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Those Who Choose to Go on Mission

October 20, 2010 ·  By Fr. Shay Cullen

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The murder of Father Cecilio Lucero is said to be the first in the 400 year-old history of Catholicism in Northern Samar. Father Cecilio Lucero is active in human rights advocacy and is the chairman of the human rights and justice committee of the Catarman diocese.

The murder of Father Cecilio Lucero is said to be the first in the 400 year-old history of Catholicism in Northern Samar. Father Cecilio Lucero is active in human rights advocacy and is the chairman of the human rights and justice committee of the Catarman diocese.

In October, Mission Sunday is a day to remember the thousands of courageous dedicated people who have chosen to do something to help others, less fortunate than them. They are people who appreciate all they have in life and go out beyond their insular lives and family, to share with others and to give back what they have received and work to make this a happier and better world. They are the relief workers, the volunteers, the fund raisers, campaigners, the medical people and development workers, all are agents of change and compassion working alone or through secular agencies.

Then there are the missionaries that serve through the Church organizations and missionary societies. Countless thousands over the past years have left family and friends and gone to remote countries and lived incredibly dedicated lives of hardship and derivation and sought no reward and asked no recompense. Their lives of selfless service are a challenge to the rest of us seeking a mission in life.

These people are on a mission at home and abroad, in their own communities helping the disabled, the sick, the homeless and these dedicated people express in action a belief in the dignity and value of the human person. They act with compassion and concern and a willingness to share their resources, skills, time and effort to help others live a more dignified life. Their mission is to wipe away tears, support the depressed and lonely, they struggle for justice and peace, they bring food and relief and help to the dying and bring development and health services and a better quality of life to millions of people. They help people to be empowered, enable them to help themselves be self-reliant and lead sustainable lives.

Others help people by their mission to save the environment, to nurture the planet and to protect all living creatures. All are the unsung heroes, they don’t receive fame and publicity, they work quietly day by day and make present that love for others which is the highest form of unselfish self-giving. Some do it because they know in their heart and conscience it is the right thing and good thing to do and the find peace and fulfillment.

They may not even have a religious belief or belong to a church but are spiritually motivated whether they are aware of it or not. Such love is not material. It was brought into the world in a powerful and enduring way by Jesus of Nazareth whose life of sacrifice, teaching, friendship, and self-sacrificing death still inspire millions of people. His spirit never died but lives on today in those who have chosen to take up a mission to serve the downtrodden, the oppressed and unjustly deprived.

They are the brave and courageous that challenge the forces of evil that exploit and abuse the weak and the vulnerable, the women and children, and risk their lives to protect them from rapists and abusers, the criminal coddlers, the corrupt politicians and money moguls that cause the suffering of others.

Those on mission dedicate themselves to integrity, honesty and truth. They give their resources to serve and not to be served, but to live life to the fullest for others. I know many who have died for their mission. Let us remember one who represents the thousands who died while on mission for their people.

This past September was the one year anniversary of the death of Fr. Cecilio Lucero, a brave man on a human rights mission in Catubig, Northern Samar, defending the rights of the poor. He was ambushed and shot by armed men. It is alleged that on 16 June 2008 at a military ceremony with the Catubig Brigade, the President of the Philippines that time, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo referred to Fr. Lucero as “that communist priest” in front of General Arthur Tabaquero and other military officials. By September that year, Fr. Lucero was murdered by a death squad.

We recall the words of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, himself shot and murdered as he raised the cup at mass. “Even when they call us mad, when they call us subversives and communists and all the epithets they put on us, we know we only preach the subversive witness of the Beatitudes, which have turned everything upside down”. – Archbishop Oscar Romero
[shaycullen@preda.org, Shay Cullen, P.O. Box 68, Olongapo City Philippines. www.preda.org]

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