Two hundred years ago, Pauline Marie Jaricot started a membership movement that revolutionized the way our Church looked at supporting missionaries: she involved everyday Catholics. By asking factory workers to join Prayer Circles to pray and sacrifice weekly for the missions, Pauline could not have known she was setting into motion an organization that would grow to become the foundational support for missionaries worldwide -- The Pontifical Mission Societies (TPMS).
On the Feast of Saint Joseph, 2023, we celebrated this milestone year with a Eucharistic celebration at the Pastoral Center in Braintree with Cardinal Seán O'Malley, OFM Cap, as presider and main celebrant. The cardinal was joined by twelve concelebrants -- missionaries, priests from the missions, as well as Boston priests. Music was provided by Nancy Iacobucci of Saint Michael Parish, Hudson, and Joan Wotton of Saint Bernadette Parish, Randolph. Readers were Helena Moniz of TPMS, Charleston, SC; Sister Lisa Valentini, MSC; and our own John O'Neill.
Cardinal Seán spoke about the importance TPMS plays in the buildup of the Church, noting that while the relief work being done by TPMS is vital, we must not lose sight of the reason we do it -- to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our priority is evangelization.
After Mass, we held a luncheon and presented three awards: Ashley Anderson of Saint Christine Parish, Marshfield, was recognized for her extraordinary efforts for the Missionary Childhood Association. The Saint J's Collaborative of Quincy received our Founder's Award in thanksgiving for offering our spiritual bouquets at their collaborative office, as well as remembering us when distributing funds from their parishioners' tithing.
Mary Margaret Bolles received the Monsignor Andrew Connell Memorial Award for her life-long mission service. Mary first served in the missions of New Mexico before a successful career in business. After retirement, she came to work for our office to "give back in thanksgiving for all the blessings" she received in her career. Mary is the real blessing to the missions!
Father Pat Byrne, SVD, served brilliantly as emcee and Monsignor Kieran Harrington, National Director of TPMS USA, presented a thumbnail sketch of our four Societies.
Our Monthly Donors were recognized, and attendees were given the opportunity to join the Societies -- our regular members are still the backbone of our mission support, just as Pauline envisioned. Happily, new members joined our ranks that day.
Please help us kick off the next two hundred years! Whether you have $500 or $5 a month, every gift is needed. In the hands of missionaries, they become like the biblical loaves and fishes -- multiplied to help serve all.
Go to www. Propfaithboston.org. Join us, today!
- Maureen Crowley Heil is Director of Programs and Development for the Pontifical Mission Societies, Boston.
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