on this day when we celebrate the mission of the Church, and those who work towards spreading God’s love and the Gospel, in a way, i feel like it is a holiday! probably because this is what i have dedicated my life to for the past few years, and this is one of my most favorite topics to think about and reflect on.
this morning, sister t and i went to mass at our parish (yes, we are parishioners though it’s super far away, haha), and we met up with brother fabio, a CICM seminarian from brazil. we met him a year ago, and right now he is missioned in another area of the cordilleras (the mountains here in northern luzon), about 14 hours away. yeah, pretty crazy. but it was such a delight to see him! he is like my big brother. it was so nice to spend our morning with that community because our family of parishioners there are so wonderful to us! hugs and kisses and lots of greeting to one another. 🙂 this is the parish where sr. t and i teach confirmation classes, and i have loved my work with the youth there. they really give me so much energy! it was fitting to be there this morning for mass, because that area is the place that holds the hearts of sr. t and i – our place of apostolate, our community that has welcomed us and accepted us to be missioned into their parish.
during the announcements, Fr. was so wonderful in acknowledging the presence of sister and i, as the missionary catechists that are actively involved in the catechism of the church, and he thanked us for the job well done that we have been doing with our confirmandi. as soon as Fr. thanked us, sister t and i looked at each other, and we were affirmed – this is where we belong. God is good for sending us! we are so grateful. and for the past year, my name has been “sister crystal.” go figure! haha.
after breakfast, sr. t, fabio and i caught up on our lives with one another and shared conversation on the beauty of mission and we discussed the call of mission and the vision of mission…we talked on the importance of having a shared vision on mission, and reflected on the fact that not everybody has the same call…we shared our experiences of international mission, and how, again, as baptized christians, ALL are called to be missionaries in their own ways…and we are to support one another in that realization. whatever that ends up looking like.
we talked enculturation – its difficulties, its joys, we talked on the fact that we are VISITORS here. that it is the filipino people – the community and the culture here that have welcomed us, and we are in no place to place demands or expectations on the people and IN the communities that we serve. i think this is something very important to always remember…we must not be oppressive in anything we do, and we have been gifted with such a grace to be able to serve and love the people here. we are not colonizers, and we are simply called to be who we are -authentically so. we are here for the mission, and the mission is NOT here to serve us. sometimes when i remind myself of that reality, it once again puts things into perspective. sometimes it is easy to get lost in intentions. God has continued to affirm and provide us with graces of consolation, especially in times of sincere desolation and moments of confusion. for that, i am grateful.
it is oh so important to have a partner in mission, and i am grateful for the MSC sister, Sr. Terezinha that i have been missioned with. (though i did not meet her until the moment i set foot in baguio city!) she is currently living 70 years of life on earth, and this sister is inspiring. she’s brazilian, she is on fire for mission, and her critical thinking mind continues to always challenge my ways of thinking too. our sociology background definitely unites us. 🙂 – among the many things! she has become the best personal catechist trainer ever, and i look up to her a lot. her dedication, heart of love, and patience with me is pretty amazing too. today she reminded me, “catalan, you can be a catechist anywhere in the world. you’re ready.” and that is awesome to me! Sr. T has become my utmost best friend out here, and what a grace it is to be sent two by two! the fact that she is here, and i am here, and we work so well together, and we share our vision on mission, that is affirmation enough that God knows what He is doing. 🙂
and so, happy world mission sunday! this has been quite the way of living. i would not have it any other way. 🙂 thank you to all who have supported me on my mission…your prayers are working!!