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, June 13, 2013

Beauty is More Than Skin Deep

Our culture in the United States seems to be obsessed with physical beauty.  Many folks attempt to pursue the eternally youthful look, even at the expense of their general health.  Cosmetics are a multi-billion dollar industry.  This figure doesn’t even scratch the surface of the money spent on cosmetic surgery by men and women alike.  And, even more disturbing, we know that there are ever-increasing numbers of teenagers—at least 350,000 a year—hoping to change the shape of their bodies, before they reach maturity, with the help of the surgeon’s knife.

Sometimes a little “reality check” is a good thing for all of us.  It can be profitable to reflect on the very different conditions that exist in other parts of our world.  The missionary Church has a long tradition of service to persons with leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease. Often abandoned, those suffering from this illness receive medical care and rehabilitation at church-run facilities throughout the Missions. Above all, however, they are offered the love and hope of Jesus Christ by those who care for them.

Today, the Catholic Church runs 547 leprosy centers in the world, most of them in Asia. One of these centers is located in Thai Binh, a village about 200 miles north of Hanoi in Vietnam. The Van Mon Dermatological Hospital is run by a local priest, Father Martin Mai, in collaboration with Franciscan missionaries.
Many of the residents of Van Mon contracted leprosy when they were children and were taken to the center where they have spent their entire life with no contact from their families. But they have found a new mission family – the seminarians and student friars who visit and spend time working in the hospital, a presence of the Lord’s own loving heart. These Catholic pastoral visitors also call on families in the nearby village, teaching the children, working in the gardens, celebrating Mass and walking with the poor in their daily lives.

Your contributions to The Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith enable our missionaries to bring the love of God to those who would otherwise be neglected, and to help them understand that “beauty is more than skin deep.”
-Rev. Rodney J. Copp, JCL

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