When we think of ‘missionary,’ we tend to think of people who serve and preach the Gospel in developing countries; people who build wells, sleep under mosquito nets, and learn a second language. It is true, they are missionaries. The root of all mission comes to us from the Gospel of Matthew 28:19 where Jesus says “Go, therefore, and make disciples of a nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” The mission is not limited to developing countries, however.
By our Baptism, all Catholics and Christians are called to be missionary. We are called to spread the Gospel wherever we are: In our families, in our friendship circles, at university, and in our careers. Here in Europe, and specifically in the UK, we live in a media and consumer-driven culture, bombarded with unfulfilled promises, false prophets, and spiritual brokenness. As a result, we often are in more need of being preached to about the love of Christ than those who live outside of our society’s influences.
People in developing countries often lack some of the resources that we have, but they are often very rich in their zeal for Christ. In contrast, we have so many blessings and so much that is gifted to us, but we often lack the joy and faith that comes from our Heavenly Father who loves us.
With so much noise in the city, so many eager buyers trying to purchase our souls, who will be the voice in the desert? The future of mission to those who are in most need depends on the hearts of those who live within our borders. Here in the United Kingdom, we have so many blessings and gifts, but without hearts that have been filled by Jesus Christ, we have nothing to give.
London is our mission territory. It is where God has called SPEC and its missionaries to share the gift of God, His presence in the Eucharist, his words of hope. London is where the Holy Spirit is enacting a spiritual renewal in the hearts of its residents who, regardless of their pasts, all hunger for the same human desire: to be loved, known, forgiven and satisfied. The Good News is shared by SPEC missionaries to all they come into contact with, whether it’s young people on retreat, young adults in community, or people on the streets of London.
The young adults that serve at SPEC are not simply volunteers. They are challenged and formed to enter into their inherent Catholic missionary identity. They are consciously invested in through formation, prayer, intentional community, living by the rule of life and as a result the mission with the young people of the diocese will be more fruitful, more authentic and more Christocentric.
We live in the biggest European city: London. Our part of God’s vineyard is eclectic, awesome, diverse and challenging. He gives us the grace in the moment. We fail, we get up, we fail again and we get up again. SPEC is becoming more of a combination of a missionary formation centre and retreat centre for young people. They go hand in hand. The better the missionaries are formed, the better the retreats are, the better one ministers.
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Also, we are inviting young adults to prayerfully discern applying for the 2018-2019 mission year. If that may be you, or you know people that might be interested, spread the word or schedule a visit with us!