People use to think that a mission is an adventure in a very poor and distant place and this may be true but it is also true that “the mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion”. According St. John Paul II, to proclaim the Good News “is the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world, a world which has experienced marvelous achievements but which seems to have lost its sense of ultimate realities and of existence itself.”
Every land has a need and the right to know the message of God’s love found in Jesus Christ. Following this call of the Church, in May 2015, three missionaries of the Shalom Catholic Community arrived in Boston, Massachusetts, one of the most wealthy cities in the world. Now the mission has grown, there are seven Life Community missionaries and thirteen Covenant Community missionaries. The mission currently has three prayer groups.
Kelly Dinning is a Covenant Community missionary in her own city that testifies that she has found in the Shalom charism the joy that she had never experienced before. Kelly relates to what St. Mother Teresa of Calcuta says, here too, our culture faces a particular kind of poverty as loneliness, lack of love and belonging, that there is so much hunger of something deeper.
“I think it is important to have a mission in America because we have filled our lives with so many things but there is still a great void. The Shalom charism brought me the joy that comes from the Lord and that is why I truly believe that the Gospel ought to be shared here in Boston where there are people from all around the world that have came to study in Harvard and MIT. We need to tell them about God’s love and that only He can fulfill the deepest desires of our hearts. So that through them the Good News can reach the whole world. Like the apostles we can spread God’s message of love from here to reach all the lands.”
Kelly also affirmed that the quarantine is a perfect time to go back to what is essential and said: “What could be more essential than to go back to our creator that loves us unconditionally?”
Hilda Yara is one of the Shalom Life Community missionaries who has been here since the very beginning to help start the mission in 2015 with Nara Santos and Murielle Brito. She said that she realized that a mission is more about people’s hearts than a place. Thus, whether here in America or in Africa, everybody is searching for belonging and meaning in their lives and also struggling with loneliness and shame. It is beautiful to see how God’s love is able to bring joy and peace for those open their hearts to have an experience with the living Christ. Therefore mission is to make God’s love known and experienced by all
In the same way, the priest of St. Anthony Parish in the Boston Archdiocese, Fr. Walter, who opened the doors of his parish for the Shalom mission is really grateful because he attests that the Community has brought the joy and the experience of living in Christ and this has been helping people to open up their hearts and minds to know Jesus better and to live His life in their own lives. He declares that it is a pleasure to have the Community ministering peace for all.
Finally, the Church is a mother, who sees the immense portion of humanity which is loved by the Father and for whom He sent his Son yet do not know Christ. As a mother, she cannot be indifferent but sees that urgency of the mission is obvious. May God renew our baptism commitment to be light in world.