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.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Learning from the Missions: Commitment to God’s Plan Must be Total



For most of last summer, we were blessed to play host to the Diocesan Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) from the Diocese of Jinja, Uganda – Fr. Alex Okello.  Father was here to preach in our parishes as part of our Missionary Co Operative Plan.  He was given hospitality by his brother priests in Waltham, Melrose, Stoughton, Ashland, Framingham, Sudbury and Somerville.  I was personally grateful for this as Fr. Alex had given me hospitality during my trip to Uganda in June, 2011– as a stranger in a strange land, he welcomed me without question.

During his time in Boston, Fr. Alex spent many days with us here in the office sharing his work and learning more about ours. He spoke to summer Religious Ed students at St. Peter Parish with me, helping to inspire them to hold a lemonade stand in downtown Plymouth a few days later to raise funds for the missions. (To see pictures of local firefighters stopping for free lemonade while learning about Catholic missions, go to our Facebook page by clicking here. You can also see the young missionaries featured in our Archdiocesan paper, The Pilot, by clicking here.) I also videotaped Father telling the story of his vocation for use as an educational tool for us both.  His tale was amazing.
Fr. Alex Okello, PMS Jinja, Uganda and Maureen Crowley Heil, PMS Boston
Young Alex Okello knew when he was just a boy in his rural Ugandan village that he wanted to be a priest. The only path to priesthood for him was to enter a distant all - boys Catholic high school.  To do so, he had to pass multiple exams and interviews.  During the interviews, he was asked “Why do you want to be a priest?”  His answer was simple: “To serve God’s people.” 

After passing the interviews and exams, Alex was told to report to the school with his paperwork, 25 miles from his home.  Sadly, his father explained that he did not have the 50 cents needed for bus fare.  His vocation would be delayed.  Young Alex decided that God had given him two good feet and set out the next morning to walk to the school, asking directions from strangers along the way.  Upon arrival, he presented himself and his grades, was accepted and given a list of the supplies he would need for the fall term – paper, pencils, books, shoes…SHOES! Oh, he was so happy! He would finally have a pair of shoes! Twelve year old Alex Okello had just walked 25 miles barefoot!  The start of his priestly vocation secured, he happily made the return trip home the same way.

May we all have Fr. Alex’s total commitment to the path God lays before us!
-Maureen Crowley Heil

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