Workshop for New Missionaries to Europe 2019

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Frs. Paul Zhao and Binoy Mathew represented Irish British Province (IBP) in a Workshop organised for New Divine Word Missionaries to Europe in Budapest, Hungary from 12th to 18th May, 2019. There are 285 non-European confreres from 23 nationalities engage in missionary work and service in Europe at present. Out of these missionaries to EU, the participants were chosen from 12 provinces/region in Europe to be part of this Workshop. A total of 40 participants, including the facilitators partook in this first ever such a workshop. The Workshop dealt with various topics such as – Mission and Missionary, Mission in Europe, Interculturality and Spirituality.

One of the main aims of this workshop was the coming together of new missionaries to get to know each other who work in the “new challenging missionary” situations of Europe and to share how do they feel as missionaries in European context especially in the light of Roscommon consensus which declared Europe as mission territory.

The participants were engaged in a number of activities such as celebration of the Eucharist, Bible sharing, group discussions on challenges and hopes of being a missionary in Europe, experience of interculturality, reflections on spirituality and renewal, sports and recreation. The confreres shared their experiences of their lives and mission in Europe and they were highly appreciative of the growing internationality of the SVD communities in the provinces/region.Some of the main concerns that emerged during the sharing and discussions were: a) the need for understanding and accompaniment of a confrere in the initial years of learning language, culture and in the respective particular missionary setting; b) the lack of understanding both among the native confreres and the local clergy that the European church is also a mission church; c) lack of confidence among the local confreres in the abilities of new missionaries appointed to Europe; d. the need to promote local vocations and animation of SVD lay partners. 
Overall the participants were highly appreciative of the opportunity to come together sharing and listening to various experiences and to be encouraged and enriched by the fellow participants. We thank the Hungarian province for their hospitality and for a day’s outing to the beautiful city in Budapest.
Fr. Binoy Mathew svd

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