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Fundamental focus of missionaries should be witnessing to Christ, not giving material help, archbishop says

.- The National Director of the Pontifical Missionary Works in Spain, Archbishop Francisco Perez Gonzalez of the Military Diocese, said this week “the fundamental work of the missionary is to bear witness and proclaim Jesus Christ.”  If missionaries become officials simply charged with, “carrying out humanitarian projects…the true nature of ‘mission,’” is lost, he said.

In an interview with OMPRESS, the archbishop said the missionary “is the best balm for a suffering and hurting society.”  He acknowledged the need for “a greater number of missionaries,” given the advanced average age of today’s missionaries.  He said that while young people are “excited about the missions,” when it comes to mission for one’s entire life, “they find that more difficult.”

Nevertheless, he noted, there are still people willing to leave behind everything for the Gospel.  “There are many who do so. There are priests, religious, and lay people (especially married couples) who leave everything—even a successful career—and they go to the missions.  Also, during the summer, many young people accompany missionaries and this helps many of them to consider their own missionary vocation,” he added.

Archbishop Perez also noted that as a special collection will take place on October 22 for World Mission Sunday, he is hopeful that the people of Spain will continue to offer generously to the missions.  “After the United States, Spain is the country that contributes most to the Pontifical Missionary Works,” he said.

“Spain has always been very missionary-minded,” the archbishop went on, but he noted the urgent need for “a new evangelization because of the secularism that is reigning throughout Europe.”


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April 24, 2014

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