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, March 25, 2013

Missionary Childhood and the Message of Pope Francis

With some of the first words of his pontificate, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, could have been speaking directly to the student members        of the Missionary Childhood Association (MCA), one of his four Pontifical Mission Societies. “How I would like a Church that is poor and for the poor!” the Holy Father said.

This is the message put forth to all our members through the monthly materials emailed to parishes and schools, our liturgical based programs and prompts for prayers and sacrifice for children in mission countries.  Whether it is a lesson on a saint for the month, Stations of the Cross       with a mission theme, or encouragement to pray the World Mission Rosary for the children of the world, membership in MCA brings our children to a greater understanding of not only how blessed they truly      are but also how, through their Catholic faith, they are called to love      and care for the poor.
Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Peabody, MA
Missionary Childhood teaches our children that we are indeed our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers if we are truly Catholic in our hearts. It also teaches them basic stewardship: each Catholic, regardless of age or station has a responsibility to others. Certainly, prayer is something of which even the youngest is capable - but this is only one of the two pillars of MCA.  The second, true sacrificial action, must follow.  During school or parish visits, the children hear how important it is to fill their Mite Boxes so that other children may eat, go to school and most importantly learn how much      God loves them. They are encouraged to give up their favorite treat      and put the cost into their box or do extra chores around the house to earn the funds needed by missionaries to spread the Gospel to the world’s children.
My favorite part though, is when I tell them that I would rather see the box returned empty than to think that the night before it is due, they put their hand out to Mom/Dad and say “My mission money is due tomorrow.” and expect that the box will magically be filled.  Can the missionaries still use those funds? Of course. Will it be a true act of Catholic stewardship coming from the students’ own Christ-like love for others, especially those who have less than they do? They know that answer, too.
As we watch Pope Francis and learn more about this humble, holy man, we can be sure that the Missionary Childhood Association is helping our students to understand the simplicity of his message.
-Maureen Crowley Heil

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