For information on short-term mission program, please click here. For information on the regular lay mission program, please read below.
Lay missioners men, women and married couples endeavour to integrate their faith with the reality of the world, by living the Gospel of Jesus among other peoples and cultures. They wish to discover and reverence God already present in the lives of ordinary people, wherever they go. Witnessing their faith through lives of love, justice and service, lay missioners feel called to use their gifts and talents humbly and earnestly.
Called to be prophetic like Christ, lay missioners strive to seek truth and offer solidarity in word and action in the midst of the weak and poor. They desire to form relationships, which are equal, trusting, affirming and respectful, hopeful in building a sense of self-worth and dignity in the people they are accompanying. Christ is then transmitted by the very fibre of their lives.
One distinctive role of mission is participating with the local people, priests and sisters in building a vibrant Christian community. Lay missioners offer a variety of unique gifts, witnessing God's love for all, within the Christian community and beyond. The focus of mission is unity of all peoplesone family in God. Lay missioners share joyfully and enthusiastically in serving the Reign of God.
"The witness of a Christian life
is the first and irreplaceable form of mission."
Pope John Paul II
All are Called to be Missioners
All Christians, by virtue of their baptismal dignity, share the responsibility to be missionary. Scarboro lay missioners feel called by Christ to participate in the universal mission of the Church. They willingly go to witness to God's love, justice and peace wherever they are sent in the world. Grateful for their faith and the experience of God's many blessings in their lives, they are eager to share their personhood, talents and experience of God with other peoples and cultures.
Called and guided by the spirit, Scarboro lay missioners go beyond the familiar to search for the presence of God among other peoples. In responding to this call of God, they learn to be open to change and growth in themselves and the ongoing process of conversion
Sent by the Church from Local Parishes
Life at the heart of a vibrant parish community nourishes and nurtures its members to go again and again into the world in loving service as Christ's disciples. From the very origins of Christianity, laity as individuals, families and entire communities have always shared in the responsibility for missionary activity. Lay missioners, who go out to the world beyond, reflect the missionary nature of their local churches. They give expression to the essential missionary vocation of their local faith communities.
Recognizing and celebrating the commitment of some of its members who go in mission to other peoples and cultures is important to a local parish community. A missionary vocation is not just a personal choice, but a charism that is meant to be shared with others.
Scarboro lay missioners are missioned from their local parishes by way of "mission sending celebrations." These celebrations are opportunities for the community to recognize and offer support to those who are being sent. It is through the presence and activity of lay missioners that the bonds of communion between the sending and receiving churches are strengthened.
Journey of Sacrifices and Blessings
Lay missioners accept the challenge to leave behind family, friends and security. They agree to live with an inevitable degree of obscurity, risk and personal sacrifice.
Although these challenges are a reality of daily life in mission, a sense of humor and an adventurous spirit lighten burdens. New languages, new foods and new customs all enhance the missionary journey. The many life-giving moments among new and special friends provide joy and equilibrium to this lay missionary adventure.
Entering the Lives of the People
To enter into the lives of the people among whom the lay missioner lives, experiencing their daily struggles for survival, sharing their pain and their celebrations, to be in touch with their experience of God and of their history as a people, loved and saved by God, is the very core of being a lay missioner. "Being" in relationship is more important than "doing."
At times, this immersion into the lives of the poor, oppressed or dehumanized demands that lay missioners advocate and work fervently for essential change. Accompanying those that are voiceless and powerless is what God asks of a Scarboro lay missioner.
As followers of Jesus, Scarboro lay missioners are committed to living simply, positively and non-violently, while at the same time challenging all that is oppressive or demeaning in our own and other cultures.
"this is what Yahweh asks of you: only this, to act justly,
love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God"
Discovering God in the Peoples of Other Religious Traditions
"Are we willing to go out "in twos and threes" to all peoples both at home and abroad to exchange and share in faith? Are we willing to have our faith challenged and deepened by participating in the "God" experience of other religions? The authenticity of our Catholic faith calls us to go forth. Can we find others of like mind to journey with and work together so that we may be more in the image of God? Yes, we can if we are willing to listen and dialogue."
Fr. Brian Swords, S.F.M.