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, May 24, 2011

Common Cents Add Up for the Missions

The students at St. John the Evangelist School in Canton recently became members of the Holy Childhood Association (HCA); in doing so, they agreed to become part of the Holy Father’s world-wide mission society for Catholic students.
Principal Charlotte Kelly invited me to spend the morning with the students at St. John’s to help them to better understand that they can make a difference in the lives of children around the world by using the two pillars of HCA membership – prayer and sacrifice.

While the children at the school were not surprised to know that by praying for children in the missions they can change lives, the idea that even saving pennies for others can be life giving.

“How many of you have ever found money on the ground?” I asked. All hands went up.

“How many of you have walked by a penny thinking that it wasn’t worth the trouble to pick it up?” was my next question, followed by “How many think you’ve done that 25 times?”

Again, all hands went up.

My mission was to change their minds. Since it was my first visit to their school, I showed them a dvd of my first mission trip to Haiti in 2003, well before the earthquake. Students were amazed at the conditions in which the people were living in the slum of Cite Soleil – no electricity, running water or school system. Without the presence of the missionaries, many of the children they saw on camera would have gone hungry and have been without the opportunity to go to school.

While at the mission school, the children are fed a simple meal at noon time, usually of rice and beans. Occasionally, there are a few chickens to be spread out among the hundreds of lunches served. When I told the students at St. John’s that the meal’s cost was only 25 cents, and yet unaffordable to most families, they couldn’t believe it.

As we discussed their HCA Lenten Mite Boxes and ways that they could fill them to help children around the world share in their blessings, I could see the light bulbs go off.

One child of God raised his hand; “What if we just never walked by a penny again?”

Those common cents would add up for the missions.

-Maureen Crowley Heil

NB: The Students at St. John the Evangelist School used their Mite Boxes to sacrifice $1000.00 for their brothers and sisters in Christ in the missions during Lent. That's a lot of common cents!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Pope for the Whole World

Last weekend the eyes of the world were fixed on Vatican City as Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed his predecessor, Pope John Paul II “Blessed,” thus completing the second step in the process of canonization. From the early days of his life, and continuing until his death, Pope John Paul had a true missionary heart and mind as he fulfilled his vocation to serve God and His people. Not only did he travel extensively in order to share the Good News of the Gospel personally with as many people as possible, he wrote and spoke often of the missionary vocation entrusted to every Catholic at Baptism.

In his 1990 encyclical letter, Redemptoris Missio, the Holy Father shared the reasons that he was committed to these missionary journeys. From the beginning of my Pontificate I have chosen to travel to the ends of the earth in order to show this missionary concern. My direct contact with peoples who do not know Christ has convinced me even more of the urgency of missionary activity, a subject to which I am devoting the present encyclical.

He also reaffirmed the mandate to participate in the missionary life of the Church that is given to all baptized believers. The first form of witness is the very life of the missionary, of the Christian family, and of the ecclesial community, which reveal a new way of living. The missionary who, despite all his or her human limitations and defects, lives a simple life, taking Christ as the model, is a sign of God and of transcendent realities. But everyone in the Church, striving to imitate the Divine Master, can and must bear this kind of witness; in many cases it is the only possible way of being a missionary.

These words of Blessed John Paul II echo what the staff of The Society for the Propagation of the Faith often says about missionary activity: Some give by going; others go by giving. Not everyone is able to leave home and family to bring the message of the Gospel to those who would otherwise never hear it. However, everyone is able to support the missionary activity of the Church in some way. Blessed John Paul II was the first pope to journey to every corner of the world. His life and ministry provide each one of us with inspiration to rise to the challenge of living out our own missionary vocation, whatever form it takes.

For more information on the ways in which you can support the work of the missions, see our website
-Rev. Rodney J. Copp, J.C.L.