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, June 5, 2012

Take Nothing for Granted

A few weeks ago I wrote to you about my experience of meeting one of our missionary bishops, Bishop Bejoy D’Cruze, OMI.  He is the bishop of the new diocese of Sylhet in Bangladesh and was a guest at the recent Annual Meeting of the Pontifical Mission Societies.  The bishop is a delightful man who clearly enjoys his work in this very rural and poor diocese.  I never saw him without a smile on his face.
Unfortunately, a little over a week ago Bishop D’Cruze suffered a life-threatening heart attack.  He was in the Archdiocese of San Antonio taking part in their Missionary Co Operative Program, speaking in parishes about the missionary activity of the Church and about his diocese in particular.  He is a relatively young man and appeared to be reasonably healthy.  However, he had several severe blockages in his coronary arteries.  Approximately one week ago he underwent a quadruple bypass and the latest information we have is that he is recovering. 
I bring this to your attention for two reasons.  First, I ask that you include the bishop in your prayers for his speedy and complete recovery.  He is desperately needed in his diocese and we pray that he will be able to return there in good health as soon as possible.  Second, his story highlights the tremendous gap that exists between much of the world and us.  In our own country, emergencies like this are common and sophisticated care is usually readily available.  Had Bishop D’Cruze returned to Bangladesh before suffering this heart attack, it is likely that he may not have survived.  He would have been far removed from any kind of advanced medical help and could not have withstood the arduous journey needed to receive that intervention.
Bishop D'Cruze (second,left) with Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston,and  Fr. Rod Copp and Maureen Crowley Heil of The Pontifical Mission Societies of Boston
Please continue to pray for Bishop D’Cruze’s recovery.  And take a moment to reflect on the many blessings we enjoy in our country—blessings that much of the world can only imagine.  For more information on the missionary work of the Church, see our website, www.propfaithboston.orgClick below to hear Bishop D’Cruze himself thank you for being a donor to the missions through our office here in Boston.
Rev. Rodney J. Copp, JCL

How Was Your Lent Spent?

According to Sister Barbara at St. Patrick School in Roxbury, this past Lent was one of silence and awareness of others in need for the students of that school.  Every day, the children would drop their mission sacrifices for the Holy Childhood Association into their classroom Mission Bank.  On each Friday of Lent, these HCA members would gather silently in their front hallway under a large map of the world while a hymn played.  On a table under the map was a large clear container set on a table with a thermometer on its side. The students had set themselves a goal of raising $500 for children in the missions through the Holy Childhood Association.  The thermometer would help them to measure their progress.
Sister Barbara talked to them each Friday about the children of the missions: those in need of food, clothing, education, clean water and most especially, the love of Jesus in their lives.  The students would listen quietly as Sister spoke of their responsibility as Christians to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and action to children everywhere.
“Their silence and reverence was really quite beautiful,” said Sister Barbara.  “It is so important to raise their awareness of the responsibilities they have.  It was a holy time for them,” she continued.
When Sister finished speaking, the students were called forward in groups of three, each representing a grade or class, to pour out their sacrifices into the large, communal container. When all the classes had made their weekly contribution, they would recite their Morning Prayer as a school:  an Our Father, a Hail Mary and the Prayer of St. Francis.  Then they quietly returned to their classrooms to start their school day.
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, recently encouraged us all to make silence a part of our lives. He said, “When messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary.”
Through mission education and The Holy Childhood Association, the students of St. Patrick School in Roxbury are learning the importance of silently and reverently offering their prayers and sacrifices for those who Jesus has pointed us towards – the least of our brothers and sisters.
NB: The HCA members at St. Patrick School shattered their own goal, raising $740 for children in the missions!
-Maureen Crowley Heil

This Holy and Living Sacrifice

It is a time-honored tradition of our Catholic faith to have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for friends and relatives, both living and deceased.  Most often this happens at the time of death as an expression of sympathy to the family and as a tangible spiritual benefit for the person who has died.  This is a much more substantial and enduring gift than the sending of flowers or other condolences.  In addition, a Mass can also be offered for a living person and their intentions or to honor a significant milestone in someone’s life.  In describing the spiritual benefits of the Mass, the Church teaches that
 …the Eucharistic sacrifice, the memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated through the ages is the summit and source of all worship and Christian life, which signifies and effects the unity of the People of God and brings about the building up of the body of Christ. 

Also part of our tradition is the custom of the faithful making a free will offering, or stipend, to the priest who celebrates the Mass.  This is not to be seen as “paying” to have a Mass offered.  Rather, it is one of the means by which the priest is able to support himself.  The need for this kind of support is particularly acute in the missions.  Many priests in mission territories receive no salary and the people whom they serve are too poor to support them. They rely heavily on Mass stipends for their very survival.
The benefit of Mass stipends sent to missionaries is twofold.  Those who request a Mass and those for whom the Mass is offered benefit spiritually and the priest receives financial support to enable him to carry out his ministry.  Our office receives many more requests for Mass offerings from bishops for their priests in the missions than we are able to fulfill.  You can help greatly to support the missionary work of the Church by using the Mass cards from The Society for the Propagation of the Faith.  We will be happy to send you a supply at your request.  Please contact our office at 617.542.1776.  Your support of the missions is deeply appreciated by those who rely on your generosity to enable them to carry out the work of preaching the Gospel.
For further information concerning the missionary work of the Church, see our website,
Rev. Rodney J. Copp JCL

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; they are also included in the intentions of a daily Mass celebrated at the Vatican.
In many mission locations, funds from the Society are a substantial means of support. One such place is the Dominican Republic. In a parish in the rural town of El Factor run by Missionary Fathers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSC Fathers), a tiny church is brought to life by the sacramental preparation of the local children. Each year, these children eagerly anticipate the arrival of teenage missionaries from the U.S. who visit the MSC Fathers and provide not only physical labor for the rehabilitation of the church, but also run mini Vacation Bible Schools for the local children. Their artwork is proudly displayed in the church year round!
Because of our Members’ support, the children are taught not only that God loves them, but that through our One Family in Mission, people from around the world love and support them as well.
For more information on 5 year, 10 year or Perpetual Enrollments, please call 617-542-1776 or email [email protected].
 The following people have been enrolled as Perpetual Members in
The Society for the Propagation of the Faith:
Martha Fitzpatrick, Mark Sensale, Vito Orlando, Albert J. Morgan, Ines De Costa, Raymond C. Lawrence, Rev. Fausto Tentorio, Dermot J. McDonough, Maura Moore, Helena O. Brown, Albert J. Weigel, Sr., Raimundo Delgado, Bob polo, Andrew, McCann, Joseph Vincent Paterno, Daniel J. Buxhoeveden, Anne Marie Moore, Rita Ann Durand, Elijah J. Lopes, Louise J. Iverson, William Rodrigues, Pamela L. Peck, Jane Jeter, Charles E. Burrows, Bob Feller, Sparky Anderson, Dan McGaffey, George Blanda, Thomas Fucello, Bernard Quitt, Brendan Perry, Mildred Kinch, John Goyourian, Honorable Paul Garrity, Dr. Wilfred Butterfield, The Ron Nix Family, Bertha McCrae, Maurice Trant, Michael J. Neidl, Jr., Bernadette Neidl, Lillian Niles, Paul Niles.

So…What’s New?

Every year the Diocesan Directors of the four Pontifical Mission Societies gather under the auspices of the National Office to share ideas and grow in their knowledge and experience of the Church’s foreign mission activity.  It is also a time for us to have personal contact and interaction with each other and with missionaries who are invited to join us.  Last week two members of our office staff and I attended this year’s meeting hosted by the Archdiocese of Miami, Florida.  Lest you think that we were on vacation, I assure you that we were kept quite busy for the four days we were there!
One of the invited guests at this year’s meeting was Bishop Bejoy D’Cruze, a member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who is bishop of the brand new diocese of Sylhet in Bangladesh.  Ordained in 1987, he became bishop of Khulna in 2005 and was transferred to Sylhet when Pope Benedict formed the new diocese in 2011.  This relatively young bishop’s diocese encompasses 4,863 square miles with a population of ten million people but only 18,000 Catholics.  These folks are no strangers to poverty. Most eke out a living by growing and processing tea, earning about one dollar a day in wages.
While evangelization is the top priority for Bishop Bejoy, he also needs to address the practical needs of the people under his pastoral care, and he does so without regard for caste or religious affiliation.  Practical matters include education, health care, and the civil rights of the workers.  Our office helps to support Sylhet and many other mission dioceses by sharing with missionary bishops the Mass stipends you send to us.  Since most of the priests in these dioceses do not have a regular salary or other predictable income, they rely heavily on Mass stipends.  The Boston office of The Society for the Propagation of the Faith provides significant support, not only to the priests of Sylhet, but to many other missionary priests as well.
You can support the missionary activity accomplished all over the world by using our Mass cards.  Please contact our office at 617.542.1776 for further information. 
In addition you can view this video interview with Bishop Bejoy done by Maureen Heil from our office.  In it, Bishop Bejoy expresses his humble gratitude to you, our donors, for making these all important Mass stipends available for us to send to him so that he may in turn support his priests. 
Rev. Rodney J. Copp, JCL