Sydney (Agenzia Fides) - Guided by the theme "Called to be a missionary community, the Scalabrini missionaries working in Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam, gathered in Sydney from May 2 to 6. As Fr. Olmes Milani reported to Fides, it is significant to note the encouraging presence of some lay people at the meeting, who share the mission of the Church with migrants and refugees. To know their experience is very useful in order to offer mutual support and encouragement for the development of evangelization among the migrants, as well as being a witness of brotherhood.
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, shared the experience of the Church in Australia concerning the relationship between Catholics and Protestants in the early history of the country and the Church, and the acceptance of migrants in recent times. The cardinal also stressed the important role schools had in the past so people would engage in the Christian community. The number of Catholics in the country has increased, but decreases in proportion to the arrival of migrants from Asian countries who profess other religions. Even the increase of vocations, especially in Sydney, is due to the flow of immigrants. The celebration of the World Youth Day was also for Cardinal Pell, a good occasion for the local church to receive a beneficial boost and additional optimism.
During the meeting, the missionaries were divided into working groups to reflect on the situation of their evangelization in every country where they work. A significant migration in Asian countries is foreseen, implying that the missionaries, priests and lay people, are prepared to accompany this situation and, if possible, precede it. The next step was to meditate on the material and human resources that will be needed over the next five years by setting priorities.
As a conclusion, Fr. Milani writes, the Scalabrini Missionaries will try to find all the possible means so that the Good News reaches all migrants with which, like the Samaritan, meet, and together with them try to be good instruments of Christ for the building of the Kingdom of God on land. The challenges are enormous, but we are encouraged by the certainty that Christ is always with us, until the end of time. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 05/11/2011)