Reflection: 21st October 2018

A Reflection for the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

MK 10: 35-45 ( 

World Mission Sunday

Today we celebrate the Missionary Church. We can be very proud of the great role that Ireland has played in Africa, Asia, South and Central America and Australasia in promoting the Christian message, and in helping the development of so many poor nations.

As a missionary, I spent some years in Ethiopia, Kenya and Eastern Germany. I also worked as a mission-fundraiser in the USA and Canada.  I enjoyed my work both “on the Missions” and raising money for the Missions, mostly for where my fellow-Spiritan missionaries worked in Africa. 

Ethiopia in the 1970s – a war-torn country, with so much poverty – was my first appointment after ordination. We worked there witnessing to the message of Christ and also, through water and medical projects, aiding the development of a beautiful people. In Eastern Germany in the early 1990s, I was a pastor for three years with devout people, largely the children of refugees from the then post-war Czechoslovakia who had suffered communism for almost 50 years but who were cheerful and great Christians. Much of my five years in Kenya was given over to doing water projects in the drought area of Kilimambogo, near Nairobi. 

Working in the Missions is an enjoyable but arduous task but it is so worthwhile to see so many people growing in both their faith and living standard over the years. We Irish can be especially proud of what we as a nation have done for the people of the poorest nations.  Now our priests, sisters and lay brothers have decreased in number, but our ranks are being re-filled by diligent lay missionaries.

To keep all these worthy mission projects going demands a lot of money. Irish people contribute about €1.8 million yearly to support the Missions. Today Mission Sunday, is the main collection day annually.  I urge you all to support this work, remembering that when you give to the poorest of the poor you will get your reward. As we are told in the Scriptures, the Lord loves a cheerful giver. We thank you for your generosity and we look forward to helping many of the poorest of the poor. God bless you all.

Fr. Brendan Duggan C.S.Sp. – Now back in Ireland and based in Athea parish in his native Co. Limerick, Fr. Brendan has served in East Africa and in the eastern part of Germany as well as in North America.