This year has certainly been one for the record books! "Adjusting" has become a way of life for all of us whether in the way we work, attend class, or even worship. We mourn for lives lost, struggle with a lack of income, and may feel adrift in a sea of Zoom classes.
Here at The Propagation of the Faith, we feel a loss of community as we try to keep the missions visible and viable from home. We are normally a team that collaborates on every project. Seeing each other via Zoom chats once a week has been less than satisfying.
Summer is the time of year when many of us are on the road, visiting parishes for Mission Appeals. Most Appeals did not happen this year because of the shutdown. We've missed meeting you as we spread the mission message across the Archdiocese. This also means donations to the missions are down severely, leaving us with little choice but to cut our own salaries so that more of the gifts that do come in go to their intended destination -- the missions.
Throughout, we have tried to innovate, as we hosted a drive-in movie fundraiser and raffled off a pilgrimage for two to Fatima and Lourdes (Thanks again, Marian Pilgrimages for donating the trip!). We have spoken at outdoor Masses and hosted our children's Mission Education Day via Zoom.
As World Mission Sunday approached, our team hit the road to deliver posters, Liturgy materials, bulletin announcements, and a DVD message from Cardinal Seán to as many parishes as possible. We offered a personal "Thank you!" to those who have continued to support us by hosting appeals, offering our Spiritual Enrollments, and sending us Mass Stipends for the missions.
But what would we be our main celebration this year? We couldn't invite missionaries, donors, cultural communities and choirs, and Missionary Childhood members from around the Archdiocese to the Cathedral for our observance of the biggest day, worldwide, for the Propagation of the Faith!
It was Bishop Robert Reed and CatholicTV to the rescue. Their generous offer for me to be the lector for their World Mission Sunday Mass as well as speak after Communion about the Propagation was a great sign of solidarity between our organizations. Donations and emails came in from Hong Kong to Turkey and all across the United States as faithful CatholicTV viewers heeded the call to support the missions.
It may have looked different, but thanks to Bishop Reed and CatholicTV, World Mission Sunday 2020 was truly a day that brought people together to pray and sacrifice for the missions! We are prayerfully grateful.
- Maureen Crowley Heil is Director of Programs and Development for the Pontifical Mission Societies, Boston.
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