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No. 34

No. 34 of Ad Gentes continues the argument of no. 33 of the same document, namely, missionary cooperation.  As the missionary institutes should cooperate among themselves, so there should be “fraternal collaboration among certain scientific institutes which specialize in missiology and in other sciences and arts useful for the missions.”  They should help in training new missionaries because “the proper and methodical exercise of missionary activity demands that those who work for the Gospel should be scientifically prepared for their tasks, especially for dialogue with non-Christian religions and cultures.”

This collaboration of scientific institutes in the training of missionaries has not been organized, but it has taken place.  Three of these institutions, Tangaza University College, the Melanesian Institute and the Lumko Institute, have helped in the training of our missionaries.  A fourth, the Summer Institute of Linguistics, is known to our missionaries in Papua New Guinea, but it has not directly helped in the preparation of our missionaries.

Tangaza University College is a part of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, situated in Nairobi, Kenya.  It prepares nationals and internationals scientifically for all aspects of missionary work, including things like youth ministry, project management and social communication.  It is a cooperative effort of more than twenty mission congregations.  Our East African seminarians go there for their studies.

The Lumko Institute is the pastoral institute of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.  Originally based in Lesotho, it now has its headquarters in Germiston, near Pretoria.  It began, I believe, as a training center for new foreign missionaries, but now it specializes in training the local people, clergy and laity, in “a transforming vision of a community church based on Vatican II and the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Plan ‘Community Serving Humanity’” (from its web page).

The Melanesian Institute for Pastoral and Economic Services (MI) is based in Goroka, Papua New Guinea (PNG).  Started by the Divine Word Missionaries, its legal holders now are the Anglican Church of PNG, the Roman Catholic Church of PNG and Solomon Islands, the United Church of PNG and the Divine Word Missionaries of PNG. “It is an ecumenical research, teaching and publishing body that is mandated to focus on pastoral and socio-cultural issues, and engages in ongoing dialogue between Christian values and Melanesian cultures” (from its web site).  Some of our missionaries went there for courses when they first arrived in Papua New Guinea.

The Summer Institute of Linguistics International (SIL) “is a faith-based nonprofit organization committed to serving language communities worldwide as they build capacity for sustainable language development” (from its web site).  Its original purpose is to study languages so that the Bible can be translated into those languages, but it now also has the goal, as its web page states, to help language groups preserve their language.  Since Papua New Guinea has over 700 different languages, SIL does much research there.  SIL has its international headquarters in Dallas Texas.

God grant that this kind of cooperation among the mission churches continue to grow.  Mary, Queen of the Missions, pray for us.