EUROPE/PORTUGAL - In the Year of Voluntary, the National Missionary Days on "Voluntary work and Mission"

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Lisbon (Fides Service) – Voluntary work is one of the most evangelical expressions of Christian witness, and during the Year of Voluntary the Missionary National Days on the theme "Voluntary work and Mission", which will take place from September 16 to 18 in Portugal intend to give a contribution to the reflection on the free service of the Church to the most disadvantaged of our society. This is what Fr. Manuel Barbosa, CSSp, former National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Portugal said on presenting the initiative of Missão Omp. Three conferences will outline the three major dimensions of contemporary voluntary: "Voluntary work and citizenship challenges", "Voluntary work and the new social consciousness", "Voluntary work for the Mission". This last conference will be devoted in particular to lay people who leave their land, their family and their safety to offer one, two or more years of their lives to the mission Ad Gentes. "In a time marked by profitmaking, success and an individualistic outlook on life - writes Fr. Barbosa – Voluntary work is a great service rendered to humanity, it is a sign of love to others, especially to those who are the most excluded from our world"
Voluntary Missionary was born in the Church and in the Portuguese society in 1988, when a group of "Jovens Sem Fronteiras" was sent to Guinea Bissau to lay the foundations of the "Escola Sem Fronteiras" in Caio-Tubebe. In the same year the first group of "Leigos para o Desenvolvimento" pitched their tent in the land of Sao Tome and Principe, and then reached Mozambique, Timor and Angola. Without doubt Voluntary Missionary made " a revolution in the Church's mission" in the first place by assigning a legitimate missionary protanism to the lay, which today is "one of the most visible expressions" for the evangelization of the Church, especially with the participation of young people. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 18/08/2011)