Fr. Alexander Osei, the new Canadian English sector director of the Pontifical Missions Societies. Photo by Evan Boudreau

Priest’s missionary work headed to next level

  • March 17, 2013

TORONTO - Fr. Alexander Osei may be a priest, but he sees himself as a missionary first.

The Ghana-born Osei is a Spiritan missionary with 27 years of experience which will come in handy for the new national director of the Canadian English sector of the Pontifical Missions Societies.

The Pontifical Missions Societies is the Catholic Church’s official missionary arm. In operation since 1922, the society takes on charitable works and evangelization around the world, including all Third World countries where the Catholic Church is present.

Osei’s duties include making the Church’s missionary activities known, creating relationships with pastors and the faithful of local churches. His goal is to promote evangelization both domestically and internationally.

“Also my duty is to encourage the faithful spiritually, to support the missionary activities of the Church… to encourage the pastors and the faithful to pray for missions, both personally and through their contributions through the sacred mysteries too,” he said.

Appointed last December by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of People, Osei took over his new role last month. He believes his missionary experience in Nigeria, Regina and Toronto, as well as his involvement in refugee ministry, will make him more effective at his job.

“I’ve been working in poor areas, (with) marginalized people, working with Muslims. I’ve been part of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue. I’ve been involved in hospitals, which basically is what part of PMS does,” he said, adding evangelization, teaching and bringing people to the faith to the list.

Four main components of the mission societies include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, which funds the missionary Church; the Holy Childhood Association, which focusses missionary work in Canadian schools and helps children in mission countries; the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, to educate missionaries; and the Missionary Union of Clergy and Religious, a group that supports missions with its prayer life.

“The Canadian Church is supporting this mission,” said Osei. “We basically help proclaim the Gospel in every corner of the world through the contributions that the Canadian Church gave. We reach out to the poor areas where the priests and the bishops find it difficult to build churches.”

With the Holy Childhood Association, for example, Canadian children are educated on the plight of children suffering in other parts of the world. Canadian children are then encouraged to help raise funds for their counterparts in mission countries.

“We bring the faith to the children in their own understanding,” said Osei.

Children can get involved through their teachers, who Osei encourages to contact the mission societies for educational resources. Monies raised could be allocated to projects like building schools for children or providing health care to treat and prevent disease.

“As missionaries we are called to proclaim the good news, to evangelize,” said Osei. “Not everybody can go on missions, but our contribution will help in evangelizing the people, reaching out to them and giving them what they need to understand the faith.”

A collection on Mission Sunday each October helps raise funds for the society, but the faithful can donate individually and can receive a tax receipt, said Osei.

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