Quito (Agenzia Fides) - "On June 12 we celebrate the Ecuadorian missionary Ad Gentes, we want to congratulate all the Ecuadorian missionaries who have left their home to go to other lands bringing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus". This is what the note of the national direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) of Ecuador informs, sent to Agenzia Fides.
The Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference declared June 12 as "Day of the Ecuadorian missionary Ad Gentes", explains the note, because on this day the feast of Blessed Mercedes de Jesús Molina is celebrated, the first Ecuadorian missionary ad gentes. In this 2020, the Mass for the occasion will be celebrated at 7 pm in the Cathedral of Puyo, and will be presided over by Mgr. Rafael Cob García, Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puyo. The Mass will be broadcast live through FacebookLive, on the pages of the Apostolic Vicariate and Radio Puyo; also shared on the page of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference.
Blessed Mercedes de Jesus Molina (1828-1883) was beatified by St. John Paul II during her pastoral visit to Ecuador, in Guayaquil, on February 1, 1985. Her liturgical memory was established on June 12. During the Plenary Assembly of Bishops, the Episcopal Conference, on April 24, 2015, declared her maternal patron of the Ecuadorian missionaries "ad gentes", who celebrate the day dedicated to them on the day of her liturgical feast. The idea for this day was born in 2014, during the assembly of the National Missionary Center (CEMINA).
"The title of missionary ad gentes is given by the Church to missionary priests, consecrated persons or lay people who work in territories recognized by the Church as mission territories ad gentes - recall the PMS of Ecuador - that is what the Church has done since the beginning with the first missionaries such as St. Paul and Barnabas, who were sent by the Church to bring the good news of the Gospel to the Gentiles (a name that was given to non-believers or pagans)".
In Ecuador there are 8 mission territories ad gentes recognized by the Church. Six Apostolic Vicariates are located in the Amazon region (Apostolic Vicariate of S. Miguel de Sucumbíos; Apostolic Vicariate of Aguarico; Apostolic Vicariate of Tena; Apostolic Vicariate of Puyo; Apostolic Vicariate of Méndez-Macas; Apostolic Vicariate of Zamora), one is located in the coastal region (Apostolic Vicariate of Esmeraldas) and one in the island region (Apostolic Vicariate of the Galapagos). (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 12/6/2020)