Igniting the Flame of Mission Awareness among Macau Youth

Fr Leonard E Dollentas

In a world that is increasingly secularized and individualistic, it is more important than ever to foster a strong sense of Catholic mission awareness among young people. The future of the Church depends on the next generation carrying forward the call to evangelize and serve others.

O Clarim director, Fr Eduardo Emilio Agüero, SCJ, explores this importance of Mission Work by organizing a group of young people from Macau to experience it firsthand. Fr Eduardo guided the youth not only to appreciate mission work as seen on social media but also to engage in real mission exposure in a real-world situation. He planned and organized a mission trip to Cabo Verde in Africa for this group of youngsters. Cabo Verde is a picturesque island nation located off the coast of West Africa.

The presence of Catholicism in Cabo Verde dates back to the 15th century when Portuguese explorers first arrived on the islands. As the explorers established settlements and trade routes, they brought with them their religious beliefs, leading to the introduction of Catholicism to the local population. Over the centuries, the Catholic Church became deeply ingrained in the fabric of Cabo Verdean society, shaping its traditions, values, and practices.

According to Fr Eduardo, this mission trip from Macau will allow the Catholic youth to engage directly in service projects and Catholic mission work. Mission work, whether at home or abroad, is a core part of living out one’s Catholic faith. Through engaging in ministries that serve the spiritual and material needs of others, these young Catholics can deepen their relationship with God and live out the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

The aspiration for this organized mission work is to allow the Spirit to bring young people to the realities faced by the world’s poor and marginalized, inspiring them to greater acts of charity, justice and mercy. Through the promptings of the Spirit, this may foster in them virtues like humility, generosity, and compassion. And for many young people, mission experiences serve as a pivotal moment of spiritual awakening and a catalyst for discerning their vocation.

When asked why he initiated this mission awareness among the young from Macau, when Macau is itself a mission area, the veteran missionary replied: “Faith is strengthened when it is given to others, when it is shared! It is in commitment to the Church’s universal mission that the new evangelization of Christian peoples will find inspiration and support. We have to guide our young people to be part of this.”

The group is currently in the initial stage of their mission journey: preparing their hearts and minds for the mission trip. Spiritual preparation is key for a mission. Two of the most important steps to prepare spiritually for a mission trip are to analyze intentions and to pray.