In the Autumn edition of Mission Today, Fr Michael Corcoran MHM, General Superior of St Joseph’s Missionary Society, reports on the latest news from the Mill Hill Missionaries:

The need continues for missionary disciples to be ready to set out and to be open to exploring new paths, as they seek to share the Gospel through word and deed. Pope Francis refers to this as ‘evangelical zeal’ and we are all called to ‘rekindle the charism of God that is within you’ (2 Timothy 1:6).

The founder of the Mill Hill Missionaries saw this as our charism: ‘to go where the need is greatest’. Mill Hill Missionaries have been present for well over a century in Malaysia. But in the seventies, our missionaries were expelled from the state of Sabah because of the political situation at the time. The local government wanted the Christian missionaries out.

From strong foundations

Despite this, the most important thing was that the foundations were built, and they were solid. The lay people and the people who had been trained or empowered were able to keep faith alive as  they built up their own local Church. One of the fruits of that experience is that the first Malaysian Mill Hill Missionary was ordained four years ago and appointed to Cambodia.

The second Malaysian Mill Hill Missionary – Elvost – has been ordained recently and will be appointed to the Sindh province in Pakistan. He was there as a student for the Missionary Experience Programme, and he can’t wait to go back. Isn’t that wonderful! We are sending a missionary from a historically persecuted Church in Malaysia to minister in another persecuted Church currently in Pakistan. Elvost (pictured, right) will be able to relate to the situation very well and he has so much to offer that local Church from his experience.

Elvost received formation in Nairobi, Kenya. He was deliberately sent there so he could live alongside students from other countries – Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, India, and the Philippines. The Mill Hill Missionary formation is not just academic; there’s much more to it. It’s teaching how to live together as Christians and as human beings. And when Elvost goes to Sindh in Pakistan, he will be working with Kenyans, Filipinos, an English  and an Irish Priest, alongside the local community.

Sent out to serve

There’s a third Malaysian Mill Hill Missionary who is currently in formation. He will take his time and once he’s ready he will be ‘sent out’. Our whole Mill Hill Missionary focus is ‘crossing boundaries’ – crossing boundaries into a different country; the culture, the language, even the food!

In the world we live in today, I believe we are called to be signs of mercy, of forgiveness, of listening and of attentiveness to each other and to those we serve. We see a world around us fractured by disagreement, extremes on every side, an inability to listen, a quickness to categorise and a refusal to even encounter those who think differently.

All of us, most especially those commissioned to go out as missionaries are called to be brothers and sisters to all, to open a dialogue of presence, of respect, of dignity… and so we live as witnesses.

I am very much aware of the generous response of all those supporting our missionary endeavours especially through our partnership with Missio. I give thanks to God and to all of you, God’s people.

Fr Michael Corcoran MHM

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