VATICAN - Children and young people, joyful and credible witnesses to the proclamation of the Gospel despite the pandemic

Wednesday, 10 February 2021 pontifical mission societies   missionary animation  

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - "Witness is the characteristic element of the baptized person's mission. The witness is the one who can tell about an event or a person as he was present at the event or knows the person in question. Therefore, in order to be a witness of Jesus, it is necessary first and foremost to know Him, that is to say, to have met Him, to believe in Him, to believe that He is alive and to have had such an experience of Him that left them fascinated and eager to get involved so that others meet Him in order to be happy". This is what Sister Roberta Tremarelli, Secretary General of the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood (POSI) writes in the editorial of the new issue of the POSI Bulletin, which has just been published, which is dedicated to witness. "Through Baptism, we are all invited and responsible to announce the Good News, first through the testimony of life and subsequently also in words, in order to bring the light of Christ to all - writes Sister Roberta -. Witness consists in sharing with humility the faith and the joy that accompanies it, and who better than children and young people can teach us this humble attitude of the disciple? They, in the simplicity and availability that characterize them, are today in the world joyful and credible witnesses of this proclamation, capable of transmitting the beauty of faith in Christ and of belonging to the Church. Therefore, the work of formation and animation carried out together with the children so that they are witnesses of the Gospel is fundamental".
The first pages of the Bulletin are dedicated to Bishop Charles de Forbin Janson (November 3, 1785 - July 11, 1844), founder of the Society of the Holy Childhood, witness to the missionary passion and prophet of the role of children in the evangelizing action of the Church . "Today, this Society continues to be essential because childhood is still one of the weakest links in society. It suffers from hunger, wars, mistreatment, sexual and labor exploitation, illnesses and lack of expectations for the future, among many other things. Therefore, the project conceived by Charles de Forbin Janson is even more necessary than ever, after more than one hundred and seventy years since its establishment", writes Concha Fernández González, who emphasizes: "At the present time, there is no other organization or institution which bases its help for children, on the disinterested and supportive cooperation of children among themselves".
In line with the theme of the issue and the celebration of the annual Missionary Childhood Day, usually on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, the most consistent part of the Bulletin describes the many experiences of the children and young people of the Society. engaged with joy and enthusiasm in order to witness the Gospel of Jesus at all latitudes. The news comes from the National Directions of Guinea Bissau, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Ireland. "As an educator of Missionary Childhood - says Sister Béatrice Miryozi from Burundi - I am very happy when the children who are members of the group say that their parents let them freely participate in the meetings and activities planned by the Missionary Childhood. It makes me happy to see that children are responsible, that they are good examples for others, both at school and at home. Among them, some are members of the apostolic group. There are also children of other religions who like to participate in some meetings and some activities of Missionary Childhood".
Suzana Mané, of the Catholic mission of Cacine in the diocese of Bafatá, in Guinea-Bissau, explains that "for a girl, being a witness of Jesus in Guinea-Bissau means living the Word of God in the little daily things, respecting her parents, participating in catechesis and to Catholic movements, to behave well at school. With Covid-19, it must not have been easy to stop all activities, but my joy was to participate every Sunday through Radio Sol Mansi in the Eucharistic celebrations and to be able to participate in door-to-door awareness for Covid-19. It was for me the greatest testimony, thus facing fear and shame". From Ireland, Eva Watras shares her testimony: "I announce the Good News of God's love by going to mass and telling people about the wonderful things that God and Jesus have done for us. I can do God's work in church, at home, at school and in places of charity. I pray at home before and after going to bed. I also pray at school. After doing something good and useful for my community, I feel gratified and proud of myself. The pandemic made it more difficult to follow Jesus' example because I was unable to go to mass to pray".
Other testimonies presented in this January 2021 issue of the Bulletin come from the dioceses: those of Loikaw in Myanmar, Wat Songkhon in Thailand, Vanimo in Papua New Guinea, Palghat in India, Umzimkulu in South Africa, Nakuru in Kenya, Kasana-Luweero in Uganda, Kabwe in Zambia and Cabinda in Angola. The bulletin closes with the description of the animation of Missionary Childhood in Togo. Father Donald C.D. Fadaz, National Director of the PMS, tells how the pandemic has affected the normal activities of POSI, even though it was possible to celebrate the Day of Missionary Childhood at parish level. "The educational animation materials - posters, brochures exhortation to prayer leaflets - printed and distributed by the National Direction made it possible to experience the event and to pray in communion with the Universal Church. In addition, the radio broadcasts conducted by the National Director and the Diocesan Directors made it possible to give a strong resonance to the celebration and, above all, to pray every day for children and young people, the future of the Church and society". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 10/2/2021)