Rediscovering the essence of mission

By Matthew Biddle 

THE new director of Catholic Mission in the Archdiocese says she hopes to rediscover its foundational pillars and reawaken people’s awareness of the work of missionaries.

Cathy Ransom took over the position at the beginning of this year, replacing Deacon Joe Blackwell and Kate Bartone, who had both worked for Catholic Mission for more than a decade.

In the six months since, Mrs Ransom has spoken at parishes and schools about the work of Catholic Mission, as well as hosting Indian missionary Sr Clara Devaraj.

A teacher by profession, Mrs Ransom told Catholic Voiceher new role has two primary aspects.

“My job is to support the work of missionaries all over the world through appeals… and also to educate and let the Catholic community know how their support is being used,” she said.

The mother of two said she was inspired to do something in support of missionaries after attending a conference in Manila last year.

“I felt like God put a call into my heart to support the missions,” she said.

“The proclamation of the Gospel is something I’ve always felt passionate about. Working in the Church and as a teacher, mission has always been a part of my life.”

Founded almost 200 years ago by French woman Pauline Jaricot, Catholic Mission has a long history of identifying urgent needs and responding to them. Rediscovering what the early founders of Catholic Mission wanted for the organisation is one of Mrs Ransom’s goals.

“In a sense, my goal is to rediscover the three core pillars of what supporting missions is all about – prayer, sacrifice and good works or finance,” she said. “It’s easy to focus on the financial needs as a priority, but that’s not really what it ought to be.

“My vision is that we rediscover who founded this movement and make sure that we’re more than a non-governmental organisation (NGO), that we’re an authentically Catholic mission organisation based on these three pillars.”

Although there can sometimes seem to be an endless number of worthy charities seeking support, Mrs Ransom said people are still incredibly generous.

“My personal philosophy is if people see a genuine need, they’re very generous,” she said. “My aim is to tell the story and present it to people for them to prayerfully decide whether this is something they feel drawn to support.”

Catholic Mission, which is internationally known as the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, supports the work of Catholic missionaries in more than 160 countries.