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.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

St. Peter's CCD in Plymouth, MA: Praying to be Saints Who Serve

For many students, summer means relaxation, fun and most importantly, a break from the classroom. For those who belong to the Religious Education Program at St. Peter’s Parish in Plymouth, it now means the opportunity to gather with their classmates and learn more about their faith.

Every day, Director of Religious Ed. Kathy Liolios made sure that students not only learned the basics of their faith, but also took an extra step in their formation. A “theme” word was chosen. Each day, a different grade was responsible for a prayer service that focused on that word.

On June 28th, the word was service. The seventh grade stood before their peers, asking God to give them the grace to serve Him and others. Kathy asked for examples of those who served others. Most agreed that the word that best described a person like that was “saint”. When asked to describe a saint, their responses were what one might expect: holy people, Apostles, people very different from us.

Kathy smiled, knowing what was next and introduced me, the speaker for the day.

The students and I talked about the saints, especially the Apostles and who they really were. These were average, ordinary people who had jobs and families. What set these people apart was that they came to believe in their hearts that Jesus Christ was the Son of God in human form. Then I asked the students this: “Who here believes that Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth and took on human form?” All hands went up.

Oh, so you DO have something in common with saints!

We spent the rest of the morning talking about how to become more like saints – how to pray and sacrifice for other children through their membership in the Holy Childhood Association, how to ask God for the grace to do His will, and most importantly, how to use the word of the day: service.

Before we parted, the students and I made a "prayer" craft together: our own version of Fulton Sheen's World Mission Rosary. We centered a small wooden cross on a black string and added five colored beads on each side of the cross -- one for each color that represents a different part of the world on this special Rosary. Green represents the grasslands and forests of Africa, red is for the fire of the faith brought to North and South America by missionaries. White stands for Europe, the seat of the Holy Father. Blue helps us picture the island countires in the Pacific Ocean that the Church calls Oceania and yellow is for the sunrise over the east in Asia. When we finished stringing our beads, we had a full decade of the rosary -- the cross for the Our Father and 10 beads for the Hail Marys.
Of course, we said those prayers for the people in those parts of the world and the missionaries who serve them as we added the beads! We asked God for the grace to serve Him as His missionaries so that one day, we could be counted among His saints.

Perhaps one day, our stories will be told along with those of the other average, ordinary people with whom we just may have something in common!

We welcome the opportunity to bring the message of service to others through prayer and sacrifice for the missionary work of the Church to your parish or school; please contact or call Maureen at 617-779-3871 to hear more about how your children can pray to find the saint within.
-Maureen Crowley Heil

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