“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Good News” was the theme of a thanksgiving Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral for 25 years of the Australian mission office for the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.
Papua New Guinean Cardinal John Ribat MSC presided over the colourful and heartwarming Mass on 9 July, which brought together faithful from all over the world—especially the office’s regional partners Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Vietnam and Africa.
Choirs from Sydney’s Filipino, Indonesian and Vietnamese communities led the singing, and hymns and prayers including parts of the Eucharistic prayer were prayed in different languages.
The offertory procession was led by Samoan dancers in traditional costume and the Gospel was processed by representatives of the Papua New Guinean community, accompanied by drums and the blowing of a conch shell.
The late Fr Adrian Meaney MSC established the office in 1998 to support a lay movement of outreach and support locally and internationally.
Speaking to supporters after the Mass, the current director Fr Roger Purcell MSC said that the understanding of mission had changed along with the church’s growth in developing countries.
Mission today means “to be more the church that we are supposed to be, a church of communion, unity and diversity, respect and love.”
“It’s no longer out there amongst people who haven’t heard it,” Fr Purcell said.
“Many of the people we went out to on mission are no longer a mission, they’re a church.
“And the MSC mission office is to encourage a missionary spirit among the faithful encouraging all to become mission-minded.
“That’s what we’re here for. If the church is not on mission, if we’re not evangelising, then we’re not church.
The Mass was also an occasion to celebrate the 7 July feast day of Papua New Guinea’s Blessed Peter to Rot.
Directors of the seven regional offices then came together for three days of conference and in-service.
Celebrations concluded with an open day at the Kensington mission office and monastery on 15 July.