Our parish had a three night “mission” during Lent and the missionary was another priest from our diocese! Shouldn’t a missionary be someone who comes from far away?

Our word “mission” comes from the Latin word “missio,” which means “sending.” After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and sent them out to the world to proclaim the good news. As they preached his message, they sent others, who sent others, and so on, always in Jesus’ name. Thus, from the earliest days of the Church, to be a Christian was to be a missionary, someone sent by Jesus with the message of salvation. Wherever people hunger for that message, we need missionaries. While we often associate “mission” with foreign lands and distant peoples, and find the word’s exotic connotations attractive, long-distance travel is not required. The message of Jesus is not only for peoples who have never heard of Christianity; it is also for Christians who constantly need to be reminded of what the good news really means and what our faith really requires of us. A missionary is someone who, like the earliest disciples, has been sent with that message of Jesus. That could be a priest from your own diocese, or someone from your own parish – or it could even be you.

Neela Kale

Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.