This Week Online: Street Outreach Video and Lessons from Matteo Ricci

This week's cover story looks at Matteo Ricci, the Jesuit missionary to China, in honor of the 400th anniversary of his death. In conjunction with that article we have reprinted "Matteo Ricci's Lesson to a Modern Missionary," from 1996. Mark White, a Jesuit novice at the time, reflected on Ricci's legacy in light of his own work in an inner city school:

Unfortunately, after two years working at a Jesuit middle school for inner-city boys, I have to face some facts. I have not been able to generate measurable results. I have worked till I went home practically weeping with exhaustion and frustration; yet the poor are still with us. The chaotic, dangerous world in which our students have to grow up has not changed. I have made some dear friends along the way among my fellow volunteers, teachers and students, but I cannot list my "accomplishments." Perhaps my presence has changed lives for the better; perhaps not. There is no way to know. Why have I done it? What, after all, have I done?

Matteo Ricci and those who followed in his footsteps into the dangerous and mysterious depths of Ming China knew where to look for the answer. They looked to Christ, to the ministry--the "accomplishments"of Jesus. Ricci's mission was so purely Christian, and therefore so elusive, that it mystified the pious bean-counters looking for mass baptisms in 1600 and it confounds the politically correct looking to expose cultural imperialism today. Matteo Ricci's "mission" was to make friends. That was his apostolate, as, by the grace of God, it has been mine. Nothing was more important then; nothing is more important now; nothing could ever be more important, because the Gospel, I have come to see, is truly shared only among friends.

Advertisement

Read "Matteo Ricci's Lesson to a Modern Missionary."

Also, in honor of our Jesuit education issue, we are very happy to feature a video documentary on the street outreach program of Walsh Jesuit High School in suburban Akron, Ohio. Many thanks to Drew Marquard, a multi-talented Jesuit scholastic, for filming, directing and editing this documentary for us.

 

 

Tim Reidy

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Beth Cioffoletti
7 years 11 months ago
What an excellent documentary, what a profoundly uplifting message.  This is living faith.  Those students are so lucky to be encouraged to know the poor of their city.  Thank you for posting this here.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Our Spring 2018 Literary issue has a little something for everyone.
James T. KeaneApril 23, 2018
 Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on April 18. (CNS/Paul Haring)
The appointments are part of an ongoing effort to give a greater role to women in the work of the Roman Curia offices, the central administration of the Catholic church.
Gerard O’ConnellApril 21, 2018
Ivette Escobar, a student at Central American University in San Salvador, helps finish a rug in honor of the victims in the 1989 murder of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter on the UCA campus, part of the 25th anniversary commemoration of the Jesuit martyrs in 2014. (CNS photo/Edgardo Ayala) 
A human rights attorney in the United States believes that the upcoming canonization of Blessed Oscar Romero in October has been a factor in a decision to revisit the 1989 Jesuit massacre at the University of Central America.
Kevin ClarkeApril 20, 2018
Journalists photograph the lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison in California in 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
In California, Catholic opponents of the death penalty are trying to protect the largest population of inmates awaiting execution in the Western Hemisphere.
Jim McDermottApril 20, 2018