The Society of St. James' understanding of the term evangelization means the proclamation of God’s word and sacrament together with the implementation of social and community work projects. Both of these aspects complement one another. Without the Gospel, there can be no energy to bring about the transformation of the person and the community through social action.
Our founder, Cardinal Richard Cushing, recognized that without the presence of priests the Eucharist and the Sacraments cannot be celebrated. There were thousands of people in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador who had not heard the Gospel message, nor had they access to the Sacraments due to the shortage of priests. The role of the missionary is to go to those remote country villages and barrios of the large cities. The Society can be credited with the introduction of family catechists to many mission sites, which aims at evangelizing the whole family and not just the children who are preparing for the sacraments. Throughout the years, parishes have been developed and handed over to the local diocese. There are always new places in which to begin all over again.
This road building project in Peru has made communication and transportation possible for the people living in this Andean region.
Fr. Joe McCarthy with parishoners.
The Society is there to respond in times of crisis, whether it is after a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or severe flooding, or when a child is suffering from malnutrition. Our missionaries step in to bring relief in these emergency situations.
Poverty has many faces. While one needs to respond immediately to emergency situations, most missionaries are also concerned to attack the very roots and structure of poverty in the community. This process requires the involvement of the community and can take some time to educate and organize the community to respond effectively. This is expressed in the well-known adage that “It is better to teach a person how to fish instead of giving him fish each day.”
Children gather for a picture outside in Ecuador.