Spreading the Word in the Muslim world?


#1

Hi,

I have been discerning a vocation for a number of years. Right now I am at university and think I am being called to be a priest, though I am not totally sure. While I feel like God is calling me I also feel he may be calling me to preach in the Muslim dominated world. Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iran for example.

I know such things are illegal in Saudi Arabia, they allow Christians into the country that work there but they are forbidden to practice their faith in public. Do you think God could call someone to do something as specific as that? And would the Church allow a Priest to do it anyway?


#2

You would be killed in Saudi Arabia.
Well, maybe you do not mind being a martyr but no martyr delivers himself into the hands of the butchers.
So you know who the Patron of Missions is?
Not more not less than St. Teresa of Little Jesus who never went out of the convent. Her task? Praying for the missions. So important was her job, more important than the missionaries far away that the Pope declared Her to be the Patron of Missions.
Would your vocation be to pray relentlessly for the missions?


#3

Thanks for replying.

Do you mean praying relentlessly for missionaries as a layperson, a priest or a religious brother?


#4

Do you have reasons that you're particularly called to the Muslim world? Can you speak Farci or Arabic or one of the languages over there? Is your family ancestry from somewhere over there?

I think practically, that even if you did want to be a missionary, it would be very hard to go there being a white guy from America. Much of the Catholic Church there is very old. As in: the communities are small and have been there for generations upon generations. Their masses and Bibles are all probably in different languages, and not too many of them probably know English.

Anyways, there are priests who can specifically join various missionary groups in order to pursue mission work. There are also Catholic missionary organizations which lay people can participate in. I'm definitely not an expert, I'm also going to college. But, your parish priest will at least know something about it, maybe he knows a lot, who knows.


#5

An important point in that above post: the reputation of America and Americans has now been tarnished deeply, and will be in the sinkhole for the next three generations due to the nutty Persian war stuff the Washington folks got us in.

In your shoes, I’d try to put together a truly excellent website, in various languages spoken among Muslims, akin to this site. I’d locate advertisers to make it happen; I don’t think you’d be hurting, either; I think there are plenty of Christians who would be willing to support such a thing.

Of course, you need an excellent grounding in all aspects of their faith!


#6

Please be aware that most of the Muslim countries in the Middle East have laws which forbid proselytising, IOW it is illegal. When you live in these countries you need someone to sponsor your visa and it is highly unlikely that the church would even try to get a visa for someone who actively wants to proselytise.

However there are Catholic churches of various sizes in the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. There are also Catholic churches in Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. The Catholics in the Gulf states are probably 100% ex-pat workers, who really appreciate the priests who minister to our needs as Catholics. In Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon some of those Catholics are those who go back to the first Christians in that area in the very early years of Christianity, as well as ex-pats.

Here is a link you may find interesting: lpj.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1187%3Adeux-vicariat-pour-larabie&catid=71%3Aactualite-monde&Itemid=76&lang=en

Most of the Masses here are said in English with others in African (not sure what language is used here), Arabic, French, Konkani, Malayalam, Tagalog, Singhalese, Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara, Tamil and Urdu. Also, from what I’ve seen our priests are almost all from the Philippines and India.


#7

Sure, there’s a book about a priest in Russia.

Rev. Walter Ciszek, S.J. (November 4, 1904–December 8, 1984) was a Polish-American Jesuit priest known for his clandestine missionary work in the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1963.

Fifteen of these years were spent in confinement and hard labor in the Gulag, including five in Moscow’s infamous Lubyanka prison. He was released and returned to the United States in 1963, after which he wrote two books, including the memoir With God in Russia, and served as a spiritual director.

Since 1990, Ciszek has been under investigation by the Roman Catholic Church for possible beatification or canonization. His current title is a Servant of God.

Haven’t read anything but the very beginning, but he went during a difficult time. He rationally found a lot of reasons NOT to go such as danger so he decided not to go, but he thought he would be happy there and still wanted to go so he changed his mind and headed over. I think he was then soon caught and imprisoned.

The best way for the reputation to be restored is not for Catholics to debate endlessly but for Muslims to be touched and inspired by the love of Catholics and to witness out of their own freewill. That seems to require interacting Muslims interacting with Catholics, which won’t happen in the Middle East unless there are Catholics there. Try and read his books. * With God in Russia, (with Daniel L. Flaherty, S.J.), memoir
* He Leadeth Me, (with Daniel L. Flaherty, S.J.), memoir. If he gets canonized, then you are on the right path.

However, “preaching” may not be as relevant as loving, serving, and saying Mass. If your goal is to preach in a country that doesn’t allow preaching, St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel; if necessary, use words” suggests inappropriateness as this would not seem to be necessary when illegal. If the goal is to make sure that the Eucharist is celebrated everywhere, including the Middle East, that seems noble.

Also, I doubt it is illegal to preach EVERYWHERE, so perhaps find a place where it is not illegal and become a parish priest, and this will be your weekly job.


#8

[quote="KyleSharp, post:3, topic:274750"]
Thanks for replying.

Do you mean praying relentlessly for missionaries as a layperson, a priest or a religious brother?

[/quote]

"as a layperson, a priest or a religious brother?"
As you want. Up to you to decide and then let God have His say.


#9

I think you need to pray about it and see where God leads. Just because you think God is leading doesn’t mean that you end up there right away. To go there will require some training in terms of language lessons, and learning about the culture as well. It might also be a good idea to speak with many former Muslims who converted not only to Catholicism but to also christians in general. This will take time because they will be able to provide insights that books will not teach you. When you go, it will be important to blend in at least initially. I also suggest that you look at the organization called “Crescent project.” It should give you some resources and ideas in how to proceed. There is a great book that you should read because the it provides an example of God’s ability to work inside the darkest of situations and the necessity of obeying god even when it seems crazy. The book called: “the heavenly man” by brother Yun. It is a true story about a christian in China. I hope it will inspire you in whatever you decide. Following God’s calling can be difficult but always rewarding.


#10

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