Each year on the 8th of September which is the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, the Missionaries of Mariannhill celebrate this feast with particular reverence since Our Lady is the patroness of our Congregation.
During the Eucharistic celebration, which this year we celebrated in the chapel of our house in Salamanca, Fr. Muarrapaz Silva CMM, born in Moçambique, received a missionary crucifix before leaving for the Foundation of Mariannhill in Colombia, which will be his new home soon.
When a missionary leaves his family and all what belongs to him, he gets in return, before leaving for his destination, a crucifix. He has to embrace it, so that his heart moves in rhythm with the Heart of Christ. He has to pray through it, so that Christ provides efficiency to his apostolic work. He has to show it to everyone, so that through the contemplation on it, Christ becomes the source of eternal life to everyone who looks at it.
In this way that crucifix becomes the sum of the spiritual life, prayer and work of the one who is sent as a missionary. He lives, prays and works in the shadow of the Cross and under the gaze of the One who hangs upon it.
With the crucifix in his hands, the missionary goes out with safety, carrying a full luggage, a well-stocked pantry, a well-stocked pharmacy, a well-selected library, a well-filled bag, all in this crucifix.
In Colombia Fr. Muarrapaz will meet daily with the crucified Christ in the people he will work with. Christ Crucified awaits him in the orphaned or abandoned children, in the young people uneducated or without future, in the adults used to their own routine and slaves to superstition, in the sick, homeless or unsheltered old persons; in all of them, unaware of how much God loves them and all what God has done for them and all he has prepared for them.
What should Fr. Muarrapaz do? He should be with them, helping them to carry their crosses, and helping them discover a deeper meaning to their lives. And to all those who die of thirst or feel abandoned, he has to remind them to forgive their enemies, to surrender their lives in the hands of God and to accept as a caring mother the very Mother of God, the patroness of Mariannhill Missionaries.
Fr. Muarrapaz will leave Spain for Colombia on November 27th, 2015. We wish him success and joy in his missionary work in Colombia. Thank you for having been a good missionary to Spain and now it is time to move on to Colombia. May God bless you always.
P. Lino Herrero Prieto CMM
Missionary of Mariannhill