Editors note: Fr. LeRoy is enjoying some well-deserved time off for himself. For this week’s message, Rose Blesener writes about World Mission Sunday.
Dear fellow missioners,
We celebrate “mission month” through October, and World Mission Sunday (today, Sunday, Oct. 20) is an opportunity to explore our own call to mission. This year’s theme is “Baptized and Sent”; and we are reminded of our own call – through our baptism - to be “sent”.
My first “mission” experience occurred about 45 years ago, when I answered a call to volunteer through Catholic Charities of the Diocese of South Carolina. That experience was my first “reality check” in facing extreme poverty and racism. Roughly half the population of the state was illiterate and living in poverty. At the time, South Carolina was considered a “mission state” by the Catholic Church.
Franciscan Sisters from Rochester, MN., at the request of the Bishop in the Charleston diocese, had organized a summer school program for children in Charleston’s inner city. The program was designed to help children maintain and improve their reading and math skills during the summer, particularly since their parents were often unable to provide educational resources for the children. The program added breakfast and lunch, art and recreational experiences, and was highly successful in helping children get a solid academic foundation.
In a short time, the summer program evolved into a year-round permanent commitment by the Franciscans. As they identified and addressed basic needs with Charleston’s marginalized community, a food shelf, clothing center, and community drop-in centers developed; along with some nursing and social work support. Throughout their work, the Sisters were instruments of God’s love and concern for everyone, regardless of color or circumstances.
We who have been baptized are also called to be “sent”….but we don’t necessarily have to travel far to be missionaries. There are many opportunities in our own communities to minister to those who are hungry, homeless, isolated or ill.
This weekend we have the opportunity to minister – through our prayers and financial support – to the needs of God’s children throughout the world. We act in solidarity this day, as we pray and share our gifts to help build-up the church around the world where the witness of Christ and support of the poor is still needed most.
Our prayers and sacrificial gifts to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith through the St. Cloud Mission Office today support the efforts of clergy, religious and lay missioners striving to act upon the call to love and serve as Christ around the world, as they offer practical, emotional and spiritual support to communities, children and families in need in 180 countries primarily throughout Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands and remote regions of Latin America.
Please respond to the call to be “Baptized and Sent” by supporting missionary efforts with your prayers, your words, your sacrifices and your actions. Thank you for joining in the many ways we unite with our brothers and sisters both near and far. A World Mission Sunday envelope was included with your weekly envelopes; or you can send a check directly to the St. Cloud Mission Office.