It is only with the assistance of the Laity
     and Volunteers
     that we can move ahead …

Dear Members of the English-speaking Catholic Community,
On the 25th of February this year, the Catholics in all the Parishes and Missions of our Archdiocese have gone to the polls to elect their new Council of the Laity for the next four years. The Mission Council is to assist the community in a variety of ways and programs. Unfortunately, in our case, at the English Speaking Catholic Mission, this did not happen. I am disappointed!
The Catholic Church while emphasizing the importance of the Faith in the community, goes beyond to the social milieu. There are a whole set of opportunities for the Laity to act and to participate. For example, in Sacred Liturgy, to enhance Ecumenism and Missionary life, to assist Family life, to encourage Christian Education, to care for the Refugees, to be the leaven in society, with a variety of roles in various areas of the Church’s Mission, and today, much more than before, women are also highly encouraged to participate in a vibrant manner in the Church’s apostolic activities. The Laity carry out so many apostolic activities not only in the Church but also in the world.
The Laity are partners in the total Mission of Christ and the Church. You have a co-responsibility to evangelize the world and to bring all people to share in Christ’s saving redemption, so that the whole world, in actual numbers, be brought to pray together to the one triune God and form the one Family of God - the Church.
Our prayer at Holy Mass and communion with Christ, is the basis and fundament, from which we draw our source for all apostolic activities. It is the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation that form us into the Family of God into a royal priesthood and a holy people, so that we may offer spiritual sacrifices through everything we do, and give witness to Christ and the Church in our growing secularized and materialistic world of today in which we live.
We read in the Gospel of St. John, “He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit: for without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15,5) points out the importance of possessing a living union with Christ, who is the source and life of the Church. The success, that we may see in human terms, therefore depends on the participation of the Laity in Sacred Liturgy and at Holy Mass.

With the light of Faith and by meditating on the Word of God, it is possible to recognize and experience the presence of God even today in our secularized world. God is constantly speaking to us, to see Christ in every human person, whether he/she be close to us or strangers, to see Christ in all events of society, tomake the right judgement on the true value of material goods, both in themselves that do not last and in their relation to our final goal in eternal life.
God does not demand extraordinary acts from the Laity. Following Christ as a lay person in the world is different from ‘monastic’ spirituality. The Church even cautions lay people who are actively engaged in apostolic work, to first consider their duties as family father or mother, one’s state of health, those who are unmarried or widowed, and encourages those with professional competence. All, need to use their talents gifted by God, that are of course different, for the common good of the community, to even a wider extent – for the Church.
I am sure, that we in this Mission are all trying hard to live our life following Christ. We see this at Holy Mass on Sundays at our Mass Centres. As migrants, there are certainly moments when we fail, when we even have doubts about our Faith we profess. Being away from our homeland, one does not bother by the lack of material goods possessed nor puffed up by abundance; one is neither amazed not to be elected to a Council nor proud to be in office! This is exactly the way we ought to think and to act, since we are all children of God and our service to others is only a sign that we belong to Christ, that reflects our innermost self, that we are baptized, confirmed in Christ and we are committed to his Church.
The English Speaking Catholic Mission is a small institution of the Archdiocese. It is not always able to provide for full support in all areas of apostolic activity of the Laity because unlike in a Parish, this is a Mission, to care for the spiritual needs and Sacraments of the Church for ‘people on the move’, for migrants, for refugees and itinerant persons. If, you would be interested to commit for a special service, you will be certainly introduced to those engaged in such wider activities in the Archdiocese. This will be a sign also of your integration into the Local Church.
Remember, the Laity are sharers with co-responsibility for the Gospel of Christ. You need to ‘wake up’. You should elect a Mission Council, with members who participate at Holy Mass, who are committed to serve the community effectively, and who would give us an impetus for the missionary activities of the Church. It is only with the assistance of the Laity and Volunteers that we can move ahead!

I wish each one of you the graces of the risen Christ at Easter, as we prepare ourselves to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Spirit on the 20th of May 2018.
Cletus Colaço SVD.