Filoni Sri Lanka

Catholic Mission Focus on Catechesis, Animation and Prayer

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and President of the Supreme Committee of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) has addressed 120 National Directors, including Australia’s Fr Brian Lucas in Rome.

Cardinal Filoni’s speech to the Annual General Assembly of the PMS was held at Fraterna Domus in Sacrofano, Rome, as part of a meeting that will conclude on 1 June 2019.

The three themes that the Cardinal focused on were the formation of catechists in mission territories; on making the celebration of the extraordinary mission month of October a priority; and the need to animate mission, fundraise for these efforts, and identify new forms of prayer.

Australia’s Fr Brian Lucas said that the opportunity to gather with the other directors has given more impetus for the important work that the Pontifical Mission Societies (of which Catholic Mission is a member) does in Australia and around the world.

“Cardinal Filoni’s words to us encouraged our work and identified the various needs that are crucial to the important mission to spread the Gospel”, he said.

“The Church is by its very nature missionary and has set as a priority a concern for all those churches that are young and fragile and often struggling within hostile social and political environments”, said Fr Lucas.

Fr Lucas also made it a priority while in Rome to meet with the PMS National Director from Sri Lanka, following the tragic bombings in churches at Easter.

“In speaking to Fr Basil Fernando, I was able to begin planning for a visit to Sri Lanka later in the year to assess how the Catholics in Australia can contribute to the rebuilding of the community following the Easter Sunday bombing.”

"Fr Basil Fernando told me tragic stories of children who have been terribly wounded both physically and psychologically by their experience of the bombing", he said.

Sydney’s Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP in a Homily at a remembrance mass for the victims of the bombings spoke of the need for solidarity with our Sri Lankan brothers and sisters.

“The 253 or so who died, hundreds more who were injured, and many more who were endangered, by the blasts at St Sebastian’s, or at St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, Zion Church in Batticaloa, or one of the hotels, are more than a death toll,” Archbishop Fisher said.

“Each victim has a story. They were people just like us, engaged in acts of worship, of leisure or of civic duty. We mourn them as our brothers and sisters.”

PMS Sri Lanka is organising programs for rehabilitation of those who have lost limbs and many who have been blinded and lost their hearing, and these efforts will be heavily supported by Catholic Mission, Australia and other Church-based charities and development organisations.

Cardinal Filoni has also visited Sri Lanka following the attacks and has laid the foundation stone for the cemetery memorial where is a mass grave.

Fr Lucas encouraged Australian Catholics to give generously to the extraordinary mission month appeal in October, and to consider making a specific donation to assist those affected by the Sri Lankan bombings.