In a multi-cultural Australian society, we increasingly take on a role of bridge builders between people of different cultural backgrounds. We also give witness by living the Good News of Jesus Christ among people of diverse faiths and help the Australian Church to live its missionary calling by continuing to give witness to the Gospel and reaching out to peoples in mission countries.
As missionaries, we feel we have a pastoral responsibility to look after the immigrants who left their homeland a long time ago. However, other nationalities also form a minor part of our community as they inter-marry with the offspring of the initial immigrants. With God’s grace and the help of our Founder, we will continue to work hard for those who need us most.
The mission of Cuba is an offshoot of the mission of Peru and is administered by that mission. In 2017, two Peruvian MSSP Missionaries arrived in Manicaragua , in the diocese of Sta Clara, in central Cuba and started this mission. In spite of relative restrictions on worship and public tolerance of religion, the MSSP has taken root in this land and slowly a Christian community which persevered in the faith in the times of the communist revolution is now starting to blossom again.
Founded in Malta, it was only natural that the general governance of the — Missionary Society of St Paul was carried out from Malta for a long number of years. The congregational leader of the MSSP is the Superior General who, “as the successor of the Founder’, as our Constitutions tell us, is expected to “serve the Society entrusted to him to the best of his ability”.
Malta has remained the mother of the Society not only because it was founded on this small island but also because of the fact that for a long time the administrative functions of the Society were carried out from Malta while most of its members are Maltese. Over the years, the fruits of the Spirit towards the missionary ideal were manifested in a great deal of energy that was invested towards the fulfilment of various initiatives that continue to this day.
Our main work, naturally, is the pastoral care of the people in our parish. The Church in Pakistan is still a relatively young Church with the added disadvantage of being rather isolated from the rest of the Church. Enough to say that even Catholics in neighboring India are often surprised to hear that there actually is a Church in Pakistan: that it has seven dioceses with well over a million Catholics, as well as more than two million Christians belonging to other denominations. There are simply not enough pastoral workers to cater for the spiritual needs of these people.
This mission is now over 50 years old and has expanded considerably to now include a parish and a formation house in the capital Lima, the original parish of Aplao in the Majes valley of Arequipa, and a number of parishes in the Alto Cayma District on the outskirts of Arequipa. These parishes cater particularly for migrant communities of Peruvians descending from the Andes mountains and trying to find a better future in the city of Arequipa. Throughout the years, the Paulist Missionaries have played crucial roles in the spiritual and social developments of these new communities.
Time passes on and we feel God’s hand working through his different blessings. In ‘Mi Ultimo Adios’, the national hero, Jose Rizal, once described the Philippines as the ‘Pearl of the Orient Sea.’ Hard times, as well as poverty, may have tarnished this lustrous peace. We still can see a vibrant Christianity, freshness and zealous Filipinos doing their best to live their faith. As MSSPs we are blessed to be here, enabling others to shine out as the true pearl that God intended all to be.
The MSSP has no houses in Vietnam, but over the last few years a lot of bridges have been built with the local church of Vietnam through visits, vocational accompaniment, formation programmes and outreaches to this vibrant Church which has passed through a lot of persecution. It is our hope that these contacts increase along the years and the MSSP could minister more both within Vietnam, and also to Vietnamese people around the world.