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.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The True Meaning of Mission – Giving and Receiving

In my last post, readers were taken to the joyful dedication of St. Lawrence the Martyr Parish in the shanty towns outside of Lusaka, Zambia. It was the beginning of my trip across that large, sparsely populated country.  While Zambia is twenty-eight times the geographical size of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, their population is only double ours. 

I would soon learn that getting from one place to another took a lot of patience and good company!  I am sometimes short on the first of these, but in Zambia, never lacked for the second.

My host and driver was Fr. Bernard Makadani Zulu, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Zambia, pictured here with one of the many children his mission work has saved.  Fr. Bernard had thoughtfully prepared a picnic lunch for us, knowing that villages were few and far between on the road.  As we traveled along in the truck loaned to us by the Bishop’s Conference, Fr. Bernard began to tell me about his lifelong link to the Pontifical Mission Societies.  He said he felt especially connected to his work because all four Societies had been responsible for a part of his faith formation.  As a child, the Holy Childhood Association had been responsible for his sacramental preparation.  The Society of St. Peter Apostle had helped to build the seminary he attended and also gave him a yearly scholarship making his ordination a reality. The Missionary Union had encouraged so many to lift him up in prayer as he learned.  And of course, The Society for the Propagation of the Faith had made it possible for him and his family to worship in a parish church at all.

Now, as National Director, it is his job not only to oversee all the projects that are helping to build up the Zambian Catholic Church, but also to animate the faithful of Zambia – to help them to understand that because they are baptized, they too are missionaries obliging them to pray and sacrifice for others to learn the faith.  While most Zambians are subsistence farmers, living on about $1,500 a year, they take this obligation seriously. Last year, Zambian Catholics sent $12,531 to the General Fund in Rome to be dispersed to the missions including $3590 sacrificed by Zambian children for the work of the Holy Childhood Association.  Along with those funds, came untold prayers as well.

To see more about Fr. Bernard and his work with the children of Zambia, click here and learn about the true meaning of mission - giving and receiving.
-Maureen Crowley Heil

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