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.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Mission Family Reunion in Haiti

On Holy Thursday, an accidental meeting took place in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; it proved that no matter where you find yourself doing God’s work, you’re with family.

The setting was the grounds outside the earthquake-ruined Cathedral. Hundreds of people gathered for the annual Chrism Mass; Bishop LaFontant was to celebrate the Liturgy. Oils would be blessed that would be used for the sacraments in devastated parishes in the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince.

In attendance that day was Sr. Lisa Valentini, a Missionary Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Sr. Lisa was in Haiti as part of a group of Sisters from many orders who had been bused in from the Dominican Republic to serve wherever she was needed. She happened to find work in a soup kitchen for children. Sister is also part of our One Family in Mission here in Boston; she speaks in parishes on behalf of her order and the Propagation of the Faith (last weekend found her preaching at St. Anthony’s in Somerville). Sr. Lisa also visits schools and parish religious education programs here on behalf of the Holy Childhood Association.

Sr. Lisa told us of meeting another of our Boston Mission family members at the Chrism Mass – Fr. Scott Binet, MI. Fr. Scott is a priest and a medical doctor. As a member of (CTF)S.O.S. Doctors, Fr. Scott and his fellow missionaries arrive at the cutting edge of devastation to serve the medical and spiritual needs of those affected by disaster. He will be speaking this summer at St. Ann in Somerville and St. Patrick in Watertown as part of our office’s Missionary Co- Operative Program. Every year, the Propagation arranges for missionaries from around the world to come to Boston to speak in our parishes about their work. Their stories inspire us to pray and sacrifice so that Jesus’ great commandment to “Go to the ends of the earth and preach My Gospel” can be fulfilled. While they are here, they become members of our Mission family.

It’s not a surprise that Fr. Scott or Sr. Lisa would be in Haiti serving God’s people at this time. That they should find themselves at the Chrism Mass together gave them both a moment of familial joy amidst their work.

In Port-au-Prince, it was a Boston family reunion.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When It’s Family, It’s Personal

As I write this post, I am sitting in my Dad’s condo in Florida helping with his care during his final days. My siblings and our spouses gathered here at the last minute for an Easter weekend of family time after the decision was made to put Dad under hospice care. Gathered around our family table, we shared our memories and listened to stories from Dad about his earlier years. His voice is weaker, his steps slower but the power of the narrative remains.

Every family has their own stories to tell, their own leader to whom they turn in times of hope and tragedy. In thousands of places around the world, that person is a missionary and the story they tell is one of family, profound love and deep faith. The family they speak of is all of humanity – brothers and sisters in Christ; the love they share is that of a Father whose caring is beyond all our understanding. Missionaries regularly proclaim this Love openly to anyone in need of it.

The call missionaries answer from God to cross borders and bring Him to the least of His children is a very personal one; it is a vocational trust that comes from years of growing up in the security of their Father’s love. Doing whatever He needs is second nature. It doesn’t matter that the family they serve are strangers at the beginning.

This was made obvious to me as my missionary friends got word of my father standing in the shadow of his own private cross and reached out with prayerful support to a man they had never met. Their missionary call compels them to relieve suffering wherever they find it; they can be looked at as God’s own hospice team, moving in when someone feels hopeless, assuring them that they are loved.

Knowing that I have been able to serve my father these days has brought me peace amidst pain. It is a peace that I have seen in the eyes of many missionaries as they serve the family of God all over the world.

And when it’s family, it’s personal.

-Maureen Crowley Heil