The Mission Hub

The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the
Propagation of the Faith, the Missionary Childhood Association, the Society of St.Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerfulmissionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When It’s Family, It’s Personal

As I write this post, I am sitting in my Dad’s condo in Florida helping with his care during his final days. My siblings and our spouses gathered here at the last minute for an Easter weekend of family time after the decision was made to put Dad under hospice care. Gathered around our family table, we shared our memories and listened to stories from Dad about his earlier years. His voice is weaker, his steps slower but the power of the narrative remains.

Every family has their own stories to tell, their own leader to whom they turn in times of hope and tragedy. In thousands of places around the world, that person is a missionary and the story they tell is one of family, profound love and deep faith. The family they speak of is all of humanity – brothers and sisters in Christ; the love they share is that of a Father whose caring is beyond all our understanding. Missionaries regularly proclaim this Love openly to anyone in need of it.

The call missionaries answer from God to cross borders and bring Him to the least of His children is a very personal one; it is a vocational trust that comes from years of growing up in the security of their Father’s love. Doing whatever He needs is second nature. It doesn’t matter that the family they serve are strangers at the beginning.

This was made obvious to me as my missionary friends got word of my father standing in the shadow of his own private cross and reached out with prayerful support to a man they had never met. Their missionary call compels them to relieve suffering wherever they find it; they can be looked at as God’s own hospice team, moving in when someone feels hopeless, assuring them that they are loved.

Knowing that I have been able to serve my father these days has brought me peace amidst pain. It is a peace that I have seen in the eyes of many missionaries as they serve the family of God all over the world.

And when it’s family, it’s personal.

-Maureen Crowley Heil

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