Limerick Outreach Missions
Any baptised person that takes their faith seriously must at some stage ask themselves the question: "What activities in my life are visible expressions of what I believe?" Pope Francis suggests that: “Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel.”—(The Joy of the Gospel, #20.) Missionary activity, therefore, is not the sole responsibility of the clergy and religious communities but of all God's people.
Of course it is not possible for every Christian to go to the physical "peripheries' to witness to the gospel and indeed there are many missionary activities in which one can become engaged here at home but at the same time, people with a sense of adventure are in every community who may be prepared to take the risk of giving a year of their lives in a foreign country for the sake of the gospel they profess.
To this end, Limerick Diocese is setting up an outreach programme, under the auspices of the Missionary Society of St. Columban, to foster a small group of lay people who may be willing to witness to their faith in mainland China. At present, China has a shortage of foreign language College teachers and welcomes graduates who are prepared to teach English. The specific discipline in which one has a degree does not matter- neither does one need a teaching certification although that would be an asset. Most foreign teachers are engaged in teaching Oral English and with students that are so eager to learn and where discipline is never a problem, it can easily become a labour of love.
Ostensibly, China professes to allow freedom of religious expression but in practice all religious organisations come under the control of the Government and open proselytising is prohibited. At the same time, the seeds of faith can be sown through one's lifestyle and in the care and love one shows to one's students who are instinctively curious about everything their foreign teachers do.
If you are thinking of taking early retirement, or planning a career break, or are a recently qualified graduate and are interested in participating in this new venture or would like further information feel free to contact:
Fr. Leslie McNamara at 085-249-5988 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fr. Leslie, who has spent a number of years in China will be more than happy to assist you in any way.
Image: The Logo of St James the Apostle
The journey from Limerick to Lima began on January 1st 2004. Fr. David Costello sought permission from Bishop Murray to go on Mission to South America. He joined the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle ( http://www.socstjames.com/ ) and after completing language study in Bolivia he was appointed to Peru. His first appointment was to the city of Chimbote some 6 hours drive north of Lima.
From the very beginning it was Bishop Murray’s wish that a Mission link would be established between Peru and Limerick. That opportunity came in Feb 2006 when Fr. David was asked to move from Chimbote to Lima so as to establish a new mission/parish. After just one year the new mission was ready to be named a parish and so “El Resucitado” was officially created on 4th February 2007. Bishop Murray travelled from Limerick to Lima to be present for the ceremony; his presence was seen by all as a visible sign of solidarity between the Diocese of Limerick and the parish of “El Resucitado” in Lima.
Also, in 2007 Fr. Derek Leonard sought permission from Bishop Murray to go on Mission to South America. He too joined the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle and went to Bolivia for language study.
In December 2007 Fr. Derek joined Fr. David at “El Resucitado” and together they work what has become known as the ‘Limerick Peru Mission’.
The parish of “El Resucitado” (The Resurrected One) is situated in a suburb on the eastern side of Lima. Lima itself has a population of 8.5 million people. A recent census revealed that the parish area has a population of approx 120,000 people, most of whom live in a situation of dire/extreme poverty.
Both Derek and David live and work in a very different situation to what they would have been used to in Limerick. The main thrust of their ministry is in the area of Evangelisation and Social Outreach. The Mission is funded entirely by the generosity of so many good people in Ireland, especially in the Limerick area, and they continue to be humbled by the willingness of so many who are ‘our Partners in Mission’.
See the Limerick Peru Blog http://my.opera.com/limerickperumission/blog/