Missionary Cooperative Plan Spotlight: St. Francis Xavier Lay Missionary Society

“Serving God in Asia with Faith and Love.”

Founded in 2012 by Lead Missionary and Program Director, Tricia Bølle, the St. Francis Xavier Lay Missionary Society (SFXLMS) forms, sends and supports traditional lay missionaries to bring the love of Jesus Christ to others in Asia through a diverse ministry of evangelization, faith formation, and social justice.

Currently serving in India, Hong Kong and other parts of Asia, our mission offers two programs for lay missionaries to serve in the mission field. Our 3-month Spring Mission Experience begins with a 2-week intensive formation program followed by the opportunity to serve others in Asia and discern a long-term vocation as a lay missionary. Our regular one-year ​more demanding missionary program is intended to help develop lasting and sustainable ministry programs as well as deeper relationships to help carry on the growth of the faith for years to come.

In the past year of mission work in Hong Kong, we have built a Catholic young adult ministry from nearly the ground up with regular ministry programs such as Sunday faith lectures at various churches, an ecumenical faith study of Church documents, Ignatian contemplative prayer group, community building activities, social justice ministry, retreats and recollections, evangelization, pastoral counseling, and more. Moreover, as two of our lay missionaries serving in Hong Kong last year have training in helping survivors of abuse, they were able to provide hope and healing for those they worked with.

Though originally scheduled to go to Hong Kong earlier this year to continue developing our ongoing ministry there, as a cautionary response to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the team re-routed to Calcutta in February to engage in faith formation, evangelization, and lots of social justice under the auspices of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity and beyond.

While in Calcutta, the Holy Spirit has allowed our team to serve the poorest of the poor while sharing the truth and love of Jesus Christ with Japanese, Chinese, and other volunteers from all over the world through witness and teaching. Our work extends to giving faith formation presentations to volunteers as well as the Missionaries of Charity themselves. Our lead missionary has a long history with the Sisters, offering them a variety of seminars over the past few years for many of their communities.

Most recently, the lay missionaries have been invited by the Bishop of Darjeeling to preach and teach for a number of groups throughout their diocese and mission territories, after which they will go on to serve in southern India.

With a team of over 50 SFXLMS prayer supporters around the world praying 3-5 hours a day, the missionaries put their trust in God to send them where they can apply their gifts in the mission field, opening themselves up in faith to wherever the Holy Spirit leads until it is safe and fruitful to return to Hong Kong.

Throughout this time in mission, it has been God’s providence and grace working through each member of our mission team, including all those who have been united in prayer for our mission, that have given us the blessing to be so fruitful in ministry.

Following a recent Lenten presentation on forgiveness, the lead sister was moved by how much our newest missionary really spoke to the heart of forgiveness in Jesus Christ through personal example. The lead missionary accompanying him also shared how blessed she was to journey with two Japanese volunteers through their personal life struggles and share with them the kerygma of Jesus Christ and the hope and love found through belief and relationship in Him.

What a blessing! With Darjeeling now in our sights, our missionaries are excited to immerse themselves more fully in understanding the personal and spiritual needs of locals in the Himalayas and to learn some encouraging Christian exhortations in Nepali.

Thank you for your support of our mission!

Now we invite your thoughts. Please share in the comments section below. And while you’re here, continue on a virtual mission by reading more of our stories and reflections as we discover together how “We are Mission”.

What is the Missionary Cooperative Plan? Each year over 200 groups request to be considered for a mission appeal in the Joliet Diocese: priests, sisters and laypeople that need our help so that they can continue doing their work for God’s poor. Our present reality with COVID 19 has been challenging for everyone in the world. Obviously, with the precaution of social distancing, the missioners who participate in our MCP do not have a physical audience, nor can they travel even if they did. Most of them count on the MCP to sustain their much needed mission works.

So, we are inviting you to be in solidarity with them by giving whatever you can to the MCP appeal in support the groups who have been approved for 2020. You may donate online or by sending a check made payable to “Diocese of Joliet Pontifical Mission Societies” and mailing to the Joliet Diocese Mission Office at 16555 Weber Road, Crest Hill, Illinois 60403. (Put “MCP” on the memo line.) 100% of your giving will go to these organizations.

Each week we will be highlighting one of our missionary groups so that you will know a more about the work they do for God’s people. We know that times are and will continue to be financially challenging for many. Please do what you can and remember that your prayers for the missioners and their good works are always appreciated. God does not call everyone to work directly among God’s poor and needy here and in other countries. But you are part of the Church’s mission. Your support with prayers and financial aid makes mission work possible. Bless you all! Let us keep in mind what Pope Francis has said: We are mission!

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