Excitement, laughter and uncertainty. Those were the range of emotions during an encounter with Pope Francis.
These are members of the Neocatechumenal Way. They met with the Pope because he has sent 250 families on mission. Many will go to places where the Church is not very active, like China, India or even Europe. Mercedes and Laure are headed to Mukachevo, Ukraine.
MERCEDES AND LAURE
"Where there is war, we bring peace with joy. We are happy because it was random. They said Ukraine and our names. We are happy and content. We will go wherever the Lord wants to take us...To give freely what He has given to us.”
Alberto and Sonia, however, already lived in Serbia for four years.
ALBERTO AND SONIA
"We were very afraid when we arrived, thinking every day that we will die. But that did not happen. God leads our lives.”
The new missions are composed of three or four families, a priest, a seminarian and two single women. The Neocatechumenal Way has more than 90 "missio ad gentes" like these throughout the world.
During the meeting, Pope Francis blessed crucifixes that 31 priests will carry in their new missions. Father Manuel Capa will be responsible for the new mission in Stockholm, Sweden.
Priest of the new mission in Stockholm
"I felt humbled and very loved at the same time. Love from the Church and love from God through the Holy Father has assured me in this calling and in this mission."
The complicated feelings are common in these new missions. A sense of uncertainty can prevail, especially in the smaller ones.
"I did not know how to feel at the start of my trip.”
She said that the ability to learn a new language and make friends in a new country outweighs the costs.
"It was difficult at first but later teachers helped me and got me to learn."
From now on, these families have a single mission: to speak about God in their new homelands. They will do this in countries where God has been forgotten or never arrived.