The Great Commission of Christ to his disciples still echoes today in the lives of missionaries who have dedicated themselves to bringing the Gospel to others. This is Christ’s Great Commission:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20).
As Catholic missionaries serve members of the global community, they seek to bring them into the loving embrace of Christ and his Church. Divine Word Missionaries work around the world in remote mission locations, supporting the Global Church and serving its members. Read on to learn more about our missionaries work and how they strive to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission.
Our Work Is Grounded in a Commitment to Global Charity
The Catholic Church is one of the largest faith traditions in the world. Over 1.28 billion people around the world identify as Catholics, and Catholics make up approximately 17 percent of the world’s population. While accomplishing its mission to bring Jesus Christ to every corner of the globe, the Church is also committed to upholding the dignity of the human person at all stages of life.
The importance of promoting the dignity of human life is pivotal to acts of Catholic charity:
“Human persons are willed by God; they are imprinted with God's image. Their dignity does not come from the work they do, but from the persons they are" (St. John Paul II, Centesimus annus, no. 11).
In keeping with the commitment of the Church, Catholic missionaries dedicate their lives to serving people around the world, especially those who are most vulnerable and who have been marginalized by society.
Divine Word Missionaries echo the teachings of Christ by feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, fostering education, sheltering the homeless, and providing spiritual formation and vocational training. Most importantly, we remind those we serve of the open embrace of God's love.
Four Ways Our Missionaries Are Serving the Global Church
Divine Word Missionaries serve the poor while bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to communities around the world. We do this primarily through evangelization, formation, counseling and offering the sacraments. By bringing the teachings of the Church to all we encounter, we are spreading the love of Christ so that all peoples may come to know the truth of salvation.
Here are our four main areas of mission:
1. By building and sustaining parish life...
Parish life may sound simple or unglamorous, but the parish is the heart and home of the people of God. Divine Word Missionaries work closely with the local bishop and the local church in every area of the world where we are present.
In many areas of the world, the local church depends on Divine Word Missionaries to operate and staff parishes, offering life and grace to people who would not otherwise have access to the sacraments and the spiritual communities that they need. Strong parishes nurture the life of faith in the flock. They also serve as the springboards for other kinds of ministry.
2. Through evangelization and catechesis...
Catechesis and the study of Scripture are central to our missionary and parish life. Our missionaries run regular biblical orientation programs, Bible studies, classes on basic Catholic doctrine, programs to read the Catholic catechism and Dei Verbum programs designed to help people learn to love and understand the Word. We work with communities to integrate the teachings of Jesus and their faith into their lives and culture.
3. By providing a range of counseling services to promote healing...
Divine Word Missionaries have long supported and provided apostolates of counseling to the parishes and communities they serve around the world. Whether it is marriage counseling, family counseling, substance abuse counseling or spiritual counseling that is needed, Divine Word Missionaries do their best to fill this need in the human heart.
Our missionaries also work with other trained professionals to offer people the tools and space they need to heal and grow.
4. Through the formation of the next generation of religious and lay leaders...
One of the primary ways that Divine Word Missionaries serve the global church is through the training and formation of the next generation of priests, Brothers, Sisters and Catholic lay catechists. According to the Vatican, as of 2017, there are 3,130 Catholics per Catholic priest in the world today. In remote or rural parts of the world, a single missionary priest can open up the life of faith and regular access to the sacraments to communities of people who have no other way of learning about Jesus and his Church.
Unlike the Church as a whole, Divine Word Missionaries are not lacking for vocations. We remain one of the few Catholic congregations of religious men to sustain steady growth in membership. Each year close to 1,000 seminarians in 41 seminaries around the world prepare for their ordination into the mission of the Divine Word.
Supporting the Church Through Catholic Missionary Work
Despite the diversity of culture, location and religious practice, the global Church is ultimately one, unified by the bonds of a common faith and acting as a single instrument of Christ on earth. Through our love of Jesus and our commitment to mission, we live among the poor and marginalized and work to bring healing, hope and dignity to those in need. Divine Word Missionaries are committed to the universal mission of the Church as they build up the life of the Church through missionary ministry.