By: ECM’s Stella Zulu
Following Pope Francis’ setting aside of October 2019 as an Extraordinary Missionary Month (EMM) to foster greater awareness of Missio Ad Gentes and animate the missionary transformation of church life and pastoral activities, National and Diocesan Directors of Pontifical Mission Societies of Malawi and Zambia, held a regional meeting, with Zimbabwe in absentia, to share best preparatory approaches of evangelization and also promoting Missionary Cooperation within the region
During this meeting, the directors reflected on the opportunity that has been given for them to reflect and revisit the foundational mission document Maximum Illud and subsequent important document on missionary activity Ad Gentes In missionary promotion
The Directors gave updates on national preparations for the EMM October 2019 for a common understanding and approach to the celebration and discussed the way forward. Reports on PMS activities carried out in their particular dioceses were also presented. Further to that, the directors reflected on the role of PMS in the church and shared individual understanding of PMS for the renewal and personal commitment in carrying out their duties in the particular dioceses they serve.
Addressing the directors during the meeting, the Director of Radio Maria Malawi, Fr. Joseph Kimu who was one of the presenters at the meeting, challenged that for the revival of missionary consciousness in the church, the PMS Directors have a greater work to do in the mission of the church and they must therefore, find ways to motivate people
“As PMS Directors, you have a greater burden to convince, first the priests and religious and then the laity of your local churches to collaborate in the various missionary activities which PMS promotes every year. This then calls for Theological, Spiritual and Pastoral catechesis on the missionary nature of the church”. Said Fr. Kimu
He also encouraged the directors to always be strong in doing the mission work through the realization that Jesus Christ is the first missionary as he came down from heaven to save mankind from sin and eternal damnation and pledged his followers to be missionaries.
On his part, the National PMS Director for Zambia, Rev Fr. Edwin Mulandu, addressed the Directors on the Nature, Mission and Ecclosiological Missionary Role of PMS Today. It was said that there is need for comprehensive approach towards animation, encourage lay faithful participation in missionary cooperation, ongoing formation to continue cultivating the missionary consciousness in children and the elderly and also integrated approach towards promotion of all the four societies of PMS.
In common sharing of ideas to address problems PMS is facing, the directors resolved to promote and make well known the other three societies of PMS due to the realization that Holy Childhood is the most popular and well known society than the others. They also shared the role of PMS in the universal and local church, stressed the need to Implement Episcopal Conferences’ and diocesan Child protection policies due to the fact that they are in constant interactions with children and encouraged each other to continue motivating parish priests to remit collections realized on PMS main events on time.
The regional meeting was held at Montfort Lake house Conference center in the Diocese of Mangochi in Malawi as a remote preparation for the local churches of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe for the EMM October 2019 celebration and also to promote missionary Cooperation in the mission work of the church. Zimbabwe team was in absentia due to unforeseen circumstances