AMID the bustle of an uncertain world around us, Brisbane Catholics are being invited to visit and experience a unique overseas mission.
The Missionaries of the Poor are calling for volunteers to visit and serve in their mission house in Labuan Bajo on the Indonesian island of Flores, and to assist in the daily care of disabled residents.
It might sound like a daunting task, however, in 2017 Fr Nev Yun, administrator at the Holy Family Catholic parish at Indooroopilly, led a small group on a nine-night visit to the MOP mission, and described the richness of the experience in terms of simplicity, gentleness and serving.
“This priceless pearl which we witnessed as the love and joy of serving Christ through loving service to the poor, the outcast, the neglected and the disabled opened our eyes to the power of Christ’s transforming love,” Fr Yun said.
“Mundane tasks such as removing soiled clothing from the children, and bathing broken and disabled bodies, restoring dignity and respect to the neglected, was carried out with gentleness and love as would a parent for their own children.
“Selfishness was washed away and replaced with joy, knowing that ‘whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do unto me’.”
Founded by Chinese-Jamaican priest Fr Richard Ho Lung, the Missionaries of the Poor is a rapidly growing religious order, with more than 600 priests, brothers and sisters who live for and with the poor.
In Flores, the missionaries live simply, caring for impoverished children by providing clothes, shelter, basic medical care and spiritual nourishment including Bible study and song worship.
And like all MOP missions, the brothers in the Flores house do not take a salary or any payment for their services.
In 2017, a group of nine volunteers from Brisbane was the first to visit the MOP mission, and those who took part on the nine-day mission found it a humbling experience.
“We went there to give – to give of our time, talent and treasure. Instead, we were the ones who received,” Kay Corcoran said, referring to the way the mission brothers carried out their daily worship and care for the poor.
“We received from their abundant love and joy – a joy that comes from loving God and loving neighbour through their care of the outcast and forgotten.
“In turn, we as a group, were able to affirm the aspirants (the young men who had not yet made their first vows) and the fully professed brothers, in the work that they were doing, and to know that they had our love and support.
“Through our presence with the Missionaries of the Poor, some of the young men told us that we had been their strength to continue in their vocation.”
The Brisbane group also found time to visit nearby national parks to see Komodo dragons, the largest lizards in the world, and go snorkelling to explore nearby coral reefs.
Fr Yun said his 2017 visit reminded him of two lines from the Beatitudes.
“‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’ and ‘blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth’,” Fr Yun said.
“When stripped back to our simplest, we do not have any distractions. It’s just us, life and God.
“I think we are more dependent on technology and first world conveniences than we realise.
“They can potentially keep our relationship with God distant.
“I think we can experience a similar joy that the brothers exuded when we can both strip back from our first world mentality and choose to spend time with Jesus in prayer and in our daily life.”
An information day for anyone interested in finding out more about the MOF mission and how to become a mission volunteer will be held at Holy Family Parish, 37 Ward Street, Indooroopilly, after the 8.30am Mass on Sunday, March 31.
For more details contact 0412 073 965 or firstname.lastname@example.org; (07) 3371 7446 / Indooroopilly@bne.catholic.net.au