Mission Immersion Protocol

Mission Immersion Experiences
Archdiocese of New Orleans
Protocol Effective January 2008

► Preamble
The Church on earth is by its very nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father, it has its origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit.(Vatican II: Ad Gentes) By Baptism the faithful are called to be missionary. Current mission education, in its theology and practice, strives to bring forth the missionary dimensions of every Christian vocation.
► Definition
A mission immersion experience is service-learning evangelization. What we are, more than what we do, reveals to others God’s love. Leaving normal daily life behind for a short time, we become witnesses and a presence to another people and culture and see with new eyes. Participants not only discover the others’ world but also their own need for on-going, personal conversion.
The following protocol is recommended to enhance the "mission immersion experience" of a given parish or specific group. It affirms the good works from the Archdiocese of New Orleans already being accomplished “to the ends of the earth” by parishes, pastors and laity of all ages. Likewise, it offers guidelines and cautions for greater accountability in bringing the Good News.
► Authorization: 
• Any organization or parish/school group(s) wishing to establish a new mission experience (domestic or foreign) or continue an existing one must make a formal request notification to the Archbishop or his delegate to explain the purpose, goals, and demographics of the experience. This request will be made on a standard form provided by the archdiocese. The form will be submitted to the Archbishop or his delegate no later than three months prior to the experience.

• Each sponsoring group must receive authorization from the Archbishop or his delegate before commencing any phase of a mission activity. This authorization will be granted or denied no later than one month after submittal of the request.

• All subsequent mission experiences that have the same leaders, formal goals, and destination shall submit a renewal form (available from the Archdiocese) to the Archbishop or his delegate.
► Training:  Theological 
• It is encouraged that all persons participating as leaders on a mission experience have education, leadership training for evangelization or experience in Catholic mission theology. Resources are available from the Archdiocese of New Orleans Office of the Pontifical Mission Societies and other recognized mission organizations.
► Safe Environment
• Mature adult leadership is imperative! "The Archdiocese of New Orleans will provide training for clergy, minors, parents, and archdiocesan employees and volunteers who have regular contact with minors to make clear the standards of conduct for all persons in positions of trust with regards to abuse and neglect of minors..." Safe Environment Training and background screening checks are required by archdiocesan policy for all adults having regular contact with minors. Please refer to: www.orearchdio-no.com for further information.
► Recruitment:
• Groups are encouraged to make every effort to recruit prospective participants that will compliment their particular charism and mission.
• Prior to every experience, groups are urged to hold inquiry sessions where leaders can meet prospective missionaries and the details and requirements of the experience can be explained.
• Non-Catholics are welcome though every trip is a Catholic experience. Each group officially represents the Archdiocese of New Orleans. As such, the missionaries are expected to present behavior in keeping with Catholic Church teaching.

► Application Process:
• Each group must have a formal written process through which prospective missionaries apply to participate in the experience.
• An application form will be provided by the Archdiocese.
► Fund Raising and Contributions:
• Fund raising activity within the missionary groups will be conducted according to the normal rules of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
• Any designated funds donated will be for the general use of the sponsoring group for the specific mission activity.
• Donations will not in any way entitle the donor to any special considerations, privileges, or control of the experience.
► Notification:
• Fourteen days prior to every mission experience, the sponsoring group must notify the Office of the Pontifical Mission Societies in writing of the date, destination, and length of stay of the experience. Names, ages, phone numbers, and addresses of every participant and liability waivers should be kept on file with the sponsoring organization and a copy brought "on mission" by the leadership.
► Pre-mission Activities:  Required:
• Prior to every experience, each group must hold preparation sessions at which missionaries learn about the culture, customs, and faith practices of the people in the destination country.
• Preparation must also include complete written explanation of the activities, goals, and expectations of the experience.
• As near as practical to the date of departure every group should hold a ceremony in which the missionaries are blessed, commissioned, and sent forth by the sponsoring Catholic community, parish, or organization of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

• Evangelization preparation sessions can include introduction of the Church’s teaching, theology, and philosophy of mission, etc. and materials for evangelization preparation sessions are available from the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Pontifical Mission Societies office and other sources.
► Travel Arrangements:
• All travel must comply with the safety and liability rules and procedures of the Archdiocese. These are available from the Catholic Mutual Office, 1000 Howard Avenue, Suite 1202, New Orleans, LA 70113.
• Liability waivers are to be completed and on file with the sponsoring organization and a copy brought on mission by the leadership.
• Travel Medical Insurance is suggested: www.MissionaryHealth.net
• All groups that travel outside the US are required to register with the US Government

► On Mission:
• All missionaries will be expected to participate in group activity.
• Daily activities should be structured to achieve the spiritual, cultural, and physical goals of the experience.
• Where possible, the group should join in any Catholic celebrations of the host people.
• Participation in the Eucharist must follow the guidelines of the universal Church and the host diocese.
• Emphasis should be placed on joining in the cultural activities of the host country and people.
• Leaders must make it clear that at all times missionaries must conduct themselves in ways that obey the laws and respect the customs of the host country.
• Leaders must also make it clear that each missionary is a representative of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and must behave and present themselves as such. They will be expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the moral and religious teachings of the universal Church.
• When non-Catholics are part of the group from the Archdiocese, every effort must be made to allow them to express their religious and cultural beliefs within the group.
► Post Mission:  Required:
• All groups are encouraged to have a formal program of post-mission assessment that includes meeting with the missionaries and evaluating each experience within one month of their return.
• An evaluation form, provided by the Archdiocese, is to be completed by the leader (s) of the experience and sent to the Pontifical Mission Societies, 7887 Walmsley Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70125.
► Suggested:
• During and after travel, leaders should endeavor to help the missionaries to relate and assimilate their experiences into their lives back home.
► Application Forms:
• School/Parish/Organization
• Renewal-Request/Notification
• Sample Participant Application
• Parental Consent Forms
• Liability Wavier
• Evaluation Form


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