On Wednesday 7 June we were lucky enough to share a special Mission Mass with supporters and volunteers from the Diocese of Middlesbrough at English Martyrs RC Church in York. As well as getting to thank our supporters and volunteers in person, we also got to hear more from Fr Emmanuel MHM, and his life in mission.
The Mass was celebrated by Missio Diocesan Director Canon Michael Loughlin and concelebrated by Fr Emmanuel Mbeh MHM, who was also our guest speaker. Helena McGouran, Diocesan Director for Mission Together (Missio’s children’s branch) also joined us and read the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass.
The vital connection
After Mass we gathered in the parish hall for some wonderful refreshments (those homemade sausage rolls were amazing!) and got to know supporters and friends from across the diocese – from York, Middlesbrough, Hull and Yarm. Afterwards, Fr Emmanuel spoke about his home parish, his vocation, his mission and his presence in the UK.
Fr Emmanuel: a life in mission
Fr Emmanuel Mbeh is one of the Mill Hill Missionary appealers in the Northern Dioceses, based in Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Sunderland.
His home parish in the Archdiocese of Bamenda in Cameroon is a vast rural area with about 20 mission stations and 30,000 people. Like many parishes in the diocese and across Africa which were evangelized by the MHM, Fr Emmanuel’s home town continues to be supported by Missio.
Fr Emmanuel began his Mill Hill Missionary formation in 1997at the age of 22. It wasn’t so much that he really wanted to become a missionary – or a Priest. But, he shares, Matthew 10:8:
‘You received without charge, give without charge’
and John 15:16:
‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you’
both spoke strongly to him and compelled him, based on his encounter with the missionaries who evangelized his parish and area. Some, he shares, he found as saintly and compassionate as Saints John Vianney and Vincent de Paul.
After studying in Uganda, Kenya and London, he was ordained in 2007, and sent to the Diocese of Kroonstad in South Africa where he worked for seven years.
The city of Kroonstad lies approximately 200 km south of Johannesburg, on the high inland central plateau. The area is very fertile, and produces much of the country’s wheat, corn, and dairy. It’s also abundant in diamonds and coal.
Despite being the bread basket of the nation, there are thousands of children in the larger Kroonstad Diocese who are suffering from malnutrition and hunger. Many are also living with HIV/AIDS and many have been orphaned.
During his time in Kroonstad Diocese, Fr Emmanuel worked in parish ministry, youth ministry, reconciliation and catechesis.
Coming to the UK
Fr Emmanuel came to the UK nine years ago. After his course on psycho-spirituality and formation, he lived in Liverpool and now Sunderland, doing Mission appeals and caring for retired missionaries as well, re-living their stories of decades of missionary work in many countries and continents.
To be a missionary is to be connected
Fr Emmanuel spoke about the resilience of missionaries working in difficult and sometimes dangerous places. But he also explained that for him, being a missionary is about connecting with others. He explained that we can all offer something for the salvation of others – our time, our prayer, a share of our income, our sufferings – and we can even bless people as we pass them in the street.
All together now!
Fr Emmanuel is forever grateful for the generosity, cheerful giving, sacrifices and benevolence of so many Catholics and non-believers for their kind acts and prayers, that in the words of the founder of the Mill Hill Missionaries, Cardinal Herbert Vaughan, ‘alleviate suffering and save souls’.
We couldn’t agree more, and are so grateful for these opportunities to meet and thank our supporters and our amazing volunteers in person. Local Secretary Margaret from Yarm later shared:
‘What a lovely afternoon. Very informative and inspirational. We are now revitalised to improve on our mission.’
Thank you to everyone across the diocese who helped make this such a lovely day!
We depend on our wonderful supporters and volunteers to help us ignite God’s love and spread our message throughout the dioceses and online.
- Please pray for Missio and the missionaries we support around the world. Find special Missio prayers here>>
- If you’d like to give your time to Missio, we’d love to hear from you! Whether you have a few minutes, a few hours, or plenty of time, find out how you can get involved here.
- Missio is committed to providing missionaries and mission dioceses with the tools and support they need to ignite God’s love around the world. To help us, Donate today here>>
- Our diocesan Mission Masses are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate mission, share our experiences and say a huge thank you to everyone who helps us. Find your diocesan Mass here>>