Page 6, 3rd December 1937

3rd December 1937
Page 6
Page 6, 3rd December 1937 — LAYMEN WANTED IN THE MISSION FIELDS The Job You Are Seeking

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SI R. —I write to put an important phase of Catholic Action before such of your readers as might be interested. It is a call for apostles in missionary countries.

Very rapidly the primitive peoples under the care of the missionary are rising in the scale of civilisation. There is most urgent need for laymen to assist in the work which, so far, has been almost entirely confined to religious. Doctors, nurses. school inspectors, school teachers, art and craft teachers, industrial instructors, agriculturists, etc., are needed badly if the work is to proceed.

The number of priests, brothers and sisters available for missionary work is limited and is quite inadequate when one looks over the fields which are white for the harvest. The assistance of laymen in many places is most urgently called for.

Are there laymen available to take up such work? It would appear that amongst the non-Catholic sects there arc many such.

It is not possible, in a short letter, to speak of conditions in many different places: these naturally vary greatly. For this particular mission station Kutama Training School, Makwiro, S. Rhodesia' alone four or five young men are required immediately if the work is to be carried on successfully. We need two or three form masters, a method master and an agriculturist. These are she minimum requirements for the school staff alone and there are other branches of missionary work here also calling for staffing.

In this work nobody can be too highly qualified and qualifications should at least include a teacher's certificate; better still a university degree as well.

Government gives some assistance towards salaries; living conditions are good, expenses small, for there is little or nothing on which money can be spent. Marriage is no bar to the taking up of such a post, and a married couple could live on £10 a month without stinting themselves, and excess of salary over this figure could be saved against the future.

There are, of course, disadvantages. There is the isolation, no prospects of high advancement as long as one remained in the work of the mission, though there would always be the opportunity of passing on to other work. The climate is good, though strange to a new-comer from England.

But anyone whose heart and soul was in the work, any who knew that a cross to carry always brings with it the necessary graces, could find nothing but happiness and content in a work of this nature.

In writing as I do, instead of advertising through the usual channels, I hope to get in touch with some who, even if they do not come here, may be directed to some other field in the missions and, in any case, to open up to the layman the white fields that are calling for him.

Should any of your readers be interested in this matter, they could write in the first instance to the Rev. G. Binns, 31, Farm Street, London, W.l, and he could put them in touch with men who know the conditions in the mission field.

J. P. •O'HEA, S.J. Kutama, Makwiro, S. Rhodesia.


Balvaird Hewett's letter on Catholic Action and the Drama is specially welcome because she is the first person to try and stem our spate of words with a practical suggestion. If it does not take shape and lead to Action more shame to us, and I shall begin to be infected with some of Gerald Rushton's pessimism. It might be justified if all Catholics were as futile as those he knows seem to be. Incidentally ho has got me all wrong.

Did I really express myself as badly as all that? I do not care twopence what percentage of Catholics wont to "First Legion." Anyhow we cannot know, and if they were foolish enough to stay away that is their funeral, not mine. I do not want to dole out uplift to the already converted but to try and get plays produced which are, in Miss Balvaird Hewett's words, " not of propaganda but embodying &pent principles and ideals."

Has " Prompter," who also appears to be a defeatist, tried the Stage Guild and the Interval Club with his plays and, if these are universally turned down, is it not possible the fault may be with the plays and not the readers or producers? If managers go to see plays produced at the Interval and think, as they have done before, that some were good enough " for production in big theatres " this would be a beginning and something would have been done,

instead of merely talking. Such plays need not be pietistic or dull, but strong, with real characters and real situations.

Let us act on the advice " Beachcomber " gave us at the first meeting of the Catholic Writers' Guild. take the offensive and make a counter-attack on the muddled thought and morality of today.

12, Church Green, Harpenden.


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