From 22 to 24 August 2022, at The National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka, Ampitiya, Kandy, the PMS Coordinators Training Seminar 2022 was held, especially dedicated to priests and sisters under the Theme “Joyfully Celebrate Your Vocation in Mission.” This Seminar was organized by the PMS National Director and the members of the National Office Staff.
The Keynote address was delivered by His Lordship Bishop Valence Mendis, Bishop of Kandy, on the theme “Joyfully celebrate your vocation in mission.”
His Lordship commenting on the New Evangelization pointed out according to Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium in 2013: the XIII Ordinary General Assembly reaffirmed that the New Evangelization “is carried out in three principal settings" which are;
1. Ordinary Pastoral Ministry
2. Outreach to “the baptized whose lives do not reflect the demands of Baptism”
3. Evangelization “to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him”.
In explaining the difference between Happiness and Joy, he said that Joy is a Fruit of the Spirit
The Joy in Mission therefore, would mean the inner satisfaction that one experiences by serving others. The Joy of taking up the Cross is what matters as a Priest or Religious.
The first talk of the second day was delivered by Rev. Fr. Vimal Tirimanne C.Ss.R.-S.T.D (Rome), Member of the Theological Commission for the Synod on Synodality on the theme “Reveal to me Jesus, the joy of the cross the greatness of humility and riches of poverty”. The Christian virtue of humility is nothing but discovering myself as I am! It is to know and accept oneself as one really is. Before God, the Creator of all material goods, even the richest or the wealthiest person is ‘poor’, but when he/she realizes this, he/she realizes who he/she really is, and this is humility. Long ago, St. Augustine said: “All created goods pass away, while the Creator will never pass away! Therefore, he who puts his trust only in the Creator will have a joy that can never be robbed by anyone!”
The second talk of the second day was held by Rev. Fr. Alvin Peter Fernando, Vicar General and Procurator of the Diocese of Kandy on the theme “Today’s Missionary role of a Shepherd, a Prophet and Priest.” He explained about;
- Mission is not static.
- Mission expands.
- Mission is being and not mere doing.
Pope Francis thus recently exhorted to us, “let us be passionate about Sacred Scripture, let us allow ourselves to be dug into by the Word, which reveals the newness of God and leads to loving others without tiring” (Francis, Homily of Word of God Sunday, January 23, 2022).
The talk of the third day was delivered by Rev. Fr. Gihan Gunathilaka, Director of the Faith Animation Team of the Archdiocese of Colombo on the theme “Fourfold Charism of the PMS and their specific Mission in the new evangelization”.
He first pointed out what are the main activities of the PMS and their related charisms, mentioned the celebrations of the various anniversaries in 2022, and finally said that we have to be aware and well known as to how to tell ‘the loving story of Jesus’ to the children and youth of this age, which he termed as very difficult and challenging.