World Mission Sunday: Center gives hope to girls escaping gender-based violence

| Deacon Mickey Friesen | October 9, 2014 | 0 Comments

Mtwara, Tanzania - December 3, 2008: The Village.It is difficult to witness the continuing news of people around the world in harm’s way. Whether it be ethnic and religious conflict in the Middle East, border violence in the Ukraine and on our southern border, or Ebola outbreaks in West Africa, many people are looking for relief and refuge, a place of sanctuary. And they are looking for hope.

There are many types of sanctuaries. People who flee because of war seek sanctuary in a neighboring country. Others cross borders looking for the sanctuary of a better life to raise a family. Still others will say their sanctuary is located in a quiet, secluded place where they can find peace and refreshment away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. And, of course, there is the sanctuary at our place of worship where God’s life is made manifest to us. It is the place we are reminded of God’s presence with us in his word and sacrament. It is where the community can join in communion and faith with Christ. A sanctuary is a holy space where life is protected and where goodness, truth and beauty are affirmed.

Sanctuaries give hope.

This year for World Mission Sunday (Oct. 19), we are highlighting the evangelizing efforts in the Diocese of Musomo in Tanzania, which has created a sanctuary for young girls at risk of gender-based violence. The name of the center is “Jipe Moyo,” Swahili for “Give Hope.” This center gives hope to girls in crisis by offering love, hospitality and caring services necessary for healing. The girls are given a chance to continue their education and follow their dreams into the future. At this center, the hope of Christ is made real every day in the service of missionary sisters who accompany the girls.

This is just one example of what missionaries are doing around the world as they share the joy of the Gospel. They build sanctuaries of hope where Christians can gather to share the Eucharist and build the Body of Christ. They create sanctuaries of peace for those who seek refuge from the wounds of war and ethnic conflict.

Center for Mission: http://www.centerformission.org

Society for the Propagation of the Faith: http://www.onefamilyinmission.org

Missionaries provide sanctuaries of healing for the most vulnerable, the sick, the elderly, the poor, the dying. The missionary life is about being a living sanctuary of hope for all they meet. They take to heart St. Peter’s words of encouragement: “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for the reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15).

Pope Francis has said that “a clear sign of the Church’s catholicity is that she speaks in all languages. And this is nothing other than the effect of Pentecost. It is the Holy Spirit, in fact, who has enabled the apostles and the entire Church to resonate with all, to the ends of the earth, the good news of salvation and of the love of God.” The apostolic life is anchored in Christ, but always ready to move, to be sent forth.

The Christian Gospel of hope is to offer a glimpse of God’s reign of peace and justice in the lives of Christians creating sanctuaries of that reality here and now. We initiate programs of feeding and clothing and welcoming the poor in the hope that hunger, nakedness and homelessness may be no more. We participate in peacemaking and reconciliation programs in the hope that we will learn to love our neighbors as ourselves.

On this World Mission Sunday, let us remember the reason for our hope — Jesus Christ. And let us be ready to proclaim this Gospel of hope with our lives by contributing to the Church in mission around the world, building and sustaining sanctuaries — holy places of refuge in the Body of Christ. Let us each do our part to give hope in Christ.

Deacon Friesen is director of the archdiocesan Center for Mission.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: World Mission Sunday