Share How You Participate in Mission in Your Area

Year 2018 is the Columban centennial year.  We are honored to have joyfully shared the Gospel with many cultures and peoples for the last 100 years.  Pope Francis' call of the Gospel Joy effectively describes our experience.  This sharing of the Gospel Joy is the cause of several celebratory events to commemorate our missionary history. Yet, our celebrations are not just about us, it is also an invitation to you who desires to participate in mission.  Become a missionary, share the Gospel Joy.  How?

Some years ago, there was a simple phrase that motivated many, "Think Globally, Act Locally."  We know not all can travel to far distant lands.  However, mission is not a geographical location but a way of living.  As Columbans, our goal is to encourage all to mission, no matter who you are or where you live.  Now we give you three simple steps to do so.

1. Do a Missionary Outreach

Do an outreach event in your area.

Do a missionary outreach in your area.  We give 100 practical suggestions to help you discern what you can do, although some volunteer opportunities will require advance preparation and discussion with the organization.  See below.

2. Record the Moment

Take a photo of the moment

Record the moment with photographs or artwork. Reflect on it and write about the experience.

3. Share on Social Media

Share on social media under #SharingGospelJoy

Share on social media to inspire others to become more missionary. Use the hashtag #SharingGospelJoy. Also, email your story to mission@columban.org.


We invite you to participate in the mission and to joyfully share the Gospel.

Rev. John Burger, SSC
Regional Director


100 Ways You Can Share Gospel Joy in Your Area

  1. Spend time in your front lawn or driveway rather than your backyard. Engage people in conversation as they walk by your house. Ask about how they are doing, etc.
  2. Offer to walk neighborhood dogs for people who need a hand.
  3. Bake something delicious and deliver it to your neighbors.
  4. Do a food drive or coat drive in winter and get neighbors involved
  5. Host a game night (yard games outside, or board games inside) to bring people together.
  6. Organize a community garage sale and give the proceeds to a local charity.
  7. Grow a garden and give out extra produce to neighbors
  8. Have an Easter egg hunt on your block and invite neighbors to participate
  9. Create a block/street email and phone contact list for safety
  10. Start a walking/running/Bunco/bridge group in the neighborhood
  11. Start a card ministry
  12. Send care packages to deployed soldiers, new college students, or maybe to someone you know who is fighting off the flu.
  13. Donate books to your local shelter
  14. Hold a bake sale for your favorite charity.
  15. Hand out water to anyone working in the neighborhood.
  16. Deliver food to elderly friends, new parents or anyone who might need a good meal.
  17. Sponsor a child for basic needs or for school.
  18. Collect school supplies for a schools that struggle financially.
  19. Create a jar that says Emergency Relief Fund and collect change to donate after the next natural disaster abroad.  When the situation arises on the news, you can immediately send the money you have saved. 
  20. Purchase gifts from shops that give a percentage back to a school or other helpful organization in the country where the items were made.
  21. Participate in an international fundraiser/awareness campaign.  
  22. Buy fair trade chocolate, coffee, and tea.
  23. Decide not to go out to eat for a month, and donate the money you saved to the local food pantry.
  24. Befriend a family who just moved from another country.  It can be very lonely to be immersed in a new culture without familiar faces or a network of support.
  25. Go to a local nursing home and visit a resident who doesn't receive many visitors.
  26. Drive someone to a doctor's appointment/chemotherapy/colonoscopy.
  27. Volunteer at a local elementary school and listen to kids read or help out in the cafeteria.
  28. Run/Bike/Swim in a charity 5K/10K/triathlon.
  29. Assist a senior citizen with a home improvement project (painting, changing batteries in smoke detectors, etc.).
  30. Write a note to someone letting that person know how grateful you are for their presence in your life.
  31. Reach out in a personal way to a family member or friend with whom you have lost contact
  32. Visit someone from your parish or faith community who is in a nursing home or rehabilitation center
  33. Invite someone who doesn't attend church to accompany you to church for a particular celebration, such as First Communion, Confirmation ceremony, Mother's Day or Father's Day
  34. Join a parish ministry group that will stretch your horizons – invite a friend to go along with you so that you can learn something new together
  35. Give your family's used, clean clothes to a local homeless shelter or to a thrift store that supports those in need
  36. Try hard to understand someone who has a perspective on life, the world and the church that differs greatly from yours – listen respectfully without arguing or "correcting" them
  37. Go out for a meal to a restaurant with someone from a different cultural background and let s/he introduce you to their ethnic food
  38. Express your gratitude to someone whose services you frequently take for granted
  39. Express a renewed sense of gratitude to someone whose kindness meant so much to you in the past
  40. Invite someone who is grieving out for coffee and listen attentively to their story
  41. Learn about recycling opportunities in your area and plan on responding in at least one new way
  42. Make one evening a tech-free evening each week in order to spend quality time with family members and friends. Invite them to do likewise.
  43. Call friends in the nursing home.
  44. Send as many birthday cards as possible to lonely friends.
  45. Buy groceries for a shut-in and try to get another also to help.
  46. After you read your newspaper, donate it to a local nursing home.
  47. Be part of a prayer chain.
  48. Volunteer with your local Catholic Charities. 
  49. Assist the Chicago Religious Leaders Network on Latin America (based in Chicago) crln@crln.org Telephone  773-293-2964 Marily K. McKenna,  email  mmckenna@crln.org
  50. Volunteer with Franciscan Outreach www.franoutreach.com Volunteer Program Coordinator 773-278-6724 x16
  51. Volunteer at a homeless shelter in your area
  52. Write letters to prisoners, Example: CrossOverPrisonMinistries@cox.net, Crossoveromaha.org, CrossOver Prison Ministries Inc., Box 3791, Omaha, NE  68103-0791. Telephone:   402-556-6793
  53. Visit the sick
  54. Visit the abandoned families in our community.
  55. Pray the rosary
  56. Share your missionary experiences with others
  57. Volunteer at your local library
  58. Love others as they are.
  59. Be authentic
  60. Invite others to Jesus mission.
  61. Smile at church
  62. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  63. Offer to foster a dog or cat from a rescue shelter while it waits for its forever home
  64. Fundraise for a local animal shelter
  65. Put a birdfeeder in your yard
  66. Attend a mass in a different language and/or with a different ethnic group
  67. Volunteer to fold parish bulletins
  68. Volunteer to clean the church
  69. Volunteer to help clean up the church grounds in the spring
  70. Hold the door for the person entering the building after you.
  71. Let someone go ahead of you at the grocery store or coffee shop.
  72. Return something you borrowed in better than its original condition.
  73. Make time to enjoy your friends.
  74. If you knit or crochet, consider making a prayer shawl for someone in need.
  75. Pick up litter when you see it.
  76. Offer someone a ride to Mass.
  77. Tell a stranger to have a good day
  78. Pray for justice and peace
  79. Find out who your Members of Congress are and research their positions on the Columban's four priority issues areas. You can go to www.senate.gov to find your Senators and www.house.gov to find your Representative.
  80. Call your Members of Congress and tell them about an issue affecting your community. For support or guidance, contact Rebecca Eastwood, Advocacy Coordinator for the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach.
  81. Schedule an in-district visit with your Members of Congress to talk about issues affecting your community. For support or guidance, contact Rebecca Eastwood, Advocacy Coordinator for the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach.
  82. Engaging with your Members of Congress on social media is an excellent way to get their attention and inform them about the issues you care about. Follow your Members of Congress on social media and message them about the issues affecting your community. For support or guidance, contact Wesley Cocozello, Communicators and Programs Coordinator for the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach.
  83. Organize a delegation from your parish or community to participate in the Columban border immersion program. To arrange a trip, contact Fr. Bob Mosher, SSC at cmc@columban.org.
  84. Contact your local Catholic Charities and ask about volunteer opportunities to support refugee families in your community. To find your local Catholic Charities, please click here.
  85. Elected officials read "letters to the editor" (or, LTE) in order to understand the "pulse" of their communities and constituents. So write a LTE on an issue in your community. For a backgrounder on the best way to write and submit an LTE, please click here.
  86. Invite your friends and family over to discuss the issues going on in your community. How do they affect you? How do they affect your neighbor? What does your faith us to say about the issue? As a starting point, considering reading one of the Columban's statements on our priority areas. You can find those here.
  87. The invite your guests to write postcards to your Members of Congress on any of the issues you identified. For ideas, check out www.columbancenter.org for more information and updates on Columban priority issues.
  88. Find out who is running for office in your state or congressional district and attend a town hall or candidate forum to learn more about them.
  89. Participate in an interfaith event or worship service. If there isn't one happening in your local community in the near future, consider going to a house of worship that does not belong to your faith tradition or hosting such an event at your own place of worship.
  90. Reflect on the experience of Columban missionaries overseas by listening to a podcast interview with a Columban lay missionary, Lani Tamatawale.
  91. Talk to your pastor about how your parish can conserve energy. Are there easy ways to reduce your community carbon footprint? Get in touch with Catholic Energies for resources and guidance.
  92. Accompany an immigrant or immigrant family as they integrate into your local community. You may wish to volunteer as a tutor for an "English as a second language" (ESL) tutoring center. Or if there is a migrant detention center in or near your community, consider visiting those in detention. Visit Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC)'s website for information on a visitation program in your area.
  93. Think of ways you can "green" daily tasks so that you can achieve a simpler, environmentally gentler lifestyle. Identify three options on this list from the Catholic Health Association that you can make this week.
  94. Depending on where you bank, your money may be invested in projects that displace vulnerable communities or damage our environment. Reconsider putting your money in a more financially responsible bank. For guidance, please click here
  95. Our faith calls us to be peacemakers on Earth. How can you be an advocate for peace in our day? Start by starting Pope Francis' message of peace and after you read it, write down two ways you can incorporate his message into your daily life.
  96. Develop a closer relationship with the natural world. Find your nearest park or wildlife refuge and bring your friends and family on an afternoon trip. Consider incorporating a prayer activity into your trip, or a lesson on identifying native plants and animals. Find your nearest park by clicking here.
  97. Pick a country where there is a Columban community and spend your week researching about the country, learning more about its culture and the people who live there.
  98. Go to mass in a part of your town that you don't visit very often. Get to know some of the people who go there by staying after mass for coffee or fellowship.
  99. Jot down all the purchases you've made this past week and pick one. What's it made of? Who extracted the materials? Who made the component parts, and who assembled them? How did it get to the store? What would happen to it if you threw it out? Answering these questions helps us identity where waste, corruption, and exploitation contribute to the things we buy. To help guide you through these questions, watch the free document, The Story of Stuff.
  100. Gather a group of parishioners or friends and family and read Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato Si', together. You can use the Columban's "Study and Action Guide" to help enrich your reading.

About us

Columban logoThe Columbans are a society of missionaries, including priests and lay people, who minister to people of various cultures as a way of witnessing to the universal love of God.

We go in the name of the Church to announce, by deed and word, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Quick Contact

Missionary Society of St. Columban
1902 N. Calhoun
St. Columbans, NE 68056
Phone: 877-299-1920
Fax: 402-291-4984
email: mission@columban.org