Activities for the 2019 Extraordinary Mission Month celebration as directed by the Holy Father, Pope Francis has begun in earnest at both the local, national, continental and international level. According to the programme of the Universal Church, the Colloquium for Africa took place in Zambia from July 28 to August 3rd With the Nigerian National Director of Pontifical Mission Societies and the President of the African body, Rev. Fr. George Olusegun Ajana in attendance. Speakers at the well-attended programme were drawn from different parts of the continent.
In Nigeria, several activities were put in place by the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) Nigeria for Archdioceses and Diocese; as well as all the affiliate bodies of the office like; Holychildhood and Young Missionary Movement of Nigeria. The Catholic Diocese of Pankshin, in Plataue State also organized a workshop to respond to the call of the Holy Father for the special celebration.to mark the Centenary of the Apostolic letter MAXIMUM ILLUD, issued by Pope Benedict XV on 30/11/1919. The programme was facilitated by Rev. Fr George Olusegun Ajana, the National Director of PMS in Nigeria and the National Coordinator of ‘Missio Invest Africa.’ ; for the priests, religious and laity of the diocese and was attended by the local ordinary, Bishop Michael Gobal Gokum.
The workshop was to enlighten the participants on the Extra-Ordinary Missionary Month and the facilitator, Rev. Fr. George Ajana in his presentation outlined the four dimensions articulated and agreed upon by the National Directors at their meeting held in Rome 2017 for missionary activities in respect of the celebration. The four thrust areas are: Personal encounter with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, Word of God and Prayer; Knowing the witnesses of Saints and Martyrs; Priests, Religious and Laity are encouraged to have an ongoing formation on the Bible, Catechism, spirituality and theology and lastly Missionary charity. Fr. Ajana concluded his presentation by saying, “we are a mission, so everybody should discover his/her mission”.
The PMS National Director also used the occasion to educate the participants on the societies that make up the Pontifical Missionary Societies (PMS); stating that this comprised of: the Propagation of Faith (POF);Missionary Childhood (Holy Childhood Association ( HCA); Pontifical Society of Peter the Apostle (POSPA) and the Pontifical Missionary Union (PMU).
He elaborated on the roles and activities of each association, saying that they have a strong bond with Rome. Fr. Ajana therefore called for prompt obedience to the church’s hierarchy adding that PMS fosters a universal spirit as against being narrow minded.
Speaking to CSN News Magazine on the activities for the extraordinary month celebration, the National PMS Director for Nigeria, Rev. Fr. George Ajana disclosed that activities for the celebration will take place at the diocesan, provincial and national levels and culminate in the celebration of the Mission Sunday Mass in October; at which money will the collected as usual for the support of the Holy Father Pope Francis, for the Universal Church’s propagation apostolate, especially in countries where vocation is threatened as well as where poverty is affecting the growth of the Church.