In order to fulfill the mission of evangelisation which Jesus assigned His Church of bringing all people to know Him and live by His gospel, the Lagos Archdiocesan Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), converged for a mission congress to promote the course. The congress which had as its theme, “Fear not for I am with you always”, hosted by Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Irabor, PMS Director, Lagos Archdiocese, was held recently at Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos. Speaking on the occasion, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos said Jesus came into the world with the mission of saving mankind from sin, death and every evil.
Archbishop Martins said the goal of the congress at the local Church level in the Archdiocese and Nigerian Church is to review and assess how the mission of the Church was carried out in the past and to work out more effective strategies in fulfilling it in the future. Stating that mission is at the heart of the life and activity of the Church, Archbishop Martins said if activities carried out in the Church do not take their bearing from the mission or lead to mission, then it would be a waste of the Church’s time and resources. He said the primary task of every member of the Church, the mission of bringing the good news to the ends of the earth, was given to them by Christ at baptism . He said: “Our meeting, our societies and our participation in the activities in our parishes, all these must take their root from the mission that Christ has given to us and be directed towards that mission. “The mission is about using all our activities to help us to know Christ, to fall in love with Christ so much that we become so eager to make Him known to all other people.”
Speaking on the topic, “ Re-appraising the Church’s mission of evangelisation”, Msgr. Paschal Nwaezeapu, Guest Speaker on the occasion, said Jesus’ commission to his disciples to preach the gospel to the whole word was an important one for two main reasons. He said: “First, all the four gospels and the Acts of the Apostles capture it in different ways. The second reason is that it was the last command that Jesus gave His disciples before withdrawing His physical presence from the world. According to Msgr. Nwaezeapu, “The great commission of Jesus is a necessity for the Church, associations in the Church, the Christian family and the individual Christian person. For his part, Rev. Fr. Simeon Irabor, disclosed that the Archdiocesan Mission Congress takes place every four years to provide the platform to assess the work of mission and evangelisation in the Church, particularly in the Archdiocese of Lagos.
Fr. Irabor said the Church on earth is by its nature missionary, and according to the plan of God the Father, has its origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit. He said various ecclesial bodies were established in order to encourage, support and coordinate communion among all the agents of mission, adding that the congregation chiefly used the Pontifical Mission Societies to enhance the corporation. The Pontifical Mission Societies include, the Society for the Propagation of Faith, Society of St. Peter the Apostle, Society of Holy Missionary Childhood Association and Pontifical Missionary Union of the Clergy.