Following my last carte blanche on the encyclical All Brothers where I evoked a meditation on the parable of the Good Samaritan, I have chosen to speak to you about lockdown and mission through the concept of "missionary lockdown". It is an experience lived at present, in Segré (Maine-et-Loire), by Sophie de Bagneaux whom I interviewed.
Missionary confinement is an idea that has germinated in the minds of the young people of WEMPS (Week-end Mission Prayer Service) to answer the question: how can we live the mission in rural areas in this time of lockdown, while respecting the instructions of the government?
What does this consist of in concrete terms, Sophie?
We are a group of 4 young professionals (Simon, Paul, Camille and Sophie), welcomed in the parish of Segré to live a missionary lockdown for one month.
The first week has just passed, we have above all put our missionary project back into prayer. For my part, going from a few minutes of personal prayer a day to a few hours of prayer was overwhelming. The outside noises fade away, silence settles in as we go along, prayer becomes simple and interior.
Our actions are in line with the missionary initiatives of the parish. Father Emmanuel is full of ideas, he has entrusted the local bakeries with the task of making an All Saints' Day cake and distributes biographies of saints with each purchase.
He has entrusted us with several projects: redesigning the Church so that each person feels welcome and can recollect himself, helping to broadcast the Masses to make them lively and singing. For my part, I am going to give weekly catechism lessons to young secondary school students in Segré and to high school students in Orvault.
What gave you the desire for such a commitment?
The thirst to live the confinement in prayer by putting God first in our days. To bear witness to the Hope of Christ, in a time when we can be seized by fear and suffer from isolation. And then, it is by evangelising that we are the first to be evangelised!
What fruits? What lessons? What hope?
What fruits? Difficult, we must let the Holy Spirit work and not seek efficiency.
What hope? That physical distance does not prevent us from taking one more step towards Christ. To bear witness to our joy of being Christian and to share it.
What lesson? I am also particularly touched by fraternal life. It is by accepting to share our vulnerabilities, to show ourselves as we are with other missionaries and priests that true joy and communion is born.
Thank you Sophie, and good missionary lockdown to you and all your team in Segré.