Thought of the week
Are you fed up with us asking for your support for Catholic places outside of Jersey? I hope not, as our concern for our fellow Catholics across the world is what allows us to call ourselves Catholics and not local Congregationalists. St Paul first learnt this when he started raising a collection to help Christians in Jerusalem who were experiencing poverty. It helped him see the spiritual link which united all the small church communities as one universal church.
It is over 40 years since Bishop Derek Worlock established our links with a diocese in Cameroon, West Africa. This became our sister diocese, Bamenda. At the time our Bishop promised to send out two English priests every second year to build up a number of about six or eight; we joked that perhaps one day, in the distant future, the African Bishop would send us priests. That is now the truth and currently we have a number from Cameroon and Nigeria working alongside us. It may happen that an African priest will follow a Polish priest in Jersey.
After many years of a stable government, things have become difficult in the west of Cameroon, in the English-speaking area.
Bishop Philip’s letter to us last week asked for our prayerful support. One of the Bamenda priests, Fr Bernadine Nsom, was discussing these issues with me when I met him at a meeting in Bishop’s House last Tuesday. Fr Bernadine Nsom will be accompanying Bishop Michael of Bamenda during his visit to us on 3 November.
Today is Foreign Missions Sunday, when we are asked to pray for all missionaries, who come in all nationalities and colours and work in a variety of countries including England. We embrace them and their difficult experiences, alongside our outreach to Venezuela.
We call this universal work ‘Foreign’ Missionary activity. That should remind us that we ourselves are Home Mission territory and that we are called to be missionaries in our daily lives. That’s the call of Jesus Christ, that’s the challenge to us today.