME, Past President of Silsilah Movement and Fr. Angel Calvo, CFM, Euntes Staff Consulter. Several visitors, all associated with the participants, were in attendance.

At the end of the celebration, the participants were given the Euntes Cross, symbol of their mission commitment, and were awarded their Euntes Diplomas.

The following is the text of the homily given by Father Mariani:

Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Revelation 22:1-7; Luke 21: 34-36

The countdown is over…you are on the launching pad and all systems are ‘go’ and you are ready to take off…You  have been together for the past five months and it’s time to go…to reach out…Euntes in mundum universum…That’s the reality of the Euntes Mission Center.

When you arrived last July, you were strangers to one another because you had come from different places and you were of different nationalities, cultures, languages and personal experiences. Each one of you, with your set of God-given ‘talents’, set out on a journey together and slowly grew into the Euntes family, brothers and sisters in the same mission of wanting to spread the Good News of the love of God, and go and tell the story of Jesus with your life more than with your words.

The time is now because you are about to go and reach out to your brothers and sisters, especially to those in the margins. You are ready to reach out aware that you are being sent to tear down barriers and cross boundaries in order to enter in dialogue with different cultures and religions in a highly secularized and globalized world, a world that suffers because human beings have dealt arrogantly with the integrity of creation for so long and the 11th hour has now sounded its death knell!

We celebrate our Euntes Mission Sending Ceremony in the context of the Eucharist because we know that it is here that we find the food for our mission journey. It is here where we can drink abundantly of the all embracing love of God, drinking of the Word and eating the Bread of Life, our Burning Bush.

On days such as this, we normally propose special readings, but I decided to use the readings of the day to give our small gathering an ecclesial breath and dimension. We wish to be a renewed Church, ready to shift paradigms and welcome the challenge of inculturation, prepared to break open the Word of God to all who suffer or are afflicted because they are women, children, migrants, refugees, in prison or in hospitals, all of them marginalized.

Tomorrow Advent starts. Missionaries are people who live permanently in the spirit of Advent, preparing and longing for the coming of the Kingdom all year long. Missionaries cry out: Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus! with the witness of their life as they always try to listen as lovers and dreamers to the Voices that challenge.

In today’s first Reading the angel shows John, the Seer, a ‘river’ that flows from under the throne of God and of the Lamb. On either side of the river grows ‘the tree of life’ bearing fruit every month and its leaves ‘serve as medicine for the nations’.

These words speak of the inauguration of the Kingdom that you and I are called to build every day for we know that the Kingdom is already present among us, but not yet fully realized.

Yesterday, synthesis reflections day, was the day of truth for your integration group and each one of you…you chose symbols and key words to express your commitment to go and build the Kingdom…May your ‘word’ become flesh/ history in the same way that the Eternal Word of God, the Missionary of the Father, became flesh and history.

Today’s Gospel page gives us the two guiding imperatives for our mission journey: Vigilance and prayer…”Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

There is joy in your heart, eager as you are to return to your various assignments and put to practice what you have learned and experienced here. Your Bishops, your Superiors and your local communities are joyfully looking forward to your return counting on you to bring a breath of fresh air because of your renewed mission formation and spirituality.

There is also a twinge of sadness as you say goodbye to friends you have become close to over the past few months. Fond memories of the days spent in the ‘warm and cozy nest’ that Euntes proved to be for all of you will surely be there, but the time has come for you to be true to your name for you are the Euntes community/ the Reach Out community!

There is joy in the hearts of all the Euntes Staff for bringing to a successful conclusion another batch. And I assure you that there is joy in the heart of the PIME Missionaries who, after working for over a hundred and sixty years with a special attention for Asia and the Pacific, founding many local Dioceses and spreading the Good News revealed in the story of Jesus, see themselves prevented from going to some of these countries because of Visa restrictions…they see in each of you one very precious extension, trusting that Euntes has succeeded in transmitting to you some of its mission charisma.

May Mary, Queen of the Apostles, Star of Evangelization, accompany you as you go and tell your story weaving it with the story of Jesus, her Son.

(Slideshow of some of the photos)

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