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, December 30, 2012

Taking Missionary Steps

One of the many blessings that come my way in this missionary vocation is that of visiting schools and parish Religious Education programs to talk with our Catholic students about how they, too, are called to be missionaries.  Whether it is a Confirmation class or kindergarteners, each visit bring with it new opportunities to help the children go deeper into a personal responsibility for their faith.

Usually, I am on my own for these mission animation sessions; during the month of October I was blessed to have a partner – Fr. Patrick Byrne, SVD - as I traveled around the Archdiocese.  Until recently, Fr. Pat was the International Secretary General at the Vatican for the Missionary Childhood Association (MCA), our children’s mission society.  As such, he visited the missions regularly, making sure that all the sacrifices made by MCA members were being used properly.  As you would imagine, his stories are riveting.
“How many of you had a glass of water this morning?” he asked the children from Duxbury to Chelsea, and Everett to Canton.  Most hands went up.  “And you’re all still alive? No one got sick?” Father marveled.

(This was usually followed by a little laughter and nervous looks exchanged.)

“Thanks be to God! Why is that?” Because the water is good for us…    was the answer he most often received.  Fr. Pat would then tell the students about all the places where their support of MCA made it possible for missionaries to bring clean water to children so that they don’t get sick from drinking contaminated water.  He would tell them that, while it was a great start, there were still about 6000 children who die every single day, while we are going about our business, because they have no choice but to drink the dirty water; they get sick, have no access to medical care, and many die.

There was no more laughter, but the looks were still nervous.
Reading their thoughts, Fr. Pat would say, “But Father, I’m only one little kid! What can I do?”
“You can pray, of course! And sacrifice too!” the children were told.  We gave them World Mission Rosaries and explained the different colors standing for the various parts of the world and handed out their Mite Boxes.  Father reminded them that though they might think their sacrifice isn’t much, when they are all added together, the total makes a difference - they are literally saving lives!

Many of the students sat, with their rosaries and mite boxes next to a bottle of clean water as we spoke, and thanked God for their blessings.  They were taking their first missionary steps!
-Maureen Crowley Heil

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