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SOCIETY OF MISSIONARY SERVANTS A DRAFT DISCUSSION DOCUMENT

With the encouragement of my bishop, I am at the very initial stages of the process of seeking to start two related associations of the faithful. At least for the moment, these proposed associations will be referred to as Missionary Servants and the Society of Missionary Servants. The first document below concerns the second proposed association and is an initial draft for consideration by, and discussion with, those who are interested in either supporting or in becoming members of the Society of Missionary Servants. It outlines the vision and mission for the Society of Missionary Servants which I believe God has given me as well as some important aspects of the nature of the Society of Missionary Servants. I hope that, in time, the Society of Missionary Servants will become recognized by the Church first as a public association of the faithful and then, at a much later stage, as a Society of Apostolic Life. I would greatly welcome feedback, input, and constructive criticism (both positive and negative) even from those who do not feel called to be part of the Society of Missionary Servants in any way.

SOCIETY OF MISSIONARY SERVANTS


The Society of Missionary Servants is a community of priests, deacons, seminarians and lay brothers who have dedicated their life to Christ, to the evangelizing mission of his Church and to the advancement of his Kingdom. They have dedicated their life to this in a specific way, through being members of a particular community, the Society of Missionary Servants, with its particular vision, mission and way of life. While they do not take formal vows, members of the Society of Missionary Servants to seek to live their lives in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. They commit themselves to doing this in a particular and codified way.

As with many other new movements and communities, the Society of Missionary Servants seeks to be a witness to, and a herald of, a dual call from the Lord, the call to a renewal of Christian life and of Christian mission through the power of the Holy Spirit. In particular the Society of Missionary Servants seeks to play a prophetic role both within the Church and in the wider world by making God's special love for the poor better known, more clearly seen, and more deeply experienced, and by proclaiming the imperative for God's people to have a preferential love for the poor1 and to build the Church of the Poor. The Society of Missionary Servants is part of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Recognizing that the Vatican has given to ICCRS2 a particular role of service within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, the Society of Missionary Servants seeks to work closely with ICCRS. The Society of Missionary Servants seeks to be faithful to the teachings of the magisterium and to always submit itself to legitimate ecclesial authority. In faithfulness both to the call of the magisterium to ecumenism and also to the ecumenical grace of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, the Society of Missionary Servants is committed to ecumenism and believes that all Christians must work together in the task of world evangelization and the advancement of Gods Kingdom. VISION To be missionary servants of Gods Love, especially of his love for the poor3

MISSION
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To live lives of love To be servants4

Pope John Paul II said in his 2005 message for the World Day of Peace: The Church invites all who believe in Christ to show, practically and in every sector, a preferential love for the poor (no. 8 cf Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis). 2 International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services 3 God loves all people and the members of the Society of Missionary Servants are called to be servants of Gods Love for all people. However the Society of Missionary Servants and its members are called to prophetically proclaim, and to live out as a model, the preferential love for the poor to which Pope John Paul II said all Christians are called. 4 The Society of Missionary Servants and its members are called to be servants of Christ and therefore servants of his Church and servants of all people, they are however called to be most especially servants of the poor.

To be missionaries and to live missionary lives dedicated most especially to the particular purpose of: Evangelization5 Serving the poor6 Fighting poverty7 Fostering missionary vocations8 leading, equipping and facilitating others to evangelize, to serve the poor, to fight poverty and to foster missionary vocations To live mainly among the poor9

SPIRITUALITY The Society of Missionary Servants is an apostolic and missionary association called to be very active in the world. However, this action must spring from prayer and a relationship of love with the Lord. Prayer, praise and worship is at the very heart of the Society of Missionary Servants life. Members of the Society of Missionary Servants are called to be active contemplatives or contemplatives in action. Thus the spirituality of the Society of Missionary Servants is of vital importance. As must be the case with any authentically Christian spirituality, the spirituality fostered by the Society of Missionary Servants is completely founded on the love, mercy and grace of God the Father, revealed in Jesus Christ and poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. The spirituality fostered by the Society of Missionary Servants is:

Evangelization is a broad term referring to the whole evangelising mission of the Church which has many facets. The Society of Missionary Servants and its members will be concerned with the whole spectrum of evangelisation, however its primary focus in evangelization will be that of a) seeking to lead people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and to grow in holiness as disciples in his Church b) seeking to build up Christian community and to establish vibrant Catholic communities and churches (especially in areas where the Church is absent or lacking in vitality). The Society of Missionary Servants and its members will have a special, but not exclusive, focus on evangelization among the poor. 6 The Society of Missionary Servants and its members are called to serve the poor regardless of whether or not they will become Christians or Catholics. They are called to serve the poor in many and varied ways. These ways will include seeking to help empower them, to help them exit poverty and to live lives of dignity in dignified conditions. These ways will also include carrying out the spiritual and corporal acts of mercy. 7 Fighting poverty is not the same as serving the poor. The Society of Missionary Servants and its members will be concerned not just with poverty alleviation but also with poverty reduction and poverty eradication. They will be concerned with addressing the structural factors which contribute to poverty. They will be concerned to help change unjust structures that contribute to poverty and dehumanizing conditions. They will be concerned with promoting just structures and structures that promote prosperity, harmony, peace and love, structures that promote true human flourishing and human fulfillment. However, whilst being concerned with social, political, economic and cultural structures, the Society of Missionary Servants and its members must never forget that at the root of all problems, including poverty, is enslavement to sin and to the devil and his demons. 8 The Society of Missionary Servants and its members will seek to raise up and support people who will give their lives as missionaries (whether as priests, consecrated men and women, or as normal lay persons married and single). 9 The Society of Missionary Servants and its members have the poor as their special focus. This is not an exclusive focus, they can and should evangelise others including the rich and influential. However, in line with its prophetic mission to proclaim and live out the preferential love for the poor and the call to build the Church of the poor, the members of the Society of Missionary Servants should normally live among the poor for most of the time and, at least to some extent, share the life of the poor community in which they live. The evangelisation of Society of Missionary Servants among those who are not materially poor should be carried out from context of normally living among the poor.

Charismatic: It flows from the experience that is often called the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, it involves using and fostering the charisms of the Holy Spirit, and it often involves spontaneous, loud and expressive praise and worship. Eucharistic: It is nourished by the regular, normally daily, celebration of the Eucharist and expresses itself in a life of thanksgiving and sacrifice. Liturgical: It involves celebrating not just the Eucharist but the complete Liturgy of the Hours. The Church liturgical cycle and seasons affect not just the prayer life of the Society of Missionary Servants but the daily life of its members. Intercessory: It involves daily prayer for the world and the Church, especially for the evangelizing mission of the Church, for the spreading of God's Kingdom, and for the transformation of the poor through the power of Gods love. Contemplative: It is nourished by daily times of adoration and silence before the Lord (if possible before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament).

OTHER DISTINCTIVE FEATURES

Communal Life: The call to be a member of the Society of Missionary Servants is a call to communal living, to fraternal life in community. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, members of the Society of Missionary Servants will live in communities of at least 3-4 people. At the heart of the Society of Missionary Servants common life is corporate prayer both liturgical and charismatic. Having regular meals together is also an important part of the Society of Missionary Servants common life. Cell groups/sharing groups: Members of the Society of Missionary Servants normally meet together in small groups at least two or three times a month for mutual support, encouragement and accountability and to share with each other what God is doing in and through their lives. Collaborative ministry: The Society of Missionary Servants stresses the importance of, and seeks to model, a collaborative ministry where clergy, religious and laity all work very closely together as brothers and sisters in Christ. The Society of Missionary Servants will not normally set up its own ministries. Rather its members will normally serve in the context of the local Church (at diocesan or parish level and in official Church ministries such as Caritas), or in the context of Catholic or ecumenical communities (such as Couples For Christ, Ligaya ng Panginoon, Bukas Loob ng Diyos or the Light of Christ), or in the contexts of organizations and movements (such as Gawad Kalinga or World Vision or Habitat for Humanity). It is envisaged that, eventually, there will be Society of Missionary Servants priests and brothers who will help set up, lead and otherwise serve parishes and mission stations among poor communities. Partnerships with Charismatic communities and groups: As part of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal the Society of Missionary Servants seeks in particular to work in partnerships with different charismatic communities and groups. However, these partnerships must seek to serve the world and the whole church and not just the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and not just the particular charismatic communities and groups in the partnerships. Patrimony: The Society of Missionary Servants arose from, and finds its roots most especially in, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. In different ways, the Society of Missionary Servants has been inspired and influenced by various groups and communities both within and 4

outside of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, including the Missionaries of Charity, Couples For Christ, Gawad Kalinga, the Servants of the Word, and the New Friars Movement. The Society of Missionary Servants draws special inspiration from the life and writings of: St Paul of Tarsus, St Francis of Assisi, and Mother Theresa of Kolkata, and also from the life and writings of St Francis Xavier, St Vincent de Paul and Catherine de Hueck Doherty. The life and writings of the protestant missionary Viv Grigg have also been greatly influential and inspirational for the Society of Missionary Servants.

CHRISTIAN MISSION AND WORLD POVERTY God's heart is broken by the poverty in this world. The number of the poor is utterly staggering, as is the rate of increase in their number. The majority of the world lives in some sort of material poverty. Even the number of the absolutely poor, living on less than one US Dollar a day, is mind-blowing. The number living on less than two US dollars a day is far greater. There are literally billions of people living in abject poverty, in squalor, misery and destitution. Included in these billions are the urban poor, many of whom dwell in the rapidly proliferating urban slums, squatter settlements and informal communities, especially in the two-thirds world (the so called underdeveloped countries or developing world). The urban slum areas already probably constitute not just the largest single group of the world's poor, but the biggest single sector of society as a whole. For the first time in history we now have more people living in urban areas than in rural areas. At least one billion of these urban dwellers, that is to say at least one in every three urban residents in the world, live in urban slum areas. Very often these areas are without electricity, clean water, health and medical services, and sewerage or waste disposal systems. Formal education for the children is usually either completely lacking or greatly lacking in quantity and quality. Overcrowding is the norm and large families often live in tiny makeshift accommodation. The conditions are normally extremely insanitary. Rats, cockroaches and other vermin abound. Sickness and disease are rife and many die from causes that would be easily preventable if money or other resources were available. God's heart bleeds for those who live in such poverty and it is for such people that Christ came to bring the good news. Yet most often there is no Church presence in these areas, and even when there is a Church presence it is normally minimal. Furthermore whatever Church presence does exist among the urban poor is usually limited to relief and development work. Such relief and development work is important, indeed it is absolutely vital, but it is not the only work the Church should be doing. As John Paul II insists in his letter Redemptoris Missio, it is missionary evangelization that is the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world. Unfortunately holistic missionary evangelization among the poor which includes relief and development work, social action for and with the poor and oppressed, the witness of Christian life, and a clear verbal proclamation of the gospel is often sadly lacking. There are probably billions of people in the slum areas who have never heard the Gospel of Christ. Certainly, without any doubt, there are many hundreds of millions of poor who have not heard a full and credible presentation of the Gospel, who have not heard the message of eternal life, who have not heard of God's amazing, gracious and merciful love revealed in Jesus Christ, who have not had proclaimed to them the forgiveness, healing 5

and strengthening that Jesus Christ freely offers, who have not heard the call to follow Jesus Christ in repentance and faith, who have not heard Christ's call to love and holiness, who have not heard of the transformation that is possible in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, who, through absolutely no fault of their own, do not know what it really means to be a Christian and to live a Christian life. As St Thomas Aquinas said, He who is dying of hunger must be fed rather than taught. The Church cannot and must not ignore the material, social and economic conditions of the poor. The Church cannot and must not offer a spiritual gospel which is unconcerned with the material world. It is an absolute scandal that such a lack of concern has often seemed to be the case. This should never be the case anywhere. The Church must be concerned with giving food to the hungry, clothes to the naked and shelter to those who have none. The Church must be concerned with social, political, and economic issues. The Church must be concerned with issues of justice and peace in a world full of injustice, hatred, and violence and with an ever widening gap between the rich and the poor. The Church must be concerned with the need for structural change at local, national and international levels. This is a vital part of living out the teachings of Jesus in the world. Also, the Church must be concerned, in its work with the poor and its fight against poverty and injustice, to join together with Muslims, with those from other non-Christian religions and with those who do not believe in God. It must be concerned to do this with integrity. It must be concerned to do this with sensitivity for the beliefs of others. It must be concerned to do this in a spirit of dialogue with humility and respect and with an openness to learn. But such concerns, so absolutely vital as they are, must never blur the uniqueness of Christ as the fully Divine Son of God and as the only Savior. Such concerns, so absolutely vital as they are, must never be substitutes for the Church seeking to lead those who do not know of Christ, or who do not believe in Him as Lord, God and Savior, to repentance and to faith in Christ. Such concerns, so absolutely vital as they are, must never replace the missionary mandate to establish and build up the Church where the Church has not yet taken root or is lacking in vitality. Such concerns, so absolutely vital as they are, must never be substitutes for the Church seeking to verbally proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and his Kingdom to the poor. The poor have a right to hear the good news of Christ and must not be deprived of it. They have a right to hear that news. They also have a right to hear it - and see it - presented in a way that is relevant and intelligible to them. Yet, unfortunately, a credible verbal proclamation of the good news to the poor is sadly lacking. As Viv Grigg disappointedly declares concerning the urban slum areas, the Church has given bread to the poor and has kept the bread of life for the middle classes. The harvest is ripe, but the labourers are few. Urban slum dwellers are certainly among the most needy part of the worlds population and sometimes they are also the most receptive to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The billions of poor in today's world are crying out for those who will bring the good news of Christ to them in both word and deed. They need to see Christian disciples who continue the incarnation of Christ. They need to see Christian disciples who live among them in lives of prayer, friendship, hospitality and service. They need to see living among them men and women who reveal God through their lives of love, joy, humility and compassion. Jesus Christ is calling for such people to come forward and to go and live among the poor. The Holy Spirit is touching peoples hearts to form communities of disciples who will live among the poor and 6

seek to reflect Christ through lives of love, joy, humility and service. The Lord wishes to raise up communities of Christians who will incarnate or flesh out the gospel among the poor rather than simply proclaiming the gospel from without. The Lord wishes to raise up communities of apostolic life who intentionally seek not only to live among the poor but also to share at least some of the conditions of the poor, voluntarily living lives of simplicity or non-destitute poverty. The Lord wishes to raise up communities of disciples who will suffer with the poor and yet who will also mirror the joy of Jesus Christ and celebrate his goodness. The Lord is calling, but not enough people are hearing and responding. The harvest is indeed ripe but unfortunately the labourers are few. The Society of Missionary Servants has sought to make a response to this call of God, to this call of God for his disciples to love the poor, to serve the poor, to fight poverty and even to go and live among the poor. In making its response, the Society of Missionary Servants is mindful of the fact that, in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 25, Jesus reveals that at the end of time we will be judged by what we have done for, and been to, the poor. The members of the Society of Missionary Servants seek to grow as disciples who desire to respond to Christ's call to continue his mission of bringing the good news to the poor. The Society of Missionary Servants members seek to be disciples who also recognize that Christ is already to be found among the poor and who desire to meet him in the poor. The Society of Missionary Servants recognizes that, in a very real sense, its members receive more from the poor than they give, for in the poor they encounter, and are transformed by, Jesus Christ himself. In making this response the Society of Missionary Servants has been greatly inspired the so called incarnational ministries that God is raising up among Evangelical Protestant Christians, some of whose members have been called the New Friars and not only serve but live among the poor in the rapidly proliferating urban slum areas. THE WIDER SOCIETY OF MISSIONARY SERVANTS FAMILY The Society of Missionary Servants is an association of priests, deacons, seminarians and lay brothers who live among the poor. It is envisaged that, at some stage, a female counterpart to the Society of Missionary Servants may also be established. Men and women from all states of life who live among the poor, including those who are married, may become companion members of the Society of Missionary Servants. Companion members of the Society of Missionary Servants should: have gone through the Society of Missionary Servants formation programme for companion members actually live among the poor meet at least once a month with other members of the Society of Missionary Servants for fellowship, prayer, sharing and teaching be part of a small support group/cell group/sharing group/BEC (this group does not necessarily have to be a Society of Missionary Servants group but it must meet regularly).

Priests, deacons, seminarians, and religious both male and female, who want to identify with and become part of the Society of Missionary Servants without necessarily living among poor may become associate members. Associate members of the Society of Missionary Servants should: have informed their superiors of their associate membership have gone through the Society of Missionary Servants formation programme for associate members meet at least once a month with other members of the Society of Missionary Servants for fellowship, prayer, sharing and teaching

Those who wish to support, but not become members of, the Society of Missionary Servants may join the Friends of the Society of Missionary Servants. This is a network of friends and supporters who give some of their time, energy, skills and resources to further the vision and mission of the Society of Missionary Servants. These friends support the Society of Missionary Servants in various ways, including through their prayers, friendship, financial support and material support. The Society of Missionary Servants is intimately connected to Missionary Servants. Missionary Servants is an association of the faithful that is much broader than the Society of Missionary Servants and it is open to Catholics in any state of life - lay people or clerics (priests and deacons), religious or secular, married or single and to members of other Catholic associations and communities. All members of the Society of Missionary Servants are members of Missionary Servants. The Society of Missionary Servants provides leadership and direction to Missionary Servants.
Fr. Paul Uwemedimo (08 September 2012 version)

MISSIONARY SERVANTS A DRAFT DISCUSSION DOCUMENT With the encouragement of my bishop, I am at the very initial stages of the process of seeking to start two related associations of the faithful. At least for the moment, these proposed associations will be referred to as Missionary Servants and the Society of Missionary Servants. This document below concerns the first proposed association and is an initial draft for consideration by, and discussion with, those who are interested in either supporting or in becoming members of Missionary Servants. It outlines some thoughts on the vision and mission and some other various aspects of Missionary Servants. I would greatly welcome feedback, input, and constructive criticism (both positive and negative) even from those who do not feel called to be part of the Missionary Servants in any way.

MISSIONARY SERVANTS

Missionary Servants is an association of Catholics who desire to be Missionary Servants of Gods Love, most especially of his love for the poor. Missionary Servants seeks to contribute towards the evangelizing mission of the Church and the advancement of God's Kingdom. Its members pray daily for this task and seek to commit themselves ever more deeply both to living missionary lives themselves and to promoting Christian mission in the world. Missionary Servants seeks to play a prophetic role both within the Church and in the wider world by making God's special love for the poor better known and by proclaiming the imperative for God's people to have a preferential option for the poor and to build the Church of the Poor. Missionary Servants is part of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and membership is open to members of any Catholic charismatic prayer group, community or movement. Whilst an explicitly Catholic organization, which seeks to be faithful to the teachings of the magisterium and to always submit itself to legitimate ecclesial authority, Missionary Servants is committed to ecumenism and believes that all Christians must work together in the task of evangelization and the spreading of Gods Kingdom. Some members of Missionary Servants will choose to relocate and actually live among the poor. These members are encouraged, if at all possible, to meet at least once or twice a month with other members of Missionary Servants for prayer, worship, fellowship, sharing and teaching. These members are also encouraged to study and reflect on material provided by the Missionary Servants for the formation of those who have taken the step of relocating and living among the poor. At the heart of Missionary Servants, and providing leadership to it, is the Society of Missionary Servants (SMS). This society is open to single men, seminarians, deacons and priests who wish to dedicate their lives to Christ in the particular way set forth in the societys vision and mission and live a community life among the poor. In time the Society of Missionary Servants aims to become recognized by the Catholic Church first as a public association of the faithful and then as a Society of Apostolic Life. VISION The vision of Missionary Servants is for its members: To be missionary servants of Gods Love, most especially of his love for the poor

MISSION The mission of Missionary Servants is to encourage its members: To live lives of love To pray daily for the evangelising mission of the Church and the advancement of God's Kingdom To live missionary lives dedicated most especially to the particular purpose of: evangelization 9

serving the poor fighting poverty leading, equipping and facilitating others to evangelize, to serve the poor and to fight poverty To live among the poor or to support those who live among the poor

MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS Membership of Missionary Servants is open to anybody who is willing to meet its membership requirements. Its members can be lay people or clerics (priests and deacons), religious or secular, married or single. Its members are free to be members of other church associations, movements or communities. The membership requirements of Missionary Servants are I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. to agree with and support the vision and mission of Missionary Servants to be actively involved, in some way, in evangelization, in serving the poor and in fighting poverty to encourage and help others to be actively involved, in some way, in evangelization, in serving the poor and in fighting poverty to have attended, or to attend as soon as possible, a Life in the Spirit Seminar, a Christian Life Program or a Christian Life Seminar to be part of, or to become part of, a Charismatic prayer group, community, or movement to attend an annual retreat, ideally one organized by Missionary Servants To promise to try to be faithful in Praying daily the Missionary Servants prayer praying daily for: the Popes mission intentions, for Missionary Servants and its members (and most especially for those Missionary Servants who have relocated in order to live among the poor), for the Society of Missionary Servants, for the intentions listed in the monthly Missionary Servants newsletter, and for at least one particular missionary reading and studying the Missionary Servants Handbook on a regular basis (at least once a week) reading the complete monthly Missionary Servants newsletter studying carefully the teachings contained in the monthly Missionary Servants newsletter
Fr. Paul Uwemedimo 08 Sep 2012

THE MISSIONARY SERVANTS PRAYER

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