The Irish Missionary Resource Service (IMRS) was recently relaunched as Misean Cara. The subtitle is “Mission Support from Ireland”. This new name indicates a shift of emphasis, from Irish missionaries bringing the faith out to peoples, to Irish support for the indigenous churches of formerly missionary countries, which are now themselves the source of missionary effort. The rebranding was marked by speakers such as Liz O’Donnell, former Minister of State, Indian Sr Terry Abrahams and Tullamore Jesuit Michael Kelly (both pictured here). Zambian Sr Pereka Nyirenda, also present, summarised: “People on the ground in Zambia say: they came to us, they lived with us, they learned from us, they loved us. They started with what we knew. They built with what we had. Now that the work is done and the task is accomplished, we can truly say that we were enabled to do this work ourselves.”
Michael Kelly spoke last: “You will always find Irish missionaries where there is need on the ground – both human and spiritual; where men and women are trying to get a decent life for themselves and their families: health, education, a decent livelhiood, overcoming the difficulties of their societies and going forward to become the full integrated human being that God wants them to be.
Irish missionaries have always been close to people with whom they work. They are near to them, sharing their tears of sorrow, sharing their laughter and joy. Irish missionaries are mostly here to stay. A large proportion of Irish missionaries go abroad to stay, and their ultimate aim is that the local church should be built up, so that they can take over their own management and that the local people can do without them. The Irish must decrease, while the local people must increase.
Our work would not be possible without the generous support of the Irish people: our families, our communities, our churches and the support we get from our Missionary congregations and from Misean Cara. We are looking forward, together, in participation, to the future, to what we can do together to build a fair and just world. We ask you to stay with us, don’t abandon us; keep us in your prayers, your thoughts and your pockets!”