Detroit Stories Episode 77: 'What Missionaries Bring Home' (PODCAST)

Three missionary priests draw parallels between the work of the Gospel in far-off lands and the new evangelization in Detroit

(0:04) Fr. Stephen Mutie, SAC, a priest currently serving in Wyandotte, reflects on his first missionary assignment with the Irish Pallottine community 15 years ago in a remote and rural part of Tanzania. Born in Kenya, Fr. Mutie’s own vocation was influenced by missionaries. He discusses the unique challenges of ministering as a foreign missionary.

(5:13) Fr. Mutie describes how his flock in Tanzania was spread wide and thin, with few priests and resources to serve them. Because of these shortages, Catholics in the poor country valued the simple things like faith, family, catechesis and the Eucharist. He draws parallels to his missionary work here in the United States.

(9:32) Listeners are introduced to Fr. Jeremy Davis, SOLT, another missionary priest serving with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity at St. Gabriel Parish in southwest Detroit. Two years ago, Fr. Davis served as associate director of a boarding school for troubled and abandoned youths in Mexico.

(12:22) Because the kids in his care often lacked parental figures, Fr. Davis found himself taking on the role of “father” more literally than he ever thought possible.

(14:44) Fr. Davis describes what drew him to the priesthood, and how the demands of his current assignment might be different, but the spiritual needs are not.

(16:37) The last missionary priest to whom listeners are introduced is Fr. Ken Mazur, PIME, whose first and only missionary assignment began in 1991 in a place far from home: Japan. While many might think of missionary work as primarily belonging to poor countries, Fr. Mazur notes that Japan, at just 1% Christian, is a fertile mission field.

(18:54) Fr. Mazur describes his adjustment period to life in Japan, which included learning a new language and culture and understanding how he could best make an impact as a priest in a small Catholic parish on the outskirts of Tokyo.

(23:56) Just like in America, Fr. Mazur talks about how little moments of witness — at a wedding, or in the context of a parish school — can plant seeds that may blossom with God’s blessings.

(26:23) Fr. Davis sums up the experience of missionary work and compares it to the charge of evangelization that all the baptized are given. Whether in Detroit or halfway around the world, the bottom line is the same: sharing the Gospel for love of Christ.

Reporting by Daniel Meloy; script by Casey McCorry; narration and production by Ron Pangborn

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