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Hearing the Cry of the Poor

The Importance of Mission Appeals

By Sr. Virgie Mozo

One of the many gifts and blessings I experience in the United States as I travel during the summer for the church appeals is the universality of the Church and meeting people from the different ethnic groups from Eastern Europe, Latin and Central America and Asia.

Last year I received a letter from a nine-year-old girl named Savana that read in part: "I wanted to give you the last of my birthday money." Savanna was aware of the difficulties and sufferings of the people around the world, after she heard my own invitations and the impact of my talk to the parish that weekend. She could have purchased a box of chocolates, a bag of popcorn, a pair of earrings or pair of shoes for herself, but she opted to hear the cry of the poor, those who are in need, people she never met, but heard their plight. For her it was an awareness and realization about being part of this universal church, because she is a missionary, too.

It brought me back when I was about the age of this girl, during the Vietnam War. Charity groups asked in our school for donations of money, clothes, medicine and non-perishable food. I asked my mother to give me an extra allowance, clothes and food for the children who were in need those days. Little did I imagine that those were the early days of my preparation for this ministry. It's a Joy of the Gospel, not a job to accomplish, which gives me fulfillment as I represent each of the Sisters and the people whom they are serving, near or far, on these mission appeals.

It's the virtue of generosity that allows us to become fully human, for by nature, we are made to love. We love our neighbors who are beyond our own language, culture and even our own comfort zone. Not only we are to be generous with our financial resources but also we are invited to be generous in everything that we do.

Before I entered the Columban Sisters, my father said that I would be a beggar like some of the local nuns outside Quiapo Church, a very popular church in Manila. I responded to my father that over my dead body, I would not beg.

After so many years, here I am in the United States, taking the challenge of my father, as I respond to be part of the yearly Archdiocese or Diocese mission cooperation plan. Missionaries are invited to come and to share the work of the Gospel being accomplished in the missions. It's a delight to hear from the people how grateful they are to be part of the missions of Christ even they don't go to the mission territories. Through their financial support and prayers, the mission of Christ continues until the ends of the earth.

Columban Sr. Virgie Mozo recently began a new assignment in the Philippines.