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, May 2, 2013

One Family in Mission

Every year the Diocesan Directors and Coordinators of the Pontifical Mission Societies gather for a national meeting.  This year, our Annual Meeting took place in Sugar Land, Texas, a suburb of Houston from April 15 to April 18.  Since my flight took off from Boston at 1:15 on Monday afternoon, it wasn’t until four hours later when I landed that I became aware of the horrific events that had taken place at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. 
This tragedy took on a very personal face for us in the Boston office of The Society for the Propagation of the Faith for two reasons.  First, I learned later on Monday that one of our office staff persons had been at the finish line as a spectator less than twenty minutes before the blast.  Fortunately, she had left the area before anything occurred and was safe and sound.  Sadly, this was not to be the case for Martin Richard, the youngest victim who lost his life in this terrorist act.  Maureen Heil, our Program Director and Missionary Childhood Association coordinator, connected Martin as a former student from Pope John Paul II Academy’s Neponset Campus and therefore an MCA member.  This innocent, smiling second-grader who had recently made his First Holy Communion, has become a missionary in a way that none of us could have imagined. He has riveted our attention on the desperate need to abolish senseless violence and to replace it with the peace that comes only from a strong and close relationship with Christ himself.  Through his membership in MCA, Martin became a member of our “one family in mission.”
Archbishop Protase Rugumbwa
The response from everyone at the meeting was also overwhelming.  Both Archbishop Protase Rugumbwa, the President of the Pontifical Mission Societies at the Holy See who spent the week with us, and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, shared their condolences with us, as did many of those attending the meeting.  In addition, we received numerous e-mail messages and texts from diocesan and national mission offices all over the world, expressing concern for the staff in the Boston office and their families. 
We have once again been reminded of the existence of evil in our world and of the unpredictability of human existence, but have also been powerfully reminded of the goodness of so many who came forward last Monday and since to offer assistance to those in need.  May we focus on that goodness as we continue to pray for those who were injured or killed and for their families, inspired by Martin’s sign that read “no more hurting people.”
-Rev. Rodney J. Copp, JCL

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