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, August 5, 2010

St. Peter's CCD in Plymouth, MA: Praying to be Saints Who Serve

For many students, summer means relaxation, fun and most importantly, a break from the classroom. For those who belong to the Religious Education Program at St. Peter’s Parish in Plymouth, it now means the opportunity to gather with their classmates and learn more about their faith.

Every day, Director of Religious Ed. Kathy Liolios made sure that students not only learned the basics of their faith, but also took an extra step in their formation. A “theme” word was chosen. Each day, a different grade was responsible for a prayer service that focused on that word.

On June 28th, the word was service. The seventh grade stood before their peers, asking God to give them the grace to serve Him and others. Kathy asked for examples of those who served others. Most agreed that the word that best described a person like that was “saint”. When asked to describe a saint, their responses were what one might expect: holy people, Apostles, people very different from us.

Kathy smiled, knowing what was next and introduced me, the speaker for the day.

The students and I talked about the saints, especially the Apostles and who they really were. These were average, ordinary people who had jobs and families. What set these people apart was that they came to believe in their hearts that Jesus Christ was the Son of God in human form. Then I asked the students this: “Who here believes that Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth and took on human form?” All hands went up.

Oh, so you DO have something in common with saints!

We spent the rest of the morning talking about how to become more like saints – how to pray and sacrifice for other children through their membership in the Holy Childhood Association, how to ask God for the grace to do His will, and most importantly, how to use the word of the day: service.

Before we parted, the students and I made a "prayer" craft together: our own version of Fulton Sheen's World Mission Rosary. We centered a small wooden cross on a black string and added five colored beads on each side of the cross -- one for each color that represents a different part of the world on this special Rosary. Green represents the grasslands and forests of Africa, red is for the fire of the faith brought to North and South America by missionaries. White stands for Europe, the seat of the Holy Father. Blue helps us picture the island countires in the Pacific Ocean that the Church calls Oceania and yellow is for the sunrise over the east in Asia. When we finished stringing our beads, we had a full decade of the rosary -- the cross for the Our Father and 10 beads for the Hail Marys.
Of course, we said those prayers for the people in those parts of the world and the missionaries who serve them as we added the beads! We asked God for the grace to serve Him as His missionaries so that one day, we could be counted among His saints.

Perhaps one day, our stories will be told along with those of the other average, ordinary people with whom we just may have something in common!

We welcome the opportunity to bring the message of service to others through prayer and sacrifice for the missionary work of the Church to your parish or school; please contact [email protected] or call Maureen at 617-779-3871 to hear more about how your children can pray to find the saint within.
-Maureen Crowley Heil

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fulton Sheen : Faithful Witness

Last week I was pleased to read the Pilot article authored by Dr. Dwight Duncan concerning the proposed canonization of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. His reputation for interacting with popes and presidents was widespread and well-deserved. What many people do not know, however, is that he was often at his best when exercising the “common touch” of relating to ordinary working men and women. He had a special affinity for those who were less fortunate or struggling with crushing personal problems that challenged their faith.

The Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith remembers Archbishop Sheen with particular affection because he served as our National Director for sixteen years. During that time, not only was he a champion for the missionary work of the Church from his post in the National Office in New York, he made numerous personal trips to mission territories in order to observe firsthand the work supported by the Society.

The Boston office of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith is planning to arrange at least one screening of the film Servant of All on Archbishops Sheen’s life later on this year. In the meantime, I encourage you to pray for his canonization by reciting daily the following prayer:

Heavenly Father, source of all holiness, You raise up within the Church in every age men and women who serve with heroic love and dedication. You have blessed Your Church through the life and ministry of Your faithful servant, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. He has written and spoken well of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and was a true instrument of the Holy Spirit in touching the hearts of countless people. If it be according to Your Will, for the honor and glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the salvation of souls, we ask You to move the Church to proclaim him a saint. We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

For more information on Fulton Sheen, click here to visit the Propagation of the Faith’s page on the World Mission Rosary. Started by Archbishop Sheen in 1951, the World Mission Rosary is a simple yet effective way to “embrace the world in prayer.” Our website also includes a link to the Sheen Foundation.
-Rev. Rodney J. Copp, J.C.L.