On Monday, 25th October 2020, a group of Form 4 (Year 10) students at St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala, Cospicua reflected upon Pope Francis’s message for Mission Sunday 2021 and committed themselves to support the Missio Malta missionary fund campaign in aid if disabled children in Cambodia. This project was coordinated by Senior Religion teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc, who also invited his RE programme students to reflect upon the missionary call of every Christian in today’s life.
On World Mission Day which was celebrated on October 24th, Pope Francis released his message taken from the Acts of the Apostles and emphasizes that “Once we experience the power of God’s love, and recognize his fatherly presence in our personal and community life, we cannot help but proclaim and share what we have seen and heard.” Pope Francis explains that Jesus’ relationship with his disciples and his humanity, “shows us the extent to which God loves our humanity and makes his own our joys and sufferings, our hopes and our concerns” while reminding us about evangelization experience of the Apostles of Jesus. “The history of evangelization began with the Lord’s own passionate desire to call and enter into friendly dialogue with everyone, just as they are.” writes the Pope. Experiencing the Lord’s friendship, compassion and teaching, says the Pope “left an indelible mark on them [the Apostles], awakening amazement, expansive joy and a profound sense of gratitude.”
Considering the challenges of the Covid19 Pandemic, Pope Francis writes that the virus has “brought to the fore and amplified the pain, the solitude, the poverty and the injustices experienced by so many people. It has unmasked our false sense of security and revealed the brokenness and polarization quietly growing in our midst.” He adds saying that “Those who are most frail and vulnerable have come to feel even more so.” The Pope underlines that amid this pandemic, “there is a temptation to disguise and justify indifference and apathy in the name of healthy social distancing, there is an urgent need for the mission of compassion, which can make that necessary distancing an opportunity for encounter, care and promotion.”
In our present circumstances, the Pope continues, “there is an urgent need for missionaries of hope who, anointed by the Lord, can provide a prophetic reminder that no one is saved by himself.”
Pope Francis concludes by stressing that “Always, but especially in these times of pandemic, it is important to grow in our daily ability to widen our circle, to reach out to others who, albeit physically close to us, are not immediately part of our “circle of interests.”
While reflecting upon these words of His Holiness Pope Francis, St. Margaret College students discerned how to be good Christian missionaries in our everyday life. The following are some of the student’s reflections and insights:
“I can be a Christian missionary by reaching out those people in need” by students Jeanelle Galea & Chanise Bugeja;
“Listening to others and show respect and not judging others makes me a good Christian missionary” by students Shyan Sammut & Denzel Portelli;
“When I donate money or clothes in aid of the poor I am putting my missionary call into practice” by students Leonella Galea & Sheyzen Grima;
“I am a good Christian missionary when I love others and be generous with all those in need” by student Jamie Bugeja;
“We are good Christian missionaries when we suffer a bit more for others as probably those in need are suffering more” by student Erin Bach Sakka Fiorini;
“Making others aware of God’s infinite love for humanity makes me a good Christian missionary” by student Rihana Grech;
“A good Christian missionary is willing to help everyone even those who derive from a different culture or have a different skin colour from ours” by student Aaliyah Caruana;
“Our Christian mission starts at home as charity begins at home” by student Jahel Buhagiar;
“It is when I am less selfish and think more of others that I become a true Christian missionary” by students Pearl Marie Abela & Yirish Delia;
“My mission as a Christian is to help others get closer to God’s love and compassion through prayer” by student Andrew Cole;
“Walking with others and understanding their daily problems and burdens makes me a good Christian missionary” by student Lindsay Farrugia;
“Supporting missionary offices in aid of the poor makes me also a good missionary. It is not important how much money we donate but that we donate our money or gifts with a loving heart” by students Yanique Gambin & Toyah Lia;
“Just serving others with great love makes me a good Christian missionary. When you offer a cup of coffee or tea to others after a busy day at work you are being thoughtful and when you visit your grandparents you are being compassionate” by student Michela Grech;
“When I am sensitive to the needs of others I am a good Christian missionary especially when I share my school lunch with others” by student Onell Pace;
“Making others feel happy and making them aware of the true purpose of life makes you a good Christian missionary” by student Aliyah Higgins;
“Comforting others when facing family problems or stress makes me a good missionary” Matt Camilleri Lagana’;
“Showing respect to every living creature (not only human beings but also animals and plants) makes me a good missionary. Also, we need to think more of those who are less fortunate in life” by student Sheizell Camilleri.
Teacher Martin said, “the aim of this school study project is to make our students reflect upon the fact that the Christian call to mission is not a thing of the past, or a romantic leftover from earlier times but a daily call from Jesus to be messengers and agents of compassion.”
This school project was related to the R.E. unit about the missionary character imprinted in the heart of every Christian through Baptism and Confirmation.
This school project aims to reach seven of the main goals proposed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Rihana Grech, Leonella Galea and Erin Bach Sakka Fiorini.