Parish Missions are one part of the charism of Congregation of the Mission.
The Vice-Province of SS. Cyril and Methodius began to engage in Parish Missions in 2008. Fr. Paul Roche, CM founded the Mission Team.
Initially, the Mission Team consisted of two persons, one a Vincentian Missionary and the other a Daughter of Charity.
Within three years, in 2011, more and more invitations began arriving from different parishes to give Parish Missions. This led to a second confrere joining the Mission Team. Thus, for the next three years the Mission team was composed of two confreres and one Daughter of Charity.
Step by step other confreres became involved as well as other Daughters of Charity and Sisters from other Congregations as well as lay groups who belong to the Vincentian Family and serve in Ukraine.
Almost all the branches of Vincentian Family who presently serve in Ukraine are involved in these parish missions: Missionaries of St. Vincent de Paul- CM, Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, Sisters of Mary of the Miraculous Medal, Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul – Satmarky and Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent – Eastern rite), as well as members of lay branches: (International Association of Charity – AIC, Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Ukraine, Association of the Miraculous Medal and Vincentian Marian Youth). The Parish Mission became an activity of the entire Vincentian Family.
The life of the Church during the Soviet Union was very limited, and very small. The rebirth started after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. In most of the parishes, where we gave a parish mission the last one took place before the Second World War.
During the eight years since the foundation of the Mission Team, parish missions were preached in almost all parts of Ukraine, except in the area of Eastern Ukraine, where the undeclared war is still taking place. Since 2008 we gave 29 parish missions. There are still 4 scheduled for the year 2016.
Ukraine is a country where people of different nationalities live. Thus, there is a pastoral need to preach Parish Missions in several languages. The main language is Ukrainian, but Russian, Slovak and Polish is often used. In some parishes, where Catholic students from other countries participate in the life of the Church, English and French are used. In the south-western part of Ukraine in the Trans Carpathian Region, there are many Hungarian speaking parishes. When parish missions are given in those parishes, our Confreres from the Hungarian Province join the Mission Team.
The Mission Team faced a new challenge this year. For the first time we started preaching parish missions in Greek-Catholic Parishes. Through 2016 we will have five parish missions. They will all take place in the Trans Carpathian Region, in the diocese where our confrere Bishop Milan Sasik, CM serves. The Greek-Catholic Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent are taking a very active part.
Founding a Mission Team was an inspirational idea. As we visit many parishes we come to realize the thirst of the people for spiritual renewal and reconciliation with God, especially through the general confession, which is so characteristic of the Vincentian Parish Mission.
May God in His Mercy continue to bless and support this ministry through the intercession of St. Vincent de Paul.
More information on Vincentian parish missions from .famvin.
Historically parish missions have been referred to as Popular Missions. See also Vincentian Encyclopedia article on Popular Missions.