As part of the Missionary Month and the 100th anniversary of the Quebec Foreign Mission Society, Father Yoland Ouellet, OMI, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in French-speaking Canada, recently participated in the colloquium “From foreign missions to the mission in Quebec,” which invited us to reflect upon the Mission in Quebec. Inspired by the quality of his speakers and the reflections they provoked, here’s the take-away from these two days of conferences.
Father Yoland Ouellet, OMI, national director of Pontifical Mission Societies in French-speaking Canada
In general, we can say that we in Quebec have been rather hesitant to adhere to the concept of new evangelization, even slow to initiate a missionary turning point in our communities. Of course, we have carried out pastoral reorganizations, we have timidly inserted the terms mission or missionary in our teams and redefined pastoral zones. But is it enough? That we are all disciples-missionaries is a very recent self-realization. Superior General of the Québec Seminary, Gilles Routhier, also reminded us that the love of Christ urges us. Our mission has a benevolent purpose: that all have life in abundance!
For his part, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Montreal, Alain Faubert, invited us to arrive at an understanding on the very concept of the Mission, then to clarify it. Because even if there are differences, even what seem to be dead ends, there are also ways forward.
The "Stanley Cup" that we all want to win, he says, the ultimate goal of the Mission, is this: to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that in His name you can have a full life. It’s an analogy that many can appreciate.
The liturgy sums this up well and drives us in our mission. ‘For the glory of God and the salvation of the world,’ we say. It therefore requires an effort of decentralization, unlike those who are more concerned with the restoration of the institution, to put the focus back, with Christ and the Holy Spirit, on the goal: first to seek God and His justice! (Matthew 6:32.)
While we are just beginning a synodal journey to restore missionary orientations, as much for our home Church as for the universal Church, the colloquium also wanted to boldly put us on the path.
The Bishop of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière’s diocese, Most Reverend Pierre Goudreault, recalled the need to listen for and to understand these cultural changes here and everywhere, in order to discern what the Spirit is saying to our Christian communities and to this new world being born in the midst of a pandemic.
An initiative already underway, small gospel-sharing groups offer the baptized the opportunity to be constantly inhabited by new life in Christ, inviting them to bear witness to it. Thus, he will become more and more just and fraternal.
To know how to form missionaries, Sr. Évangéline Plamondon, mic, offers the best pedagogy: to train them in the field, on outings, to meet men and women, with a deep and loving faith and in intimate communion with The One who promotes the growth of every seed of the Gospel. But above all, he wishes to train people to accompany one another in apostolic itinerancy, in response to the call of Christ who invites us to come from all nations!
Finally, I was also able to dream in front of all these people present at this conference. This gathering was a true reflection of our great universal family, of a new paradigm of the Mission. With other Christian denominations; with the other major religions; with those distant from the Church such as atheists; and with any one of good will, it is possible to save our world and make Humanity happy!