By Fr Tony Trafford and Jamie O’Brien
Men, women, clergy and seminarians from the Neocatechumenal Way and Redemptoris Mater Seminaries have this month visited parishes across Australia as part of a two-by-two mission.
Their mission – to give their witness of Jesus Christ to whomsoever they met – bishops, priests, and people in all kinds of situations and all over Australia.
The journey of the two-by-two mission commenced with three days of prayer and preparation at Redemptoris Mater Seminary, Sydney, where all the missionaries before being sent out with a blessing.
Rev Fr Tony Trafford, formator from the responsible team of the Neocatechumenal Way in Australia, explained to The Record that the two-by-two missionaries went asking for nothing, but willing to lose their lives for Christ, whose love they have met in their lives.
“There were 60 pairs in total – priests and seminarians, and married or single men and women – and they managed to visit some 19 dioceses during that week,” Fr Tony explained.
“They were happy to give freely what they have received at no cost, the good news that is salvation: the announcement of Jesus Christ which, when proclaimed and believed, bears fruit in a life transformed,” he said.
Fr Tony continued by explaining that the Gospels describe how Jesus sent his disciples two-by-two into every town and place where he was to come.
“He told them he was sending them out like lambs among wolves, and they should go without purse or haversack, and such has been the tradition of the Church, when two go together relying on God to provide, they are already a sign that there is a love between them which is not of this world: God exists and is real – His love is enough and always provides,” Fr Tony said.
Fr Tony explained that, while it is true that some of missionaries slept outside, or that sometimes they were not believed or rejected quite roughly, all those who went accepted that Christ who suffered for them would be their bed and they would rest in him.
“People were most surprised that they did not even carry a phone – because it seems impossible to live without a mobile today.
“But, believe it or not, there is life after a mobile phone, and these ‘little ones’ who go without the normal securities bear witness just by their presence that what they announce is the truth – because they have no ulterior motive, no second intention and certainly no power,” Fr Tony said.
Fr Tony explained that the two-by-two missionaries are ordinary Catholics who have been part of the Neocatechumenal Way for a number of years.
“In their parishes across Australia they are being helped to gradually to re-discover the amazing riches of their baptism.
“This means that we have, by our baptism, something important and serious to say to the people of our generation.
“The Church is nourishing that baptismal life within them which so often remains dormant and invisible – as recommended by the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1231).
“Their joy was palpable as they returned to share their experiences with each other: all were tired, and some were hungry.
“But they had seen that God really provides, often in surprising and wonderful ways.
“They spoke with all kinds of people in the streets, in their homes, and in or around all kinds of churches.
“They met and shared their life with the homeless and the poorest in society, very like St Charles de Foucauld on whose feast day they had met to begin this experience.
“They demanded nothing but received in abundance, accepting whatever the Lord wanted for them.
“They went as witnesses, free from the tyranny of money which totally grips society.
“They were conscious that they had a treasure – that with them came the Kingdom of God and a life nobody could steal from them.
Their happiness was solely in announcing the kerygma which has a power of its own, that of our Saviour, crucified and risen,” Fr Tony concluded.