Fr Anthony Chantry in the Missio chapel - Lent

Thy Kingdom Come, come what may

As I write this, I am conscious that we are approaching the middle of Lent, which is a joyful time of celebrating the abundant mercy of God.

Those three familiar words in the Lord’s Prayer – ‘Thy Kingdom come’ – are much more than a holy wish. They are a binding commitment to be at the service of the One whose Kingdom it is. Lent provides the opportunity to put aside all that distracts us from witnessing to the coming of God’s Kingdom.

Lent will end with Holy Week’s solemn remembrance – and reminder for us – of the consequences of choosing to speak and live the Truth that comes only from ‘God who revealed his immense love in the crucified and risen Christ’ (Evangelii gaudium, 11).

Echoing the consequences of choosing to speak and live the Truth, the Pope’s prayer intention for March is a timely and poignant reminder that the cost of missionary discipleship may be the ultimate sacrifice:

‘We pray for those who risk their lives for the Gospel in various parts of the world; may their courage and missionary zeal permeate the Church.’

Committed to Christ

I first met Josiah K’Okal during my time in Kenya in the 1980s. Along with his brother, he joined the Catholic Youth Group in the parish. From the beginning he was bright, cheerful, and dedicated; and clear in his commitment to following Jesus Christ, come what may.

Josiah went on to become a Consolata missionary and was ordained Priest in 1997. Fr Josiah was appointed to Venezuela, and since 2006 he worked among the Indigenous Warao people where he became deeply committed to the prevention of human trafficking.

Fr Josiah also became an expert in the Warao language and culture, and dedicated his life to being a sign of the hope and love that God has for those who are marginalised, poor, and powerless.
One of his fellow missionaries said that he ‘was a man who loved the people, especially those who feel that society does not value them. He would do anything possible in his power to be a sign of hope.’

On 1 January this year he was reported missing, and his lifeless body was found the following day.

Prayers of strength and gratitude

I happened to be in Fr Josiah’s home area of Kisumu when we received the devastating news of his death. I visited his distraught family. Praying with them for the strength they will need to face this tragedy, we also gave thanks to God for this man of the people, this joyful Priest who, according to one missionary, ‘would rather suffer for you than you suffer for him’.

In my opinion, there is no doubt that in championing the rights of the marginalised Warao people – in a context of exploitation, corruption, and oppression – he paid the price of all those who proclaim the fire of God’s love and hope in our world. He died for his people, and he died for the Kingdom of God.

Jesus said, ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already’ (Luke 12:49).

By virtue of our Baptism, we are all called and sent to witness to the coming of God’s Kingdom. Jesus came to bring fire to our world, a fire that warms the hearts of those in need of hope, a fire that lights up the darkness within which evil hides its ugly face.

The fire Jesus spoke about is the power of God’s love and mercy to change the world. Fr Josiah joins the ranks of men and women who have lost their lives whilst ministering to people living in seemingly hopeless circumstances.

This fire is also evident in you. Your passion for mission and support of missionaries throughout the world is setting hearts ablaze with God’s love. You are enriching today’s global Catholic community, training future Priests and Sisters overseas, and providing hope to the world’s poorest children.

Despite all that is going on in our world in these troubled times, please never doubt the importance of your part in the wonderful plan God has for all of us.

May God’s Kingdom come!

Links and stories from this month’s eNews

Join us for Lent

This year, we’re sharing some brand new resources to help you shape your Lenten journey in a way which works for you.

Click here to find them>>

Red Box research

Help us to shape what the Red Box might look like and how it might be used in the future!

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Mission Today

The Spring edition of Mission Today is now available. Read messages from our five seminaries and updates from missionaries around the world.

Click here to read>>

Help build tomorrow’s Church!

In mission dioceses in Africa and Asia, it costs at least £700 a year to train a student for the priesthood. 

Missio believes no vocation should be turned away through lack of funds. That’s why the Holy Father asks us to channel help from our supporters to the Church overseas.

You can sponsor a student individually, or as a family, a community or a parish project. Help to train the future leaders of our Church. 

Find out more by clicking HERE!  

National Novena to St Joseph
10-18 March 2024

Join us and our partners, the Mill Hill Missionaries, for the annual Novena to St Joseph this March. Each year the Mill Hill community prepares for the Feast Day of St Joseph – their patron – with a special Novena of Masses and prayers.

You are invited to send your petitions to the Mill Hill Missionaries and you can also join in online. Simply click here for further details.