SNAGS, soccer and smiles – St Stephen’s Cathedral was packed with students and teachers from 14 schools across Brisbane archdiocese celebrating an Extraordinary Missionary Month liturgy.
The annual celebration, which is held each year on the Wednesday following World Mission Sunday, coincided with the launch of Socktober, Catholic Mission’s school fundraising initiative.
Cathedral associate pastor Fr Odinaka Nwadike, who celebrated the liturgy, said it was a special day.
“The work of Catholic Mission is always inspiring and, with all the missionaries, we are called to evangelise,” he said.
“So, to celebrate the Children’s Mission Day with the schoolchildren means a lot.”
The liturgy especially focused on Ghana, which is at the centre of Catholic Mission’s 2019 World Mission Schools Appeal.
Fr Nwadike, who was born in neighbouring Nigeria, said the liturgy represented a strong connection among Catholics across nations.
“As I said to the children, as someone from Africa working in Australia, my mission is here,” he said. “But today the children focus on mission in Ghana.
“The Church in Australia thinks of the Church in Africa, but we who are from Africa are doing the work of mission here.
“Every country, irrespective of where you are, you have something to offer.
“It doesn’t matter where you are from; the thing that matters is the heart that gives.”
Catholic Mission Brisbane archdiocesan director David McGovern said he was impressed by the collaborative effort on the day.
“It was inspiring to see so many schools coming together to celebrate mission, especially in this Extraordinary Missionary Month,” he said.
“Fr Nwadike’s words brought home to us all what Pope Francis’ call to be missionary is all about.”
Maureen Crowley Heil, who is the director of Pontifical Mission Societies (Catholic Mission) in Boston, also attended the liturgy.
“It’s one of my favourite parts of the job, talking with kids,” she said.
“They get it; they understand the idea that we really can make a difference even if it is one person at a time, and that the call to mission, as Fr Odinaka said today, is a life-giving, faith-exchanging daily thing; it’s not just dedicated to this one month – it’s a way of life.”