The MSSP brothers profess the vows of Celibate Chastity, Poverty, Obedience and Missionary Service. This means that they offer themselves completely to God by embracing celibacy, living a simple life with goods shared in common, and always ready to do God’s will as discovered through our community life.
As MSSP, we believe that our primary way how to proclaim the Gospel is through our communion. Our Founder, Mgr Joseph De Piro left us these last instructions: “I earnestly request that [you] do their utmost to love one another in Christ.” Living together can provide us with the opportunity of showing the beauty of the Gospel in the way we live.
First and foremost, it is required an openness to a journey of discernment and formation. Our formation journey tends to be quite long but this is to ensure that our members have the best preparation for their calling.
An MSSP missionary is supported by the Congregation in all his needs. Whatever he earns he puts into the community and whatever he needs he takes from the community. At the same time the missionaries are encouraged to contribute in finding sponsors which can sustain the community in its life and mission.
One of the signs can be the desire, implanted in one’s heart, to proclaim the Good News to the people on the margins. Another can be the desire to do this mission in communion with other brothers and lay partners in our charism. Most importantly is the desire to give oneself completely to God and “to follow Him wherever he goes.”
An essential pre-requisite to join the MSSP community is the availability to go where it is needed. This might mean living most of your life away from your country of origin. However, when the missionaries are about to retire from their ministry, they are given the option to retire in their own country.
We can never be completely sure that God is calling someone. We only look for signs which somehow suggest that the person is called to join our community. One of the sure signs is that, after joining our discernment and formation program, we see that the person is growing in all aspects, and he feels at home in the MSSP.
The best way to come to know us is to actually meet one of us, and then we can eventually invite you to spend some time in one of our communities. A vocational director is assigned precisely for this purpose in every region where we are.
No. First of all, within the community, we accept lay brothers who also embrace the vows and are full members of the congregation but who are not ordained priests. Their ministry would focus mostly on Catechesis and Evangelization, but they can be also leaders of the different entities run by the MSSP.
Furthermore, we extend our MSSP charism to all the lay people who are willing to share in it, and who live it according to do their state of life and vocation.
Having a Spiritual Director is a crucial first step. This means finding someone who can accompany you to grow deeper in your faith and to help you listen to God’s voice in your life. Then, expose yourself to different charisms within the Church and see if any one them touches a deep chord in you. Most importantly, pray that the Lord will give you signs – concrete indications – that can show you the way.
The MSSP have their own specific habit which they use in very particular occasions. Most of the time they dress casually, and where formality is required they wear the Roman Collar.
While the MSSP member is encouraged to keep a warm and respectful relationship with his family of origin, at the same time he is encouraged to develop a healthy detachment from it so as not to limit his availability for his mission.
Originally the MSSP community was founded to preach the Gospel Ad Gentes, that is, in those countries where the message of Jesus has not been proclaimed. Nowadays, together with the whole Church, we recognize the need of Evangelization everywhere and in all kinds of circumstances, but particularly to people on the margins of society. We commit ourselves to choose these kinds of environments.
This is not usually our norm. This is because it is difficult for us to offer to an accompaniment in discernment to a person with whom we cannot be in regular contact, coming from a culture with which we are not familiar. However, occasionally, we do make some exceptions, in which case the discernment journey can be extended so as to make up for this deficiency.
Our Constitutions stipulate the age limit for joining at 40 years. The main reason for this is because beyond this age it becomes very difficult for a person to be open for a process of formation.
Yes. The Missionary Society of St Paul is a religious congregation within the Catholic Church and only open for Catholic membership. However, we look forward to work together with non-Catholics and people of other faith-orientation in the environments in which we are.