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.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Cross Our Only Sword

When I was growing up in Saint John the Baptist Parish in Peabody, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur taught us to sing The Catholic Action Hymn.  Some of you may be familiar with it.  It begins “An army of youth, flying the standard of truth.  We’re fighting for Christ the Lord.”  It continues “Heads lifted high, Catholic Action our cry and the cross our only sword.”  I often think of these words when I correspond with our missionaries, many of whom are faced with danger and challenges that go well beyond the tasks of evangelizing their people.

One of my faithful and favorite correspondents is Archbishop Adrian Smith, a member of the Society of Mary (Marists).  The Marist missionaries are well known in Boston because they have staffed some of our parishes over the years, as well as the Shrine of Our Lady of Victories and the Lourdes Center in Boston.  Archbishop Smith is the ordinary of the Archdiocese of Honiara in the Solomon Islands and his letters are informative and interesting as he fills me in on the happenings in his local church.

His most recent letter arrived in December with details of the celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the martyrdom of the Marist missionaries at Ruavatu Parish,  Father Henry Oude Eberink, sm, Sister M. Odila, smsm, Sister M. Sylvia, smsm, Sister Edme Bonnet, smsm and a Boston native, Father Arthur Duhamel, sm.  Archbishop Smith writes:

He was born in Boston, USA.  After two years in a parish, he went to Solomon Islands in 1939, age 31.  After three years at Ruavatu on Guadalcanal, he died at age 34, bayoneted to death by the invading Japanese army.  It was good to recall the pastoral commitment of Father Arthur and the other missionaries who died with him.  Their fidelity has a strong message for all of us.

He concludes his letter:

Thank you for your kindness to us.  I hope that one day I have the opportunity to meet you and share more with you about life here in Guadalcanal.

Our missionaries are armed only with the cross of Christ.  Continue to pray for Archbishop Smith and all those who carry that cross so as to share it with others.
-Rev. Rodney J. Copp, JCL

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