How to prepare and live the Missionary Month of October when the country is hit by the Covid-19 pandemic? The difficult situation in Spain in this regard has prompted the National Direction of Pontifical Mission Societies to work digitally, reaching out to the population through the publication of stories and digital testimonies of missionaries on the dedicated website.
The website in question serves to sensitize the population on the celebration of World Mission Day and to help the fundraising that supports the presence of the Church in more than 1,100 mission territories, according to Fides News Agency. It is an open channel to help at the same time all the Dioceses, by allowing the Church, through this collection operated through digital means, to present the Good News throughout the world and to stay with those who suffer the most, even in these times marked by the pandemic.
In this way, we can listen to the testimonies of missionaries on the meaning that the theme of World Mission Day “Here I am, send me” has had in their lives. “Knowing the Lord is the greatest gift we can have in this life, and Jesus’ call to participate in His mission is a very great gift. “Here I am, send me!”. As Pope Francis says, each of us is on a mission in this world and it is very beautiful to see how the Lord works in the hearts of people, in all peoples and cultures, how he precedes, accompanies, and loves everyone in a unique and special way. The greatest joy is to be able to spend a whole life at the service of God and that the tenderness of his Father, his living Word which is Jesus and his love, namely the Holy Spirit, be known and loved”, says Sister Victoria Braquehais, member of the Pureza de María Congregation and who is a missionary in Ngovayang, in the heart of the southern jungle of Cameroon.
The Spanish nun adds: “We share life and faith with the Bagyeli pygmies and different Bantu populations, mainly Ngumba, Fang and Basa. The jungle of southern Cameroon, home of the pygmies for many years, has been gradually threatened. The reason for this threat is the oil pipeline that begins in Chad and crosses Cameroon to the port of Kribi, in the south of the country. The ‘Oil Route’ had and still has a strong impact on the Bagyeli Pygmies and their livelihoods, due to the alteration of forests and wildlife as well as other threats to the local population.
The Bagyeli have become environmental migrants within their own country”.
The nun further describes her commitment in mission land: “Jesus, through His Church, entrusted us with a diocesan nursery and primary school, called Saint Francis Xavier, in which nearly 200 children study. He also entrusted us with a house called Nuestra Señora de la Merced, in which 45 girls aged 3 to 15 live. The Home in question is an educational project made possible thanks to the support of the Fundación Acción Liberadora de la Orden de la Merced”.
Sister Rosario Garcia, also a missionary in Cameroon, explains the meaning of her “here I am” and remembers her vocation, which also led her to become a doctor. “When I made my discernment, my desire to be a missionary led me to ask to enter the mission in the Congregation. In Kinshasa, we found ourselves in a small house in a poor neighborhood without water and electricity and which had only one bed, a chair, which we carried from one place to another, and a small chapel. It was an experience that gave me back the essentiality of the mission. From there, I was sent to the novitiate in Spain, studied tropical medicine in Paris, and then was invited to return to Cameroon. I have been in Cameroon for 25 years. The Lord wants me here”.