Sending on Mission Ad Gentes

“I am not from here or there, but from wherever it pleases God that I should be…”

On 4 October, feast of St Francis of Assisi, we celebrated in thanksgiving the sending on mission Ad Gentes of Sister Sonia Joao Chilave, sent to the Province of Espana-Norte for the mission in Equatorial Guinea and Sister Sabina Konopka, sent to the Province of Central Africa.

Lauds, during which we praised God with all creation, preceded the Eucharist.

The celebration opened with a hymn in Polish that focused on mission.

In his homily, Father José Antonio Gonzalez drew on the day’s Gospel to highlight two important aspects of following Jesus: the joy in the mission and the challenge involved. He then wished Sister Sonia and Sister Sabina happiness in the certainty that it is God who has sent them and that the Spirit will always rekindle goodness in their hearts. He invited them to risk loving those who are poor with the same love that God has for them and that Christ has for poor persons! Finally, he asked them to celebrate fraternity with their Sisters and be, among them, a new vigor of tenderness and missionary joy.

Sister Françoise Petit handed to each of them a missionary cross which had been blessed beforehand; this is always an emotional moment for all of us!

After the prayer of intercessions, the procession of gifts expressed the meaning of this sending on mission:

The candle, bearer of Light, a call to follow Jesus, our true Light and to allow ourselves to be renewed by the Spirit.

The drum, sign of joy, a call to draw this from the Source of love and to communicate it.

The wine, sign of celebration, a call to look at Mary at Cana and to believe in the revolutionary power of tenderness (cf. The Joy of the Gospel No. 288).

The bread, necessary for life, a call to share the Gospel with our brothers and sisters, with patient and respectful love, because only God gives faith.

The final song, in Portuguese, “Luz de Pentecostes” was composed for the fourth centenary of Saint Louise’s Light of Pentecost.

In this moment of joyful celebration, St Vincent reminds us that we are not “from here or there, but from wherever it pleases God” that we should be.

Godspeed Sister Sonia and Sister Sabina!

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