Our annual celebration of mission in the Leeds Diocese took place on Tuesday 23 May. We joined Red Box supporters and volunteers from across the Diocese at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church (Parish of St John Mary Vianney), Leeds.

We shared an uplifting Mass, presided over by Missio Diocesan Director, Fr Jonathan Hart. Fr Emmanuel Mbeh MHM and Fr Yemane Aradom (Assistant Parish Priest at Immaculate Heart) concelebrated.

Trusting the Spirit

In his Homily Fr Jonathan spoke about the importance of the Holy Spirit to all who live in mission. He explained that we cannot judge how the Spirit is working. He gave an example of how he sometimes might feel he’s given an excellent homily and later realises it has fallen flat; whilst at other times, when he feels his words were uninspiring, someone will speak to him afterwards and say how encouraging they found them. Fr Jonathan reminded us not to worry too much, because the Spirit will provide. We don’t know how God’s Spirit is at work. And we need to be open to listening to and trusting in it.

Special Music

We enjoyed some wonderful music, with organist Samuel Wilson accompanying the congregation for the hymns and playing us out with an organ voluntary. After Mass we adjourned to the Parish Hall for refreshments, where Fr Emmanuel gave a talk about his experiences as a missionary Priest.  He concluded his presentation by singing his own composition, reflecting on what it means to be a missionary. Fr Emmanuel’s song was inspired by the scripture passage ‘You received without charge, give without charge’ (Matthew 10:8). Samuel and Fr Emmanuel now plan to work together to compose a piece of music – we can’t wait to hear it!

A missionary life

Fr Emmanuel had kindly stepped in as our guest speaker at the twelfth hour. Sr Scholasticah Nganda RSM (PhD), a Kenyan Missionary Sister, who is Director of The Good Shepherd Peace Centre in South Sudan, was originally scheduled to speak. However, she is currently recovering from a serious illness in hospital. We prayed for her during Mass and would ask you to also pray for her full and speedy recovery.

In his talk, Fr Emmanuel shared stories of his home in Cameroon and his family, whom he misses dearly. Fr Emmanuel became a missionary in the 1990s, and has been serving in the UK for ten years now. He explained that he had never intended to become a Mill Hill Missionary, but in the end, that was where God called him to serve.

Listening to him speaking of home, we were struck by how much Fr Emmanuel misses his homeland, and how all missionaries sacrifice so much in being ready to travel to wherever God is calling them to be. We give thanks for Fr Emmanuel, who is sharing our message of Mission with parishes across the north of England. Thank you, Fr Emmanuel, for stepping in and being so open to answering questions and sharing your experiences!

Celebrating our brilliant volunteers

Our Mission Masses are a great opportunity to acknowledge and thank our volunteers, without whom our work would not be possible. Leeds Diocese is no exception, and we were happy to get to meet and thank these amazing people in person. Eddie has been a Local Secretary since 2011, and Michael since 2009. Kevin, who received his Long Service Award a few years ago, has been  Local Secretary since 1978! What an incredible achievement, thank you Kevin, Michael and Eddie, and all our parish volunteers, for everything you do for Missio and Mission!

All together now!

Coming together for Mission Masses is a reminder of the mission we share, and of the support and love we have from communities in England and Wales. As we approach Pentecost, we recommit ourselves to sharing Christ’s mission here on earth, always and with everyone, as one body in him.