The Mission Hub


The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the
Propagation of the Faith, the Missionary Childhood Association, the Society of St.Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerfulmissionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Namaste!

In Nepal, people greet each other saying “Namaste!” with a slight bow, made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards. It literally means “To You!” This sign of respect was explained to me last week as one of the participants at the National Meeting of the Pontifical Mission Societies held in Seattle, WA. Our teacher was Bishop Anthony Sharma, S.J., Vicar Apostolic of Nepal, part of our extended One Family in Mission.

Bishop Sharma travelled from his country to share the work of the Church in Nepal: work that all four Pontifical Mission Societies have had a hand in helping to build. He told us a bit about the geography and culture of his country. Located between China and India, Nepal is a mostly Hindu country; just one per cent of the population is Christian. The Bishop shared that while there are many outside forces working against Christianity in Nepal, hope sustains his people. They know that “Tomorrow will be a better day because God is in control.”

Nepal’s Shepherd also came to thank us as representatives of you, our benefactors. He told us that without support from the Propagation of the Faith, the Church in Nepal would not have survived. This support made his own vocation possible.

Born twelve hours after his father’s death, Bishop Sharma knew that as the only son, he must care for his mother and carry on the family line. When his Jesuit principal asked him about the priesthood, he responded very simply, “No Way!” He knew he had other obligations. When he finally worked up the courage to tell his mother that he wanted to enter the Jesuits, she told him, “Over my dead body will you be a priest!” But as he tried to pray the thought away, the desire to serve God became greater. The day he was to leave for the seminary, he finally broke the news to his mother who walked to the doorway and prostrated herself. She told him, “You want to leave? Walk over me.”

“That was a step I had to take,” Bishop Sharma shared.

Catholics of Nepal have been graced with a courageous leader, whose strength and courage have led him to stand against many obstacles, be they political or personal. We wish him the same blessing that his mother finally gave him on the day of his ordination: “May all rocks before you turn to dust!”

Namaste!

-Maureen Crowley Heil

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