Mission Appeals or Church Appeals
One of my many blessings and opportunities as a missionary is to share the Joy of the Gospel. As a missionary Sister in Chile and Pakistan, I found the countries to be quite different in terms of culture, religious beliefs, language, weather and even food. In my third mission assignment in the United States as part of the Development Office, I gained a wider perspective in the context of the U.S. reality in its diversity.
The Missionary Cooperation Plan through the USCCB: United States Catholic Conference of Bishops pastoral statement on World Mission: "To proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth" states the purpose of the Gospel: asking missionaries to share with the people the mission experience as well as the faith experience of the people whom we are serving.
A laywoman, Marie Pauline Jauicot, provides support for the pastoral and evangelization programs of the church in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Island and remote areas of Latin and Central America, founded the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
This important work relies on the prayer and the financial support of Catholics to answer to the Gospel message to go out to the whole world and proclaim the good news. It is a humbling experience on behalf of the Columbans as I continue to share the ministries in the different parts of the world.
Before the mission appeal, I have to contact the pastor to finalize the date of the appeal, description of the mission, a short bit of information about the visiting Sister or speaker for the parish bulletin, materials about the missions and details about the accommodation. Clarification for the Masses is also required since in addition to English, parish populations also speak Spanish, Korean, Portuguese or other languages!
One of the many experiences I had was when I met different people who had connections to the Columbans such as friends or relatives of our Sisters, neighbors and cousins of some Columban Fathers, former students of our schools in the Philippines. Like the Italians and the Irish, Filipinos are all over in this country; it gave them pride to see a "kababayan" a countrywoman sharing in the pulpit. Even Chileans or Pakistani who settled in this country approach me with great appreciation for the missionary works in their respective countries.
A touching experienced was when I was in a very humble parish of Spanish speaking community. Most of the Spanish Masses are scheduled at noon or late in the afternoon, so the weather was so muggy, and the church had no air condition nor electric fan. After the Mass, a woman approached and whispered to wait for her. I felt her rough palms as she thanked me for the message she just heard. After few minutes of waiting, she handed me a crispy folded $100 dollar bill for the mission.
My eyes filled with tears as I looked at the woman, the scripture of St. Mark came into flesh, as if Jesus Christ was whispering and reminding me that this poor widow put more than all the other contributors to the treasury. From her humble means she has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood for a month. I'm aware, that this woman, needed the money, to send to her family back home, I felt so humbled and gave her a big hug. The gesture was such an inspiration in my life.
Columban Sr. Virginia Mozo lives and works in the Philippines.