Called to share the message of Jesus in the School of Mission

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BRISBANE Auxiliary Bishop Tim Norton shared his experience of how the Children’s Missionary Heart helped reduce gang violence on the streets of his parish in Mexico City.

Bishop Norton was the keynote speaker for the first day of the Xavier School of Mission, which ran June 19-24.

Telling his story, he was a missionary priest in Mexico City during a violent time.

Teenagers were getting high on paint thinners and standing on street corners armed with guns, he said.

Within a month, Bishop Norton held four funerals for teenagers in his ward who had died in shootings, and many more were injured.

The children in his parish wanted to reach out and care for these other children, but the parish committee – including many parents – rejected the idea when Bishop Norton brought it up.

The committee was concerned about the safety of the children in their parish and their priest.

Bishop Norton told the children that their idea had been rejected.

A little child said in Spanish, “What would Jesus do? It was a light bulb moment and the next parish committee, Bishop Norton led the child to repeat those exact words in front of the adult parishioners.

The members of the parish committee were moved by the child’s words and approved of the work of children in the streets.

The ministry has become a success and has helped many children, Bishop Norton said.

He said mission means not being afraid to reach out to the marginalized, to cross borders and to invite people to the table.

Bishop Norton’s speech focused on interculturality and how to navigate the intricacies of cultural differences while keeping the Holy Spirit at the center.

He said culture and mission are inseparable.

It was one of many presentations at the five-day Xavier School of Mission, which included guest speakers from across the Australian Church as well as workshops on a range of practical topics including liturgy and the life of pray.

Dozens of people from parishes, ministries, schools as well as university students, financial workers, seminarians, priests and many others attended the school.

Director of ACU’s Xavier Center for Theological Formation, Sr. Maeve Heaney, said the whole reason for the Church is mission.

“God has come to join us,” she says.

“We have no purpose except for others and the life for which God sends us.

“Part of that is that we share community and we open up spaces that give life.”

The term mission was broad, she said.

“The proclamation of the Word is an aspect of mission; service, and everything that our Catholic organizations do from Centacare and each parish and our Catholic schools are different aspects of the Catholic mission,” she said.

She said the Xavier School of Mission was dedicated to teaching the preaching of the Word.

Xavier School of Mission is an annual event organized by ACU and Holy Spirit Seminary, Banyo.

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