Sr. Magdalene Philip Umoh was born in Nigeria. She belongs to the congregation of the School Sisters of Notre Dame commonly known by the abbreviation SSND. Since 2013, she has been missioning in Sierra Leone. She currently works at the University of Makeni (UNIMAK)- a catholic university of the diocese of Makeni/ Sierra Leone- as the University Chaplain as well as a chemistry research assistant. Towards the coming synod of bishops, in this interview with Fr. Louis Bira sx, she shares with us her youth ministry experience. For her, the coming synod is timely and appropriate!
Fr. Louis Bira (LB): Since 2015 October, you are the catholic chaplain of the University of Makeni (UNIMAK). Your service includes Youth Ministry. How do you welcome the decision of Pope Francis to call for a Synod of Catholic Bishops on Young people, the Faith and Vocational Discernment?
Sr. Magdalene Philip Umoh (MPU): The Pope’s call for the synod on young people is quiet timely and appropriate because young people are overwhelmed with the influx of unfiltered information which has become detrimental to their personal, religious and moral integrity. This will, in a way, build relationships and togetherness among the young. In addition, it will give a sense of belonging to the Christian faith community as well as remolding and reshaping the world view of the young people in light of the gospel values. Again, I am foreseeing this call as a way of re-creating mentorship and guidance for the young especially those sitting on the hedge of life confused, disappointed and abandoned.
Ordained priest 50 years ago (1968), Fr. Victor Bongiovanni, a xaverian missionary has been working in Sierra Leone for 41 years. In this interview, he shares his missionary experience, describing it as “a walking along in life”, a ministry of “accompanying and accompanied by Youth”.
2018 World Day of Vocations
On Good Shepherd Sunday this year, all the Christian communities will celebrate the 55th World Day of Vocations.The message of Pope Francis, entitled “Listening, discerning, living the call of the Lord”, is in line with the forthcoming Synod of Bishops (October 2018), which will be dedicated to young people, especially to the relationship between young people, faith and vocation. This is the good news of this day: at the center of our lives there is the call to joy that God addresses to us. Pope Francis writes: “We are not victims of chance or swept up in a series of unconnected events; on the contrary, our life and our presence in this world are the fruit of a divine vocation! … In the diversity and the uniqueness of each and every vocation, … there is a need to listen, discern and live this word that calls to us from on high and, while enabling us to develop our talents, makes us instruments of salvation in the world and guides us to full happiness”.