by NZ CATHOLIC staff
WELLINGTON — The search for a new national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies/Missionz (PMS) has begun.
Fr Paul Shannahan, SM, made this announcement at the organisation’s New Zealand diocesan directors’ annual general meeting in Wellington on September 1.
Fr Shannahan has led the office for the past five years and is not eligible for a second term, as he has reached the age of retirement.
Indications are that no priest or religious is available to take over the Vatican appointment.
Of the more than 120 national directors who meet in Rome each May, all are priests, apart from a religious sister from Central Africa and lay person from Australia.
The societies exist to keep alive the command of Jesus to “go and make disciples of all nations”.
The New Zealand directors reviewed their task of animating and motivating and raising awareness of this mission in today’s Church.
They felt a growing awareness has been achieved with the production of a regular “Missionz Newsletter” and, last year, the launching of The website www.missionz.co.nz
Parish weekend visits remain the preferred and most effective way of arousing mission interest, Fr Shannahan said.
The theme for Mission Sunday on October 23 is “Share Your Faith — Give Life”.
Mission Sunday promotion and the special collection on that day will be a challenge this year as it is both Labour Weekend and on the day of the final of the Rugby World Cup, Fr Shannahan said.
Jo-Anne Carley of the national office has led a campaign to see Holy Childhood regaining a place in Catholic primary schools and noted that more were using materials sent to them — especially the money box man, “Marty the Missionary”.
It is planned to produce stories about him, along with his sister Martha.
Fr Tony Kearns of Khandallah in Wellington and Fr Robert O’Brien of Ellerslie in Auckland were welcomed as new diocesan directors
and Msgr Vincent Walker, who is retiring and who has done much to promote the Church’s mission in the schools of Dunedin diocese, was farewelled.
More than $600,000 was raised to help the Church in mission territories in 2010.
Funds have recently been sent to about 10 dioceses, including Tezpur in India and Vanuatu in the Pacific.

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