Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Catholic Missioner of the Future

Changes in society also bring changes in the way we do mission. In previous times in Korea a missioner came to die before his time. The first years of mission were not welcoming and many joined their Christians in dying a martyr. In recent years we heard the life of a missioner is temporary, flexible and mobile. Here in Korea all the Catholic foreign missioners could leave tomorrow and all would be well. A change in the way we looked at mission was required.

The efforts of foreign missioners is acknowledged and appreciated; the Korean Church will now repay by sending their own missioners to different parts of the world: a sign they can see beyond their own borders.

Looking back on the years of getting acquainted with the culture and the language there are many things I wish I had done. In the beginning there was much work to be done, churches to build, parishes to staff, work was tiring and many didn't find the time necessary for continued study.

During the period of study I wish someone would have made it clear that it would be good to say the breviary in Korean. I suppose using daily prayer as a way of study was not considered proper. Looking back I think that the effort to say the prayers in Korean would have been appreciated by God and the effort blessed. We spend about an hour a day with the breviary and to have worked on that during the period of language study would have been a lesson continued every day of our lives. The words in the psalms would have come into our preaching and we would have a better feel for the books of the Bible.

There are many areas of our life that would have been helped by the input from those that preceded us. Gathering the missionary wisdom of the past would be a great help to those that will follow. In this postmodern age it seems all want to discover for themselves what was discovered in the past. In the formation of those going to another culture as Catholic missioners a 'Great Book' list would help many from repeating the mistakes of the past, overcoming cultural shock, and fill their life with joy. This list of books should be required reading matter for all the Koreans that will be going to other mission countries.