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.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Times to Remember

As the days grow shorter and more of our Advent candles burn low, very often our thoughts turn to time spent with family. Whether it’s remembrances of times past or anticipation of coming gatherings, as Christmas approaches we may find ourselves thinking more of those we love.

So it is in the Mission Office. Never far from our minds are the people of God that we serve: those with less than enough to eat, no access to medical care and most importantly, those who may not know how much Jesus loves them. We also keep the many missionaries who serve them close to our hearts and are strengthened by the many notes and cards that we receive during Advent thanking us (and you!) for help given over the past years. It is a special treat when a missionary visits us to keep us informed of the work being done in the name of the good people of Boston; we were blessed to have such a visitor recently.

Sr. Lisa Valentini, MSC, no stranger to the readers of this blog, had recently returned from a month spent in Haiti working with those whose earthquake related sufferings have been compounded by a cholera epidemic. Not only did Sr. Lisa share her stories with us, she spoke at Holy Family, Amesbury, MA and St. Helen, Norwell, MA at weekend Masses as part of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith’s Missionary Co Operative Program.

The students at St. Patrick School, Stoneham,MA, St. Jeanne D’Arc School in Lowell, MA and St. John the Evangelist Religious Education in Winthrop heard stories of her work at a children’s Nutrition Center turned cholera hospital; though not a nurse, Sister often worked 12-15 hour days caring for patients who would not have made it to a traditional hospital. She spoke of road blocks preventing supplies and doctors from arriving, of having only enough food for children ages 2-12. Thirteen year olds went hungry. Sister asked the students to pray and sacrifice through the Holy Childhood Association so that the little ones of Haiti could get the help they so desperately need and deserve.

At the end of our busy week, I asked Sr. Lisa what she would like you, our readers and donors, to know about her work; what was the single most important thing to tell you?

She said, simply, Tell them not to forget Haiti.”

Amen, Sister. We will not.
-Maureen Crowley Heil

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Missionaries Bring the World to Boston

Recently I welcomed to our offices in the Pastoral Center in Braintree, MA Abbot Matthew Nguyen Ba Linh, the Superior of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Divine Grace in Vung Tau City, Vietnam. The area occupied by Vung Tau City includes the Mekong Delta, the extreme southern end of the Mekong River, and the area around Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. He was in the Archdiocese to visit with two seminarians from his monastery who are enrolled at Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston. He wanted to meet with me in order to request support for his religious community through participation in our Missionary Cooperative Plan for 2011. The Missionary Cooperative Plan brings representatives of various religious communities into the parishes of our Archdiocese so that our parishioners may have the opportunity to support their missionary activities.

Abbot Matthew presented a sort of “happy dilemma” to me. His monastery is bursting at the seams with vocations. He has a community of eighty-five men, and their average age is below forty. It always strikes me that the Church flourishes most in those parts of our world where it has to struggle to live and grow. He is anxious to build bigger facilities including a larger monastery building and a retreat center that will accommodate both men and women. At present, his retreat facilities are available only to men and he told me that women are complaining that they cannot make a retreat there!

Any new construction requires the permission of the Communist government. Abbot Matthew told me that they have already secured this permission. His major obstacle is funding and he is looking to The Society for the Propagation of the Faith for any assistance we can provide. I assured him that we will include his religious community in the Missionary Cooperative Plan for the coming year.

In your prayers, please remember Abbot Matthew and the monks in his community who have to work much harder to practice the faith that we often take for granted.

For more information on the missionaries who bring the world to Boston and become part of our One Family in Mission visit our website at
Rev. Rodney J. Copp, J.C.L.

Making a World of Difference Through HCA

Since its founding, the Holy Childhood Association (HCA) has had one focus – to bring Jesus’ love to all the world’s children. We ask members to do this in two ways: prayer and sacrifice. A Hail Mary prayed daily for children everywhere is the first membership requirement; sacrifice is next.

HCA members are asked to give up three things for children who don’t share our blessings: their time, talent and treasure. The treasure is the easiest to explain – our children are quite practical when presented with the facts of life in the missions.

Schools, clinics, feeding programs and clean water all cost money. By sacrificing a soda or a candy bar weekly or buying the medium popcorn at the movies instead of the large one (and giving the difference to the missions) our children make a concrete change in the lives of others.

The concept of offering up time and talent can be a little harder to grasp. HCA asks students to think and act every day according to Jesus’ rules of love and prayerfully offer those actions to help the missions. Perhaps they could hold the lunch room door for their class, knowing that once inside, they may not sit with their friends, there will be less time to eat and maybe, the french fries will be cold! How does it work for the missions? As they act as Jesus would, they say a prayer for children who have no school to attend, no lunch to eat. These sacrificial actions are just as important as any coin put aside.

HCA’s Christmas Artwork Contest is another way members can use their time and talent to focus on the missions. Sponsored by HCA nationally, all Catholic students in grades K-8 in parish religious education programs, Catholic schools or home schools may enter. The Grand Prize winner’s artwork is made into the Christmas card used by Msgr. John Kozar, our National Director. Twenty four finalists will have their artwork displayed during Advent 2011 at the National Basilica in Washington, DC and are guests of honor at a special Mass there. The art is also made into e-greetings on our National Website!
Boston's last winner was Marissa Perotta from St. John the Evangelist Parish in Winthrop, MA.

For more information about HCA’s Artwork Contest, click here.
This Advent, help your child offer up their time and talent for children in the missions: it can make a world of difference!
-Maureen Crowley Heil

Society Membership Vital To Building the Mission Church

For many years, Catholics have followed the custom of enrolling themselves or their loved ones, living or deceased, in Membership in the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. By doing so, they give an ongoing gift to the new Member and to the missions. Membership means that the person enrolled receives the spiritual benefits of Masses said daily by mission priests. Members are also included in the intentions of a daily Mass celebrated at the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome.

In many mission locations, funds from Society Membership are a substantial means of support. One such place is the country of Angola, where there is finally a tenuous peace after 27 years of civil war.

In a recent pastoral letter, the Bishops of Angola said, "We welcome the progress made in these eight years of peace: the lines of communication, in themselves vital to progress, have improved, giving credit to the government and easing the lives of citizens. However, we recognize that further progress is needed. Not only schools, but also the basic health services, should be established in our villages so that every patient, pregnant women included, can receive due attention. Helping the Church rebuild its schools and its health infrastructure is not an extra; it is a way of cooperating in the country's development."

In a very real way, your Membership brings that help to the Missions where it is most needed.

For more information on Spiritual Enrollments and Mass Offerings, click here or please call 617-542-1776 or email [email protected].

The following people have recently been enrolled in Perpetual Membership in the Society:

The Panzavecchia Family; Patrick S. Guilfoy; Betty & Al Lanisky; Bill McPhee; Lucille Crupi; Bernadette Nelson; The Fallon Family; Anna DaLewis Day; Helen & Lewis Day, Sr.; Grace & Gene Gyebet; Brad & Dottie Day; Marilyn A. Lavery; The Mastendion Family; The O’Connell Family; Paul A. Ruggiero; Barbara Stasium; The Drinon Family; The Gaspre Family; Eleanor Meserve; Karen Johnston; Michael & Paula Anderson; Anthony & Elaine DiGiovanni; Peter & Johanna MacIsaac; Bill, Dot & Bob Giarla; Clara Albiani; Gussie Bonzagni; Johanna MacIsaac; Ray Gachignard; Jeremiah W. O’Connor, Jr.; Jeremiah W. O’Connor, III; The Bruzzese Family; The Scali Family; The Mercuri Family; The Balcastro Family; William T. Schmitt; Gayle Williams; Fr. John T. Foley; Cardinal Alphonse Lopez-Trujillo; Antonio Mesquita; Preacher Roe; Luis deMedeiros; Fulgencia Lugira; Ann Sharpe.

Pray to the Lord of the Harvest

Many people are not aware that there are four Pontifical Mission Societies. Of course, the most familiar is the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. The Society of Saint Peter Apostle, though less well known, is charged with equally vital work by the Holy Father: that of helping to educate local clergy in the Missions.

The Society of Saint Peter Apostle had its origins in 1889 in France. Stephanie and Jeanne Bigard, who were mother and daughter, responded to a request made by the French bishop of Nagasaki, Japan. He was desperately in need of money to keep his seminary open in order to be able to provide training for native Japanese priests. Like the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of Saint Peter Apostle started with just a small group of dedicated laity and now counts among its supporters people on every continent. Today there are some 30,000 seminarians studying in 400 major seminaries all over the world. Support through the Society of Saint Peter Apostle ensures that these young men may continue to answer the call to serve as priests. In addition, close to 10,000 novices in religious communities of both men and women receive assistance.

The seminarians singing and dancing in the video clip below attend Christ the King Seminary in Nyeri, Kenya. They are supported directly by sacrifices made to the Society of St. Peter Apostle.

It is good for us to recall that, for the first hundred years of our existence as a diocese, the Catholics in Boston were living in “missionary territory.” We benefited from assistance provided by the Pontifical Mission Societies in Europe, among them the Society of Saint Peter Apostle. Since the Church in Boston has “come into its own,” we have shown time and time again that we remember our own humble beginnings and are eager to help Catholic communities throughout the world flourish and grow into maturity.

As an act of thanksgiving for the dedicated priests and religious who serve in parishes and various other ministries in the Archdiocese of Boston, I invite you during this Thanksgiving and Christmas season to consider a gift to the Society of Saint Peter Apostle through our website. God will never be outdone in generosity to those who enable priests and religious to go out and spread the Good News to the farthest corners of our world.
Rev. Rodney J. Copp, J.C.L.