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Scarboro Missioners: Frs. David Warren, Jack Lynch, and Mike Traher - Witness Interview


Sunday, Feburary 17, 2019 - Scarboro Missions is a society of Canadian priests, motivated by the Spirit, who dedicate themselves to the person, teaching and mission of Jesus Christ as expressed in his words: "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." (John 10:10). Founded by Fr. John Mary Fraser as the China Mission College in 1918 to train and send priests to China, the society grew quickly and evolved, and became known as Scarboro Missions, a society whose members served not only in China, but elsewhere in Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Canada.

The prophetic vision of Vatican Council II reawakened the baptismal call of all Catholics to actively participate in the mission of Christ. It especially revealed the vital witness of laity and the unique gifts that they offer to further God's Reign in the world. Beginning in 1974, single men and women, as well as married couples, were invited to join with Scarboro priests as global missioners for Christ and His Church.

At this time in their history, the Society of Scarboro Missions find themselves at the frontier of letting go. In a profound spirit of openness and acceptance as they diminish, they look to others to bear the flame and grow into the new stewards of God’s mission, called to love and share all that they have and who they are, as they accompany the outcast, the stranger, the invisible and those of other religious traditions who have become their friends. While letting go of more active ministries, through prayer and companionship they are now entering into a more profound reflection of the movement of the Spirit. They believe that their mission is not finished, it is simply being transformed into a new reality, a continuing work of God’s Spirit.

In this special WITNESS interview, three members of the Society share their vocation stories, memories of pastoral ministry, vision of the Church and hopes for the future with Fr. Thomas Rosica.

Fr. David Warren was ordained for the missions in October 1977. Originally from Peterborough, Ontario, he served in the Philippines for over a decade, engaging in parish ministry on the island of Leyte and then in formation work at a seminary in Cebu. He also spent time in Guyana before serving as the Society’s Secretary General for ten years. In the Fall of 2018, Fr. Warren returned to parish work and began his service as Assistant Pastor at St. Edward the Confessor church in Toronto.

A native of Port Credit, Ontario, Fr. Jack Lynch was ordained in August 1968. His first assignment was to do promotion work for the Society, after which he served in Peru for seven years. In 1988, Fr. Lynch acted as director of the Instituto Cooperativo Interamericano in Panama until he was elected Superior General of the Society in 1997. He was re-elected again in this role in 2002, 2007, and most recently in 2017.

Born in London, Ontario, Fr. Michael Traher was ordained to the priesthood in May 1970. After spending the following four years doing promotion work for the Society, Fr. Traher was assigned to the Philippines in 1974, where he served for ten years. He then undertook several leadership roles within the Society before returning to mission in Guyana from 2012 to 2017. He now serves as Vicar General and Secretary General of the Society.

In their own words: “We will continue to live the Gospel wherever we are, for we are pilgrims in all parts of our journey. In the face of this new reality, the words of our Scarboro Prayer of many years continue to inspire us: “God of life and goodness, we are a pilgrim people, frail and weak, and yet we are the work of your hands...We pray that we may walk joyously into the unknown...(and) always be ready witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus, with a profound love to hold all peoples in our hearts.”