Formation for men on Mission Sunday
Tetere, Solomon Islands: Over a hundred fathers of Christ the King Parish Tetere, came together from 23rd -24th October 2021, for a faith formation and re-evangelisation in the rural Catholic community of Suaghi with the theme of this year’s World Mission Day – “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
This follows the message given by Pope Francis "…the Lord summons each of us to “own” and to bring to others what we bear in our hearts. This mission has always been the hallmark of the Church, for “she exists to evangelize.” “We were created for a fulfilment that can only be found in love” (Fratelli Tutti, 68).
A well planned and executed program helped and inspired the ‘Papas’ to create new initiatives and to shape and transform communities of men and women who, by learning to accept their own frailty and that of others, promote fraternity and social friendship (Fratelli Tutti, 67). The ecclesial community of Suaghi felt the loving predilection of the Lord, the fraternity of belongingness and brotherhood and to be in a state of mission.
After the welcome by the Vice Chairman of the Papas group, Mr. John Manangelea, one of the Catholic leaders took over giving the first talk on Family Life and Importance of Christian family. He said married life has its foundation in Christ and the Word of God and a family that prays together stays together. Explaining the book of Genesis and letter of Paul to the Ephesians, he explained the importance of responding to God's vocation as married couples.
“We see the world going through a crisis of gay and lesbian marriages. That is not God's plan. We disobey the plan of God if we get into these kinds of modern false practices”, he stated.
Speaking to the mothers who were present was Mrs. Manangelea, who stressed on the need to be a true companion and support. She said their daily encouragement and response to duties, strengthened their husbands in the family. “We work in the family generously because we love our family. We maintain a clean environment in and around the family. We always walk the extra mile because of our love for our children”, she said.
The day concluded with the movie “Fireproof” and a meal of grilled fish and pork with singing and praising God till midnight.
On the second day, the Mission Sunday was celebrated by Parish Priest Fr. Robinson Parappilly sdb. A well animated liturgy sponsored by the youth was very cultural and meaningful.
In his homily Fr. Robinson reflected on the importance of mission work for the life of the Church. It was a reminder that families were one with the Church and had the commitment of carrying on the mission of Christ, however difficult the situations may be.
“The greatest missionary challenge that we face at home is a secular and consumerist culture in which God is not important, moral values are shattered. Our children and young people need good role models to be good Christians”, he told the Papas.
He went on to share the story of Bartimaeus and urged the participants to also seek the love, mercy, and goodness of Jesus with trusting faith. “Sometimes our fears, anger, and habitual sins prevent us from approaching God in prayer. At times, we even become angry with God when He seems slow in answering our prayers. In these desperate moments, let us approach Jesus as Bartimaeus did and listen carefully to Jesus asking, “What do you want me to do for you?” and tell Him all our heart’s intentions and needs”, he added.
A well-prepared catechetical instruction on the Apostle and Nicene Creed by Fr Robinson, then followed. Some of the Anglican brothers also joined in for the instructions. There was also testimony and sharing.
Mr. Peter from Talaura community shared, “The month of the Holy Rosary has brought the statue of Mother Mary into our homes and this gathering of Papas in the community has changed my life. I want to come back to Jesus. I was a drunkard and now I am trying to change. Jesus came for us sinners. I am happy to be part of faith formation. Let the spirit of God continue to prepare us for eternal life".
"We are living at a stage where children disobey parents, not respecting and lots of evil practices happening in our communities. It is one of the steps we are taking to amend our life and correct certain evil practices to bring peace and harmony to our families”, commented Mr. James from Suaghi.
At the end of the day a fraternal meal was shared by all and the Christian community.
The program was an initiative of the Catholic Papas to go to villages and build up ecclesial families and bring back the lost sheep to the fold.