Missionary priest to visit OLOG

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by Barbara Lengers/Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church
Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church is hosting a missionary visit with Father Joe Selvanayagam, on behalf of the Diocese of Jaffna in Sri Lanka. The purpose of the mission is threefold: to bear witness to the universal church, to help people affected by war in the area, and to help the priests in the vulnerable areas bring the good news of God’s love to the people.
We are the universal church. St. Francis Xavier visited Jaffna in 1548 to persuade the king to stop the religious persecutions against the Christians at that time. Father Joe’s visit to Indian Land is following in the footsteps of St. Francis Xavier and his missionary spirit, illustrating how the church has a mission to the whole world.
We are called to help the war-affected people in the area. The diocese is geographically located on the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka, which has been devastated by civil war for over 30 years. Since most of the Catholic population lives in the coastal belt, their houses, churches and schools have been largely destroyed by the war. Many families have lost their breadwinners, which has created a community of dependents. But the people are starting to rebuild their economy in this post-war period.
We are called to help the priests in these challenging environments bring the good news of God’s love where despair reigns. Normal and traditional community structures are broken down. Social and psychological problems are created. The war has perpetrated extra-judicial killings, disappearances, abductions, extortion, etc. They strive to proclaim the message of Christ as a message of love and to minister to the suffering and abandoned, elderly and orphans.
Continued prayers and support for our brothers and sisters in Christ are needed.
Father Joe will be preaching during Masses July 21-22 at Our Lady of Grace, 7095 Waxhaw Highway, Indian Land. Mass times Saturday are 4 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday Mass times are 7, 9 and 11 a.m. Attendees are invited to enjoy a treat and meet the missionary after the 11 a.m. Mass Sunday.