/ 24. January 2011 11:28
The Mission Office has always been involved with Mission Appeals in parishes throughout the country. The Appeals are a means of sharing the story of the foreign missions of the Augustinians and are also a means of soliciting financial support for the missions from people of the parish. Traditionally Mission Appeals have been preached by friars, some from the missions and some who have never been to the missions yet who wish to support this ministry by giving their time on the weekend. In recent years the numbers of friars who are able to speak at parishes have declined. The former Augustinian Volunteers were seen as a means to elicit more people to speak at Mission Appeals. But that mentality has changed. The Augustinian Volunteers are not seen as “gap fillers” but as young men and women who have their own mission story, a very powerful story.
When an Augustinian Volunteer speaks at the weekend Masses of a parish they have a valuable story to tell, not just of their mission experience but of who they are as a person. When a young man or women stands before the parish community and tells of their missionary journey, they are speaking of their own individual journey as a person and as a person of faith. How impressed are the parishioners to see a young Catholic man or women talk of their dedication to serving the poor by giving one year of their life in service. It is a powerful message, one not just spoken in words but also in their actions. People expect to hear a friar speak of service, but to hear it from someone in the mid 20’s is inspiring to all of us. How blessed we are to have these Augustinian Volunteers not only in the mission countries but in sharing their story in our own country.