One lesson taught through programs of the Missionary Childhood Association is that of offering up your time and talent as well as your treasure for children in the missions. Believe it or not, the treasure is the easy lesson! When the children are handed a Mite Box in Advent or Lent, they know what to do -- fill it with sacrificed treasure. They do this by giving up sodas or candy bars, offering part of their allowance, doing extra chores for payment, or emptying their pockets of spare change every day.
Sometimes, the time and talent offerings require a little more prayerful thought. When I visit the schools and parishes, I hear suggestions: they could go caroling in their neighborhoods, offering up the time spent for children in the missions who don't have access to music lessons because their school (if they have one) barely has the basics. They can stand at the lunchroom door and hold it open, letting everyone else go first. Although they may not get a seat with friends or may miss the warm french fries, if they say a prayer, offering their time for children in the missions who won't eat that day, they are sacrificing for the missions just as concretely as any coin offered.
At this time of year, the Missionary Childhood Association gives Catholic children another opportunity. We invite them to enter our National Christmas Artwork Contest. By using their time and talent to draw a picture of a Christmas scene, children enter a contest for a chance to have their work used as e-greetings on our National MCA website.
This year, out of almost 10,000 entries, Niyala Chaperon of Trinity Catholic Academy in Brockton was chosen as one of the twenty-four winners! We've had her artwork made into our office Christmas cards; her family and school will also receive them.
Niyala's -- and all winner's -- artwork will be displayed in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. during Advent. All winners and their families will be honored at a Mass at the Basilica on December 3rd followed by a luncheon hosted by our National Director, Monsignor Kieran Harrington.
Will Boston have a winner in 2022? Enter and find out! Go to propfaithboston.org and click on the Missionary Childhood Association for the rules and entry form. Artwork must be submitted to our office by January 31, 2022.
Good luck to all our young missionary artists!
- Maureen Crowley Heil is Director of Programs and Development for the Pontifical Mission Societies, Boston.