Each of us is called to share the Good News every day, making us all missionaries, no matter our age. Because mission education must be an ongoing part of our children's faith formation in any Catholic school or parish, the Church gives us The Missionary Childhood Association (MCA).
MCA funds projects in the missions for children under 14. Here at home, MCA is tasked with providing educational materials that bring mission awareness to our students. To implement the programs, each school or parish is asked to appoint a Mission Moderator -- a teacher or volunteer adult -- who will coordinate the programs. They receive monthly e-newsletters with a prayer service, lesson plans about saints and our work in mission countries, and hands on student activities for home or classroom.
The Mission Moderator appoints student Representatives to distribute materials, hang posters, and create mission-themed bulletin boards. They may also lead other students in prayer for the missions.
Although the Mission Moderator program has proven successful across the country, Darci Hamman, of Our Lady's Academy in Waltham could be the "poster child" for the position! Always cheerful, Darci is committed to helping her students develop into well-rounded, faith-filled young people. Charity towards others is at the heart of who she is.
With the support of her principal, Ms. Minor, and pastor, Father DiPerri, Darci makes sure that the mission programs run smoothly. A visit from Missionary Childhood is a yearly fixture during Catholic Schools Week and students prayerfully sacrifice for children in the missions during Lent.
Even a pandemic couldn't change this!
Students attended our virtual Mission Education Day in October. In February, I Zoomed into Our Lady's classrooms. Students learned about Ecuadorian children, no older than themselves, who work for a living as shoeshine boys, sidewalk sweepers, and errand girls. Most are orphans and depend on each other for any kind of "family" bond. Local missionaries visit these children at night bringing hot meals, basic literacy instruction, and of course, the knowledge that God loves them.
Mite Boxes, mission banks named for the Widow's Mite, were distributed by Ash Wednesday. Unable to hold our normal Holy Week Mite Box collection assembly, class representatives instead came to Darci one by one to present their grades' sacrifices.
The inspiring results? The young missionaries of Our Lady's Academy offered 50 percent more to help children in the missions than last year!
Help the missions and volunteer to be your school or parish's Mission Moderator. The rewards are tremendous. Just ask Darci!
- Maureen Crowley Heil is Director of Programs and Development for the Pontifical Mission Societies, Boston.
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