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.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Be Still and Know That I am God

The two pillars of the Holy Childhood Association, the Church’s mission society for children, are prayer and sacrifice. We ask children to pray a Hail Mary every day and make a regular offering for their brothers and sisters in Christ who live in the missions and cannot depend upon the material or spiritual blessings that we do. Most students seem surprised when I tell them that their prayers are just as important to the work of missionaries as their sacrifices.

In the schools and parishes that I visit, even the youngest child has a very firm idea about the mechanics of prayer. They walk me through the steps of talking to their friend, Jesus. First, they make the Sign of the Cross, and then they may recite an Our Father, Hail Mary or Glory Be. Next, they start to put together their list of needs: “Please take care of my Grandma who is sick…please help me on my test today…please watch over my family…” When pressed for more details, most children will add (some with a sheepish grin) that they do indeed remember to tell God that they love Him and are thankful for the many things He has given to them. This, of course, is followed by more lists! Finally, they end with another Sign of the Cross and declare themselves finished.

Quite often, I have to point out to them that they are not quite done. They have missed a vital part of prayer. They raise their hands and try to guess – did we not say thank you? Please? I love you? What didn’t we say to our Friend in this conversation?

At St. Rose of Lima School in Chelsea a few weeks ago, it was a second grader who sat patiently waiting for her turn to answer: “We must be still, like Abraham, and listen to God.”

The room fell silent. Her teacher smiled.

We took the time to talk about what God might say to each of us and that everyone’s message from God is different because we are all unique creations with our own gifts. We talked about the children in the missions who have just as many gifts as the children in Chelsea but need the help of the local students to develop them to God’s glory. St. Rose’s students learned that without missionaries in place to teach mission children, they may never learn many things in life, most importantly to be still and listen when they pray.

Because, like us, God always has something to say!

-Maureen Crowley Heil

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