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.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Mission Memorial Day

Last weekend, Memorial Day, we paused to honor the men and women who have given their lives in service of our country. There are many monuments and tributes to them spread across the Archdiocese of Boston. As part of the Propagation of the Faith’s Missionary Co Operative program, I had the opportunity to visit one that weekend that may be lesser known than most.

My visit took me to the parishes of St. John the Baptist in Essex, MA and Sacred Heart in Manchester by the Sea, MA; I was shown wonderful hospitality by the parishioners and their pastor, Fr. Jack Gentleman.

In sharing the mission message with all in attendance at the parishes, I related it to the sacrifice of those who came before us in faith and history. Where would we be if Fr. Cheverus (later the first Bishop of Boston) had not received prayerful and financial support from the Church of France and Quebec in 1803 when the “Territory of Boston” covered all of New England? Fr. Cheverus and his co-worker, Fr. Matignon travelled the area to plant the seeds of faith that have blossomed into the parishes of the Archdiocese as we know them.

The missionaries who will travel across our area this summer are asking for your support so that they may follow in the footsteps of Fr. Cheverus within their own “territories”: their mission Dioceses. They are inspired by our story of the established Church of the world reaching out a helping hand to their brothers and sisters in Christ as they strive to grow the faith.

At the Mission Office, we feel blessed to know that these priests, Religious men and women, and lay missionaries and their messages will be received with the same Boston welcome that I felt last weekend in Essex and Manchester.

And that lesser known memorial? How fitting to the missions that it is the main stain glass window in Sacred Heart Church, dedicated in memory of all who served our country in World War I. Under the glorious image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an inscription central to the spread of the Gospel: “And it shall be to me a name and a joy and a praise and a gladness before all the nations of the earth” (Jer. 33:9).

-Maureen Crowley Heil

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